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Got a topic to present? FAQ for prospective speakers on the CF Meetup (online CFUG)

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 Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily.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.
Updated Jul 2016

Are you interested in presenting to a CF/CFML audience? We'd love to have you on the Online ColdFusion Meetup, the online CF user group that I host. This entry is a bit of a FAQ for prospective speakers.

The LEAST you need to know

  • The most important thing to know is that if you want to speak, just let me know by email at charlie (at) carehart.org or by twitter (@cfmeetup), and I'll work to get you scheduled.
  • If you've created and presented a talk at a conference or local user group, the Online CF Meetup is a great way to get your talk out to a still-larger audience (if you choose to present here after the conference/user group, though some present on the meetup first, as a form of practice. Whatever you prefer.)
  • Even if you haven't ever presented a talk at a conference/ug, and maybe never will, you're still welcome! The CF Meetup is an easy place for any speaker who may like to present on any CF-related topic. And it can even be easier than presenting before a "live studio audience", as it were, as I discuss more below.
  • If you're concerned about webcams (and what your office--or you--may look like), don't worry. We don't use them. We're interested in your content: your voice, and your screen which is shared, via Adobe Connect, which is VERY easy for you as presenter, and using VOIP/internet audio (within Connect) rather than phones.
  • Our slots are typically for an hour but speaking for less time is ok if you prefer.
  • We do record the meetings, so it's a great way to have your session recorded (most conferences don't bother), so your hard work is saved for posterity and again still more people get to watch them.
  • Any topic that may be of interest to the ColdFusion community is welcome. It need not be solely about CF or CFML, but can be something of generic interest to all web developers. (Being an official Adobe CF user group, we can also have SOME talks on alternative CFML engines like Lucee, Railo, or BlueDragon, but note that we can't have a majority of topics on them.)
  • Finally, if you may wonder about the technical matters of what you need to be a presenter, and especially if you have any hesitation about presenting online, please see the faq below, What do I need to be a presenter on a Connect meeting?. You may also want to check that list, to see answers to important questions you may have not have considered.

Whether you're a new or experienced speaker, whether you want to discuss a new or old topic, whether for beginners, intermediates, or experts, there's an audience for your talk within the 1,200 2,400 2,700+ member Online CF Meetup user group (as of July 2016), which typically gets about 30-50 people per meeting (different folks for different meetings, typically), and then the additional views of the recordings.

So if you're interested, let me know. And if you have time, please consider the following.

Some common questions speakers may have

If you're interested in speaking, you probably have a few questions. In this note I try to address them:

  • Why should I consider speaking?
  • So what is the ColdFusion Meetup?
  • How often, and when, do you meet?
  • How long do sessions typically last?
  • Where do you meet?
  • Are your meetings recorded?
  • Can anyone attend the meetings? Watch the recordings? How do they hear of them?
  • What topics are welcomed?
  • Is there any list of topics people are interested in?
  • What next dates are available?
  • I'm afraid to commit to a date if I may not be able to make it
  • OK, so how do I become a speaker?
  • What if I'm nervous about presenting?
  • What do I need to be a presenter on a Connect meeting?
  • I just don't have time to build/update slides for a talk
  • Why presenting online is different, in a good way
  • How can I support the group?

Why should I consider speaking?

People enjoy presenting to the CF community for a variety of reasons: to share experiences and discoveries, to help solve problems they've faced, to share new tools, or even to promote something they've written.

There are certainly many CFUGs the world over, and we support them fully, but some people may not be close enough to speak to (or attend) one. And though some CFUGs welcome remote presenters, many presenters don't know where to turn or which to try to present to first.

The CF Meetup is really a great place to present, whether you have a new or often-presented talk.

In the case of a new talk, you can use it to work out the kinks (some find it easier to talk in front of a mic rather than standing before an audience). Also, other CFUG managers can see your talk and then may ask to have you present it to their group, whether on-site or online. (They may prefer that to telling their members to just go watch your recording.)

And if you have a talk you've presented before, consider that many may not have seen your talk, even if presented to other groups or conferences. And even if you recorded it before, this is a chance to do a second take. You can of course use this as a chance to revise a talk done previously (practice makes perfect), or to reprise a previous talk you did that you think some groups may feel is old news. We have room here for classic subjects!

Finally, another benefit for you is that we record all our meetings (more on that later), so you can share the URL of recording on your site, in emails, in your materials, etc.

So what is the ColdFusion Meetup?

