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Is Dreamweaver crashing when you try to use Help? Here's a solution

For months now, I've found that when I tried to use the help feature in Dreamweaver (8 or MX 2004), it would crash, with an "unhandled Win32 exception". If this has happened to you, there is a quick and easy solution.

The problem turns out to be IE7. That explains why, for me, it was such a mystery. I don't use DW help much at all and have had both DW 8 and 2004 installed for over a year, so when trying to use help suddenly failed in recent months, I couldn't for the life of me connect the dots to resolve the problem. I searched the web and the Adobe site in particular, all to no avail.

Solution in an Adobe Technote

Finally, I posted the question on a DW forum and David Alcala of Adobe DW Quality Engineering responded pointing out this technote. (Thanks again, David!)

Update: As is often the case in a blog entry written years ago, the link above no longer works. In the vein of "teaching a man to fish", please note that when that happens, you ought to go to archive.org, and on the front page enter the URL in question. Often it will find old copies of the page. In the case of the URL above, a version of the technote from 2009 can be found here.

It explains an incompatibility between a certain DW DLL and IE 7. As it explains, the latter came out after the former, so it's forgivable. It goes on to say that affects more those using Windows 2003 Server and 64-bit XP, but I was having the problem on 32-bit XP. And while it refers just to Dreamweaver 8, I tested the fix on Dreamweaver MX 2004 and it works for that as well. Good news!

But I have Firefox as my primary browser

And if anyone's wondering, it doesn't seem to matter if you have Firefox set as your primary browser, either in Windows or even in the Preview in Browser feature of DW. In both cases, I have FF set as primary and yet I suffered this problem. If anyone knows another way to control DW using IE for help, perhaps that would explain why only some get this problem.

Anyway, hope that helps someone else.

PS I happen to have MS Visual Studio 2005 installed, which intercepts the error and offers to run the JIT debugger. So it's possible that the error I get ("unhandled Win32 exception") is different from what one gets if they DON'T have it installed. But as the Adobe technote says, it does cause DW to crash, and that's what matters most. Since the technote doesn't offer the specific error message I was getting (or any other), I hope this blog entry may be found by others searching as I did. And I'm removing Visual Studio to see what error one gets when it's not installed. If the message is different, I'll come back and update this blog entry.

Update: ok, if the JIT debugger is not setup to handle errors, then instead one gets the "good ol'" windows prompt to "send error report". The top line of the window (in case someone searches to find this) is "Dreamweaver MX 2004 has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience." If you use the "click here" to see details, the error is in appname:dreamweaver.exe modname:hhctrl.ocx

New Connect Beta (Brio) On Adobe Labs--and a mini preview

Folks, just want to let you know that the next generation of Acrobat Connect is up on the Adobe Labs site.

It's a hosted service, not something you download, and it allows you to have up to 3 meeting participants.

Be sure to see the "Product Details" tab of the labs page, which offers more info about the new release, including some modest release notes. Most significant is the question most likely to be asked by those using Connect now:

"How is Brio different from Adobe Acrobat Connect?"

  • Richer expression in the Chat Pod with sizes, colors, and emoticons.
  • Text layout controls in the Note Pod including bullets, size, and color.
  • Save as .doc file option for meeting Chat and Notes.
  • Upload files to distribute to your meeting participants.
  • Voice over IP option as an alternative to teleconferencing.
  • Right click menus.
  • Access to key meeting features while screen sharing with new palette.
  • Whiteboard Pod with option to save your work as a .png file.
  • Annotate over screen sharing using whiteboarding tools with option to save as your work as a .png file.
  • Personalized display images in the meeting attendee list.
  • Additional options (accept all and automatic room entry) for accepting attendees to a meeting.
  • New Role names (host, participant and audience) for attendees and more capabilities for participants making it easy to collaborate during meetings. Participants can now share their screen, enter notes, whiteboard automatically without being promoted to a presenter.

Note as well there that free audioconferencing by phone (in addition to the traditional embedded mic and camera feature) is available in the beta. No need to make a reservation. Just click on the phone icon upper right corner of your meeting room and select Adobe Conference Number. You'll see a text box with the call-in numbers as well as the meeting ID number. There's no charge for the service, however, long distance phone charges may apply.

This preview of Brio is currently only available in English.

Finally, to find out more, check out the lab forums for Brio.

