Rey Bango

Web developer, honey badger

@gotcfm – The New Twitter Account for ColdFusion News & Evangelism

Just a quick note that I created a new Twitter account (@gotcfm) which will be used to tweet about CF-related news and evangelism. It will be broad reaching focusing on all CFML-based technologies including Adobe ColdFusion, Railo, OpenBD and more.

Be sure to follow the account. If you have interesting CF news that you think should be tweeted, just send a tweet to @gotcfm.

Special thanks to Aaron West and Ben Nadel for helping manage the account.

UPDATE:

I just noticed that there's a @cfbloggers Twitter account as well! That is awesome. The reach of @cfbloggers is much more expansive covering all topics posted by specific bloggers. @gotcfm will be a little more narrowly focused but there's no way that it will grab as much CF-related content as @cfbloggers. So I recommend that you follow that account as well. @cfbloggers Twitter account.

BlogCFC Attribution Quirk in RSS Feed

The other day, someone pointed out to me that my posts weren't showing attribution (i.e. by Rey Bango) when viewed via Google Reader. Sure enough, when I looked at a recent post picked up by Planet jQuery, it didn't show the attribution.

I looked into the BlogCFC code and updated blog.cfc to include the following code snippet:

#xmlFormat(name)#

I'm hoping that resolves the issue.

Update:

Adding that code did in fact fix the issue and I now see attribution on my posts via Reader. Hey Ray, can you update BlogCFC accordingly?

Thoughts and Goals for 2009

As I begin 2009, I've been pondering quite a bit about which direction I'd like to take my career in. At the age of 40, I'm certainly not a spring chicken but I do feel that I'm at a great point in my life where I have a tremendous amount of experience while still feeling the fire to learn more. For the last 19 years or so, my career has revolved around development. Basically, I've been a coder most of my career and apart from some short stints in a business development role, I've really focused on the development side of things. This isn't a bad thing by any means and I think I've been fairly successful at it. I do feel, though, that it's time to expand a bit and 2009 will be the year to do it.

Product Management

I want to get more involved in product management. Taking a product from inception to production is REALLY challenging. I'm not talking about coding it. I'm talking about overseeing the process of taking an idea and helping drive it to market. That means more interaction with users, marketing, biz dev, PR and media.

The fact that I have a strong technology background, in my opinion, will help by being able to understand the bottlenecks in the process and helping any team that I work with overcome those hurdles.

My new boss, Nick Nguyen, has already started mentoring me on this and I believe he'll be able to teach me quite a bit.

Technology

My bread-and-butter has always been my technical side and I can't ever see that going away (although diminishing in importance slightly).

Firefox Add-ons

Apart from a focus on product management, I think that becoming “Mark Finkle” knowledgeable in add-on development will be the single most important goal for me in 2009. It's such an important part of my day-to-day and will go a long way in helping me support the add-ons community. Having a solid understanding of the development process will help me do a better job of being a product manager in the future.

ColdFusion

For the last 10 years, I've been knee deep in ColdFusion and, if I say so myself, one of its biggest supporters and flag-wavers.

While I love ColdFusion and think it's an amazingly powerful application server, I also feel it's time for me to explore other server-side options. When you look at the landscape, there's an abundance of very hot languages and frameworks which are not only feature-rich but monetarily appealing. The demand for Python, Ruby & PHP skills, especially when coupled with Django, Rails/Merb or CakePHP, has grown steadily and the need to diversify is pretty obvious. There's still a great demand for ColdFusion developers but I think to keep yourself fresh, you need to try new things (even if they're more painful than what you're used to).

With Mozilla heavily vested in PHP & CakePHP, chances are that I'll go that route although the other two server technologies are very appealing.

jQuery & JavaScript

I think many of my blog readers know that I'm a member of the jQuery Project Team and it's something that I'm very proud to be a part of. The project has skyrocketed in part to the amazing team that we have and I firmly expect to continue to push the jQuery message into 2009.

Just before I started using jQuery, I was a server-side developer who wanted to expand in to JavaScript and client-side development mainly because of Ajax. So I bought a book and started hacking at JavaScript, DOM and XHR. Shortly after I discovered jQuery and it was like the sea parted and I saw the road to the client-side. I jumped onto the jQuery train and never looked back.

With that said, of recent, I've felt a bit of hole in me. Over the last 2 years, I've met some amazingly smart JavaScript developers and read some really awesome JavaScript articles and it hit me how much I want to learn more about the JavaScript language. Mind you, I'm not interested in being the next John Resig or Peter Higgins but I do want to develop a much stronger understanding of the techniques and patterns that make libraries such as jQuery, Dojo, YUI & MooTools so helpful.

