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My latest Adobe Devnet article on CF8 monitoring: Part 3 and 4 now posted

Note: This blog post is from 2008. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily.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.
Parts 3 and 4 of my 4-part series on the CF8 Server Monitor are now posted on the Adobe DevNet site. Part 3 was posted several weeks ago, but with the holidays, etc. I just failed to get word out. Part 4 was posted yesterday.

If you've not taken a look at these, you may be missing out. There are some misconceptions about the monitor, and also I think most don't realize that it can do much more than they may suspect. There's precious little documentation (and discussion) about it, so you may find things here you won't find anywhere else.

The third and fourth parts, specifically, have the following sections:

Part 3

  • Automated monitoring and request management with Alerts
  • Substantial diagnostic details with Snapshots

Part 4

  • An enterprise dashboard with the Multiserver Monitor
  • Programmatic Monitoring with the Admin API
  • Tweaking the Monitor in the Settings section
  • Miscellaneous aspects of the Monitor

Sure, I've just written about FusionReactor yesterday, and will write still more about the new release. I don't see it incompatible to help people make the most of whatever tool they may use. I've written previously also about SeeFusion. Indeed, I've written previously that that each has their place, even in the face of CF8's server monitor.

I'd like to hear from readers

The DevCenter articles offer a feedback link, but so far I've not gotten any (and they say they will forward any they get). I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone who has read the articles. I really feel that they go way beyond what's available in the docs and help, to bring together information and concepts you might otherwise miss. Has it helped you at all?

Finally, do you ever wonder why some call this area of the Adobe site "DevNet", "DevCenter", and/or some the "Developer Connection"? Well, the URL has devnet in it, but the breadcrumb bar at the top of my articles shows "Home > Developer Connection > ColdFusion Developer Center". Go figure. :-)

FusionReactor 3 released

Note: This blog post is from 2008. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily.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.
The fine folks at Intergral, makers of the FusionReactor monitor for CF and other servers, have quietly released a new FusionReactor 3 today.

The key new features are:

  • An improved Enterprise Dashboard, built on Flex, with additional new info and even an Air-based version (the latter still in beta)
  • Substantially improved request metrics (system overview) page, with new graphs and data (since the Dashboard is only in the FR Enterprise edition, this is a real plus for FR standard users) and also slow query tracking
  • dramatic new zoom feature in graphs, to zoom in a range of time intervals
  • improved logging, especially useful for post-mortem analysis
  • ability to fire a script/batch file when a server monitored in the Enterprise dashboard stops/starts (has long been able to send you email and/or log those events)
  • support for multiple user logins with optional varying access levels, including new "manager" and "observer" roles in addition to the normal "admin" role
  • abiliity to track cpu available in the system against CPU used by a monitored instance
  • ability to view/delete requests queued by FR crash protection queuing

You can learn more about what's new, and upgrade pricing.

I'll blog more about many other little things that have changed--the good ol' "hidden gems" I like to do.

How can I process Excel files in CFML? Let me count the ways

Note: This blog post is from 2008. 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.
Most of us have seen over the years many requests and many ways to process (read or create) Excel (.xls) and other spreadsheet files. In fact, there have been so many different ways (some simple, some powerful; some new and some quite old) that I fear some may do a quick Google search and try the first thing they find. Sadly, what works for some may not work for all.

One place to list all the approaches

I don't recall ever seeing any single listing of all the possible ways to do CFML to Excel integration, so I decided to create one. I've created a new section in my Tools to Consider for CFML developers on the topic of "Excel File Processing Tools".

You'll see I've gathered a range of articles and tools from over the years showing how to do CF-Excel integration (both directions) any of several of the following ways (the links go to the section within my tools list on this topic):

  • You can easily create them using HTML tables and CSV generation (as well as read them using CSV)
  • You can create them with the more powerful XML-based approach
  • You can create and read them using Java-based APIs like POI, JExcel, and jXLS
  • You can create and read them using COM and now in CF8, .NET
  • You can read them using ODBC and JDBC drivers
  • Let's not forget also that you can create them using the Report Builder in CF7 and 8, which can output as Excel
  • And finally there's the old Excel Web Query feature for populating a spreadsheet from a CFML request

In the listing, I offer dozens of links to articles, blog entries, downloadable tools, any relevant CF docs, and more, all broken down by the approaches listed above.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

So you see, there are not only different solutions but different needs (create a spreadsheet CFML, read one into CFML, or populate one within Excel from a CFML request). It seems helpful to gather a single resource to organize them all and help people decide.

I need your feedback

So let me know what you think of all this. Did I leave out any other important approaches? I'm not claiming to "know it all". This is just a result of some research I did this morning (and/or recollection from past experiences). I'm sure I could have missed something. Certainly I know I'm not listing *all* possible references on each of the subjects. I just wanted to give folks something to start with, but I'm certainly open to adding any useful references or tools that I left out. Please leave a comment below.

Update: Indeed, already, in response to a comment, I've tried to make more clear the fact that I'm not just talking here about creating spreadsheets from CFML but was referring to reading them as well. That's why I chose "processing" in the title, and I referred several times to "reading them", but to make it stand out, I've bolded all the references to reading them.

More important, because it seems he had missed the 2 links to the lists where I offer more details, I've also changed the words in the list above to link into the discussion of the topic in the tools list. Hope that helps avoid people missing the real point of the listing. I was torn about just offering the listing itself as a blog entry and went with this approach instead of a summary that points to the details. I know some don't like really long blog entries. Also, listing them in the bigger tools list seemed helpful, but I may split it out into its own file. We'll see.

Not just about Excel or even Office

BTW, one may argue that I could have a generic section on processing all sorts of file types (or even just all kinds of MS Office) file types, but there are so many requests for Excel file processing specifically, and so many approaches/tools to suit those needs, that I just figured I'd start out with this and consider other filetypes later (and may rename the section then). It's also certainly true that most of the techniques/tools shown here can be used with any spreadsheet tool that reads xls files or processes CSV/HTML table files in a similar way (like OpenOffice).

Update

Again, note that since creating this blog entry, I may have updated the section on this in my CF411 tools list, "Excel File Processing Tools". Be sure to check that out to see if there are still more new options.

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