Thursday, October 15, 2009

ColdFusion Builder installation frustration

Ok, so on October 5th I downloaded and installed the Beta 2 plugin of ColdFusion Builder so I wouldn't have to deal with the timeout when it hit.

Well, it hit anyway. Even though I had upgraded, it still threw the timeout message. Thinking that maybe I had done something wrong during the installation, I followed the uninstall instructions and installed it again.

Now, there is no ColdFusion perspective at all. Grrr.... Very frustrating Adobe. I REALLY don't want to start with a fresh eclipse install. It takes forever to set up all those plugins.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

RE: The Free Market Paradox

This is comment I tried to make on the story linked in the title, but for some reason could not submit. Some day I'll make my response more coherent, but I'm out of time right now.

WWJWD?

What Would John Wayne Do?

The best way to avoid mult-year contracts is to NOT SIGN MULTI-YEAR CONTRACTS.

Lets say you were able to make multi-year phone contracts illegal. If I were a cell provider, the first thing I would do would be to get rid of my long-term contracts, and stop subsidizing my handsets. In fact, I'd probably raise the price of my handsets to include my early termination fees if I have a cost associated with you leaving early. Now, to remain competitive, I'll set up a financing company that will knock your cash outlay down to an amount similar to my competition and make the whole process very easy. You can now leave whenever you want.

You can regulate and regulate and in the end, you're just paying for non-producing government employees. Contrary to what you say about not liking government intervention, I think you DO like the idea of government sticking their nose in. You want gov't to enforce what you think is a correction to a problem when every customer that signs one of those long-term contracts is testifying that the services included are more valuable to them than the loss of freedom - and really it's just money. You can always leave one of those contracts, you just incur a fee.

I'm not sure what you mean by private industry not regulating itself. Private industry doesn't have to power to write or enforce laws against it's participants. However, there are two things that we have in abundance that serves a similar role, Standards bodies and bankruptcy. We have the AMA, W3C, FASB, State Bar Associations, etc. If a company does not provide a good or service that is more valuable to its customers than the price they charge, they will not be able to cover expenses and will eventually go away.

Gov't artificial intervention with low interest loans, tax breaks, grants, etc. without getting a direct benefit back interferes with the markets self-controlling mechanisms. You wind up with businesses surviving that should not exist. I would argue that not only are the suggestions to manipulating the market that you have made are unfair, they won't have the consequences you intended. Instead, you'll see a decrease in your standard of living because you will be paying more for your services: Additional taxes to handle enforcement of your new regulations and higher prices because for some reason, the companies you now regulate are using that regulation as a barrier to entry for start-ups, so they are able to decrease competition and raise prices.

I'm guessing I won't be seeing you on Youtube at a Tea Party any time soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Workflow design with Balsamiq


If you are responsible for designing application workflows and haven't heard about balsamiq, go there NOW and download the demo. Don't even bother reading to the end of this paragraph. Just go.

I've been using this program now for a few months and it has been fantastic in getting those pesky requirements down on paper before you spend a ton of time doing markup and css.

It takes a little practice to get quick with it, but you'll be amazed at how effortless the interface really is. The biggest problem for me originally was deciding on a simple drawing storage plan. I basically wound up with a simple "one folder per project" model and that has worked nicely.

One of the features I really like is the ability to pull in graphics from existing sites for maintenance work. The best feature about this is that balsamiq will let you degrade the real image to make it look more like a quick sketch. So your initial design goes from this:





to this:



At first, this might not seem like a big deal, but it winds up being huge. In the minds of your clients, that black and white sketch is just a sketch. That color image on the other hand is almost finished and they don't understand why you are dragging your feet so much considering that you've already shown almost the whole application.

There is a linking option in Balsamiq that will allow you to simulate linking your projects together. It makes for a nice flow in a live presentation, but I'd urge caution in it's use. Again, it looks a little too polished. Having to open a separate file for each page transition makes it obvious that what you are looking at is a series of pictures and not markup. Once you get your client trained on what they are looking at, then maybe you can make good use of the linking.

Another plus is that Balsamiq is an AIR app. At this point, it's my favorite AIR app. It's always nice when something you use is written in the products you work with.

So, if you do any type of application design work, take a few minutes and check out Balsamiq.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flex Examples

This site has been very helpful lately for working with flex. I think I'll start serching here
Flex Examples

cookbook plugin

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

SnipEx

Does the SnipEx server support trigger text in cfeclipse?  Doesn't seem to be nearly as much help without that or the ability to at least copy the snipets locally.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Does the Services Browser work in Ganymede?

I've written before that bits of the ColdFusion Extensions for Eclipse seem to be a bit bugged in Ganymede. I've found that the issues I ran into generally had some sort of workaround to get the thing to work if not as good as in Europa.

This one has me stumped though. If you open the services browser and expand your list of components, I can never drill into the tree below the component name. I get the "Contacting server..." message forever. This is very similar to the issue with trying to browse the file system with rds, but with that one you can refresh and keep going. It's a pain, but it keeps working.

With this one, though, there is no way to refresh just one component. If you refresh the entire tree, it collapses the component again and when you open it back up, it's back to "Contacting server...".

