Welcome!


One does not typically draw associations between manufacturing, wilderness hikes, the theory of constraints, and the management of information technology solutions. In this discussion we take a look at how applying some of the long-held techniques for optimizing manufacturing processe...
Recently, I've been reading a book recommended to me by my friend, Clark Valberg. The book is A Whole New Mind; its author is Daniel Pink. In this article, I'll discuss why I think the premise of the book holds such promise for ColdFusion programmers - and how it challenges us to rethi...
During a recent conversation between Mike Britton, Brian Kotek, and myself, we were discussing the features that we'd like to see in ColdFusion 8. (A podcast of this discussion can be found at helmsandpeters.com.) I'd like to share with you some thoughts on the topic. Much that follows...
It seems that not a week goes by without another story of a major organization inadvertently leaking private data. In one recent week, representatives of a Rhode Island government agency reported that tens of thousands of credit card transactions on a government-run site had been stole...
For the past several weeks, I've been immersed in writing a large application - so immersed, in fact, that I missed writing my column for last month! This application has been particularly interesting to me because it makes such extensive use of AJAX - that combination of JavaScript, D...
In the last two installments of 'Foundations,' we looked at the issue of static v dynamic typing in ColdFusion and I argued that treating ColdFusion as a statically typed language led to disappointment and defeat. In this issue let's explore some of the possibilities available when we ...
Last month, we took a long look at strong typing. We saw that while strong typing offers many benefits in a language such as Java, trying to attach strong typing to ColdFusion produces really difficult problems. And last month, due to my 'in' connections, we were even able to briefly i...
In this article, I argue that by adopting the static typing model found in languages such as Java, we have been seduced into accepting a bad model - or at least a model that is inappropriate for the dynamic typing mechanism inherent in ColdFusion. I'll explain the problems that such a ...
In the first etude, we looked at arrays; in the second, we worked with structures. In this etude, let's work through some exercises that may use one or the other or both. Ready to dig in?
The life of a writer is sometimes a lonely one. After writing something, you send it out and aren't sure how it will be received. Last month was a happy change: I received a lot of feedback from my column introducing the idea of études. In the introduction to the series on études, we l...
Have you ever noticed the correlation between musicians and programmers? Some of the best programmers I know are or have been musicians. I recently had a class where 70% of the students were active musicians - some even with CDs of their work.
In their book Head First Design Patterns, the four coauthors lay out a series of key principles for creating robust software designs. One of the most important of these principles is 'Find what varies and encapsulate it.' In this article, let's apply this principle to the use of config...
I've been busy lately providing training in implementing object orientation (OO) with ColdFusion components (CFCs) to several companies. I've found that most ColdFusion developers approach OO as something to 'layer on' over their traditional programming practices. Even many Java develo...
While standing in line at my local coffee shop the other day, I was thinking about how helpful a thorough knowledge of design patterns is for a developer. In case you're unclear about what design patterns are, think of them as time-tested solutions to very specific problems.
My heart beat faster as the mail carrier handed me the mail. There it was: my latest edition of Thrilling Tech Tales magazine. As I always do, I immediately turned to the exact center of the magazine to read the latest installment of 'The Adventures of the Morphic Family.' This week, i...
The Agile Manifesto is the product of 17 smart, well-meaning developers who met in February 2001 to discuss problems in software development. The list of developers included Kent Beck, Alistair Cockburn, Martin Fowler, Ron Jeffries, Robert 'Uncle Bob' Martin, and Dave Thomas - people w...
'I'm getting a lot of resistance,' my client told me. 'Prospective clients love the functionality of our application, but they shy away when they hear that it's developed in ColdFusion. Their IT people don't like it and we're starting to lose sales.'
For more than seven years, Fusebox (www.fusebox.org), now in its fourth version, has been the dominant framework for building ColdFusion applications. During that time, Fusebox has evolved from a set of best practices into a mature framework capable of tackling very large jobs while re...
If you missed this year's CFUN conference (June 26-27), you missed a lot. In addition to the great time spent meeting and talking with other ColdFusion programmers, Ben Forta gave a keynote demo of the next version of ColdFusion, code-named 'Blackstone'.
One of the most enduring of American legends is that of John Henry, the 'steel drivin' man,' who pitted his strength against a machine - and won. Unlike many legends, John Henry was a real person - a former slave who was hired by the C&O Railroad to cut holes in rock into which explosi...
I was playing a particularly tough game of online Texas Hold'em with someone who called himself 'all_or_nothing'. I looked at my two hole cards: a 10 of spades and a 10 of clubs. It was down to just the two of us, vying for the total prize money of $5.00.
I recently gave a class in Fusebox 4 during which the issue of security came up. This issue seems to cause a good deal of trouble for programmers - so much so that when we wrote Fusebox 4 we provided some built-in abilities to help programmers with this.
It's past midnight and I'm in my car, prowling Atlanta for a good cup of coffee. (Such are the challenges of members of the Cult of the Midnight Programmer.) My cell phone rings.
I've just returned from a four-day class on Mach-II (www.mach-ii.com) that Ben Edwards and I gave to a group of developers at Macromedia in San Francisco. It was great fun to be working with so skilled a group.