Showing posts with label Ray Camden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ray Camden. Show all posts

Monday 15 December 2014

Say "no" to Adobe and their bloody stupid generic CFScript syntax

Firstly, sorry this blog has been a bit of a non-event recently. There's various reasons for this - none of them interesting - but I'll get back on form soon. -ish.

Now. Frickin' Adobe.

Friday 8 August 2014

CFML: <cfcatch>: my ignorance is reduced. Over a decade after it should have



I had to take this article down for a few hours as I ballsed up both the code and the analysis! Thanks to Adam Tuttle for noticing (or making me revisit it so I noticed it, anyhow).

It pleases me when I learn something I didn't know about fundamental parts of CFML. I temporarily feel daft, but I'm used to that.

Ray - amidst a fiery exchange of disagreement last night - set me straight on a feature of CFML's exception-handling that I was completely unaware of. Despite it being well documented. Since ColdFusion 4.5. Cool!

I had never noticed this from the <cfcatch> docs:

The custom_type type is a developer-defined type specified in a cfthrow tag. If you define a custom type as a series of strings concatenated by periods (for example, "MyApp.BusinessRuleException.InvalidAccount"), ColdFusion can catch the custom type by its character pattern. ColdFusion searches for a cfcatch tag in the cftryblock with a matching exception type, starting with the most specific (the entire string), and ending with the least specific.
The "funny" (at my expense) thing here is that not only did I not know that, I had actually wanted <cfcatch> to work that way, and just ass-u-me`d it didn't so never tried it! Fuckwit.

Here's an example:

Tuesday 15 July 2014


I'm frickin' lousy with dates (as in "calendar", not as in "romance". Although the same applies, from memory ;-). Well: remembering dates is never a problem, but remembering what the current date is is something I'm not so good at. I forgot to touch base with my big sister on her birthday over the weekend... and there's another anniversary on the same day.

I've been doing this bloody blog for two years now. Which is approximately 23 months longer than I expected it to last.

Last year I gave you some stats ("1"). I'll try to do the same now.

  • I've now published 750 (this'll be the 751st) articles. I still have about a dozen in progress. The same ones as last year, funnily enough. The topics just don't have legs, I think.
  • And the word tally is now up around 600000 words. So in the second year I didn't write quite as much as the first year (350000), but spread over more articles (428 in the last 12 months vs 322 in the first year).
  • I've had another 3000 comments since the previous year's 2000. That's pretty cool. Thanks for the contributions everyone. Often the comments are more interesting than the articles, I find.
  • Google Analytics claims I've had 86000 visitors over the last year (up from 25k in the first year). So this thing is getting more popular. The average per day is 230-odd. It was around 120/day in year one. It's still not a huge amount of traffic, but I guess my potential audience is pretty small too.
  • The busiest day in the last 12 months was 5 March 2014, with 593 visitors. That was towards the end of the isValid() saga, with this article: "ColdFusion 11: Thank-you Carl, Mary-Jo, many other community members and indeed Rupesh", and a click-chasing one entitled "CFML is dying. Let's drop it off at Dignitas". Looking at the analytics, that was the bulk of it, plus I was writing a lot about new features in ColdFusion 11 around about then, which boosted things. That was also my biggest week ever, by quite a margin.
  • The most popular article last year was the one about me migrating from "ColdFusion Builder to Sublime Text 2". That's had 2200 visitors. The next most popular were as follows:
  • The most +1'ed article was "I am one step closer to being unshackled from ColdFusion". It's interesting that that was the one that people liked the most. It had 13 +1s. Most articles get none or maybe one, so that's quite a lot.
  • Last year I worked out which article had the most comments. I have no idea how I did that, and I can't be bothered working it out again. So erm... that'll remain a mystery.
I've blogged a lot about ColdFusion 11 during the year... what with it being in public beta and then being released. I've also compared its functionality to Railo's equivalents. I've shifted my primary dev platform at home to Railo now. I've done a lot of JavaScript over the last 12 months (I've spared you most of the detail), but haven't progressed in other languages as much as I'd like to. That's my mission for the next year.

I battered Adobe a lot about how they (don't) handle their bugs. I will continue to do this. They're long overdue for an updater to ColdFusion 10, for one thing; plus we should have had at least a coupla small updates to ColdFusion 11 by now.

