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CF8 monitor doesn't run on CF8 Standard, or any 6 or 7. What to do?

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
I'm surprised to still see people lament when they learn that CF8's server monitor does not run on CF8 Standard, or that it doesn't run at all against CF 6 or 7. My surprise is that their comments often make no mention of being aware of alternatives. On one list, someone said they might even be willing to pay double CF Standard's price to get monitoring in Standard. They just didn't like paying 6 times more (for Enterprise).

Well here's the thing: you can indeed get CF server monitoring, whether added to CF8 or made available in CF 6 or 7, and for far less than even double the cost of CF Standard. Some of you know where I'm going, but in case it needs to be said...

Check out FusionReactor and SeeFusion, both tools that I've written about before (see the "related entries" links at the bottom of this entry.)

Both these tools not only run on 8 (any edition), but they run on 7 and 6 as well, which CF 8's monitor does not. Further, FusionReactor can monitor not just CF but also any J2EE servers or app (including LiveCycle Data Services, for instance), and SeeFusion has a sister product, SeeJava, that can do this as well.

I've been a huge fan of both tools for a couple of years. No, they're not identical to CF8's monitor, and CF 8's monitor has access to a lot of information that those tools don't (for now, though they could be modified to access it as well, via the Admin API if running on CF8 Enterprise). But even until then there are features each of them has that CF's monitor doesn't, and vice versa.

I know some instead want Adobe to offer the monitor somehow to those on Standard, whether at some price or in some new edition. The chances of that seem seem pretty slim for now, though certainly interested folks should make their concern known. And certainly, it's worth noting that one can run the CF8 monitor on the Developer edition.

But some rightly point out that they want CF server monitoring in production and they can't use Adobe's on CF8 standard (or on 6 or 7). (And they're asking for more than just monitors to tell if the server's up or down, etc. Sure there are plenty of tools to tell that, but they want real insight into the processing of requests, threads, queries and more, which only these tools can do.)

I just want to make sure those folks know there are indeed good, professionally managed alternatives to get that on CF8 standard and earlier versions of CF, and those options are at low costs and come with free trials. (Same goes for step debugging. While the new debugger in CF8 works only with 8, FusionDebug, from the same company that makes FusionReactor, works in 6, 7, and 8.)

As I wrote before, I don't feel that the availability of the CF8 monitor (or debugger) diminishes the value of the third party tools for those on CF8. Keep an eye on the monitoring category here in my blog as I'll continue to write more about all 3 monitors in the future. They each have their strengths and their place.

CF and OO and blogs, oh my (a flush of CF-OO blog tutorials)

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
Step right up ladies and gentlemen, get your CF-OO tutorials here. :-)

I've noticed a sudden flush of multipart CF-OO tutorial blog series being done, to help people make the leap to using CFML in a more Object-Oriented way. I thought I'd point them out for those who may have missed them:

Don't know if there's a connection between the rather simultaneous releases, or if it's just pure coincidence. Charlie clarified that there indeed was no connection between the two.

And for those who want to get their CF-OO freak on, there are still more resources on the topic.

And there are certainly many more. I'd welcome hearing of those to add to the list. And there may well be more multi-part CF-OO blog series' created before or after now. Feel free to make note in the comments here and I'll update the list for posterity.

Maybe we're starting to reach a tipping point. Of course, there are some who will lament a push to OO (too complicated for them), while others will say you're a hopeless loser if you don't get with the program.

I don't want to debate that here, nor do I really want to see it blow up in my comments, please! :-) Feel free, instead, to point people to where else it may have taken place so that they can evaluate the discussions there instead.

Don't miss the CF8 version of the "getting started experience"

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.

If you hadn't yet noticed, the CF 8 version of the "Getting Started Experience" site is now available on the Adobe site:

http://examples.adobe.com/cf8gettingstarted/experience/index_content.cfm

For many, the best feature in the GSE is the "Code Snippets by Feature and Tasks", which offers sample code (often also available as a live running example). In particular, note the section on "what's new in coldfusion 8", with examples for all the new tags and functions. Many of these are quite different from what's offered in the CF8 docs, both the "CFML Reference" and the "Developer's Guide".

Note that while you can click on the appropriate link in the page above to get to it, you can also link directly to:

http://examples.adobe.com/cf8gettingstarted/experience/snippets.cfm

It doesn't appear too much else in the GSE (getting started experience), such as the "Real World Apps", has been modified for CF8 (other than wording to refer to CF8 vs CF7). Maybe that will change in time. If anyone knows or finds differently, please comment here.

Also, you may notice that this CF8 GSE was not installed locally on your machine with the CF 8 install (as it was in CF7, under CFIDE\gettingstarted). I'm asking around about that at Adobe to see if we can get it to download. You can now download it, and extract it into your webroot. Check out the readme.txt that comes with it.

