Adobe MAX 2007 - I'm there in spirit

Making Hard Things Easy


As Jason Delmore, ColdFusion Product Manager, says:
"You really distilled our CF message".

An Experiment with Improved File Upload Handling in CF 8

ColdFusion 8 Application Server offers an important improvement regarding memory utilization during the uploading of large files via the CFFILE tag. This entry will offer an experimental observation to demonstrate the improvement in CF 8, but first I'll expand upon each of the related settings and provide some usage scenarios.

Request Throttle Settings
The ColdFusion 7.01 Administrator introduced new file upload settings to better control file uploads. The broadest setting is called Request Throttle Memory, with a default of 200MB, where its purpose is to regulate the cumulative impact of all concurrent large file uploads on the ColdFusion server. The adjacent setting for Request Throttle Threshold, default of 4MB, is the minimum size of file uploads for which the throttle should regulate, anything below the threshold is ignored by the throttle. Further up on the Settings page is also the new field Maximum Size of Post Data, with a default of 100MB.

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Linux Magazine on using Flex with PHP

In the August 2007 edition of Linux Magazine, the editor contributes an article about the usefulness of integrating PHP with the free Flex SDK to achieve a Rich Internet Application (RIA) in a Web 2.0 world.

Flex and PHP
by Martin Streicher
Linux Magazine (full article available online with free registration)


The author begins by a short comparison of the RIA technologies of AJAX vs. Flex, and goes on to suggest that while AJAX is touted as an alternative to Flex UI's, AJAX suffers from a lack of rich media integration such as video, music, or animations and carries the risk of varying JavaScript behavior across different browser implementations.

The article does a great job describing architectural differences between classic web applications and RIAs. In a multi-tiered Rich Internet Application the application server technology such as PHP, or better yet ColdFusion, acts as the controller to implement business logic and interacts with deeper service layers that interface with the database. However, on the client side, Flex runs in the browser to perform data input validation, displays data visually via drill-down charts and graphs or via paginated data grids, and provides real time updates to changes in data (via Live Cycle Data Services a.k.a. Flex Data Services).

Furthermore, Flex provides a smart looking user interface and seamless user experience akin to typical desktop software while lacking the notoriously painful white screens of death during page refreshes that are commonplace in the Web 1.0 world. In effect, more work is done in the browser as a means of distributed computing, leaving the application server to focus on business logic and freeing it from having to generate the UI again and again across requests.

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Pluggable Web Gallery Templates for Lightroom

Earlier this week, Photoshop Product Manager John Nack blogged about the interactive, Flash-based Web Gallery templates from Airtight Interactive which plug right into Lightroom. When viewing a photo collection in the Web module of Lightroom you can then select the template, customize it, then hit the upload button to magically produce a fun photo gallery on your website. Lightroom already comes with a large suite of HTML and Flash-based gallery templates, but you can't deny that those from Airtight Interactive are SWEET! My favorite is the PostCard Viewer.

I recently published two photo collections using the PostCard Viewer. Although I love the presentation, I still pine for the social interaction found on Flickr such as commenting, notes, and groups.

For my class on Photographic Seeing at BU's Center for Digital Imaging Arts, I was assigned to shoot some locations while keeping in mind several techniques of photographic composition, including:

  • Rule of Thirds
  • Frame within a Frame
  • Decisive Moment
  • Leading Lines
  • Negative Space
  • Pattern
  • Long Depth of Field
  • Shallow Depth of Field
  • Panning
  • Blur
  • Creative Use of Whitespace
  • Dynamic Use of Color


You can decide which is which on the final selection from the Photograph Seeing project, displayed with the Postcard Viewer. Also, as recently blogged about you can also check out my Faces of India project, also in Postcard Viewer format.

Performance Considerations for Running ColdFusion 8 in 64-bit Mode

In yesterday's post about configuration nuances of using a 64-bit webserver and 64-bit JVM with ColdFusion 8 on the 64-bit Sun Solaris OS, Damon Gentry posted a comment that is, frankly, way above my head.

I'm curious about if there are any performance gains by running CF8 with a 64-bit JVM. More specifically, given the CPU architecture differences between Intel/AMD, and Sparc (speed vs. cores), does it make since to stick with Solaris? I know that the Sparc T1 can support 32 cores, albeit at 1.2 GHz, whereas the Intel CPU can support 4 cores @ 3.6GHz. [more]


The short answer is, "I don't know".

64-bit Basics
Ok, so I'm not a computer scientist. I don't even have a computer science degree. However, I do have Google. And Wikipedia. And the rest of the Web. So, I've filtered through a variety of articles and selected the following to help inform me on the topic:



All of these articles are quite long, and I encourage you to read them if this subject interests you. Since I cannot precisely answer Damon's question, I'll try to summarize relevant information that I have gleaned from them about running a Java-based web application on a 64-bit JVM/OS. If you want details about any inferences, you should read the above articles, although I may end up quoting liberally here.

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Faces of India - A Photography Project

As a student at Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts, my first photography assignment was given in the second class, Camera and Workflow II. The assignment was called The Faces Project, and the goal was to take at least 100 photographs of faces, to be narrowed down to 50 for sharing in class, and finally to 2 for large format printing. Ideally, the student would narrow down the project to a particular theme, such as people laughing, people over 60, people jumping, or even (yes) people blowing their noses. While one of the project lessons was to get students to become comfortable with the camera and to quickly navigate and make best use of the exposure controls, the underlying lesson was a social one rather than technological one. As future professional photographers, the ability to confidently interact with and among strangers should not be overlooked. In fact, many of the students expressed a feeling of dread when given the assignment because, like myself, many are introverts or not highly social, and the thought of blindly walking up to strangers to ask for their photo made many a butterfly spin around our stomachs.

