Wednesday, November 30, 2005

OT:Best invention of the decade

I should get one of these for my Dad for Christmas.

Funny, I can remember hating certain department stores when I was a kid because they all had an irritating high-pitched noise. My parents never believed me. I'm convinced, it was some noise made by the escalators. Then again, maybe I don't hear it now because of the tin foil hat.

What's the buzz? Teens can't stand it | CNET News.com

Firefox 1.5 and WebDeveloper Toolbar

FYI, the really cool Web Developer Toolbar extension for Firefox does not appear to be 100% compatible with the new Version of Firefox. For me, every url entered in the address bar triggers a separate tab visiting the w3 html validator. Pretty annoying, to say the least. This had me freaking out looking for all sorts of viruses and spyware without turning anything up.

After I uninstalled the extension, the problem is gone. I took a look at my traffic with ethereal, and there is no strange traffic, so I think that got the problem.

I notice that there is a little asterisk next to the 1.5 entry on the FireFox extensions page for the toolbar, so I guess that should give us a heads up as well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

ColdFusion/Dreamweaver and MSSQL Gotcha

A while back, I mentioned that there was a problem with Dreamweaver in that if you have lots of stored procedures, the database panel made it next to impossible to find them. They were sorted by the internal object ID assigned to them by MSSQL when they were created. A pretty unpredictable number.

With the release of DW8, the panel now sorts them alphabetically. Nice.

Here is the new problem. Not only are the stored procedures sorted alphabetically, but so are all of the arguments. At first this might seem like a good thing, and I wish it would work out that this would work. Unfortunately, ColdFusion does not submit named arguments.

This means that the order of your cfprocparam tags has to match the order that the stored procedure expects them, which seems pretty silly since the cfprocparam tag requires the parameter's name.

Unfortunately, that means that the database panel can cause more trouble than it's worth. In my opinion, the best fix would be to revise how ColdFusion handles storedprocs so that named parameters are submitted. Barring that, a hot fix to DW8 that puts the parameters back in the order they appear in the process would be helpful.

While I like DW for it's design capabilities, I feel like I'm starting to drift closer to adopting cfeclipse as my primary editor, especially since it is the main editor for Flex2.

BTW, if you've been following the VSS integration issue I've had with DW8, you will be disappointed to hear that I was told to submit an "enhancement request" for the next version. I submitted a "bug report" for this, and I think this should really make it into an updater soon, especially when it is clearly design flaw. One that has been fixed in previous versions of DW, no less.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Enterprise Architect 6.0 released

New features include an embedded discussion forum for your team, round trip design for ActionScript 2.0, and support for Subversion.

I haven't looked at it yet in depth, so you know as much as I do at this point.

UML tools for software development and Modelling - Enterprise Architect Full Lifecycle UML modeling tool

Friday, November 18, 2005

We really need to get working on IPv6

I don't really know a lot about IPv6, but after reading this interview, I'm encouraged to look a little further. At this point, I can only imagine what can happen. It sounds like there could be some real advances in identity management.

It will be interesting to see how firewall/IDS technology changes at the desktop level.

It would be really interesting to see what could be done with Flash/Flex apps. Instead of building them to be hosted, they could be built to be delivered and hosted on the desktop. Scary.

Computerworld | IPv6 Forum chief: the new Internet is ready for consumption

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Code Obfuscation 101

Y = false && N = true

Sedulously eschew obfuscatory hyperverbosity and prolixity.

Here is one that is worthy of the "things not to do in ColdFusion" entries on the BlivitLog, I think.

In an application I'm working on, there is a piece of data supplied from a mainframe called ag2-sort-by-date. It's a single character long and can be supplied with either a 'Y' or an 'N'. So far, so good.

The problem arises when the logic behind the field is examined. If the value of the field is 'Y', then the items this field is referring to are sorted alphabetically, if the value is 'N', then the items are sorted by date.

Go figure.