If you're a fan of the free LogParser tool, check out the new forums

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
I've written previously about the great, free Log Parser tool from Microsoft. It can do some incredible things, and I plan to write more about it in time.

Still, one thing I mention in that article is that there was a logparser.com site. Sadly, that got assimilated into the collective...I mean...um...was removed as an independent site and now instead points to a page about it and other tools within Microsoft. Many of us who were fans of that site wonder where everything's gone.

Well, at least the forums are now available again. They are at http://forums.iis.net/default.aspx?GroupID=51. Looks like it happened just last week, and there are no new postings as of today (the "last posts" all have 8/21 at 2am as their timestamp but they're really from June). Again, it's nice that the old notes were propagated.

Now we're waiting to see where all the scripts and articles end up. For those really interested in this, you may want to follow a thread I'm involved in at the IIS.NET forums with an MS rep who seems to be helping keep us updated.

Here's what I think of CF8...what do you think?

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
I don't know if that title sounds controversial (I don't mean it to), but if anyone indeed would like to hear my take on CF8, you can check out a couple page interview I did with Michael Smith (of CFUnited and TeraTech fame), which was posted yesterday on the CFUnited site.

I don't know if it's what most may expect. I don't recount all the new features, nor do I pontificate even about the marquis ones. Rather, I focus on some areas of interest for me (and others), and I offer several resources for finding additional info that I hope readers will find useful (and perhaps uncommon).

Interviews are often challenging: where do you draw the line in discussing a topic? and how do you guide the interview to say all that you might? and what might you say with just a little more time?

Please let me know what you think, here, whether you learn something, or think I forgot something important.

How would you run code against multiple CF versions at once using IIS on XP?

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
If you use IIS on XP, have you ever wished you could put your code in one directory and run it against different versions of CF, easily. In this note, I show you how.

Someone asserted on a list that some code failed as of CF8, but I tested it against 8, 7, 6, and 5, and it worked the same in all. Hearing that, someone else asked, "Charlie, are you running all those on the same machine or on vmware?"

I assume that the reader, like many, is using IIS on XP, which doesn't let you have more than one web site, which might seem to make it impossible, though some may know the tricks I'll mention.

Of course, folks running on Apache, or IIS on Win2k3 or Win2k Server, would just say, "create different web sites, and install each CF version into a different web site".

Fair enough, but how do you solve this using IIS on XP (or Wink2 workstation), if you can't have multiple sites? That's what I explain below.

Before I go on, though, let me make an important for those who may not be aware: you certainly can run multiple versions of CF on a single machine. They each get installed in their own directories, with their own JVM (as of CF6). The challenge is just to avoid port conflicts and external web server conflicts.

But why not just use the built-in web server?

Sure, if you use the built-in web server available in CFMX since 6, then you can indeed run multiple CF versions each with their own web docroot without conflict.

But that's not the point here. That would cause each CF instance to have its own wwwroot, and you'd have to put your code there to run it on that version.

And I have even explained in a recent blog entry that you can get around that using virtual mappings in the JRun web server, pointing to the shared document directory. But sometimes you really want to use IIS for some reason, or you just don't want to have to remember to use the right port and virtual directory name configured for the built-in web server.

But you can have multiple web sites in XP, if you know how...

Yep, some will want to note that you can indeed create multiple web sites in XP, if you use the right tools. I've written about such tools before. It's just that you can't run them at once, so you have to enable/disable each time you want to run the test. To me, that more of a hassle than just doing the one-time configuration which I discuss below.

So how do you configure things using IIS on XP?

OK, I hope I've headed off complaints some may have. Oh, well, I should add one more: what I'm about to show you is definitely not supported by Adobe. Some might even argue against doing it. Certainly, if you have problems with things while trying to work this way, they're going to tell you to use a vanilla setup.

Still, it's worked for me for years. In fact, I first wrote about it in a CFDJ article back in Sep 03 (co-authored with Jeff Houser). That was written in the timeframe of people moving from CF5 to CFMX and wanting to set things up this way, but the concept still applies even for those moving from 7 to 8, or 6 to 7. It also mentioned using the same approach for running against BD as well, which means it would apply also to Railo and Smith, etc.

Finally, since writing that article, I've also realized a few things I could have added to the article, which further motivates me writing this entry.

How I set things up

So, as explained in the article (which shows you the actual steps in IIS), I configure different IIS virtual directories called _cf5, _cf6, _cf7, and _cf8. I set each to points their CFM extension (and related CF ones) to the appropriate web server extension that would be used if I'd configured each server to work with IIS (like C:\CFusion\BIN\ISCF.DLL for 5, C:\CFusionMX\runtime\lib\wsconfig\1\jrun.dll for 6, and so on).