The Online ColdFusion Meetup is an online CF User Group--in fact it's the largest CFUG in the world with over 1,200 2,400+ 2,700+ members (as of July 2016). Don't let that scare you, though, as a prospective presenter. We tend to have about 30-50 attendees at any one meeting (sometimes more, sometimes fewer. It all depends on the topic.)

We've had 17 165 245 talks so far (as of July 2016).

So how often, and when, do you meet?

Well, most CFUGs meet monthly, but being online we have the luxury to meet more flexibly. :-)

For years we had settled into a pattern of weekly meetings, Thursdays, at noon or 6p US Eastern time, sometimes with speakers in both slots.

In recent years (as of 2016), there seems to be a change in the desire of presenters to speak online (they still love speaking at conferences, of course!), so we have not been able to be weekly (let alone often monthly).

There is no change in the interest of attendees, though. We still have a huge membership, and every talk still gets as many attendees as the early years.

And there are enough potential topics (new and old) that I don't see the well running dry.

And it may not be the same folks attending meeting to meeting, which is fine, really. That's the beauty of being an online group. People will come if the topic interests them. No crowd is too big or too small.

We still try to meet on Thursdays at 12p or 6p US Eastern time, even if no longer on a weekly basis, simply because it's a pattern many have come to expect.

And those two time slots try to balance not only the needs of US audiences (across 3+ time zones) but also those outside the US. Noon will be the afternoon/evening for Europe and east but before dawn in Asia/Pacific and west. 6pm will be morning for Asia/Pac but late night for Europe. These are the challenges of a world-wide audience. (We've also polled the membership over the years and these were the most popular timeframes.)

But we can be flexible on the time and even the day. If you have a desire to present at another time, there will be an audience for it, for sure.

How long do sessions typically last?

Our talks are typically for an hour but you can take less time if you prefer (or a little more, if you need; just let folks know before you start if you think you will, or at least at the hour if you find you're running long). There's also time for questions afterward, which can go from anywhere from a few minutes to as much as a half hour, all dependent on your availability/interest as a speaker.

Where do you meet?

Again, we're an entirely online group. We never meet in person and we have members all over the world. The group always meets at http://experts.acrobat.com/cfmeetup, which is an Adobe Acrobat Connect meeting room that is opened only for the meetings (typically a few minutes before and after, just like a room in "the real world").

Are your meetings recorded?

Yes, they are. And as I mentioned above, that's a real benefit of speaking at the Meetup, if you're interested in being able to have others see your presentation after the fact. We post the URL for all our meetings at both recordings.coldfusionmeetup.com and Charlie's UGTV site, which offers links to recordings from hundreds of speakers from different CF user groups around the world.

And we owe a debt of gratitude to Adobe for their provision of a free Acrobat Connect account as well as the space and bandwidth for holding and presenting the recordings. This is an offer they make to all official Adobe User Groups. For more info on that (if you're a UG manager or want it for your user group), see the other blog entries I've done, starting with this one/.

Can anyone attend the meetings? Watch the recordings? How do they hear of them?

Yes, anyone can attend the meetings and watch the recordings. Membership in the meetup (which is free, at coldfusionmeetup.com) is just to allow for automatic emailing of announcements. There's an option to RSVP there. That's not mandatory, but it gives a bit of a heads up of how popular a topic will be.

Even without signing up, you can also follow the RSS feed offered on the Calendar entry there, or you can follow us on Twitter (@cfmeetup).

What topics are welcomed at the Meetup?

Getting back to being a speaker on the Meetup, we welcome pretty much any topic related even slightly to ColdFusion, whether on an advanced or a beginning topic, a new or old feature, etc. The beauty of the online format is that people can easily choose to come or not, or can just watch the recording. And again, logistically, no audience is too large or too small.

It need not be solely about CF or CFML, but can be something of generic interest to all web developers. (Being an official Adobe CF user group, we can also have SOME talks on alternative CFML engines like Lucee, Railo, or BlueDragon, but note that we can't have a majority of topics on them.)

Going back to a point I made before, we can even have you present some classic topic that you think some audience may appreciate. You (or a user group manager) may fear presenting an "old" or niche topic before a live audience because of the risk it may not bring out enough attendees. That's not a problem for us. With a thousand+ members, your talk will find an audience here! :-)

A user group manager may also worry that some niche topics may cause some to skip a month, and then be annoyed since it will be another month until the next meeting. We don't have that problem either, since there will be another meeting the next week! So really, any topic is welcome.

Is there any list of topics people are interested in?

In July 2009 I created a page on the CF Meetup site where members can edit the page to indicate topics of interest. Feel free to consider (or add to) that. It's not been used too heavily yet, so it's not at all "the" list to choose from.