The biggest shift in my coding practices in the last year has been down to reading Clean Code, and adopting a lot of its suggestions. My code is better for it. I've got my colleagues Chris and Brian to thank for this... both the encouragement to read the book, but also keeping at me about it. Sometimes to great irritation on my part. If you have not read that book: do so. Especially if you're either of the two members of our team who still haven't read it. Ahem.

Another thing I've been fascinated with this year gone is TestBox. I love it. I am looking forward to shifting off ColdFusion 9 at work so we can start converting our MXUnit styled tests to BDD ones. Brad and Luis are dudes.

I've bitched a lot about Stack Overflow, but contrary to what I threatened ("Not that it will really matter in the bigger scheme of things..."), I still answer questions there every day (if I can find questions I can answer, that is).

Railo continues to rock. As do Gert, Micha, Igal from Railo. They really have done brilliant work keeping CFML alive and interesting.

A bunch of people have motivated me to write this year... it's too difficult to pull out a list of the main miscreants, but Sean would be the top. And the list of my various muses (or adversaries!) is - as always - on the right hand side of the screen, over there.

Gavin deserves special mention, as he very kindly tried to raise money to get me across to CF.Objective() ("Shamelessful plug"), but we had to kill that plan just as it was getting started ("Do not sponsor me to go to CF.Objective()"). But happily Gert stumped up with a ticket at the last minute ("Well that was unexpected"), so I made it anyhow. I really am taken aback by you guys. Seriously.

And of course Mike from CFCamp paid for my entire conference last year too ("CFCamp 2013"). That was amazing. And I mean both Mike's generousity, and the conference itself. Go to it this year if you can: CFCamp.

Ray's done most of the work for ColdFusion UI the Right Way, but I've helped out a bit. I'm glad we got going with that project.

Thanks for your participation in this blog, everyone. If you weren't reading it or commenting on it, I'd've chucked it in. But you keep coming back. Cheers.

Oh and let's not forget: <cfclient> sucks arse. And I can tell that without using it, Dave Ferguson ;-)


Tuesday 22 April 2014

ColdFusion 11: quick look at what data-type built-in functions are, in the context of using them as first-class functions

That was a foolishly long title. Oh well. The article itself is gonna be a quicky as I haven't had dinner yet and I'm getting hungry. Once I've cooked and got wine in hand... I'm not gonna be interest in writing this up.

Awdhesh and Rakshith gave an online presentation today on some of the language features of ColdFusion 11, and the subject of built-in functions being elevated to first class status came up. I thought I had covered this, but I'm buggered if I can find the article. If this is a double-up: sorry.

Thursday 10 April 2014

ColdFusion 11 release date confirmed to be no later than...

This is the first "official" statement from Adobe I've heard about ColdFusion 11's release date. I was watching Ray's presentation that he gave to the Salt Lake City UG: "Recording and demos from my ColdFusion 11 presentation", and he let a tentative timeframe slip...

Tuesday 8 April 2014

listContains() is almost certainly not what you mean to be using

This topic is fished from a "conversation" (if one will permit it to be called that) from Twitter yesterday. I'm writing this so that it will show up in Google results if people are wondering about the function. Bottom line: if ever you find yerself using listContains(), there's a very very good chance you actually ought to be using listFind(), and you are overlooking a subtle difference between the two.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Shamelessful plug

I'm not quite sure what I think about this one, and not sure how to word things. But one thing I do know how to articulate: Gavin's a nice bloke.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Your ColdFusion bugs - visualised

I'm stealing some of Ray's code here, and making it more general and exposing it for all to use.

Thursday 23 January 2014

Oi! You bloody wankers! Stop using ColdFusion UI controls

So Ray's pipped me here slightly, but fair enough cos he's done all the work so far. See his own blog article "I'm not going to tell you to stop using ColdFusion UI tags anymore...", which covers exactly the same ground I'm gonna cover here. Except he's more polite.

Monday 30 September 2013

I owe Adobe an apology, so here it is

I've added this to the article in question, but I am also gonna post it separately as a testament to my stupidity, and to basically apply some scorn to myself.

Sunday 29 September 2013

ColdFusion / JVM and DNS caching: maybe Adobe aren't out to get me after all!

Well here's something I didn't know. Depending on how your ColdFusion server is configured, DNS look-ups it does might be cached "forever" (read: for the life of the JVM).