More important, I have them all point at the same, single document root (in my case, c:\inetpub\wwwroot). That allows me to then run code in that single directory against different editions, using a url like http://localhost/_cf5/somefile.cfm, or http://localhost/_cf7/somefile.cfm, or the default http://localhost/somefile.cfm goes against CF8.

Note that you must run the web server connector for each CF edition from CFMX and above, since it only builds those jrun.dlls (I mentioned above) if you do that. See the CF docs ("Installing and Configuring ColdFusion" to learn how to run that, even after CF is installed, if you installed it using the built-in web server instead.

Before you do, though, as explained in the article, be sure to save off the path to the DLL for .cfm file extensions, as running the configuration tool will wipe over the previous path.

Some concerns using the CF Admin in this setup

There's something else to take note of about using the CF Admin (/cfide/administrator/index.cfm) when you set things up this way.

It has to do with whether, when you install each version, you tell CF to install using the built-in web server or using IIS.

In the former case, CF will put that version's CFIDE directory (and all its related files) into the wwwroot for that built-in CF server, such as c:\coldfusion8\wwwroot\ for CF8, or c:\cfusionmx7\wwwroot\ for CF7.

In the latter case (if you tell CF during installation to use IIS), then CF will place those files into the IIS docroot you name. Assuming you would always choose that c:\inetpub\wwwroot directory, that means that its CFIDE directory will be replaced with whatever is the last CF version you install.

And that means that even if using the virtual directories above, they'll all point to the last CFIDE version, which won't work (the CF Admin can only run in the version for which it's created).

Either way, you can solve this by creating yet another virtual directory, for CFIDE, inside the version-specific virtual directories above.

So if during the installation of 6, 7, or 8 you told CF to use the built-in web server, you'd point the new CFIDE virtual directory to the builtin web server's CFIDE. For my _CF6, for instance, I'd create a CFIDE virtual directory within that to point at c:\cfusionmx\wwwroot\CFIDE.

If instead you choose to install each version using IIS, then just as you needed to save off the file extension's path to the web server DLL, you would similarly need to remember before each install to save off a copy the CFIDE directory for the previous release. This is especially key for CF5, since there is no concept of a built-in web server for that.

Back when I installed CFMX 6, before doing so, I copied the CFIDE directory to call it CFIDE5 instead. (Sure, you could do a rename, but only JUST before you installed, in case you need it.) Then I created the CFIDE VD within the _CF5 VD to point to that.

It may be worth noting here that if you do install CF 6/7/8 using the built-in web server initially, and then use the web server configurator tool to then connect them to IIS, that does not move the CFIDE from the built-in web server root to the IIS docroot. So again you will need to point your CFIDE virtual directory to that CFIDE in the built-in web server.

Why not just use the built-in web server for the CF Admin?

Of course, you could just use the built-in web server to access the Admin instead, even if you are otherwise running code via IIS.

And going back to the original writer, you could indeed also do this using VMWARE. (I've written about how versions of it and Virtual PC are now free.) It might be overkill, though. Again, you don't need to worry about running multiple versions of CF on a single server. It's all just about avoiding port conflicts and potential external web server conflicts.

That's what this has been about all about: how to run all your code via IIS against multiple version of CF, all from a single directory.

Conclusion

Did this help you? Let me know. Did I forget something? Got a complaint? (People seem to love that opportunity. Go for it.) I hope it has helped some of you. It's certainly helped me, and others who I've shown it to.

I'll be teaching Fast Track to CF next week, and in October

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
If you know anyone seeking training in ColdFusion, I've been teaching the "FastTrack to ColdFusion" class again for the past year, on a contract basis with EchoEleven in Atlanta.

If you know anyone in the Atlanta area interested in that class, I'll be teaching it next week, Aug 28-30 and Oct 16-18. For more details on the Fast Track course (its topics, the location, costs, and more), see their site for the FTCF class.

To register, as well as to see future dates if you find this entry later, see Echo Eleven's page for the CF class schedule. Check out the disinctives about EchoEleven's Adobe training.

Come let me share my 10 years experience in using CF. I get consistently high rankings, and I try to share a lot more than just what's in the materials, reaching a wide range of students with or without CF experience (though, again, it is first and foremost an introductory class).

Main CF page now makes free CF Developer Edition more prominent

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
If you haven't noticed, the main CF page now makes more prominent the availability of the free Developer edition. Woo hoo. :-)

I had made the suggestion to Tim, Jason, and Ben back on 7/31. I don't know if it was really my suggestion that made it happen, of course. Anyway, I felt that the new CF8 front page, which listed only the buy/upgrade/trial options, was a missed opportunity to make it clear to folks that there was indeed a free developer edition.

