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Think about the last time you bought a car. Did you walk around the vehicle, look under the hood and sit in the driver's seat to get a feel for it? You probably took it for a test-drive before making the final decision. If you're a developer producing the next "killer app," it's only reasonable for your customers to want to test-drive your application as well. Have you ever wanted to demo your application but thought... It's too difficult to put together a general-purpose demo. Even if you did publish a "live" demo site, it would be open to wrong-headed visitors entering offensive data, corrupting the demo for others. If you don't allow data entry, you limit the effectiveness of the demo. You could allow users to download your application (in some protected time-limited format), but they would need to install it and all the prerequisite programs (CFML server, databa... (more)

The Shape of i-Technology To Come: Predictions for 2006

According to SYS-CON Media's worldwide network of software development activists, evangelists and executives - including the creator of Ruby on Rails, David Heinemeier Hansson  - 2006 promises to be a vintage year for software development... Take Microsoft, for example: A new client OS is on the way, Microsoft Vista, due late in 2006, giving rise to the obvious question: will the new cool 3D user interface be enough to move user to upgrade? We’ll see. Maybe the new built-in security, performance features, and integrated search will be enough to convince users – after all, why go to the Web if built-in web-enabled services and integrated information search allow the Web to come to you? Or consider the world of PDA Devices. Everyone is looking for the next killer Palm or BlackBerry.  But are they looking in the right direction for the next killer PDA? What... (more)

AJAX and Microsoft's Atlas To Dominate the Shape of i-Technology

According to SYS-CON's worldwide network of software development activists, evangelists, analysts and executives, 2006 promises to be a vintage year for software development...with IE7, Atlas, and AJAX featuring prominently. Take Microsoft, for example: A new client OS is on the way, Microsoft Vista, due late in 2006, giving rise to the obvious question: Will the new cool 3D user interface be enough to move the user to upgrade? We'll see. Maybe the new built-in security, performance features, and integrated search will be enough to convince users - after all, why go to the Web if built-in Web-enabled services and integrated information search allow the Web to come to you? Or consider the world of PDA devices. Everyone is looking for the next killer Palm or BlackBerry, but are they looking in the right direction for the next killer PDA? What about unexpected places -... (more)

AJAX Tipped To Play Major Role in the Shape of i-Technology to Come

Among all the terms cited by SYS-CON's worldwide network of software development activists, evangelists, and executives, what were the two that cropped up most often? "AJAX" and "IE7" -- Internet Explorer 7, currently in limited beta test. Other terms they focused on included: LAMP, Virtualization, SaaS, Open Source, SANs, Web 2.0, Blog consolidation, InfoSec, BitTorrent, Googlecrash, Adobe, SOA, REST, Single Sign-On, SemWeb, iComm, Structured Blogging, VPMNs, VoIP Phones, Semantic Technologies, Ruby on Rails, spam/phishing, VoIP, .NET 2.0, Terror Hacking and WiFi. 2006 promises to be a vintage year for software development... On the pages that follow you'll find the collected wisdom of some of the most acute prognosticators in the industry. As always with SYS-CON Media, we don't ask pundits and sideline commentators but activists, folks whose connection with sof... (more)

Setting Up Your Development Server with ColdFusion 5, MX, and BlueDragon

The world of ColdFusion application servers is quite interesting at the moment. Macromedia's recent update to CFMX 6.1 promises to add a lot of stability and speed to the product. BlueDragon, New Atlanta's alternate CFML runtime engine continues to gain momentum. Yet despite these two great products, much of the development out there is still based on ColdFusion 5 (or earlier). What if you're interested in running one or more of these at once? Perhaps you're going to upgrade an app from one server to another? How do you test your current applications for compatibility among the other servers without reconfiguring your development machine? If you're a consultant, or work for a consulting firm, there's a good chance you'll have multiple clients, each with different server requirements. How do you handle the changing requirements without reconfiguring your server ever... (more)

Creating a Remember Me Login

Many of my articles in this column have dealt with theoretical concepts and syntax of implementing those concepts in ColdFusion. In this article, I want to concentrate on the implementation steps you might take when building something. Most Web applications have a "sign me up" feature that allows users to register. Registered users often have access to additional information or features that anonymous users don't. I'm going to walk you through the process of creating a simple login form, including database authentication and a "remember me" checkbox. The Database Before you start coding this application, you'll need to create a database. Most login schemes include a username and password. You can put that information in a table called Users. The table will also need a unique identifier, called a primary key in database terms. Here is a sample of data from the tabl... (more)