I'll have more to say after I review it myself.

CF8 Hidden Gem: CFMAIL auto-generated message-id uses specified mail server name

Here's a neat hidden gem for CF8 that will delight some: CFMAIL now uses the mail server name you specify in CFMAIL SERVER attribute or the CF Admin mail setup page, in creating the message-id header that's generated when your mail is sent.

Some have lamented that in CFMX 6 and 7, it instead used the name of your server where CF is installed, which might be something like "server1" or "bingo", as in:

Message-ID: <23070863.1197039960343.JavaMail.SYSTEM@Server1>

This might cause a recipient mail server to flag the mail as spam, if the mail server was a different domain name (like "yourcompany.com"). The bummer was that many found no way to fix this. Sure, in CF5 you could set it in a CFMAILPARAM to set a mail header, but CF 6 and above ignores that.

So the good news is that CF8 now does use that CF Admin or CFMAIL SERVER value to create the message-id. If I use CFMAIL SERVER="mail.carehart.org"..., for instance, I might get something like:

What about CF 6 or 7?

But what if you're on 6 or 7? Well, there's a solution for you, too, by way of a tweak in the CF startup script (jvm.config) or (less preferably) in code. Since the change for CF 6 or 7 deserves some explanation to do it justice, I'll take that up in a part 2 message next. I'll also lay out the whole problem with the auto-generated message-id and why it's a concern for some.

For now, I just wanted to get this word out to those who understand the problem already that CF8 solves it. Woo hoo.

I'm offering FusionReactor and Fusiondebug training, online

Interested in learning more about FusionReactor and FusionDebug? I'm teaching inexpensive half-day classes (of my own design) every few weeks for Intergral, the makers of the tools. They organize the dates, take the registration and payment, and provide the GotoMeeting account that we use to present the training (over the web and phone). You can learn more about the training at their site.

Many know I'm also a big fan of the CF8 monitoring and debugging tools, but I've been talking about FD and FR for over a year. I've also written previously (since the release of CF8) on why there's still a place for all these kinds of tools. Perhaps the biggest point is that not everyone is ready to move right away to CF8, as good as it is. More important for some is that to monitor your production servers in CF8, you need CF8 Enterprise.

FD and FR work on all editions of ColdFusion 6, 7, and 8, and even offer some features not found in the built-in tools (though the reverse is true as well).

Here are the courses, which are 3 hours each for the full classes, and 1 hour for the free webinar.

FusionReactor FastTrack I - Introduction

The "FusionReactor FastTrack I - Introduction" class is more than just an introduction to the tool. It shares lots of tips and techniques for using the monitor to help solve real problems. More important, it shows many features that you might otherwise easily miss. Even experienced FusionReactor users would likely learn a lot.

FusionReactor FastTrack II - Advanced Techniques

The "FusionReactor FastTrack II - Advanced Techniques" class moves beyond learning how the tool works to how to use it to solve common ColdFusion performance and reliability challenges, including how to configure and leverage FusionReactor features to increase your server's performance, reliability and availability. It also covers how to access FusionReactor and its logs during and after critical periods, as well as common troubleshooting analysis approaches.

FusionDebug FastTrack I - Introduction

The "FusionDebug FastTrack I - Introduction" class introduces the tool, shows how easy it is to use, and demonstrates its advantages over traditional debugging techniques as well as tips and traps in using the tool. It includes debugging CFML code called from client-side applications like Flex and Ajax. In fact, someone interested in learning about the CF8 debugger could get a lot from the class (since they're so similar), though it's just focused on FusionDebug.

Free FusionDebug Webinar

The Free FusionDebug Webinar in an online seminar where you can learn about how to debug CFML with FusionDebug.

Getting Started with the Apache Derby Open Source Database in CF8

Had you noticed that one of the many hidden gems in CF8 is the Apache Derby open-source, cross-platform database engine embedded in CF8. You're free to use it for production. Why would you? How does it differ from other free databases like MySQL?

To answer those questions and more, I've created a new resource called, "Getting Started with the Apache Derby Open Source Database in CF8". It's a resource compendium for those interested in using the DB with CF, pointing you to general resources to learn more, linking to many CF-specific articles and blog entries on it (from both before and after the final CF8 release), and lots more to help you get started--as well as respond to some common misconceptions.