Many have lamented that some might never realize there was one, especially those a little skeptical or just not currently fans. Sure, the availability was listed on the downloads and product editions pages, but what if such folks never took that step?

So, it's a move in the right direction, and thanks for listening (to whoever), Adobe! Let's hope more newcomers notice it. (BTW, the arrow in the screenshot at left is of my own adding. It's not on the Adobe site!)

Resources for getting a much greater understanding of the SQL Server query plan/procedure cache

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
Ever wanted to understand the SQL Server query plan/procedure cache better? It can be vital to good performance of SQL statements, especially with respect to the concept of "bind variables" or "parameterized queries" (using CFQUERYPARAM in a CFML context, or Parameters.Add() in a C# context, among other ways).

Update: If you may wonder why any of this is important, see some subsequent talks I gave on the topic, that give far more context on the problem. While you rarely hear about it from others, it is a source of potentially significant problems so is worth understanding more completely. See the "My Own Talks" section at the bottom of this entry.

Yet we so often just kind of assume the database will do what's best. Or we blindly use (or recommend use of) bind variables without fully understanding why, nor understanding some implications when it may not always be such a good idea.

And did you know that if you can't (or don't) change your code to cause parameterization, did you know that the database can do it for you, either automatically in some simple cases, or by way of an enforced parameterization, either for an entire table of for queries that meet certain "plan guides"? There are many implications to understand in all this.

And how do you track the plan cache (using DMVs, the profiler, perfmon)? And how does it work (allocation of memory, flushing the cache automatically or manually)?

Fortunately, I've found many great resources to help you understand, and I've not found them listed (all together) anywhere else yet.

The info applies to 2005, 2000, and 7, though some aspects may differ, as the resources indicate. (There are even substantive changes in 2005 SP2 that are important to note over the RTM and SP1 releases.)

Huge Plan Caching Article Series by MS Engineers

First, I'll point out that some MS engineers have put together a long and very resourceful series of article-length blog posts on the topic, with explanations, code, demos, troubleshooting techniques, and lots more.

They do kindly offer a "table of contents" page listing all the topics covered, with bullet points about topics within each entry.

Sadly, that page doesn't offer URLs to the articles, nor have any that I found there, nor do the articles link to each other. You can dig around and find the URLs, even finding a category page that lists them in rather random order. But I've looked around the web and can't find any page that lists them all with their links, in order, so here you go:

  1. Structure of the Plan Cache and Types of Cached Objects (original URL)
  2. Sql_Handle and Plan_Handle Explained (Original URL)
  3. How Cache Lookups Work
  4. Query Parameterization
  5. Retrieving Query Plans from Plan Cache DMV's
  6. Best Programming Practices
  7. Costing Cache Entries
  8. Factors that affect Batch Cache-ability
  9. Memory Pressure Limits
  10. Plan Cache Flush
  11. Temporary Tables, Table Variables and Recompiles
  12. Plan Cache Trace Events and Performance

They also offer a series of extensions to that, on troubleshooting:

Chapter in "Practical SQL Server 2005 Troubleshooting" book

Next, I'd point out that one of the contributors to that, Bart Duncan, is a Microsoft Support engineer who I saw speak on the topic at the SQL Server PASS 2006 conference, where I first learned a lot of this info.

He identified then that a lot of the info was in a chapter of a new book, SQL Server 2005 Practical Troubleshooting: The Database Engine, which I've since gotten and was indeed very useful.

If you're a member of the O'Reilly Safari service (or join for their trial), you can find the chapter online.

Of course, both the talk and the book came out before the article series above, and certainly before SP2, so I would recommend you consider both. (I've not yet done a comparison to determine what may be in the chapter that's not in the articles.)

SQL Server BooksOnline

Of course, it always pays to read the docs, and there are indeed some discussions of this concept and related features in the SQL Server Books Online, but I honestly found the info above either easier to find or just more complete.

My Own Talks

I've made my own attempts to communicate some of this info myself in a couple of talks I've given to both CFML and SQL Server audiences:

But really, there is just too much to communicate in any one hour. If this topic seems of interest, take a few hours to digest all the above. I think you'll be AMAZED at what you learn.

Did you know that Aptana supports Javascript debugging?

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
A lot of folks are high on Aptana, which is a plug-in for Eclipse that works as a nice adjunct to CFEclipse, since it adds nice support for working with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.

One thing I've not seen mentioned often is that it supports Javascript Debugging (at least in Firefox, and soon in IE). For more info, see:

http://aptana.com/docs/index.php/About_the_JavaScript_debugger

For those still relatively new to Aptana, this is one of many topics discussed in a "Getting to Know Aptana" guide on the site:

http://aptana.com/docs/index.php/Getting_to_know_the_Aptana_IDE_%28General_IDE_Concepts%29

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