Monday, December 6, 2010

Why choose ColdFusion?

I just found a great document on the Adobe website which summarizes the benefits of using ColdFusion. Very Cool!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How to Learn ColdFusion

Here are a few tips for how to go about learning ColdFusion

  • Adobe Documentation ( then click on "Developer Documentation." This is a terrific resource. Look for two items in particular:
    • Developing ColdFusion 9 Applications - this is basically a free text book It is 1317 pages long!! It explains how to do a heck of a lot - for free!
    • ColdFusion 9 CFML Reference - This one is the dictionary. It is a listing of each tag and function. But, it doesn’t explain HOW to do anything.
  • CFQuickDocs (
    • a quick interface for the reference mentioned above. It is a faster interface
  • Safari Books online ( - this one is not free, but it lets you search through hundreds (maybe thousands) of books including some that have not been released yet (Rough Cuts - like Ben Forta's Web Application Construction Kit for CF9)
  • ColdFusion Meetup ( - This is an online user group which records the meetings, so you can go back to older topics which you didn't need then, but do need now.
  • Take a class - I also am a ColdFusion instructor, so I teach classes. Take a look at courses available online or in person.
  • Online Blogs - It is amazing how many tutorials are available online. Learn to fine tune your search techniques and you can find a ton of help.
  • Practice practice practice - actual need is the best teacher in a way. The more you just try things out, the more you learn!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

ColdFusion 9 Extensions for Dreamweaver

Download the extension for Dreamweaver to update the language support for CF9.

The downloads page has other useful items, too!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Adobe Trial versions

Adobe CS5 has been announced, but the products are not quite available for purchase or trial until June

If you are looking for a trial version of Adobe CS4 products before then, this website has direct links.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

CS5 to be officially launched April 12 - shipment 1 to 2 months later

Adobe will be announcing the details of the Creative Suite 5 launch. It is expected to be available for sale about a month later.

Word Wrap in CFBuilder

Contrary to popular belief, CFBuilder DOES allow word-wrap. It is just a little buried in the menus.

Find it here:

* Open Window --> Preferences --> HTML --> Editors
* Click the Advanced Tab
* Check "Enable Word Wrap"
* Restart CF Builder.

Passing by Reference vs. Passing by Value in ColdFusion

I just received a great question from a former student regarding passing by reference vs. passing by value in ColdFusion.

I know in some languages you can choose whether you are passing by reference or by value. In CF, it is kind of tricky.

Basically, if you pass a simple value (regular variable or array) will be passing by value, but if you pass a complex object (cfc, struct, query, etc) you will be passing by reference.

I found this great blog posting from Ray Camden which explains it very well. Check it out!

Create CFCs entirely in - "generate script style code"

Maybe one of the coolest new features in CF9 is the ability to create entire CFC's using a <cfscript> style syntax. And, the CFBuilder will help you build the structure of the code when you check the box labeled "generate script style code."

Learn more from Budd Wright.

Here is an example of the basic structure:

component  displayname="jhjh" hint="Sample Utitility" output="false"
 property name="x" type="any";

 public any function getX()
  return x;

 public void function setX( required any x )
  x = arguments.x;

 public  function Hello World()



Getting Started with the CF Builder

Here is a quick demo on how to get started with the CF Builder.

Script Functions Implemented as CFCs

One of the big restrictions in using the tag was the inability to use any ColdFusion tags. That meant you could not query the database, send an email or use other powerful tags.

That changes in ColdFusion 9!

ColdFusion 9 allows the following tags to be exposed as CFCs.

ftp (cfftp)
http (cfhttp)
mail (cfmail)
pdf (cfpdf)
query (cfquery)
storedproc (cfstoredproc)

Check out this example in the documentation on how to create a query object by calling the query CFC.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Don't Overlook Regular Expressions

I find in many of my classes that programmers have overlooked the use of Regular Expressions. Sometimes called Pattern Matching, RegEx is used to find particular patterns. It is great to use in form validation but it can also be used for much more.

