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Doh! Wrong title and speaker for today's meetup: it's John Mason on "Testing with CFCUnit"

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 Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily.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.
So sorry folks, I made a copy/paste error. The meeting today (in 20 minutes) is not Joshua Cyr (that was months ago) but instead:

"Testing with cfcUnit", with John Mason

The info in the message was write. The blog title was all that was wrong. Again, the URL for info is:

http://coldfusion.meetup.com/17/calendar/7356180/

Yet another way to keep up on the CF news of the week

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 Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily.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.
Thank you, Steve Bryant, for your CF_Blogpicks for the week, a series of weekly blog entries he started on Jan 7, highlighting what he feels are newsworthy blog entries that all CF developers ought to consider.

Last week I praised and highlighted Kay Smoljak's week in ColdFusion blog entries. Then last night I was perusing FullAsAGoog and noticed for the first time one of Steve's entries. What a delight to find that.(It's funny to note that he started his about the same time Kay did hers--funny how that goes.)

I recommend you keep an eye on Steve's list, too. He strives to pick 5 key entries a week that he feels most developers will benefit learning from. (I'm delighted to see he picked one of my entries this week, but really it's totally coincidental that I tripped across it this week while perusing the 'goog.)

Do we really need yet another source? I say yes

Now, some may say, "why do we need these additional resources? Aren't aggregators like the 'goog, MXNA, FeedSquirrel, and ColdFusionBloggers, all one needs? And what about the dzone cf page?"

Sure, those are all great. But here's the thing: Steve's been doing his news for a few weeks, and this is the first I'd seen it (same with Kay's last week). I'm sure many of us miss things that come through the aggregators. Most of us don't have time to read EVERY message they show--and then, which aggregator do you pick? While they mostly show the same things, with different approaches, some blogs aren't in all.

Most of all, I have to admit that I don't even have time to keep an eye on even any one aggregator each day, or really even each week. There's just too much content being created for most of us to stay on top of it all.

That's why I LOVE these attempts to do that hard work for us. Like I said last week of Kay's, and earlier this week about the various CF podcasts past and present (and future?), any sort of manual effort to gather and present key news and info shared is really a tough job, and my hats off to all who try.

I have some approaches in mind myself. One of them is similar to the dzone approach, and feedquirrel's recent addition to let the community of readers vote on entries. Those are both steps in the direction I was headed, though my idea is still different. We'll see. But until then, I want to make sure people know about these various features.

"Using the CF8 Debugger", my 25-page CFWACK chapter is available online

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.
Have you started using the CF 8 debugger? Either way, you may have noticed that the documentation on it is rather sparse. Fortunately, there's a relatively new and substantial (25-page) resource that's available online in the form of a PDF.

In the ColdFusion 8 Web Application Construction Kit Volume 2: Application Development, I had the honor of doing the chapter on the CF8 debugger. If I do say so myself, I think that it's a really complete introduction both to installing, configuring, and using the debugger, along with many tips, tricks, and traps--perhaps even a better one-stop resource than the docs themselves.

Best of all, it's one of the chapters that's been made available online. There was fear that Volume 2 would be too big and so a few chapters (mostly on older topics) were put into a 550 page PDF. My chapter is near the back of this PDF.

Also, note that if you have the print version of the book, it's technically chapter 52 of volume 2, but you won't see these online chapters listed in its table of contents. Instead, they appear in the TOC at the start of vol 3 (long story)

Sadly, I couldn't get permission to just cut out this one chapter, so you do need to get the full PDF. You should be able to easily jump to the starting page (using Ctrl-Shift-n), which is page 467 in the PDF, despite the table of contents on the first page which lists it at 471. And of course, you can print just selected pages from a PDF as well.

Either way, I hope you get great value out of the information offered. I'd really welcome your feedback.

(PS I mentioned last week that I'd also done an article on the CF8 debugger in the FusionAuthority Quarterly Update, in their recent CF8 Special Edition. Unfortunately, the FAQU articles are not available online.)

ColdFusion Podcasts, past and present (and future?)

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.
In my blog entry yesterday about Kay Smoljak's valiant effort to do a weekly news entry, I commented about how others have tried it in the past, It's a tough job. Two of those who did were CF-related podcasts.

If you were asked how many CF podcasts are there, and have there been, what would be your answer? I did a little digging myself and present here what I found. It's a fun trip down memory lane of the world of CF podcasting.

If I've missed any, please do let me know.

Current (still running)

The following podcasts are still being updated:

  • ColdFusion Weekly, with Matt Woodward and Peter Farrell
  • CFUnited, playing recordings of conference presentations, hosted by Christian Ready
  • All Things Adobe has had one CF-related podcast, but has a category for them so may have more

Past

The following all appear no longer to be being updated:

  • OutLoud, with Hal Helms and Jeff Peters, ran for 47 episodes from Oct 2005 through Sep 2007
  • The ColdFusion Podcast, with Bryan Kaiser and Michael Haynie, ran for 38 episodes from Oct 2005 through Jan 2007
  • ColdFusion Muse, with Mark Kruger, ran for 13 episodes from Nov 2005 through May 2006
  • cfframeworks.com offered 8 interview podcasts hosted by Nick Tong and Kola Oyedeji, from Jan-Mar 2007
  • Mark Drew offered a few CFEclipse Videos as a podcast in 2006 (note they videos were designed to be small enough to view in an iPod)
  • the WebDU conference organizers (Geoff Bowers and Daemon), presented a couple of recordings of previous WebDU conferences in 2005
  • the Scotch on the Rocks conference organizers (Stephen Moretti and Andy Allan) tried to do this also with one episode in 2007
  • Aboutcast ran for a couple of episodes in 2006, hosted by Nic Tunney and AboutWeb
  • Steven Erat made two attempts at podcasts in 2005, first with the CFMX 7 podcast, where he read selected Macromedia Devnet articles about CF7, and then the even shorter-lived CF NewsRadio
  • I'm my own sql, hosted by C. Hatton Humphrey, ran out of HouseofFusion.com for just a couple of episodes in late 2006

Again, I welcome additions or corrections to this list. If you have any to offer, please do let me know.

Future?

Finally, what about that "and future?" tag in the subject? Well, I've been torn about saying anything before it's ready, but I've been contemplating entering the podcasting realm for a long time. I know others have considered it. Clearly, the list above shows that it's tough to make it.

That said, I've begun serious discussions with a colleague who some will know, John Mason, who runs FusionLink and FusionLink Labs (which has lots of neat stuff!). We've also worked together as board members of the Atlanta CF user group over the years.

I'll have more to say about what we plan. Naturally, I'd rather not just copycat what others have done. Indeed, I think there are a lot of areas that have not been covered, and we both are excited about the prospects. Look for more news in the near future. In the meantime, feel free to leave comments about what you might like to see in a podcast. Open your eyes beyond what you've heard before, and think beyond just what you may like. What do you think the CF Community, whether beginners or experts, could benefit hearing in a podcast form? We'll share out plans, and perhaps fold in some of yours, in the near future.

PS I know that others have also hinted at doing a podcast and then not gotten around to it. Again, I've been reluctant to say anything before being close, but since I had this history resource and wanted to share it, I figured I may as well "put my name into the race", to borrow a term from the current election season. :-)

"The week in ColdFusion": weekly news update from Kay Smoljak

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.
If you haven't heard of it, I want to give a tip of the hat to Kay Smoljak and her relatively new "the week in ColdFusion" series of blog entries, where she intends to track the week's news. You can find it here:

http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/category/coldfusion/

The URL above is for all her CF entries on her blog, so you need to find each week's entry among her other entries for the week. But she's noted to me (in a comment in one of them there) that she won't have too many each week to make it hard to pick out the news items. (While someone could also setup a Yahoo Pipe to solve the problem, perhaps out of respect we should just get her entire feed and keep an eye out for those news entries.)

Kay's an Aussie (Perth) who's been doing CF for several years. She's done about 4 weeks of the news so far, and I wish her well. Keeping up with the week's news in the CF community is a noble effort. Many have tried and been unable to keep it up.

In the past, we had the guys on the ColdFusionWeekly offering news into the middle of last year, and CFReports until Sept, but since then it's been mostly interviews. I don't mean that as a slap. I know it's hard work!

Indeed, we also had the guys at the ColdFusion podcasts who would do news as well, but they went off the air completely in late 2006, so at least the weekly's still there. (I'll have more to share about the surprising history of CF podcasts in an upcoming entry.)

We also had Andy Allan also doing a roundup of the best of the blogs ("weekly blog roundup"), but he too petered out in late 2006.

It's a tough job, and we're all grateful for those who have, are, and will try to help us all out! :-)

My two articles in the latest FAQU

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.
I'm keeping my streak alive of having written in each of the first 5 editions of the FusionAuthority Quarterly Update. In the latest "CF 8 Special Edition"", where I have two articles:

  • The ColdFusion 8 Debugger Explained: Interactive Step Debugging for ColdFusion 8
  • Tipical Charlie: Hidden Gems in ColdFusion 8

The first is a 10-page overview of getting started with the CF 8 Debugger. It follows on to the earlier article I'd done in the Fall 2006 edition on FusionDebug. As both articles show, I'm a fan of both tools, and I just want to help people become aware of both.

The second article continues my tips column that's at the end of each issue, and this is a quick one-page summary of some of the best of the hidden gems I've identified in my past user group talks of the same name.

Note that the articles are not available online so you must get the print edition to read them (though I've been in talks with Judith and Michael for some time to get at least just the tips columns online, perhaps only some time after publication. We shall see.)

Upcoming classes I'll teach on FusionReactor and FusionDebug

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.
As I've discussed previously, one of the many things I do as an independent consultant is help the folks at Intergral by teaching some classes I created on using their FusionReactor and FusionDebug products. These are great solutions for monitoring and debugging on CF 6, 7, and 8.

Here is the upcoming schedule of classes for the next few weeks. You can find out more details (cost, description, topics, timezone converter, signup) at the links provided:

Fast Track to FusionReactor I - Introduction

Tues Feb 19, 1pm EST (GMT-5) Tues Mar 18, 9am EST (GMT-5)

FusionReactor FastTrack II - Advanced Techniques

Tues Mar 25, 9am EST (GMT-5)

FusionDebug Awareness Seminar (free)

Tues Feb 26, 1pm EST (GMT-5)

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