Really, about any topic you want to present is generally welcome.

What next dates are available?

I'm always trying to line up speakers for future meetings. I welcome even just expressions of tentative interest (if you're not quite ready to set a fixed date). I'll keep track and follow up with you down the road.

I'm afraid to commit to a date if I may not be able to make it

No problem. Just go ahead and let me know that it's tentative. You can always postpone or cancel if you need to. I tend to announce each meeting only the week in advance, so no one but you and I will know if you have to cancel/postpone. And even at the last minute, people understand. Again, since we meet so often, and since no one has "drive to the meeting", it's really not the end of the world if we end up not having a topic any one week/slot.

But if it would help you mentally to pre-set a date, just to have a deadline to work toward, again, I'm happy to mark you down on my internal calendar. Only you and I will know until we're ready to announce it the week before.

OK, so how do I become a speaker?

If you're interested or have any other questions, please drop me a note at charlie (at) carehart.org or by twitter (@cfmeetup), and I'll work to get you scheduled.

What if I'm nervous about presenting?

Don't be. This is a friendly place. And I'll guide you through the entire process. As a veteran presenter of hundreds of user group talks myself, both live and online, I've helped our Meetup presenters (veterans and newcomers alike) with issues as varied as helping firm up a compelling title and description to sharing tips on how to present effectively online, including helping you sound good and even helping pick out good choices for headsets or mics--we don't bother with webcams. For all we care, you can speak in your underwear. :-)

What do I need to be a presenter on a Connect meeting?

As for software, you don't need anything special. Connect is based on Flash (yes, still as of July 2016), and most browsers have that. And Adobe Connect works with Windows, Mac, and Linux.

There are no ports you need to open, whether to be an attendee or a presenter. It all works over port 80 or 443 (if you really preferred). As a presenter, you'll just install one little additional Flash plugin when you are first marked to be a presenter (before we start the meeting).

Then you'll just share your screen with us. Whatever you show, we'll see. You don't need to upload anything, or offer a preso in some particular format.

If you have two monitors, that's great (but not needed). You could move the Connect window off to the second monitor, which makes it easier to keep an eye on the chat pod, as well as to confirm that we see what you want us to see. It works fine if you have only one monitor, too.

As for your voice, we don't use the phone (for now, as it's not offered in the version of Connect we use.) Instead, both speakers and attendees participate via VOIP/internet audio, provided for within Connect. You just need a mic and speakers. A USB headset works best, but even an older analog one can work.

While the mic and speakers in your laptop will work, it would be better if you use earphones or a headset to prevent echo from your computer mic picking up your speakers.

I just don't have time to build/update slides for a talk

Some speakers fear they don't have time to prepare a new talk. Well, I've already explained that old talks are ok, too. In that case, you just show up and give the talk you've given.

But if you are thinking of a new topic, just note that you don't really have to come up with a bunch of slides. Presenting online can be different in that respect. Let me explain.

Why presenting online is different, in a good way

You'll find that with an online talk, you can get away with putting a lot less detail into your slides. In a live talk, you may do that as much to help prompt you for what to cover. Sure, presentation software has notes features, but you may fear being tied down to the laptop in a live event, or if you printed the notes you may feel uncomfortable holding them while you talk.

But with an online talk, you can print those notes out for yourself (in large print) to have sitting next to you at your desk (or viewed on a second monitor). You can see them, but the viewers don't need to. (You can give them a notes file after the talk if you want to, to give them those details, and URLs, etc.)

Even in a live talk, with the extra bullets, have you noticed they don't help you as much when it's time to switch away from the slides to a demo? In an online setup, that won't be a problem. You can just as easily view your notes easily whether showing slides or doing a demo.

These things make doing an online talk a lot easier.

You could even just make a whole talk out of simply walking through a live demo. No one would care if you had "slides". More and more people are going away from them.

How can I support the group?

Hey, we could always use your support, whether as a speaker or just in helping "spread the word" on the group. :-)

If you're a blogger or belong to a mailing list and want to promote the Meetup as a place for prospective presenters to consider, we'd be grateful. Feel free to point them to this blog entry that you're now reading.

You can point potential members to the CFMeetup site (coldfusionmeetup.com), which also lists all the past meetings. Again, it's free to join the group. And let them know they can find the recordings at recordings.coldfusionmeetup.com.

I meant, "how can I support the group monetarily?"

Ah, well how nice of you! :-) Seriously, though, we're not setup to take in donations for now (nor are we setup as a non-profit).

