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.
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.