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My recent articles on the Adobe CF Community portal

As some of my readers will know, Adobe has recently created and opened a CF Community portal, for folks to share blog posts, testimonials, showcases, and more. It's even an alternative way to participate in the Adobe CF forums.

Anyway, I have contributed several blog posts (some really article-length, and all written as standalone "articles", so I am referring to them that way here, and in my "articles" page).

I wanted to point to them out in a post here as well. I was also torn about whether to post them in their entirety here, whether before or after posting them there, but for now, I have posted the content only there.

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ColdFusion 10 WACK book contributors (myself included) now listed at Amazon

By now most should know that a new CF10 version of the classic Web Application Construction Kit (or WACK) series was released some months ago:

Adobe ColdFusion Web Application Construction Kit: ColdFusion 10 Enhancements and Improvements

But some may not have known who the contributors were, because since its release the Amazon site for the book had listed only Ben (Forta). Doh! :-)

Ben is indeed the series editor and a fellow contributor--and truly the glue that has held the project together since the first edition for CF3 in 1997.

But as with each edition since the first, there are indeed multiple contributors.

Amazon book page now lists all the contributors

And now the Amazon page does list all the co-authors:

Charlie Arehart, Rob Brooks-Bilson, Raymond Camden, Ken Fricklas, Hemanth Khandelwal, and Chandan Kumar.

Of course, we were indeed properly listed on the front cover, for those who may have looked--and in that same alphabetical order, whereas the Amazon site order is a bit random. Anyway, it's just nice to see this issue fixed.

Problems like that just happen sometimes, and I'd only I noticed it this week and raised it to Amazon. To their credit they were quick to update it.

And I thought some of my co-authors and perhaps others in the community might want to know about it.

Glad to mention the book

Indeed, I've been meaning simply to announce the book and my involvement here myself but got behind on many such news items, as I've just been busy (with my ColdFusion troubleshooting consulting services). Busy is good, of course!

So this was a good chance both to share the above news of the correction for any who'd noticed the issue, and to mention my involvement with the book, in case that and news of the book itself may interest some of my readers. (FWIW, I was a contributor to all 3 vols for CF 8 and 9 also, and I do thank Ben for including me in these works.)

A bit about the book

For those who hadn't noticed the book yet, it's unique in the series in that we decided to go with just a single book, just about the updates. In the past, we instead updated all 3 books throughout. There are pros and cons to either choice, of course, but I do agree that the single book was the way to go.

FWIW, I did chapters 8, 10, and 19.

I was especially delighted to get in a chapter at the end on "hidden gems", as I have loved doing (as article or talks) for each release starting with my first CFDJ article on CF 4.0. The editors chose for Chapter 19 the more sedate name of "Miscellaneous Enhancements", but I'm just thrilled we got to add the chapter at all. :-)

You can learn more about (and buy, and review) the book here:

Coming review of "ColdFusion 9 Developer Tutorial" book by John Farrar, and a free chapter for you

Today the publisher of John Farrar's new book, ColdFusion 9 Developer Tutorial offered to send me a review copy. I appreciate and look forward to that, as I've heard good things about it.

I'll post a review in coming weeks after I've had a chance to take a look.

Free Preview Chapter on ORM

In the meantime, they have also offered for free one of the chapters in the book so you can get a taste of the book's approach.

It's chapter 4, ORM Database Interaction, and as you'll see John leads you gently through this important new feature of CF9. Assuming you have no prior experience with ORM, he works in 20 pages from introducing the concepts, to quickly configuring and coding, to working with relationships, and more. You'll see he uses lots of screenshots and example code.

One editorial/review comment: I did notice that the preview chapter lists a last section to be on "custom configuration", which isn't ever found in the chapter. I brought this to John's attention and he apologized that it slipped through.

Having contributed to several books myself*, I know that can happen and I don't regard it as a big deal. It doesn't take away at all from the rest of the book.

Looking forward to the rest of the book

As for that rest of the book, and why you may want to consider it, the introduction indicates it "will teach you the basics of ColdFusion programming, basic application architecture, object reuse, and ORM concepts before showing you a range of topics including AJAX library integration, RESTful Web Services, Unit Testing, building custom tags, and his hybrid example of tags and objects COOP" ... "with real-world examples of the hows and whys, to get more done faster with ColdFusion 9" ...[and] "also covers the new features of ColdFusion Builder and additional version 9 updates".

I'm sure it will benefit many, and I'll look into all that when I get the review copy, and I'll be back to pass along my observations.

*I'm sure the publishers of my own books would think it appropriate at this point to mention those other books, which are also out recently and updated for CF9. They are the ColdFusion 9 Web Application Construction Kit, Volume 1 (Getting Started), Volume 2, Application Development, and Volume 3, Advanced Application Development.

My CFBuilder Debugger chapter (for CF9 WACK Vol 2) is online

Here's good news for folks seeking more documentation on how to configure, use, and troubleshoot the ColdFusion Builder debugger.

My chapter on the topic, in the newly released CF 9 Web Application Construction Kit, Volume 2 Application development is available free online. It's one of 3 chapters at the end of the book (out of 21 total) that were forced online due to pagecount restrictions.

While it's a bummer for those who buy the print book and may not notice these are missing (though it should be mentioned in the TOC), the good news is that it means anyone can read the chapter.

You'll find the 25-page chapter (chapter 45, "Using the Debugger") online in a PDF of all 3 chapters available at Ben's site. Note that since mine is the last chapter of the PDF, you will want to skip to page 71 within the document. The following link should open the PDF directly to that page (if not, just use the Acrobat feature to go to a page):

Read the PDF, starting at page 71

Finally, some may notice on the Amazon page offered above that only Ben Forta is listed as author for the book. Of course, there were multiple authors. Ben, Ray Camden, and I were contributors to all 3 volumes, while there were still other contributors for volumes 2 and 3. Ben says that this oversight will be addressed soon.