I will say I pay a monthly fee for the meetup.com site, which is a commercial third-party site otherwise used by groups that meet in real life, and it helps them organize and promote such meetings. Our URL really just redirects to a specific section of their site, devoted to our group.

Beyond that, running a user group is itself a significant time commitment (getting speakers, organizing and announcing each meeting, managing and posting the recordings, and so on). Still, running the CF Meetup is really a gift to the community, and just another part of the many wonderful ways that we all learn from each other in this great CF community.

But if you're interested, I'll point out that there is an option on the meetup page for contributing a monetary donation, or I do also have an Amazon wish list.

But thank you!

But really, thanks for your support whether you're a speaker or an attendee, or if you do anything to help promote the group. It sounds trite, but as with all CFUGs it really is your group. You can help make it what you want it to be, and by promoting it to others, you make it all the more compelling a place to "watch and be watched".

I welcome your feedback and comments, and I hope to "see" you at an upcoming meetup.

Get FusionDebug for free (through November), with purchase of FusionReactor Enterprise

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.
Here's news that will interest those who may have become interested in interactive step debugging in CFML, since CF8 includes it. If you're not ready to move to CF8, you can get CFML debugging for free with CF7 (or 6 or 8), with FusionDebug, the commercial tool from Intergral which was the first to give us step debugging in CFMX.

It's just through November, but if you buy their sister product, FusionReactor (the Enterprise edition), you'll get a free copy of FusionDebug. For more, see:

http://www.fusion-reactor.com/fr/offer.cfm

You can learn more about FusionDebug from several blog entries I've done in the past (see the "related entries" area at the bottom of this entry), including one on why I don't think CF8 is a death knell for either FusionDebug or FusionReactor.

(So no, I don't think anyone should read this as a move of desperation on Intergral's part. Rather, it's natural that the release of CF8 will cause some to say, "well, I could wait for CF8", but then for many shops moving up to a new release isn't trivial. That's why I said above: this may be most compelling for those whose interest in CFML step debugging has been piqued, but they can't for some reason move to CF8, whether Enterprise, Standard, or Developer. And of course, there are times when even a developer edition doesn't help if you need to debug a central development or test server. See my past blog entries on pros and cons of debugging a shared server. There are also some differences between the two that may even keep some using FD on CF8. More on that in a future entry, perhaps.)

Myth-busting: HomeSite is not dead, HomeSite NEQ HomeSite+, and Adobe does support Eclipse

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.
OK, time to do a little myth-busting/truth-talking. I want to respond to what I feel is a misstatement in a comment on a blog entry today by Ben Forta. Not a statement by Ben, mind you, but a commenter (and friend of the community, John Farrar). Ben made a casual statement about a single IDE for CF developers (not the focus of the entry, though), and John followed up explaining his take of the history of IDE development in CF. He said as one point, "Somebody (no names please) sued Macromedia over HomeSite or CFStudio and it died."

I have to call that statement into question. Also, John shares some observations about CFEclipse, but he makes no mention of the Adobe Extensions for CF. I wanted to address both of those but felt it was too long for a comment in Ben's blog, so here you go.

HomeSite is not dead, and CF Studio became HomeSite+, not HomeSite

First, you want to be clear to distinguish HomeSite from HomeSite+. The former is still sold by Adobe (http://www.adobe.com/products/homesite/).

As for CF Studio, it did morph into HomeSite+, and the CF Studio name was dropped, but my understanding was that this was simply because the MX Studio line came out as a package of things (including Dreamweaver and Flash among many), so they couldn't have 2 things named Studio.

HomeSite continued/continues to exist as its own product, and CF Studio became HomeSite+, which you couldn't purchase but that came on the Studio MX or Dreamweaver CD (and still does). Only as of DW 8 was it finally listed on the installer screen, otherwise you had to look for it on the CD using the file system. HomeSite+ also evolved over where CF Studio had ended (at a 5.0 version), so that on DW2004 is was HS+ 5.1, and on DW8 it was 5.5, if I recall correctly. There were some new features and bug fixes, but nothing radical. Still, it was better than sticking at Studio 4.5 for those who never updated from that while Studio was alive. I've written on this and will share resources in a moment.

About that lawsuit John mentions

Now, at that same time as that transition from CF Studio to HS+ , there were some features of the HomeSite interface over which there was a lawsuit, and when HS+ came out some features (draggable windows, if I recall) were missing. Some complained that it wasn't REALLY the same as CF Studio. I never understood the kvetching. It was otherwise every it CF Studio and more (given the updates).

