Saturday March 28, 2020
Welcome to Tom's Blog
04 February 2008 10:37 PM
Dhtml resource

During a search for a JavaScript or Flash based image gallery I came across a great resource website. The designer resource paradise is a great place to be when you are looking for anything dealing with modern design – CSS, JavaScript navigation and AJAX together with many cool little applications are well represented. This is a website that pools content from other sites. Hope you find it as much of use as I did.

28 January 2008 11:49 PM
Source control for ColdFusion

Recently I was put in charge of a research project involving comparison of different source control products available out there.

I have divided all available products into three categories:

  • Open source
  • Commercial basic
  • Commercial advanced

Open source is self explanatory while the commercial section has to be broken down due to the fact that some vendors like to throw in a lot of bells and whistles into their products (for a price increase of course).

For a small company with a development team of around 10 people I decided to go with subversion. I discovered that all source control products that are out there can serve well small teams and differences are only visible with larger teams. In commercial sector my choice would be the Vault. I would stay away from the Source Safe product as it is clearly outdated. As for commercial products in the advanced category - I didn't find the fact of throwing in *everything* of use for a huge price of 10k+ per 10 seats. The fact that subversion is free also played a big role - why spend money and do paperwork to get funding if there is no clear advantage of using a commercial product? If I need help with the open source VC I can always purchase a license to get support.

05 June 2007 5:17 PM
JRun Servlet Error 500 null - ColdFusion 7

The problem appears at the bottom of the web page. Solution is quite simple - just add cfset client.hitcount = 1 right after structClear(client) statement. The problem is that CF needs the hitcount variable for its internal stuff and complains when it is gone. As far as I am concerned this is internal Jrun/ ColdFusion bug - nothing wrong with the CF code - just the Jrun is not the bug free product we would like it to be.

For more information about this Jrun bug and more info check out Owens blog

for these who think this is somehow not a bug in Jrun - any web page, even your own, should not just assume that the client variables, or any variables that are not private for that matter will be there. This is rather classical / silly/ all too common programming error. Jrun system should capture the error with missing client variable and either produce meaningful error message or set the variable again or some other not critical error based solution. These are just my 2c

25 May 2007 7:43 PM
Verity vspider.exe secrets

So you created a verity collection using the spider and you get some strange errors. Errors such as ind002117 or 'Indexed 0 documents' messages show up. What is wrong? Well, verity collections that are to be indexed using the spider have to be created by the spider You cannot have these collections created by cfcollection tag or through administrator.

Read more here on how to create collection using the spider. The vspider.exe method also automatically indexes your new collection. The 'utility' way only creates the collection, does not index it. Verity needed info

11 April 2007 5:49 PM
Using CASE in SQL to create dynamic ORDER BY

It is a frequent task when creating a report - sort by every column. Many CF developers approach this by creating main query body and then use CFIF to create dynamic ORDER BY for each sort column. This solution works but what if you wanted to do the same thing in SQL? What if your query was very complicated and you wanted to speed things up and place all your SQL into a stored procedure?

What you need is a way to change the way ORDER BY orders things dynamically, your sort condition must depend on a value of a variable. Here is a way to do it - example is the best way to go:

ORDER BY CASE WHEN @sortColumn = 'columnName1' THEN columnName1 END DESC, CASE WHEN @sortColumn = 'columnName2' THEN columnName2 END DESC, CASE WHEN @sortColumn = 'columnName3' THEN columnName3 END DESC

You can modify above construct to make it work with computed columns and with DESC ASC selection (you want users to click once on a column and sort ASC, clicking second time sorts DESC).

As a side note, remember that sorting may work a bit differently depending on your locale (i.e. the language selection made).

08 April 2007 2:47 PM
GoDaddy ColdFusion Hosting - *NO* of CFC support

I was rather excited to get multiple domain hosting with plenty of space and plenty of DB support on a fast server for less than $8 a month from a well know company. So much for so little it would seem I am getting until I tried it out and it turned out not so well as I have hoped for.

I guess such is life - you hope to get a lot for little but it never materializes. GoDaddy is a company that makes false claims about what they offer. The don't offer CFC support - according to them it is not a good idea to give support for cfobject and createObject and instead everyone should be using cfinvoke. This may be sort of OK for very simple applications but for multiple CFC applications this is a no-no. Come on, you give us 100GB of space and expect us to fill it with what?

Almost all applications out there require the support of either cfobject or createObject function. It would be a massive rewrite to use cfinvoke since it is per method based not per object. Imagine if you are using 100's of methods - each one of these would have to be modified. I understand the GoDaddy position on the issue from security standpoint but they just made the whole thing unworkable for a developer - it may be secure but useless.