So now, the question becomes: What do I do about it? This app round-trips to the mainframe, so the data has to get back there in the same shape or all sorts of nasty things happen.

  1. Use it as is. "We make bug hunting FUN!".

  2. Use it as is. Document it everywhere it pops up in the code and hope for the best.

  3. Flip the values at the first and last point of contact (on import and export). Might cause problems when talking to the mainframe group trying to debug.

  4. Other?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

OT: The smartest thing I've read today.

Ok, so it's only been 16 minutes into may day.

All I can say is "What took them so long?"

It makes people live longer, makes them happier while they are alive, and makes their kids visit more often. What could be better?

Oddly Enough News Article | Reuters.com

OT: The dumbest thing I've read today.

Ok, so it's only been 15 minutes into my day.

They should have escorted the lady out of the theatre for disrupting the performance.

Oddly Enough News Article | Reuters.com

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Night of the Living xyiznwsk

Dreamweaver hotfix needed

A friend of mine, lets call him Fhwqhgads, is having a problem with his Dreamweaver 8 install adding strange folders to his Visual Source Safe database. As he works on his projects, periodically, DW8 adds a directory called "xyiznwsk". Sometimes the directory is empty and sometimes it isn't. When it's not, it contains either a control file for checkin/checkout or a copy of a template that was being checked in.

In past versions of DW, this folder was used to help synchronize system clocks with remote sites. As far as I know, DW would write this file to the remote site, use it for a short time, and then delete it without the user really being aware of it -- when everything is working correctly. If you have some other piece of software or network conditions that interrupt the process or prevent the files from being deleted, the folder can be left behind.

In the case of VSS, it's pretty obvious what is causing the folder (and files) to be stranded. If the VSS account doesn't have rights to destroy a file in the db, then they are only going to be able to delete the first occurrence before VSS requires that the previous directory/file be destroyed. Every time I attempt to connect to the remote site using the button in the files panel, I get a message telling me I don't have destroy rights to the project. That's when I think DW is attempting to delete the folder/file.

VSS doesn't have a command in it's api to allow the remote application to determine the date in use by the machine. When you set up a site with VSS as your remote option, the checkbox for maintaining synchronization information is disabled. You would think that that would prevent DW8 from attempting to retrieve the timestamp of the remote server, but it doesn't appear to be working.

I haven't been able to find a workaround for this issue at this point. If you know of a way to get this to stop happening, please post a fix or reference.

I know of one Government organization that has stopped deploying DW8 because of this single issue.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Adding file compare to Dreamweaver

One of the new items in DW8 is the ability to add a file compare utility that will let you examine differences between files you are working on and remote files.

If you take a look at the preferences menu in DW8, there is a new entry called "File Compare" that lets you point DW to your diff program. Below that is a link to a "help page" to learn more about what you would need to do to get this feature working.

Unfortunately, the link takes you to a DW8 partners page with another link to a company called Araxis that wants to sell you a diff program for $129US.

For some reason, I really hate this sort of thing. It feels the same as if you just went through the process of buying a new car and when you go to the parking lot to drive it away, the salesman pipes up and says, "Oh yeah, the tires are extra". Crap.

I guess the marketing department has to get their fingers into the project somehow. I'm sure Araxis cut some great deal with some relative that works at Macromedia.

If you would still like to try out the compare features in DW8, there are several free, and in some cases, open source, programs that will do the job. I like the WinMerge product right now. It's free and open source. There are several others out there that charge a fee. Some are quite inexpensive. Plus, you could always just use windiff on windows.

To use it once you have it installed, you simply right click on a file in the files panel and select "compare with remote" to have both files opened in the program so you can examine or reconcile any differences. If you use control-click and select two local files, they can be compared as well.

In addition to the DW8 integration, WinMerge does a nice job of allowing you to compare entire directory trees to see what files need your attention. This comes in really handy if you just want to check on DW to make sure your site setup is working as expected.