So HomeSite != HomeSite+

So, that's just to say that you don't want to say HomeSite is dead (it does still live and is sold). And HomeSite+ lives as the reincarnation of CF Studio, though it's not sold but is available only on the DW CD. I know some say it's as good as dead, since there's been no major feature development. That's a separate point, but I'll say I've been a fan all along and I've not missed much from the few features lost due to the lawsuit.

I do use DW sometimes for things it adds for CFML development (CFC and web service browsing, some code generation features, etc.) I think many would be surprised to learn what it has that they never noticed.

Indeed, some will know I've been spreading this news about the transition from CF Studio to HomeSite+ (as well as hints about DW) for some time in blogs and articles. Here they are for those interested in more:

As long as I'm listing resources, I'll also point out that I've done several presentations where I made the case for making sure people knew of the tool and its features:

Now, I know some will read this as an apologetic for HomeSite+. It's not. I'm offering it more for historical purposes, as well as for those who for whatever reason are still using (or wish they could use) the older editor.

Eclipse, and Adobe's support of Eclipse for CFers

Again, there's no denying the move by many in the community to CFEClipse. I'm not saying people shouldn't. In fact, I've done many entries of my own to promote CFEclipse:

So as I state in the last entry, I am making the move to CFE myself. I still find some challenges, along with others who report the same, but clearly it's the tool of choice for many.

Eclipse, and Adobe's support of Eclipse for CFers

But I noted at the top that John's comment had not mentioned Adobe's support for Eclipse. I'm not speaking of support for CFEclipse (another subject for another blog entry by other folks), but I do want to make sure people know that Adobe does indeed support Eclipse directly, because they've created the Adobe Eclipse Extensions for ColdFusion.

This isn't in competition with CFEclipse but rather a set of tools that supplement it (whether one uses CFE or not, when using Eclipse to work with CF sites). The tools include the RDS Dataview and Fileview tools (replicating what we had in CF Studio/HomeSite+), the services browser (replicating what's in DW), as well as tools to build CFCs from a database table, flex and ajax code building wizards, a log viewer (some things neither tool had), and still more.

You can learn about these in the CF8 docs as well as a CF8 features page on the subject. The eclipse extensions came out for 7.02 and have been updated for 8.

I'll be writing and presenting more about the Eclipse extensions soon.

Adobe has also offered help files for Eclipse for CF8, at that same link for the extensions above.

That leads to a common question: what's the difference between CFEclipse and the Adobe CF extensions for Eclipse? Andy Jarrett has done a nice blog entry on that very subject.

Conclusion

So I'm not denying the claims by John, the folks in Italy (which Ben was writing about), and others that a new dedicated CFML IDE might be useful. And I'm not trying to keep people still using HomeSite+. Not at all. To each his own.

I just wanted to set the record straight about these assertions regarding HomeSite, as well as add the points about Adobe's Eclipse CF extensions. Hope that was helpful.

Selected to speak at cf.Objective()

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 just got Jared's blog entry announcing that the tentative speaker list for the 2008 cf.Objective() conference has been announced.

Turns out I've been invited back. I had offered a couple of prospective topics when they put out a call to past speakers, and I've not yet heard which they picked. (I don't know what the situation is for those who might want to speak but didn't speak last year.)

I certainly enjoyed speaking (and attending) last year. Looking forward to seeing folks there.

Thanks to Jared and Steven, and all involved in this great conference.

New "ColdFusion 8 developer security guidelines" at Adobe DevCenter

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 haven't seen much mention of this elsewhere, but I happened upon a new 47-page whitepaper called "ColdFusion 8 developer security guidelines", by Erick Lee, Ian Melven, and Sarge Sargent. It's listed in the Adobe Security DevCenter, which shows it having been posted as of today.

Like other whitepapers that have been put together by Adobe, Macromedia, Allaire, and others, this one offers overviews of key concerns along with proposed best practices.

Is it complete? Does it really need to be?

As with any such document, there will be debate among some readers about whether the practices are always really the "best". It's inevitable. But let's give credit that the authors do try to give a rather brief round up of the features, their options, and the impact of choices.

Just as Ben's famous CF "Certification Study Guide" is a quick summary of key things in CFML (and no substitute for the complete ColdFusion documentation or the WACK books), so too would I argue that this guide is a quick summary of important points to consider. Readers would do well to understand the issues completely, both in terms of the generic concerns they raise and the specifics of CFML features and options. For that, the docs and other books would be great resources.