It will continue to evolve, but for now, the sections are:

  • General Resources for Learning More about Derby
  • Is it a pure development only DB?
  • Is this the same database engine that's embedded in Adobe Air?
  • I've heard that Derby is a single-user DBMS
  • How can we use it/enable it in ColdFusion?
  • Are there any IDE or query tools for talking to Derby?
  • Why use Derby database verses using something like MySQL?
  • Where can I find a reference for supported SQL, etc.?
  • Is there a way to automate creation of a new Derby Database in CF?
  • Where else can I learn more from other CFers using Derby?

I'll also point out that those interested in Derby, especially in discussing it with others, will want to know that a couple of weeks ago I started a Derby "community" on the coldfusioncommunity.org site. Anyone may join in. I'll note that I rolled all my answers to questions there, prior to December, into the getting started page above.

Let me know what you think of it, and certainly any additions or corrections you'd suggest.

New CFMeetup Event: "Step Debugging in ColdFusion 6/7/8", with Charlie Arehart

Announcing a new event for The Online ColdFusion Meetup Group!

What: "Step Debugging in ColdFusion 6/7/8", with Charlie Arehart

When: Thursday, Dec 6, 6:00pm EST (GMT-5) (What time is that for you? See this table, which shows it at EST, and you can choose your city from the list offered to see your time.)

Meeting URL: http://experts.acrobat.com/cfmeetup/
Duration: Approx. 1 hour
Meeting will be recorded. URL will be posted after meeting on the Meetup Message Board, which can also be reached directly via http://tinyurl.com/2dbdnk

Our second talk on Thursday, Dec 6, at 6pm, will be your ColdFusion Meetup host, Charlie Arehart, speaking on "Step Debugging in ColdFusion 6/7/8", discussing use of both ColdFusion 8's debugger (CF8 only) and FusionDebug (for 6, 7, and 8).

Description:

In this talk, veteran CFML developer Charlie Arehart will introduce and demonstrate the ability all ColdFusion developers now have to step through their code interactively to debug it, whether running on CF 6, 7, or 8. For those moving to CF8, there is now a debugger built into CF, but it works only with CF8. For those on CF 6, 7, or 8, they can use the commercial FusionDebug tool (www.fusiondebug.com) . Both are plug-ins for Eclipse which enable step debugging, and they're very similar, which is why Charlie will show them both in the one talk. He'll also cover some differences.

Don't worry if you don't care for Eclipse. You can continue to use DWMX or CF Studio/HomeSite+ for editing: just use the Eclipse-based tools for debugging. Charlie will show you how easy it is and the problems step debugging can solve. And if you're thinking you don't need interactive debugging, Charlie will also explain over a dozen benefits this offers over traditional CFDUMP/CFOUTPUT debugging, as well as tips, tricks, and traps.

About Charlie Arehart:

A veteran ColdFusion developer since 1997, Charlie Arehart is a longtime contributor to the community and a recognized Adobe Community Expert. He's a certified Advanced CF Developer and Instructor for CF 4/5/6/7 who served as tech editor of the ColdFusion Developers Journal until 2003. Now an independent contractor living in Alpharetta GA, Charlie provides high-level troubleshooting/tuning assistance and training/mentoring for CF teams (carehart.org/consulting). He helps run the Online ColdFusion Meetup (coldfusionmeetup.com, an online CF user group), is a contributor to the CF8 WACK books by Ben Forta, and is frequently invited to speak to developer conferences and user groups worldwide.

Notices:

As always, we do appreciate folks RSVPing if they plan to come (using the link on this email or at the meetup site), though it's not mandatory and it's not a commitment. BTW, no need to RSVP if you can't make it nor even explain why you can't. With 1,000+ members, there's really no reason to explain your absence. :-) We'll also appreciate your sharing your feedback after the meeting (also offered via a follow-up email or via a link on the site).

Please note, as well, that when you use the acrobat.com (Connect) link above to view the meeting, the login screen presented there has no connection to the login information you've provided to access this meetup.com site. The two services are entirely unrelated. Please just log in with the guest account in Connect, even if you have a real connect account.

Finally, again, the recording URL will be posted on the Meetup Message Board, which can also be reached directly via http://tinyurl.com/2dbdnk

Learn more here: http://coldfusion.meetup.com/17/calendar/6827442/

ColdFusion meetup online webinars will be announced here

Just want to let folks I'm going to start announcing the upcoming Online ColdFusion Meetup sessions here.