I have canceled my account less than 24h after I got it - I will recommend that everyone else stay away from GoDaddy ColdFusion support.

In addition to the CFC access restriction the DB access is restricted as well to a great extend - again almost unworkable, however at least in this case many hosts restrict access. The access to the DB server is granted through web interface only, you cannot change settings or anything like that. Some of it is obvious reasonable restriction, other things limit usability greatly.

On top of things don't count on the support of the GoDaddy support - these guys are quite useless - they didn't know that createObject and cfobject were turned off - had to search their knowledge base for this.

So far I used few hosting companies - but all of them either supported createObject() or cfobject - this is the 1st case when I see someone having zero support...

Bottom line: GoDaddy hosting doesn't support ColdFusion 7 contrary to their claims

23 February 2007 9:06 PM
Stop-words (aka noise keywords)

Stop-words aka noise keywords are words that generally don't have any meaning and should not be part of search engine search. Everyone should create their own list (different websites will have different lists). I have used list found on this website to get me started.

In case the link doesn't work - here are most of the keywords they use:

a, about, above, across, after, afterwards, again, against, all, almost, alone, along, already, also, although, always, am, among, amongst, amoungst, amount, an, another, any, anyhow, anyone, anything, anyway, anywhere, are, around, as, at, back, be, became, because, become, becomes, becoming, been, before, beforehand, behind, being, below, beside, besides, between, beyond, bill, both, bottom, but, by, call, can, cannot, cant, co, con, could, couldnt, cry, de, describe, detail, do, done, down, due, during, each, eg, eight, either, eleven, else, elsewhere, empty, enough, etc, even, ever, every, everyone, everything, everywhere, except, few, fifteen, fify, fill, find, fire, first, five, for, former, formerly, forty, found, four, from, front, full, further, get, give, go, had, has, hasnt, have, he, hence, her, here, hereafter, hereby, herein, hereupon, hers, herself, him, himself, his, how, however, hundred, i, ie, if, in, inc, indeed, interest, into, is, it, its, itself, keep, last, latter, latterly, least, less, ltd, made, many, may, me, meanwhile, might, mill, mine, more, moreover, most, mostly, move, much, must, my, myself, name, namely, neither, never, nevertheless, next, nine, no, nobody, none, noone, nor, nothing, now, nowhere, of, off, often, on, once, one, only, onto, other, others, otherwise, our, ours, ourselves, out, over, own, part, per, perhaps, please, put, rather, re, same, see, seem, seemed, seeming, seems, serious, several, she, should, show, side, since, sincere, six, sixty, so, some, somehow, someone, something, sometime, sometimes, somewhere, still, such, system, take, ten, than, that, the, their, them, themselves, then, thence, there, thereafter, thereby, therefore, therein, thereupon, these, they, thick, thin, third, this, those, though, three, through, throughout, thru, thus, to, together, too, top, toward, towards, twelve, twenty, two, un, under, until, up, upon, us, very, via, was, we, well, were, what, whatever, when, whence, whenever, where, whereafter, whereas, whereby, wherein, whereupon, wherever, whether, which, while, whither, who, whoever, whole, whom, whose, why, will, with, within, without, would, yet, you, your, yours, yourself, yourselves

23 February 2007 1:38 PM
ColdFusion and Verity spider utility (vspider.exe)

Recently I have looked yet again at the spider included with verity search on ColdFusion 6.1 and ColdFusion 7. I have tried to use this software some time ago but never finished. Now was the time to give it another push.

The main advantage of the vspider vs. regular collection created by verity with cfindex is the fact that you actually crawl the site the 'Google' way and minimize the chance of any 'code' included as part of the search results. Also a BIG plus is the inclusion of dynamic content (i.e. pages with ?a=b in the URL). Here are some of the main points about the search:

  • Performance depends on the collection size and the number of records returned. It can be as fast as 30ms for few results to as slow as 300ms for a 100 results
  • The search doesn't filter for 'noise' keywords such as 'a' and 'the'. Also doesn't filter blanks (i.e. search for nothing returns all documents)
  • The search supports wildcards '*' and '?'
  • Supports 'and', 'or' and 'not' - but you need to catch errors for users searching just for 'and' etc.
  • By default CSS content is indexed - need to exclude it
  • The search has suggest ability - it will return suggested keywords - suggested keywords are based on what is in the index
  • The 'score' returned for each result is 'questionable' - i.e. not sure whatever it is too useful

Important note - it looks like the sites you can search and index have to be on 'localhost' - I could not get other URLs to work - so you may need to modify Apache or IIS to point to localhost for your website. Something like 'http://localhost/tomkitta/' is fine.