Still, many readers won't have time for that, so despite the fact that some may pick it apart, it will serve a large percent of the community who might otherwise have no knowledge of the concerns and configuration features. For that, we should thank the authors.

Its sections

The document is divided into the following sections: Authentication, Authorization, CFCs, Session Management, Data validation and interpreter injection, Ajax, PDF integration, .NET integration, HTTP, FTP, Error handling and logging, File System, Cryptography, Configuration, Maintance and References.

Earlier editions, and what's updated in the CF8 guide?

While the guide does focus on CF8, there is another version of the document for those running CF7, the "ColdFusion 7 developer security guidelines". It, too, is by 2 of the 3 authors of the other whitepaper, Erick Lee and Sarge Sargent. It's only 33 pages, and it too is listed at the Adobe DevNet Security Developer Center, where it show it having been updated as of Oct 2007.

You might think that the CF8 guide is updated only to refer to things new in CF8, but in fact I find some things in the CF8 guide that are not in the CF7 guide, but are not new for CF7. Perhaps they decided to expand the CF8 guide in ways that they didn't push back down into the CF7 guide (understandable if time was limited). That means that CF7 developers may want to read the later guide, though they'd have to ignore features that are indeed new to CF8.

For instance, I found a discussion of the trusted cache feature only in the CF8 guide (more on that below). I didn't do a careful comparison of what's different.

BTW, I'll add that I found references in searches both on the Adobe site and Google to a version of the security guidelines at a URL that no longer works. Since I couldn't access it, I was unable to determine how this CF7 version was updated (or if it was simply renamed, to distinguish it from the new CF8 version. Perhaps the authors can comment here if they read this entry.)

Where to offer feedback?

That last comment brings up a concern I have with the whitepapers offered on the Adobe site (and the articles offered on the Developer Center, as well, of which I've been an author recently.) There's no place for folks to leave feedback. It would be nice for there to be a place to have discussions about the things written in such whitepapers or articles. (The Devnet articles do offer a feedback link, but it's one way, not an open discussion.)

I'm sure some will want to comment on or trade best practices regarding the topics in this paper. Also, I'd like to share at least one error I found: in the discussion of the trusted cache feature, it's described as, "Enable Trusted cache in production environments. When enabled, ColdFusion will only server requested templates held in its memory cache. This provides performance gains but also prevents ColdFusion from running hacked or invalid templates."

Yikes. I wonder who wrote that (and who missed it during any review).That's not the purpose of trusted cache at all. It's about whether the server should look to disk to see if a template, once compiled and loaded into memory, has changed on disk. The server always only serves (not the typo, too, "will only server") pages held in its memory cache. Using trusted cache is certainly a performance gain, but I really have no idea what the reference is to "hacked or invalid templates". That makes me think the person writing this has a very wrong idea about the feature. But I'm not meaning to rip the guidelines. As I said earlier, I'm sure that many will find them very useful, and since folks rarely read the docs, it's a nice way to condense into 40+ pages some key points. I'll let others comment here about any other concerns they have. At least it will serve as one place to have such discussion. If there's a better place, I'll welcome people pointing to that.

Who owns who in the book publishing world: can't tell the players without a program!

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 wondered who owns who in the book publishing world? It becomes important for those who run user groups, as most publishers have great programs to provide free review and giveaway copies of books for our groups. But how do you know whose program to go to to get a particular book? It's not as simple as it seems, since many imprints are actually subsidiaries of a larger publisher.

It's like they say in baseball: "you can't tell the players without a program!" :-)

So with that, I'd like to present my observation of who's who, using primarily the list of publishers listed in the Adobe UG program. It generally just lists the parent publishers, so this will help you know who to go to for particular books. (Authorized UG managers can see the list in the "third party program resources" page.)

Who's owned by who?

Again, as mine is a blog focused on ColdFusion, this list is also focused only on the publishers (and their imprints) that would be of interest to CFers. The publishers below sometimes have (many) more subsidiary imprints than those I list. Beyond that, though, these lists may still be incomplete for publishers we may be interested in, and I welcome feedback and corrections.

I've tried to get the information from the actual publishers sites themselves, and have offered a link where available. Another useful resource for this is a blog entry by Tim O'Reilly on the state of the computer book publishing industry. It had a little more detail in some areas, yet also didn't list all the publishers mentioned below.