Ray followed up my earlier post about "Adobe possibly messing with ColdFusion community projects again", pointing this out in a comment:

Anyway - don't forget that CF has that bug where it caches DNS lookups. Maybe the IP changed, and your host CF install is holding on to the wrong IP. That could be why it worked just fine on your local machine and Sharon's.

Try using the IP on the host. Of course, if they have multiple servers on the box it won't resolve to the right virtual server, but you would get a response right away.
My response to Ray (and the next two paras are a re-edit of my reply to him) was that I didn't know that! We learn something every day.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Scraps, scrapes and soup

Yesterday I noted - fairly "emphatically" - that changes to Adobe's ColdFusion docs site (not the new flash-harry CF10 stuff, the old stuff that they never update) have allegedly broken some community sites like cfquickdocs and CFGloss (the latter is currently redirected to the site's homepage). This seemed to be because the HTML structure (or the URLs? I don't actually know for sure) had changed and these sites relied on scraping the site to get the content for their revised UI for the CF docs. These sites exist because the CF docs site is not particularly user friendly as far as searching and navigation goes. And the URLs are completely unhackable (in that good sense of hackability, eg: "cfabort.html" would be good because one could infer other tags' pages from it; "WSc3ff6d0ea77859461172e0811cbec22c24-7fde.html" is bloody stupid), so whilst the content is OK, finding it can be a challenge sometimes.

Stop Press:

CFQuickDocs is at least partially back up again. The CF8 and CFMX7 docs work: CF9 still doesn't.

Ray pointed out that it's entirely Adobe's prerogative to change their URLs/HTML if they want, and went on to say anyone relying on page scraping for their content need to be aware of the instability of their chosen approach. And, accordingly, if Adobe changed their docs, it's not their fault if other sites break. I would say that given they performed the action that caused the breakage that it is their fault. However - all things being equal - it's perhaps not something they should intrinsically lose sleep over. That's the thing, though: I don't think all things are equal here. These third-party documentation sites are providing a service to the community that works around shortcomings in Adobe's own approach, and accordingly I think they warrant some respect from Adobe. My own case in point is that I need to scrape bug content from the bugbase for my CFBugNotifier process, because there's no other way to get the info. And given Adobe don't see fit to provide notifications when bug status changes, I think I offer a community-useful service here. And if they changed the bugbase mark-up and CFBugNotifier broke, that would be a detriment to their community. And their fault

Another consideration is that the Adobe docs - except the CF9 ones (and formerly the CF10 ones, I found out today: "ColdFusion copyright and trademarks and third-party notices") - are copyrighted. So people aren't really supposed to be copying them for their own use. Which is what page-scraping is doing. This is why my "copy" of the bug-base entries doesn't maintain the actual content, it maintains a hash of the content. That way I can quickly check if anything has changed (if not exactly what has changed). This doesn't infringe Adobe's copyright.

Anyway, whatever. I think I was a little more belligerent about it than I needed to be, but I think also that Ray was a little more dismissive of the broader picture than he needed to be (whilst being technically correct). And this blog article is not about that anyhow (he says, being almost 500 words into it!).

Wednesday 4 September 2013

CFML: cfcontent in CFScript

As per my earlier article about a <cfqueryparam> enhancement I raised, which Adobe have put in the pipeline to be fixed, here's another one which could use some votes to get re-opened and fixed:

No equivalent in cfscript for cfcontent

There is currently no support for cfcontent in cfscript can we have it please.
This is ticket 3133316. It's an easy obvious thing that should be implemented in CFScript. I haven't needed this thing every single day, obviously, but I have needed to recode files on occasion when I find I do need to use <cfcontent> in an otherwise CFScript-only file.

It's currently marked as Closed / NotEnoughTime, but I'm sure if enough people got behind it, it can be reopened and dealt with.

I don't mean to attempt any ballot stuffing, so don't just go vote for it because I asked you to. But if it's the sort of thing you have had a need for, or think should be in CFScript as a matter of course, please add your vote.



Monday 5 August 2013

Java 6 to 7 migration: a paucity of gotchas

After some confusion arose from changes in behaviour of arraySort() if running ColdFusion 9 on either Java 6 or Java 7, Ray encouraged me to have a look into what problems people had had / were having, so I ran a quick survey to try to elicit this info from people.

Sunday 28 July 2013

OK, I'm very confused: arraySort() with a callback...?