Simple indexing string can be: vspider -style D:\CFusionMX7\verity\Data\stylesets\ColdFusionVspider -collection D:\CFusionMX7\verity\collections\tomkitta -start http://localhost/tomkitta/ -cgiok

The code for version 6.1 of ColdFusion uses a bit different path (it uses spider version 3.7 while CF7 uses spider version 5), vspider -collection D:\CFusionMX\verity\collections\sony -start http://localhost/tomkitta/ -cgiok

Some vspider.exe - Verity ColdFusion spider tutorials and resources

17 February 2007 1:54 PM
DRM increases value for consumers?

According to some companies - like microvision decreasing out choices is increasing their value. Come on - how decreasing our choices as to what we can do with the content is increasing the content's value? DRM may be good for the publisher - he is selling us stuff with 'limited' rights - but not for the consumer who has to bear these limited right. Experience tells me that limited rights neq lower price - it makes up for a good argument for DRM but is not seen in real life.

Why doesn't the industry, both music and film just grow up and realize that the millions they spend on DRM technology could end up in their pockets. Just how much is DRM helping them if anyone out there willing to copy music / movies can do so without any special hardware or monetary expense. Also, as technology moves forward it just becomes easier to copy not easier to protect.

The whole DRM protection idea is flowed from the start - after all we are giving user content he or she can use - how can we 'protect' that content if we want the user be able to see what is on the CD/DVD - its like giving away a secret while still thinking you can protect it. Unless you somehow hack people's brains and take out the need for TV screens there is no way of protecting the content - it goes from the screen to the eye in 'unprotected' form. With many points in between that a hacker could tap into.

02 February 2007 12:21 AM
VISTA not worth the wait and your money

As I read more and more about Windows VISTA I am more and more convinced that the only reasonable way of getting one is to get it with new PC that is Windows VISTA Premium ready (not just Windows VISTA ready - as that means no AREO interface which is 90% of the hype).

Here is short list of why you should not upgrade:

  • Hardware - new versions of Windows traditionally require more horsepower - but this one needs a LOT MORE power from the PC. To run smoothly you need 2Gb of RAM which is a lot and like 95% of desktops or more don't have that much. None of my home PCs have 2Gb, they have 1Gb+ Also 256Mb graphic card that is modern is also rare - maybe latest power PCs
  • Price - why spend so much $$$ for Windows Premium, Enterprise or Ultimate?
  • Stability - XP is more stable, don't care what MS says but just look at IE7 and how it crashes more often than IE6 and even FF - lets wait a year for service pack 1, at least.
  • Software - a lot of programs will not run on VISTA or run less stable or have some other issues
  • Hassle of upgrade - it takes time to upgrade, should backup before doing so
  • What are you really getting? Eye candy that most people will get tired of (according to reviews) after 1h or so - how often do you see yourself using the 3d flip option? Think 20 windows shuffled on screen - slow to find the right one - easier to use current XP way of switching between windows. So its an eye candy - not really worth all that $$$. Security? Well, XP was attacked a lot and hardened in battle, VISTA not so much --- vote XP here. For business XP is tried tested and true - VISTA needs SP1
  • DRM stuff - you no longer have privacy - your PC spies on you and if you believe all the hype - your PC assumes you are a criminal
  • VISTA basic is almost same look and feel as XP - bet you can make XP look like VISTA
  • VISTA is a memory hog when using AREO - lets say save 1GB just for IE7 window - this is why you need 2GB - the other 1GB is for other programs
  • You will get bored with the new eye candy very quickly - it took me like 15min not to bother - hones - I mean how much can you admire cascading windows... Sure they are nice but what is the purpose when you have like 20 windows open - will you go and find the one you want by going one by one? - NOT!

Verdict - wait till SP1 at least and get it with new hardware, old one will not run it anyways. If what you have does the job, why get new stuff that doesn't offer anything new other than some promises of better security (windows and security?) and translucent windows - why you need that in the office is questionable - people are here to work not play around.

Or do what others did already - upgrade when you are forced by MS with their "End of support" address - you have no choice then

Quote: "It became a clunker, in fact, with a pretty face and a high price tag like a Park Avenue hooker using too much makeup to hide the fact that she's old."