The great thing is that my time with jQuery has really helped me understand so key concepts of the JS language but I also know there are techniques that I am not fluent in and I think understanding them will help me dramatically improve my contributions to the project & community as well as my own development work. Does this mean I'll stop using jQuery? No freaking way! jQuery continues to be a God-send and I couldn't picture having to hand-code all of the script that jQuery provides in one small method call. And if I want to learn how to do it, I have no better teacher than John Resig himself, whom I can call anytime and ask him for help. In other words, jQuery FTW!

What it does mean is that I will start practicing straight JavaScript a lot more and going back to the basics to make sure I understand things clearly. I've already started by cracking open Christian Heilmann's book “Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax”. I'm planning on following that book up with the following:

  • Pro JavaScript Techniques by John Resig
  • Pro JavaScript Design Patterns by Dustin Diaz
  • Object-Oriented JavaScript by Stoyan Stefanov

I'll also be hitting up the YUI theatre since they have some really awesome videos by Eric Miraglia & Douglas Crockford.

Getting a better grasp of JavaScript will also help me in achieving my goal of knowing the Mozilla add-on platform at the guru level.

CSS

One of my biggest weaknesses is my lack of advanced understanding of CSS techniques. I can certainly use CSS and create a basic stylesheet but there are so many dimensions to CSS which I don't know. If I could be half as talented in CSS as Bradley Sepos or Scott Jehl, I'd be happy and I think that achieving that isn't unattainable.

I've bought a couple of books including a video tutorial by Eric Myers and yep Sitepoint books, all highly recommended.

Writing

One area that I've been falling behind on is writing more articles and blog posts for my personal blog as well as Ajaxian. Ajaxian is extremely important as it allows me to share techniques and code that I find useful, in the hopes the community will also find it beneficial. It's a great soundboard and I really need to dedicate some time to it.

The AMO blog is another site that I plan on giving more attention to especially as I become more proficient in add-on development.

Finally, I want to contribute more content to LearningjQuery.com. My good friend Karl Swedberg has done a great job building that site and I need to do a better job of supporting him.

Next Steps

The next logical step for me is to decide how to prioritize what I learn. The product management side of things is easy since it'll be part of my daily work and I have good mentors including Basil Hashem and Nick Nguyen.

Learning another server-side language may ultimately fall to my lowest priority simply because I see a greater value proposition by becoming strong in add-on development and JavaScript.

The nice thing about my job is that I can expand into a non-technology role (at least not coding) while still being able to dabble in technology.

I have some planning to do in the next week or so so I can set a workable schedule.

jQuery Replacements for CFGRID, CFWINDOW, and CFTOOLTIP

Sean Corfield blogged about some new jQuery-based Ajax replacement widgets created by Michael Sprague.

Michael wrapped the functionality of FlexiGrid, jTip and jqModal (3 of the best jQuery plugins available) into easy to use ColdFusion tags that serve to replace CFGRID, CFWINDOW, and CFTOOLTIP.

I checked them out and Michael did an excellent job!

Thanks for finding this Sean.

Lemony-Fresh ColdFusion 8 YouTube Video

I never saw this video during the CF8 beta. Its pretty funny!

Wishes Do Come True (Pt 2)!!! Thanks Gary Gilbert!

So I go out to my front door and what do I spy? Another box from Amazon! Now, I know that Ben Nadel showed me some love last week and picked me up the awesome book “PPK on JavaScript” for my work on GotCFM.com but I was sure Ben doesn't like me THAT much! LOL!

So I open it and BAM! another book off of my Amazon wishlist! It was the book Web Analytics: An Hour a Day which I really wanted to help me improve my skills on determining site metrics! And I have Gary Gilbert to thank for this book. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I really appreciate Gary! :D

GotCFM.com 1000 Sites Contest – The Winners!!!

First I want to thank everyone that submitted a site during the contest. We had an incredible number of site submissions since I first announced the contest on 8/10/2007. Since that time, we have had 543 sites submitted to GotCFM.com bringing the list total to 1,533 sites!!!!! As many of you know, GotCFM.com was built to help promote CF-based technologies
and is currently aggregating a sizeable list of CFML-Powered sites to show off to the the development community. Every new site submissions helps further that cause and I really appreciate those who took the time to submit a site.

Next, onto the winners:

Site #1005 http://www.laurieskitchen.com was submitted by info@laurieskitchen.com. They will be getting a “What Would Ben Do” tshirt.

Site #1004 http://www.HotelBook.com was submitted by Alan Rother. Alan will be getting a “Got ColdFusion?” tshirt.

Site #1003 http://www.machinerynetwork.com was submitted by Jim Wright. Jim will be getting a “What Would Ben Do” tshirt.

Site #1002 http://www.techsoup.org was submitted by Michael Wright. Michael will be getting a “Got ColdFusion?” tshirt.

