BlogFusion by Jake McKee,... Today!

At noon today (US/EST) Jake McKee will provide an overview of his ColdFusion-based blog (and photoblog) software, BlogFusion. BlogFusion is a powerful, un-encrypted, easy to install, easy to use blog functionality. If you would like to set up a ColdFusion based blog in a matter of minutes, this one's for you. This event is hosted by the Online ColdFusion Meetup Group.

BlogFusion by Jake McKee
Please RSVP here for the meeting and to get the Breeze Meeting URL.
(The Breeze Meeting URL is the link under more information on the RSVP page)

This is a free event at 12:00 noon US/Eastern time today. For time-zone assistance see Time-Zone Converter.

To join the meeting, first RSVP, then open a browser at the meeting time and date and go to the URL shown below under more information of the RSVP page. When Breeze Meeting starts, click the button on the right to enter as a guest, where you will be prompted to enter a name. (ignore the pair of text fields on the left for username and password, just use the Guest login to the right).

Please enter your name when logging in to the meeting if you wish to be eligible to win a giveaway at the end of the meeting. The giveaways will be a BlogFusion license and a book on an Adobe product. Users with unidentifiable nicknames such as "fozzy" or "aaa" will not eligible, and you must send me the link to your member profile on the OCFMG website.

If you've never used Macromedia Breeze, get a quick overview.

The meeting has just been recorded for public viewing later. You can watch this presentation at any time with the following URL:

Archived: BlogFusion 5 by Jake McKee. Approximate running time is 1 hour.

ColdFusion... Its not Rocket Science! Is it?

Today I stumbled upon a ColdFusion User Group not listed in the Macromedia User Group registry with a really catchy acronym GoCFUG. Makes me think of Inspector Gadget, actually. The Goddard ColdFusion Users Group is for use by NASA web developers at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

The Goddard Coldfusion Users Group is created to provide a friendly and informal forum for NASA developers -using Macromedia technologies- to share their expertise and thus gain practical knowledge for building better software.

They'd tell you more, but they'd have to kill you. Er... maybe that's the other government CFUG I'm thinking of ;)

Web application could not be found to accept sessions for replication

Session replication is a feature of the JRun 4 server where session data from a server instance that partipates in a cluster propagates that data via RMI to other session buddies in the JRun cluster. For ColdFusion MX 6.x and 7.x servers that run on a JRun 4 cluster, there are several situations that might result in the following error appearing in the JRun server's out.log:

The web application 'cfusion-ear#cfusion-war' could not be found to accept sessions for replication


Get Yours: Video Introduction to Total Training

Think Geek, Think Total TrainingNow that the Online ColdFusion Meetup Group is registered with Total Training, I've received a box full of introductory DVDs with a couple hours of sample lessons for learning products such as Adobe Photoshop CS2, After Effects, Illustrator, and more.

If you would like to receive one of these DVDs (by snail mail), please contact me with your name and mailing address. I'll send a "Video Introduction to Total Training" DVD to you by regular mail.

The Online ColdFusion Meetup Group holds free online events with Adobe Breeze Meeting on a regular basis with ColdFusion topics presented by ColdFusion gurus. If you've never used Breeze Meeting, get a quick overview here .

From the Total Training Introduction Video DVD label:

Presented by top experts in their fields, Total Training's CD- and DVD-based video series offer informative, memorable, and fun explorations of some of the most popular and powerful software programs available. With an in-depth and graphical instruction, Total Training gets you up to speed on the basics, and then helps take you to the next level.

Enjoy this introduction to Total Training, and get a first-hand look at how our video production instruction is changing how users look at their software, for the better.

Read about how much I like using Total Training DVDs.

Demonstration of Connection Failover for Oracle DSNs

Earlier this week I blogged about using the Oracle AlternateServers connection string parameter with ColdFusion Oracle datasources for connection failover, a feature of the DataDirect 3.5 driver bundle. This blog entry shows a network trace of connection failover in action using the Ethereal Network Analyzer (a favorite tool) to packet sniff a simple query made from a ColdFusion page. The packets were traced between the ColdFusion server and the Oracle database. Effectively, the trace shows the TCP communication between the JDBC driver in macromedia_drivers.jar version 3.5 to the Oracle database server.

To demonstrate how this works, I configured the datasource with incorrect information to simulate a situation where an Oracle database is unreachable. I listed the default port incorrectly, and provided a list of two alternate Oracle servers where the first in that list also had an incorrect port. The last in the list, which was the third server/port pair in the sequence provided a known good host/port combination. I then restarted the ColdFusion server to make sure any existing connections were dropped, and then began tracing all connections from the ColdFusion server to Oracle, and finally I made a single page request for a simple query to that datasource. You can see in the trace that three connection attempts were made in the order specified in the JDBC URL, where the first two (highlighted in red by Ethereal) failed to connect, and the third was successful.