"Vista could have been innovative instead of warmed over. Vista could have defended our rights instead of raping them. Vista could have been lean and mean instead of bloated and DRM slowed. Vista could have brought new ways of doing things instead of the same old same old. Vista could have been cheaper instead of a stealth price increase. Vista could have pioneered new ways of letting us use computers instead of activated tethers and licence problems. Vista could have been compatible and advanced standards instead of breaking software in the name of locking you in." from Dvorak blog Says it well...

28 January 2007 8:03 PM
2 new tutorials

I have added two new short tutorials. One is about globalization/ nationalization of websites with the use of ColdFusion, SQL Server and Flash. I just got a bit deeper into the topic and decided to create some notes. As long as one starts to think about website audience that is bigger than the western world early on in website development one should be fine. Oh, and Unicode is just a blessing - use it and you should not have trouble with character display. Getting sorting, time zones, currency format etc. correct may be a bit tricky through.

the other guide is about software project management. I had the materials ready for a while - about a year or so. Never completed the guide to its full potential. However, I decided to release it anyways - what is the point of just storing it on a HD.

25 January 2007 2:18 PM
Java J2EE pushed out by .Net

Recently I have noticed a lot of talk about CF8 with .Net runtime. At first it was by few people but now it seems a lot of people are talking about it. Also, many companies that I worked for and these that my fellow co-workers have worked for are moving from CF to .Net. For some reason .Net is seen as more of an Enterprise solution v.s. Java. At first I just thought that its a fluke, but a) I don't know of any company that is moving the other way, i.e. from .Net to Java b) made me think about the issue even more

Well ColdFusion is definitely not dead, or anything like that - we are not even talking about that - CF5 was based on C not Java. Its just the platform that CF is using may be in trouble in the long run. BlueDrago is already offering integration with .Net. The instable future of Java as the platform on which CF is to run makes me a bit uneasy with using Java extensively in Cf applications. After all, thinking that in say 10 years this code will not be there is wrong - we all know about the 1970's developers that thought their code will not be there in 30 years so they don't have to worry about year 2000 bug. So what will happen to all this code in CF say 10 years from now in CF version 11 that runs only on .Net?

Well, lets hope Java will turn around the trend and fight back .Net - one of the major things that it could do in order to accomplish that is to be faster. I would love to see pure java applications, or even CF running on a Java platform that would outperform both ASP.Net and PHP. Come on, its possible to do that. I don't want to be forced to agree that CF is slow... I have no choice now, it is painfully slow. To a point where some design patters are almost unfeasble.

27 December 2006 1:47 AM
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2007 to everyone that I know as well to everyone that I don't - hope you all have a good one

05 December 2006 1:13 PM
Testing Scorpio

I am a beta (alpha) tester for the next version of ColdFusion codenamed scorpio.

The software is in version Alpha 2 and so far it has some of the features requested, but not many. I hope Adobe will invest some more time into this release of CF and add many features requested by end-users.

Also making CF a bit faster would be nice as my clients are moving away from CF since it is plainly too slow when compared to PHP and .Net .Net is seen as fairly easy to implement without the speed drawbacks of CF

We will all see how it turns out next year - I have my fingers corossed for the speed issue... hope the next version will be significantly faster than the current one.

02 December 2006 2:56 PM
Using AJAX

There has been recently a lot of hype around the use of AJAX technology on the websites. I got drawn into it a bit and played around with AJAX. I am a big fan of making the web work in a more fluid manner.

AJAX is great when used appropriately, not when used everywhere just because we can do it with AJAX doesn't mean we should do it with it. Its just as with any other technology ... it has its uses but is not the answer to everything.

I think one should add AJAX to the website at the very end of the programming cycle, not somewhere at the start. After all, web can function just fine without AJAX. I guess my point is that AJAX is more of an add-on, not the big thing in itself.

That said, I will definitely try to get some spare time after project end to spice it up with AJAX a bit.

14 November 2006 10:44 PM
CF programming in L.A

For about 10 days now I am in Los Angeles programming in ColdFusion for a company located in Culver City. Its same stuff as in Canada with the exception of warm weather outside. No snow for me for the next few months.

Due to the amount of stuff I need to do to set myself in the new place I was unable to do much work playing around with ColdFusion.

As for Los Angeles, so far I only went for one short trip to Hollywood to see what's the big deal. Guess I need to go to different places because so far I don't see why its a big deal - like Canada with palm trees and more crime protection/ prevention.

One quick note about L.A. - its expensive here - I wonder how people make ends meet - take prices for many things in Canada and multiply by 2. As for rent, more like 3 times :)

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