Monitoring Your ColdFusion Environment With the Free Log Parser Toolkit

There are many resources we should analyze to ensure optimal ColdFusion operation or to help diagnose problems. Fortunately, there's an awesome free tool that comes to our aid to turn voluminous data into useful information. In this article, I'd like to introduce you to the free Log Parser tool from Microsoft. Yes, it's free. And while you may not run ColdFusion on Windows, that's okay. You can use it on a Windows machine to monitor resources on a Linux machine. The tool applies just as well to those running BlueDragon or any CFML, PHP, .NET, or other environment. I'll show you the many ways you can use the tool to solve common challenges in ways that no other monitoring feature in CF or even the dedicated monitoring tools like SeeFusion or FusionReactor can do. In one example, I'll show you how it can provide application-specific error log information that many str... (more)

I Was at the Taping Of Cloud Computing Expo Power Panel in Times Square

I arrived in New York City this morning to attend the Cloud Computing Expo for the next three days. SYS-CON folks invited me on Sunday for the taping of the Cloud Computing Expo Power Panel which was taped at the Reuters Studios in Times Square. The live taping of the show was a blast. I met the panelists at the studio as well while watching the SYS-CON.TV show in the green room. The green room is actually gray and brown. The Cloud Computing Power Panel will be broadcast at the Cloud Computing Expo, March 31 - April 1, 2009, Roosevelt Hotel, in New York City. Two Cloud Computing Expo Power Panels taped today at SYS-CON's Times Square Studios featured rtghe following panelists: Werner Vogels - VP & CTO, Amazon.com; John Engates - CTO, Rackspace; Rod Fontecilla - Principal, Booz Allen Hamilton; Hal Stern - CTO of Sun's Global Sales Force; John Engates - CTO, Rackspace;... (more)

CFDJ Feature - How to Debug Your ColdFusion Applications

I just spent four hours debugging an error for a client. The client is an application service provider, and they developed an administrator for internal use. The administrator allows for the user to switch between sites, at whim. The "site switcher" is a drop menu, which loads up a different DNS depending on the selected site. A certain set of code was working for all sites except one. The application was not throwing errors, but nothing was getting displayed on the page. How do you find the problem? I'm going to step you through the process I took to solve the problem, and along the way, I hope you'll learn a technique or two that you can use in your own debugging adventures. Two Types of Errors There are really two types of errors that you'll encounter in your code: syntax errors and logic errors. Syntax errors are those ugly ColdFusion errors that you are used to... (more)

Beyond SOA & Web Services - ColdFusion / .NET Integration

As both a .NET programmer and ColdFusion developer, I always wondered how I could leverage the world of .NET in ColdFusion. Both platforms come with powerful features and using them together might be a wonderful friendship, if one could only make them cooperate. There are two worlds out there and none of them is an island. Apart from this, and starting with Windows Vista, Microsoft will include the last incarnation of the .NET Framework in its flagship operating system, with all the bells and whistles that come with it. For those who like their ColdFusion environment hosted on a Windows server, this means they'll always have all the features provided in the .NET platform at hand. Even if a switch to Vista won't be an option in the near future for current projects, you may still wonder how you can put them to work for your ColdFusion application. The promise of the n... (more)

Consuming Amazon.com E-Commerce

One of the most popular articles I've ever written was on Amazon.com Web services. The article was written for the Macromedia Developer Center and is located at www.macromedia.com/devnet/coldfusion/articles/wsamazon.html. This article is a bit dated. A few days before it was published, Amazon.com released version 1 of their SOAP Web services. In this issue on exchanging data, I thought it'd be great to write an article on version 4 of Amazon.com's SOAP interface, released in September. They are now called "Amazon.com E-Commerce Services." After two days of much frustration, I was unable to successfully invoke the SOAP Web services from ColdFusion or BlueDragon; I kept getting semantic errors when compiling the WSDL. However, you can still use Amazon.com Web services without SOAP, using REST instead, which is a SOAP alternative. In this article, I'll introduce you to... (more)