I host them, and it turns out next week I'll be speaking in a full session of my own for the first time since we started the meetup in February. I was about to announce my talk here here.

Then I thought: hey, why don't I just announce each talk here from now on? Of course, I've been announcing them to the 1200+ registered members of the group, but certainly some who read my blog (or trip over an entry when it may show up on an aggregator) may be introduced to the group for the first time.

So I'm going to post next the 2 talks for next week, and in the future I'll post the rest. We have a full slate set for December. I'm not sure how far in advance I'll announce the rest of the month's talks. We'll see.

For those not familiar with the meetup, I've written about it here previously (though that was from the perspective of a potential speaker).

Lots of cool tools for CFers: a new (old) list

How many times have you wondered about what options are available to you as a CF developer for things like WYSIWYG editors, CMSs, DBs, & tools for blogging, query building, load testing and much more? Or you've seen others ask, and have started digging around search engines or old mailing list threads to recall a list of them that you have in mind. Well, I've long kept such a meta-list for myself and am now sharing it with everyone at:

http://www.carehart.org/resourcelists/tools_to_consider/

Actually, it's a list I started back in 2002 and hosted until recently at my old systemanage.com site. While the info there ranges from a couple to several years old (though still nearly all useful), this list was one thing I continued to update.

I just decided this weekend to pull it out to my Carehart.org site. Bookmark it and point others to it when you need to find such tools.

Not competing with Brian Rinaldi's list

I know some will say, "don't you know about Brian Rinaldi's list?", and of course I do and I reference it there. The lists really are different, as I don't limit myself to only open-source tools. In fact, I don't limit it only to tools written in CF. Rather, I list them and tools (and services) written in other languages, but that may be useful to CFML developers. (And while there's some cross-over between my list and his, I'm not interested in just sucking out things he has that I don't. Instead, I point to his matching categories in each of mine, so you can check that out for still more alternatives.)

My categories

  • Blog Aggregators
  • Blogging Tools
  • CFMAIL Replacement/Enhancement
  • Code Generators
  • CFML Engines
  • Content Management Systems
  • Database Engines
  • Database Query Tools
  • E-commerce Enabling Solutions
  • Editors/IDEs
  • File Upload tools
  • Forums/Bulletin Boards
  • HTTP Debugging Proxy
  • Image Processing
  • Load Testing Tools
  • Regular Expression Generation/Testing Tools
  • Graphing/Charting Tools
  • Server-side Spell Checkers
  • Source Code Control
  • WYSIWYG/Rich Text Editors

Additions Welcomed

I don't claim that it's the ultimate list of all tools in each category. I may even have some glaring ommissions. I welcome additions there, as I repeat several times on the page. I will also be glad to add new categories if suitable.

One of many resource lists I've created

In moving it here, I've placed it in a new Resource Lists page, where I also now point to other such resource lists and compendium-style blog entries that I've long kept (and others still to come). More about them in another entry to come.

Check out MakeUseOf, Cool daily gathering of various resources, tips

If you're not familiar with makeuseof.com, let me share it with you. It's a pretty nifty service: ok, it's a blog and podcast, but I think of it instead like a daily newsletter. Pretty much every day, they crank out a quick, to the point, list of (usually) a handful of interesting (related) tips or resources, such as:

And they frequently do a list of "Cool Websites and Tips" (latest edition was #104.

They've also had some things of interest specifically to bloggers:

If you like the stuff, you can sign up via RSS or email.

Step Debugging in CF 6/7/8 with the CF8 Debugger and FusionDebug

I wanted to share the availability of a recorded presentation I did a couple of months ago on "Step Debugging in CF 6/7/8 with the CF8 Debugger and FusionDebug". As the title indicates, I cover both the CF8 debugger and FusionDebug (for 6, 7, and 8).

This particular talk was recorded at a joint meeting of two Australian CFUGs in September, though I also presented the talk at CFUnited in June.

Anyway, if you're interested in either or both of these debuggers (or even if you're ambivalent about them), do check it out.

(Though the recording has been available online for some time, the host had left it marked as requiring a username/password. When someone pointed that out, we resolved the problem and that's why I'm pointing it out now.)

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