Outlook for my professional development

Since I began supporting ColdFusion customers for Allaire many years ago I've taken a wide range of computer and web development courses in local universites and vendors, as well as many internal training classes on Macromedia products. Except for a few vendor certifications though, I have no advanced degree or similar milestone to demonstrate my aptitude and achievements in computer or web technology.

I'd like to be able point a tangible and definitive milestone to demonstrate my technical level to others, as well as to satisfy myself when reflecting on the subject. To address this need, I've committed to a 6 month Master's Certificate in Java and J2EE from Boston University. I think a Certifcate from an accredited university carries much more weight than most vendor "certifcates", so much so that I wish the naming convention was different because you can't compare a 60 minute multiple choice test with a 6 month program. At any rate, the BU Master of Java & J2EE Certificate includes the following sequence of courses which could be broken down into two sub-areas:


Doug Hughes on the Alagad Image and Captcha Components

Doug Hughes generously donated his time to the Online ColdFusion Meetup Group on Thursday of last week to present two projects, the Alagad Image Component and the Alagad Captcha Component. Doug actually presented the same talk the day before as part of the Macromedia User Group Tech Wednesday program. For the Online CF Meetup Group, Doug gave away two free licenses, one for each of the components, and I gave away a copy of the Macromedia Flash Professional 8 training book (Its in the mail Dave!).

Recording URLs are available below so feel free to watch again and again!

Doug Hughes on the Alagad Image and Captcha Components

Online ColdFusion User Group

Macromedia User Group Tech Wednesday

On Thursday of this week, Doug will present again on his new project Reactor. I will be giving away one copy of ColdFusion MX 7 Standard Edition or an Adobe software product of equal or lesser value per request of the winner. Please RSVP to attend.

If you have a ColdFusion related topic or product that you'd like to share with the developer community, let me know and I'll work with you to hold your own Breeze Meeting. I'm looking for speakers for the next few months, so don't be shy :)

Connection Failover with Oracle and ColdFusion

The most current version of the DataDirect JDBC Drivers (version 3.5) available for ColdFusion MX now support the AlternateServers connection string option for Oracle datasources. The Oracle driver now allows you to specify a list of Oracle Database servers when first establishing the connection. Each database server in the list will be tried until one is successful or until all have been tried unsuccessfully, repeating the list as necessary via the ConnectionRetry property.

ColdFusion MX 7 Administrator currently has a bug where connection string properties are not correctly added to the datasource definition as per this Technote. The Technote suggests that you manually edit the neo-query.xml file to manually add the connection string properties, however for the purpose of AlternateServers, you can just tack it on the end of the value in the Oracle SID field in the CF Admin DSN page.

The syntax for the AlternateServers property is:


Datasource Timeouts and Support for CFQUERY Timeout Attribute

When considering Timeout settings and sources of problematic bottlenecks in ColdFusion applications, a widely held misconception is that all active database connections do not obey timeouts. Discussions surrounding slowness or unresponsiveness in ColdFusion applications often boil down to isolating unusual database activity as the culprit. The explanation provided is often that while the general Timeout in the ColdFusion Administrator, as well as the page level CFSETTING timeout attribute, will be enforced for all page requests except those actively waiting on a response from the database server after a SQL statement has been sent. While this is true, its sometines overlooked that the CFQUERY tag itself has a timeout attribute that is worth considering in some cases. In fact, this particular timeout is something that I've often forgotten, too.

One reason for the confusion over the CFQUERY tag timeout is that not all drivers support it. Of the databases drivers that ship with ColdFusion MX, only the Oracle and SQL Server drivers will enforce the CFQUERY attribute for timeout if it is supplied.

From the ColdFusion documentation for CFQUERY, the timeout attribute is described as:

CFQUERY timeout attribute

Maximum number of seconds that each action of a query is permitted to execute before returning an error. The cumulative time may exceed this value.

For JDBC statements, ColdFusion sets this attribute. For other drivers, check driver documentation.


Getting started with Total Training for Adobe Photoshop CS2

Check it out on Flickr

This weekend I've been learning how to better use Photoshop by watching the 22 hour training video on DVD, Total Training for Adobe Photoshop CS2, hosted by Deke McClelland. I've been a Photoshop user for about 7 years now since version 4 (where CS2 is like version 9 I think).

So far, my only training with Photoshop in the past has been through hands-on experimentation and countless hours upon hours of image correction and manipulation for the many photos I have on the web. I've been carrying around the Total Training set of DVDs for a while, waiting for the time and impetus to sit down and start the training. I've decided that with the Adobe merger with Macromedia, now is the perfect time to begin improving my existing skills and learning the many, many new features introduced with CS and CS2.


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