As I travel to India for work on occasion, I decided to choose the theme of Faces of India, since I was to be in Bangalore for a short while. At first, I thought the Faces project would be an impossible one. At times I was overcome with fear when contemplating photographing people in a foreign land, but at the same time I knew that I could accomplish this task that the results would likely be fantastic because of the diversity of culture and people found there.

Hostess at the Leela Palace Ingama Focus on the Future
Faces of India Project


The project got off with a few fits and starts, and I warmed up by photographying those with whom I work in the Adobe office in Bangalore. I'm very grateful for their cooperativeness while I fumbled around with positioning them, taking shots, and retaking more shots. They had a lot of patience with me. Soon a few key concepts emerged that I would quickly adapt to which would progressively help make the Faces of India project more successful. I didn't learn them all at the same time or in this order, but here's a few important ideas that became very useful:

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Professional Digital Photography at CDIA

This year I've taken a big step towards turning a long time personal interest into a professional skill. In May I enrolled in the Professional Digital Photography program at Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts, or BU CDIA for short. The curriculum spans 24 classes over nearly 18 months, and requires the commitment of 2 nights per week and every other Saturday.



First Class at CDIA
First class at CDIA
Over the years I've been able to study at various local universities to build web technology skills, including Bentley College, Brandeis University, Harvard Extension School, and BUTrain (Boston University's corporate education). Compared to CDIA, I would be hard pressed to describe a curriculum or facility that was more current and state of the art, or better staffed with highly qualified instructors. CDIA's facility, conveniently located on Moody Street in Waltham, can hardly be called a campus, although it occupies three floors of a huge building converted into classrooms and studios, and will soon expand into an adjacent building that formerly housed a Jordan's Furniture store. In retrospect, only Harvard's Extension School rivals CDIA in quality of equipment and facilities as well as teaching ability of instructors.

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Total Training is Going Online

As a very satisfied owner of Total Training DVD video tutorials on Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, and Flex, I literally recommend their training to everyone I speak with that might have an interest... really, and half the time I chew their ear off because I won't shut up about how great their tutorials are.

Now they're launching online training as well, in HD and available 24/7. Here's some quotes from their website:

Premium Training Goes Online
Total Training is a pioneer in innovative video-based training for creative design, digital video, and office productivity software programs. Our mission is to deliver premium training to our users enabling them to quickly learn new software applications. Now, for the first time, our award-winning videos are available online.

  • Access award-winning training 24/7
  • High-quality content produced in HD
  • Explore the customized interface


  • Customized Controls
  • Search Content Within Lessons
  • Lesson Progression Tracking
  • Ability to Bookmark Lessons




Get the Entire Total Training Online: Adobe Library for FREE!
In celebration of our upcoming Total Training Online release, we're offering this once in a lifetime opportunity. For every purchase of $150* or more, you will receive the Total Training Online Adobe Library absolutely free for 1 year that's over $1,000 worth of DVDs accessible online! View our Adobe Library below.

Hurry! Offer expires June 15, 2007.



P.S.

Dear Total Training:

Please add ColdFusion 8 training as a part of your web technology stable of training products.

Thanks!

Forums and Support for ColdFusion 8 Public Beta

ColdFusion 8 on Adobe LabsThe ColdFusion 8 flood gates have opened wide in the blogosphere, and ColdFusion developers everywhere have begun to consider and experiment with the wide range of great new features. As you know, Adobe Labs is hosting the ColdFusion 8 Public Beta, so if you haven't downloaded and installed it yet, now's the time.

Surely you'll have some questions about features and functionality as you play with the Server Monitor, Flex / LiveCycle DataServices Integration, Ajax integration, PDF documents and forms, Image processing, database driver enhancements, performance improvements, and all the other new features. Be certain to read the Installation Instructions and the Release Notes for known issues. Adobe Labs has set up a ColdFusion 8 Forum where you can begin discussion of your development ideas and experiences.

Questions are welcome, and remember that, for now, this is a public beta, so your input is wanted to help shape the final release. If you feel confident that you've uncovered a bug or have an urgent enhancement request then you can enter a report here. All reports are read and evaluated on technical merit and distribution of impact (i.e. how many developers or sites may experience the reported problem).

I'm thrilled that I've been able to contribute to the development and quality assurance testing for this upcoming final release of ColdFusion 8, and I'm completely certain you will be too.

But work is not done yet, so get ColdFusion 8 Public Beta and provide your feedback.

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Video: The Streets of Bangalore India

You'll never complain about the traffic in your town again! Driving in Bangalore, India is not for the faint hearted. Bangalore has undergone an extreme population explosion in the last decade with the growth of the IT Industry. In my experience, Bangalore has unparalleled traffic congestion and chaos compared to anywhere in North America or Europe.

The first 3 minutes of this video are the last stretch in our daily commute from the Leela Palace Hotel to the Adobe office on Bannerghatta Road along the IT corridor. Starting at 4 minutes into the video is a backseat view from a ride inside one of those yellow-capped auto rickshaws from the office to the nearby Forum Mall. It was as much fun as an amusement park!

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