Anybody have a way to get this to work?

Update
Never mind.  I found the workaround about 2 minutes after I posted this.  Here it is:

Highlight the component.  Toggle the show dots at the top of the panel off and on until what you want to see shows up.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WoW! - AdobeTV

I'm sure most people know about this already.  I know I've been aware of the Adobe TV site pretty much since MAX 2008, but I never really dug into it.  Wow! What a mistake.  There is a TON of information here to help you get up and running with an adobe technology that you haven't spent a lot of time with yet.

Even stuff that you might think you already know can be a great refresher.  

I just got done watching Charlie Arehart's CF Gems talk and boy does he bring a lot of features of CF8 right to the front of your brain.  You better be near a computer when you watch this because you are going to want to try some stuff out right away.
AdobeTV

Monday, February 23, 2009

ColdFusion Report Builder is a great tool, but...

Man, does it need work. Lots and lots of little annoying bugs make it a chore to work with. The results are pretty good, though, if you muddle through.

Here are a few things I find maddening:

  1. No easy way to temporarily release snap-to-grid
  2. Constantly re-appearing borders.
  3. Selecting NONE for borders does not necessarily remove borders.
  4. No double underline.  Mandatory for financial reports.
  5. Unpredictable image sizing.  Can't constrain height/width ratios to the original.  The best way I've found to deal with this is to turn measurements to pixels and then hard code the size.
  6. Report header prints above page header.
  7. NO MAC VERSION!
On the other hand, some things are really great.  Like:
  1. Being able to pass in your queries after processing with CF.
  2. Also sending in parameters that you can use to control logic in the report.
  3. ColdFusion syntax in expressions.
It looks like we have had a release with each version of CF since 7, so I hope that continues with 9.  Actually, this would make for one hell of an AIR app and solve the cross platform issue at the same time.  If it's too much for the Adobe team to bite off, maybe they should think about opensourcing the .cfr file format.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

.NET is dead

Windows - Losing market share fast to Mac and Linux and Microsoft is losing market share
Office - Google eyes the enterprise market
Internet Explorer - Internet Explorer Loses Market Share

With the continuing decline in market share of all things Microsoft it's becoming obvious that .NET is not long for this world. With current trends extended, OS X will reach parity with Windows in 2022. .NET will have long since lost relevance before then.

So, if you're working on legacy applications in .NET, that's fine, but you'd have to be crazy to recommend it for a new project since you know that the future pool of developers will be greatly contracting. Microsoft will of course find ways to increase pricing to make up for the shortfall in sales, so the cost of all those applications built on top of the proprietary .NET platform will become more and more expensive.

If you are a .NET developer, now would be a good time to start looking at a cross platform language with open source options like java and ColdFusion. At least then you might be able to find a job in a few years with the growth in cross platform solutions.

Ok, this isn't a serious post, even though it wouldn't bother me if it was true. I just wanted to point out how silly all the "ColdFusion is legacy" arguments are when they are uttered by people who know nothing about it. It really irritates me when I read posts by people that say they would think less of a company for proposing a ColdFusion solution for anything new. That's just stupid. CF has been in constant development since it was owned by Allaire. It has and continues to grow greatly in terms of capability. Knocking out a technology just because of something "they" said robs you of the chance to get a good, maintainable solution at a decent price.

I guess it's time to pull off a few snazzy Flex projects using CF as a service layer.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Dreamweaver CS4 & Subversion = suckage

Somebody should really be fired for the implementation of Subversion in DWCS4. Besides releasing old versions of the subversion client library that totally hamstring you from installing other svn clients on your machine, it's completely unstable.

First things first, if you had been using TortoiseSVN prior to the release of CS4, you'll be happy to hear that you will have to completely uninstall it and delete all of your working directories. Then you will need to go to the TSVN site and dig around in the archives to pull down an older copy that works with svn 1.4. Fun.

Next, if you've been using subclipse in eclipse to get svn access, you will most likely want to completely uninstall that as well. Subclipse doesn't really give you an option to choose which version of the svn client you want to run, so you are going to have to hunt down an old copy and make sure you don't update it or you will break your CS4 install. I took this opportunity to switch to subversive once again and I might just stick with that one for a while. It actually has an option to choose which version of the svn client to use. Handy.

Now that you have everything set up the way you need to make svn work with your workstation, you get to check out all of your projects again since they most likely were running version 1.5.

Oh, and once it's working in DW, it occasionally just loses it's mind and can no longer connect reliably to the repository. For example, I can now check out a new project in DW, but the DW site never recognizes that the files exist in the repository. Blue plusses as far as the eye can see and DW takes a solid 5 minutes to refresh the list of files or startup.

The rotten thing is that I had this working fine for a few weeks and now something has changed and it has gotten out of whack again. So now, when I edit a file and try to save it, I get an error message indicating that the Server and project are not accessible! (REPORT request failed on 'blah, blah, blah'. Report of 'blah, blah, blah': Could not read status line: connection was closed by server (blah,blah). Funny thing is, I checked the file out with Dreamweaver.

WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GET A PATCH?! Stuff like this really makes DW a hard sell into my team.