  • Apress: Friends of Ed

  • Manning: none

  • McGraw Hill: Osborne and many others, but none in this space it seemed (from http://pubeasy.mcgraw-hill.com/pls/pubeasy/bepublist.publist_page)

  • O'Reilly: Pogue Press (O'Reilly source-- as it states, others listed there are distribution partners, not subsidiaries)

  • Packt: none

  • Pearson: Addison-Wesley , Adobe Press, Exam Cram, IBM Press, Macromedia Press, MySQL Press, New Riders, Novell Press, Peachpit Press, Prentice Hall, Que, Sams, Sun Microsystems Press (Pearson source), additional info from O'Reilly blog)

  • Wiley: Dummies, John Wiley, Sybex, Teach Yourself Visually, Wrox (Wiley source)

Hope that helps someone. And while it's accurate today (as far as I know), it could certainly become dated over time as transition in the industry continues, if you find this entry some months or years from now!

It's AttributeCollection, not AttributesCollection, ArgumentCollection, nor ArgumentsCollection!

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.
By now I think most have heard of the new AttributeCollection option available for most tags in ColdFusion 8. It's a cool way to dynamically add attributes to a tag.

One problem, though, is that people seem to confuse its name. I've seen it referred to by different names both in current discussions and in older blog entries. Some of the confusion is understandable.

For the record, it's AttributeCollection, not any of the following:

  • ArgumentCollection: this is indeed a legitimate attribute for CFINVOKE, when calling a CFC method or UDF instance, or when used similarly calling an instance created by CFOBJECT or createObject.
  • ArgumentsCollection: well, this actually was the name of the attribute as of the Beta of CF 8. Ben wrote about it back then, so some confusion could stem simply from people seeing such older entries.
  • Arguments: Again, you may well see some blog entry or email list discussion mentioning this, because this what what the attribute was called in the Scorpio Alpha. There was a lot of discussion on blogs pleading that the attribute be named AttributeCollection instead. In fact, Damon Cooper wrote that there were "69 Beta forum message threads about the proper naming of attributeCollection" in his note on Engineering stats for CF8.
  • AttributesCollection: and ultimately, it was named AttributeCollection, but since it was for a while called ArgumentsCollection (with the s) it's understandable that some may made the final attribute name plural.

In case anyone's wondering, they may recognize AttributeCollection as not being new as of CF8. In fact, it's not. It was (us) used on the CFMODULE tag to pass in attributes to a custom tag (and also when calling a custom tag as CF_tagname).

For more on using the new attribute, as well as examples of its use, see the CF docs or blog entries by Ben Nadel and Brian Rinaldi. Those also explain where the tag cannot be used (just a small fraction of tags where it really wouldn't make sense, like CFIF, CFSET, and some others) and also how when you use it, you can't use any other attributes.

Hope that clarification above helps someone.

CF8 WACK Volume 2 Ship Date Announced at Amazon

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 announced a few weeks ago that Volume 1 of Ben's CF8 Web App Construction Kit, which Ray and I co-authored, had finally arrived in physical form. Still, many kept asking, "so when's Volume 2 going to be available?" That day is now clear.

I got notice from Amazon today that it will be available November 21. Find out more about the book's contents, the several co-authors, or pre-order it, at:

CF8 WACK Volume 2

Free Tool Friday: Several free enterprise-class tools from Adventnet / ManageEngine

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.
Back in August I provided news of several free Enterprise-class tools that CFers could use.

AdventNet ManageEngine and other tools

Today I'd like to offer still more, from yet another vendor: AdventNet, who have a line of tools led by their ManageEngine line, including tools for:

  • Network Monitoring
  • Application Monitoring
  • Password Management
  • Help Desk Management
  • Storage Management Software
  • Network Configuration Management
  • EventLog Analyzer
  • Wifi Manager
  • and much more

Some of these are useful on just a single computer, like the EventLog Analyzer, Wifi Manager, and Bandwidth Monitoring. Also, their application monitoring tools can be a great solution for those not yet doing any monitoring of their CF and other servers (yes, of course, there are many others out there that do that).

Their password management tool is to help multiple folks share passwords to central systems, a common need for groups of folks managing CF and other servers, and naturally their help desk and service center tools, among others, can also benefit a group of CF developers/admins.

SQL tools, for multiple database engines

Beyond the ManageEngine line there are several useful looking database tools in their SwisSQL line, including tools for:

  • Compare and Synchronize SQL Server
  • SQLOne Database Search Engine
  • Table and Data Migration
  • Oracle Migration
  • SQL Server Migration
  • and more

They have tools for SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, and Sybase, and some of their tools, like the multidatabase search engine and migration tools also support MySQL, Informix, and others.

Testing Tools

They also offer software testing tools, including load testing tools, and still more that I won't elaborate here.