It is supported in many languages including JavaScript, ColdFusion, Java and many more (including the Find and Replace feature in Dreamweaver!).

Use the RegEx Tester and see some sample Regular Expressions at the Regular Expression Library.

ColdFusion Meetup online

If you have not yet found the online ColdFusion MeetUp, you will love it! They have experts discussing topics from beginner level to very advanced.

Sign up and check out the meeting archive.

Terrific Tutorial on ColdFusion 9

Dan Vega from the Cleveland CFUG has written a great tutorial called Three new user interface controls in ColdFusion 9.

Read it!

ColdFusion Builder released

Adobe's new IDE for ColdFusion has been released. I was at a Cleveland ColdFusion User Group (CFUG) meeting last year where Adobe's Product Manager for ColdFusion showed off many of the features and it looks tremendous. It has had two rounds in beta.

Read more about the new Adobe ColdFusion Builder.

PS - It includes a free copy of the Flash Builder Standard!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Online Training Tips

I have been teaching online classes since 2000. It is amazing to think it has been 10 years!! Quite a lot have changed since then. Primarily, bandwidth has increased a lot. That means we can not use VOIP with much less of a delay.

This is a list of tips that I I have for anyone interested in learning ho to teach online. I hope you find them helpful!



Remind people that they have to pay attention! I make a point to remind people that an online class is just like an in person class. But, since we can't see each other, it is harder for me to know if anyone is even paying attention. I joke that if I see your head hit the table when you fall asleep from boredom, or if you roll your eyes at my bad jokes, or if you take a call on your cell phone and leave the room - I will probably see those things in an in person class!! If that happens in an online class, I have no idea. Students need to communicate more to let the instructor know when something is going wrong. They could all pick up the phone and walk out of the room and I will unknowingly be talking to no one!!

Engage students more. Having said that, the instructor has to be sure to engage students more. Ask questions, call people by name, use the tools in the application you are using (like polls, chat, changing of status) to involve people.

Use your voice. You have to use more inflection to sound interesting. When in person, you can use body language, eye contact and other things you do not have access to online.

Take an online class. As a student in a class, it is hard to juggle all the windows you need to use in one monitor (or even two). If you have time to sit in a class, it will help you know what the experience is like.

Set up a second computer so you can monitor the delay. Set up a second computer that will sit close enough for you to see it and log into that computer as a student. Watch that computer to get an idea of how long the delay is. If you are using VOIP or a phone for audio, your voice will not get to the participants at the same time as the screen captures.

Slow down and Mind the delay!! Don't move the mouse too quickly or switch windows too quickly. When you are showing something important, be sure to pause for a couple of seconds to ensure that everyone gets a view of what you are trying to show.

Announce your schedule. I try to stick to a schedule a bit more in an online class. For example, if I expect that an exercise will have about 20-30 minutes, I will say, "It is 30 past the hour. I expect that this exercise will take about 20 minutes. I will check back with you at 45 minutes past the hour to see how it is going. In the mean time, if you have a question, please "raise your hand" in the classroom application or type something in the chat area to get my attention." This way, they may take off the headsets and can focus on the exercise without worrying about missing something.

Stick to your schedule. If you say you will check in at 45 minutes past the hour, stick to that! If you don't start speaking until 47 or 48 past the hour, your students are sitting around wondering what is going on. In a regular classroom, people can see that you are making your way to the front of the room and understand what is going on.

Use public chat rather than private messaging (when appropriate). If you are pm'ing students, the others are sitting around wondering what is going on. When possible answer questions using your voice or public chat so that others can benefit from the answers.

Ask for feedback periodically. Ask if you are going too fast or two slow and check in with them periodically.

Online classes can be just as effective as in person classes, but it does take a little more work on the part of both the instructor and the student. Best of luck!!