I'm sitting at Shannon Airport awaiting my return flight to London, and killing time via Guinness and responding to comments on my blog. There are no little old catholic ladies here today to keep me bemused, indeed it's very quiet.

Anyway, this is the comment I'm currently trying to reply to:

I executed the example you have showed above for customised sorting using arraysort function, but i didn't get the same result. The output i got was the array that i defined in the code. I can't understand why its not happening for me.
 The code in question is this:

a = [
    {firstName="Witi", lastName="Ihimaera"},
    {firstName="Patricia", lastName="Grace"},
    {firstName="Alan", lastName="Duff"},
    {firstName="Lee", lastName="Tamahori"},    // OK: not an author
    {firstName="Keri", lastName="Hulme"}

    function (e1, e2){
        return compare(e1.lastName, e2.lastName) > 0;

Saturday 27 July 2013

ColdFusion: Really, Adobe: "NotWorthEffort"

So I started to write an article on the performance of evaluate() (and whether it's still a problem), but I got sidetracked by other CFML stuff I was catching up on, and now I'm on to article two of three articles to today that I'm writing instead. Mostly cos they're easier than the evaluate() one.

This is another one on toScript().

Whilst researching the earlier article, I looked to see what other bugs there already were with toScript(), to see if I was treading already-trod ground (no, as it happens). Ad I came across this bug, raised by Ray Camden a while back: 3041310. The gist of it is demonstrated by this code:

cfRainbow = ["Whero","Karaka","Kowhai","Kakariki","Kikorangi","Tawatawa","Mawhero"];
jsRainbow = toScript(cfRainbow, "jsRainbow");

The result of this is:

Friday 26 July 2013

ColdFusion hoists VAR declarations

Whilst messing around with how scopes in functions in ColdFusion work, I came across something I didn't know: like Javascript, ColdFusion hoists its VAR declarations. This could be common knowledge, but I certainly didn't know.

Here's some code that shows how an unscoped variable within a function interacts with a samed-named variable in the arguments scope, and to what unscoped references refer.

Ray pointed out the way I had originally done the code was very hard to read (harder than usual ;-). I'd tried to take a sort of two-column approach so all the writeOutput() statements were off to the right next to the statement they were outputting stuff for, not underneath. This made it much easier to follow the code in a text editor, but it looked whack when it was in the blog. I didn't notice when I was proofreading. Anyhow, I've sorted it out now. Cheers for the nudge, Ray. And note to any other readers: do let me know if I screw anything up like this!

function f(){
    writeOutput("Top: arguments:; unscoped: #foo#<br>");
    var foo    = "var";
    writeOutput("After var: arguments:; unscoped: #foo#<br>");
    foo        = "unscoped";
    writeOutput("After unscoped: arguments:; unscoped: #foo#<br>");
    return {arguments=arguments,foo=foo};

result = f(foo="arg");

Thursday 18 July 2013


I'm a bit late with this as it happened a week or so ago, but I just noticed I've been prattling away on this blog for a year now.

Apropos of nothing, here's some mostly useless information about this blog.

I said in one of my earlier articles that I've learned more about ColdFusion since I started this blog than I had in the preceding few years. This continues to be the case, and I've learned a bunch of good stuff about Application.cfc, ColdFusion regexes, JSON (grumble), REST, interfaces (in general, as well as ColdFusion's inplementation of them), and various other odds 'n' sods. Even some web sockets stuff, whilst troubleshooting that security issue from a coupla weeks back. I've also used Railo a lot more, and had a look at Coldbox. Beyond ColdFusion I've also started dabbling with PHP and Ruby. It's been cool! I hope some of it was useful to you, or at least slightly interesting. Or killed some time whilst you tried to decipher what I was wittering on about.

To close, I'd like to say special thanks to a few people whose participation in this blog has been helpful, interesting or thought-provoking. In no particular order, and it's certainly not an exhaustive list:
  • Chris Kobrzak
  • Sean Corfield
  • Andrew Myers
  • Bruce Kirkpatrick
  • Brad Wood
  • Andrew Scott
  • Adam Tuttle
  • Ray Camden
  • Gavin Pickin
  • Jay Cunnington
  • Simon Baynes
  • Duncan Cumming
  • Brian Sadler
There's been a bunch of great input / correction / sanity-checking / bullshit-detection done by a heap of other people too.  Cheers to everyone who's participated here.

And now on to year 2...