Finding the Free Versions

Best of all, and the point of this entry, is that they offer free versions of nearly all these (and other) tools. And just as with the Quest tools I mentioned in the previous entry, these are not trials (though they offer them) but are really freeware editions. Yes, they may be limited in some way, but usually not in ways that will affect nearly all who would try to use them for evaluation or small-scale use.

You can find a list of all the freeware editions of their products here: http://www.adventnet.com/free-softwares-download.html . (And even though the ManageEngine and SwisQL tools have branded URLs, they all lead to the same adventnet.com site, and many of them are offered as freeware on this page.)

When you take a link for any of the products (using any of the links above), look for a link on each product page at the top right labeled "free edition/trial edition", where the link to the free edition will explain its limitations.

Certainly for CF developers who work alone or on small teams, you may find that all the free versions serve your needs just fine. Yes, there may well be open source solutions to each of the problems above, and I'm not discouraging their use.

It's just nice to see yet another company who makes enterprise-class software offering small-scale freeware versions for the kind of audience that seems typical of CF developers.

Certainly, as your needs grow, or for those in larger shops, the commercial versions of these tools then scale up to serve those larger needs. That's what they hope, of course. :-)

If anyone has used any of these tools, please share your experiences. So far I've used the Eventlog Analyzer and Wifi Manager and they were easy to install and use and were quite helpful. I look forward to exploring more of their tools.

"Free Tool Friday"?

Oh, and as for why I labeled this entry "Free Tool Friday", I hope to make this a regular kind of entry. In fact, I'd like to start talking about some of the individual tools that I mention above and in the previous entry, as well as others I have used or may find. It's always tough to set up a periodic contribution like that, meeting expectations, but let's see how I do. :-) If you want to tell me about other tools of this sort that you think others would appreciate, feel free.

CF8 Hidden Gem: New option to save java source for web service proxy--with createobject only

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.
Have you ever wanted to see the Java source code for the proxy/stub that's created when you invoke a web service from Coldfusion? Well, here's a hidden gem in CF8 (one of dozens I discuss in my "hidden gems in cf8" talk) that does just this.

Curiously, it's only available when you invoke a web service using createObject(), not CFOBJECT or CFINVOKE.

It's enabled using the new ArgStruct argument that I discussed last month.

<cfscript>
wsargs = structnew();
wsargs.savejava="yes";

convert=createobject("webservice","http://www.webservicex.net/CurrencyConvertor.asmx?wsdl",wsargs);

writeoutput(convert.ConversionRate(FromCurrency='USD',ToCurrency='EUR'));
</cfscript>

You may wonder why you have to put it in this argStruct when it's the only key being put in the structure. That's just the way it is. Of course, I could have created the structure using the new implicit array creation syntax, as in:

wsargs = {savejava="yes"};

which replaces 2 lines with 1.

For those who don't care for CFSCRIPT

Of course, you don't need to use CFSCRIPT to use createObject, for those not comfortable with it. I could just as well have done it all in tags, as:

<cfset wsargs = structnew()>
<cfset wsargs.savejava="yes">

<cfset convert=createobject("webservice","http://www.webservicex.net/CurrencyConvertor.asmx?wsdl",wsargs)>

<cfoutput>var="#convert.ConversionRate(FromCurrency='USD',ToCurrency='EUR')#</cfoutput>

Where the Java source is placed

So where is the Java placed? In the same directory where the java proxy stubs have been placed since CF6: [coldfusion]/stubs/. In the case of the standalone version of CF8, that might be c:\coldfusion8\stubs.

Each invocation of a web service in CF (whether you use the saveJava option or not) will create a directory there, typically in a form like WS729914123 (one for each separate web service invoked by any CFML requests), and within the subdirectories of that directory you'll find class files reflecting the name of the called web service.

If you don't use the saveJava option, you'll see only class files. If you'll see corresponding .java source files for each.

Finally, note that the Java source files will be removed automatically if the web service is refreshed (manually or in the CF Admin) and you call it without the SaveJava option (which also means if you invoke it using CFOBJECT or CFINVOKE).

(*Update*: In the original entry, I said the source would be removed if you called the web service without the SaveJava option, but I should clarify that it's if you do that and you cause the web service to be refreshed, not just any call, since that would use the compiled result of the earlier call unless you told it to do otherwise.)

Still, for those who have long wished to better understand these Java proxy stubs, it's nice that we have the option to see the source if we want to.

Still more to come

There's still more power in CF8 for those that like to tinker with the java proxy/stub generation. More on that in a later entry.

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