Site #1001 http://www.fitnessblog.it/fitnessblog/index.cfm was submitted by Luca Unti. Luca will be getting a “Got ColdFusion?” tshirt and a “Got ColdFusion?” coffee mug.

and the grand prize winner for site #1000 is Steve “Cutter” Blades for the site http://www.apposchooldistrict.com/. Steve will be getting an Adobe laptop-ready backpack filled with Adobe goodness (small promo items, t-shirts, etc…) and a GotColdFusion? coffee mug.

I've been in contact with all of the winners and they're all thrilled. I would like to congratulate all of them and thank them for their efforts.

On a final note, I would like to encourage everyone to continue to
submit sites to GotCFM.com as it will help to show how pervasive
CF-based technologies really are.

Compressing Spry's JavaScript Files Part 2

Last month I set out to see how far I could compress the CF8 JavaScript files. As many have come to find out, the YUI, Ext and Spry JS files can be rather large and I wanted to bring them down as much as possible.

As I was reading Ajaxian today, I saw a post about a new compressor called YUI Compressor which is a Java-based application which helps to greatly minify your JavaScript code. In speaking to my friend Tane Piper, he told me that he saw *amazing* results when he used it against his jQuery plugins. So I had to give this a shot against the CF8 files.

I immediately tried it against Spry's largest file, SpyData.js, and here were my results:

SpryData.js uncompressed: 126k
SpryData.js minified: 66k

Woah! Almost a 50% reduction in size.

I then tried it against the Dojo ShrinkSafe version of SpyData.js that I had created last month:

SpryData.js compressed with ShrinkSafe: 72k
SpryData.js minified: 64k

Wow, even more reduction if I run through the file through ShrinkSafe first!

I did try this on the Ext-All.js file and also saw a reduction of 30k in an already compressed file!

This is really a good utility to have and the results are outstanding. I would say to use this in conjunction with another packer and some http compression for really boosting performance on your web apps.

*** NOTE: If you're going to use this, please be sure to backup your existing CF8 JavaScript files just in case something doesn't work as expected.

YUI Compressor

Wishes Do Come True!!! Thanks Ben Nadel!

Trying to make GotCFM.com something useful to the ColdFusion community has been a bit of an effort. While the site looks very simple, there's a lot of things going on behind the scenes from testing URLs to contacting submitters who are trying to game the site.

So following the lead of other bloggers that I've seen, I put up my Amazon Wishlist in the hopes that someone might find my efforts of value and get me something from my wishlist. I wasn't expecting anything but if it happened, it would be really cool.

Well, today I get a package from Amazon which was a bit of a surprise. When I opened it up, one of the books from wishlist was there!!!! I had added PPK on JavaScript to the list and now I had it in my hands!!!

When I looked at the receipt, whom do I find as the sender? Noneother than my good friend Ben Nadel and a little note that said: “Rey, Kick ass on GotCFM.com :) I think it's really a great thing”.

Ben man, you made my day and I really appreciate it. Thanks for valuing my efforts bud! :)

GotCFM.com Approaching 1000 Sites – Contest/Prizes

I'm very happy to announce that GotCFM.com, the site dedicated to promotion CF-based technology, is just 10 sites shy of reaching 1000 CFML-Powered sites. This is really an awesome achievement and helps to show that CF-technologies are very relevant in today's Internet development efforts.

To commemorate the 1000th site submission, Adobe has generously donated a Adobe laptop-ready backpack filled with Adobe goodness (small promo items, t-shirts, etc…). Also, Will Tomlinson of ColdFusionGear has graciously donated Got ColdFusion? mugs and tshirts.

So here's the way this will work:

  • The submitter for site 1,000 will get the Adobe backpack and a GotColdFusion? coffee mug

I will then give prizes to the next five “unique” submitters
irregardless of site position. By unique submitters, I mean five different people.

The prizes for that will be as follows:

  • Submitter #1 will get a Got ColdFusion? tshirt and a Got ColdFusion? coffee mug
  • Submitter #2 will get a Got ColdFusion? tshirt
  • Submitter #3 will get a “What Would Ben Do” tshirt
  • Submitter #4 will get a Got ColdFusion? tshirt
  • Submitter #5 will get a “What Would Ben Do” tshirt

The rules:

  • The submission must be for a “CFML-powered” site which is not already on the list
  • The site MUST be predominantly CFML-powered. If it has one CFM page in it with the rest powered by another technology, then it won't qualify.
  • It must follow the guidelines listed here:

    http://www.gotcfm.com/thelist.cfm

  • You MUST provide your email address when submitting so I can get a hold of you. If you don't enter your email address, you will not be eligible.
  • When contacted, you have 5 days to reply with a shipping address. If no reply is received, a new winner will be chosen for the respective prize
  • Employees of Adobe, New Atlanta, Railo, the Smith Project, and any CF application server project/maker are not eligible.

The winners will be announced on CF-Talk on Friday, August 17th, 2007.

The prizes will be shipped anywhere in the world via standard postal service.

I want to thank everyone for their support and look forward to continuing the effort of promoting CF-technologies to the development community.

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