My New Adobe Dev Ctr Article: Multi-user access for CF Admin and RDS

I have a new 16-page article that was posted to the Adobe CF Developer Center yesterday:

Enabling multiple user access to the ColdFusion Administrator and RDS

If you're using CF 8 Enterprise or Developer edition, you should at least be aware of this feature. Even if it doesn't sound like something you'd need or want to use, check out at least the introductory section.

Besides explaining the features, and showing how to set them up and use them for practical solutions. It also addresses many gotchas and cautions to note, some of which may be surprises.

It shows using the multi-user admin feature for spreading out who can work on different parts of the admin (and shows enabling it even only for access to the CF 8 Server Monitor.)

And for the multi-user RDS feature, it shows leveraging it specifically within Eclipse and Dreamweaver (and points to resources for more on each and on using it with HomeSite+/CF Studio.)

I welcome comments or questions about the article here.

PS If you want to comment asking why one would use RDS due to security concerns, please read the article first. This addresses one significant concern and also points readers to additional resources to consider other concerns.

A 12-page Intro/Review of FusionReactor 3

If you missed my 12-page introduction and review of FusionReactor 3 in the last issue of the FusionAuthority Quarterly Update, Volume II Issue IV which came out earlier this summer, well, the good folks at the magazine, Michael and Judith, have kindly chosen to post the article online:

FusionReactor: ColdFusion Server Healthcare (and What's New in Version 3) (PDF)

Thanks, folks! I hope it might serve as a useful intro for those who've not seen the tool (whether in its older or newer version), which can be used to monitor CF 6, 7, and 8. That CF8 support is important not only for those running CF8 Standard, which doesn't have the CF8 Server Monitor, and also even for those who can run the CF8 Server Monitor, as there are some useful benefits of using it even on CF8 Enterprise). Note that FR also works with Railo and OpenBlueDragon, as well as BlueDragon/J2EE and indeed any J2EE application (including LiveCycle Data Services) and any J2EE engine (JBoss, Tomcat, WebSphere, etc.)

The article can also serve as a review of features that those already using the tool may have missed, or you can focus on what's new in FR 3 (quite a bit).

Check out the article, and the tool, including the available live demo in addition to the 10 day trial. I'll note that the live demo is running at a lower level of authority (one of the new features of FR 3), so you don't see and can't do all with it that you might as a full admin user.

I'll arrange to do a demo of the tool on an upcoming CF Meetup session, whether on its own or along with other monitoring tools for CF which I've discussed before.

What a busy couple of months: conference season and more

Some may have noticed that I've not been writing here as much in the past couple of months. For one thing, it's been conference season! Like a couple other folks, I've spoken at each of these in the last dozen+ weeks:

What a blast, and of course it's an honor to be invited. I've not written much about them because, well, I don't know what I could add that hasn't been said by many other bloggers who attended each! :-)

Unfortunately, the schedule precluded me giving any thought to attending (or proposing to speak at) WebDU (spoke there last year) or SpringBR. And sadly I had to miss the Adobe Community Summit.

As if those events (and the commensurate travel) weren't enough of a draw on time, in the weeks since the first event in mid-March I've also:

  • squeezed in teaching 6 classes
  • written 2 tips columns and a feature article for 2 editions of the FAQU
  • organized nearly a dozen ColdFusion Meetups
  • attended an invitation-only Microsoft Tech Summit (for a couple dozen folks they picked from competing communities to talk and listen to)
  • spent a week in Germany with the fine folks at Intergral (makers of FusionDebug, FusionReactor, FusionAnalytics, and with whom I also do some consulting)
  • and provided my consulting services to many folks in what little time remained!

Fortunately, the nature of my consulting is different than most: I focus on helping people solve problems (rather than build or architect apps), so they generally need me only sporadically and for short spurts of time. We've been able to fit them in nicely in the time in between, but I've got some who've been patiently awaiting the end of what some called "the conference silly season".

I had also started my series on the tools/resource list, but after part 10 got just too bogged down. I plan to pick that up again very soon.

Just wanted to offer a bit of explanation on the relative quiet the past couple of months.

I have some other really exciting things planned and in the works which I'll be sharing in coming weeks and months. Some are new resources, some new services, and some new tools. All dedicated to helping the community. It's exciting times!

Some of my FusionAuthority Quarterly Update Tip Columns now available online

Some may know that I'm a regular contributor to the FusionAuthority Quarterly Update. Besides occasionally writing feature pieces, I have a tips column on the back page(s) of every issue. I'd like to point out here that the fine folks behind the magazine (Michael and Judith Dinowitz) have released the first couple of tips as PDFs, available online for free:


And that's not a typo. I called it "*Tip*ical Charlie" as a play on words. The titles of the articles in those first two issues were:

  • Text File Processing (PDF)
  • How Can I Call Thee (CFC)? Let Me Count the Ways! (PDF)

Enjoy, and do keep in mind that this tips column is intended to benefit newcomers as well as more experienced folks. The rest of the FAQU articles do tend to be more intermediate/advanced.

You can also find the titles for all my other FAQU articles (indeed all I've contributed to any magazine) on my articles page, and you can find the titles of other FAQU articles by other authors on the FAQU site.

Want the whole FAQU issue(s) in PDF form?

But some will want more than just my tips articles in PDF form. Here's good news: if you've not noticed, you can also get complete back issues (also in PDF form) for 7.95 per issue, and in fact the first issue is offered for free.

I suspect that as time passes, we'll see more of my tips and indeed complete issues released for free. Thanks to all the folks behind the FAQU.

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

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.)

My two articles in the latest FAQU

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.)

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