Click here to close now.

Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson, Daniel Kaar

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

Using Syndicated Content in Spectra

Using Syndicated Content in Spectra

Managing and displaying content stored in the Spectra object store will be a major feature of any Spectra project. Content will come from a variety of places: self-service applications, system-generated messages and objects, and externally provided articles and data from a variety of content providers. The latter is called "syndicated content." This article demonstrates how one might automate the insertion of syndicated content from an outside news service.

Getting Started
There are two methods of getting syndicated content in Allaire Spectra: the hard way...and the easy way. The easy way is to transfer content over HTTP from one Spectra machine to another using the Syndication features of the COAPI (Content Object API) (see Figure 1, Scenario 3). This content syndication process gets a terrific write-up in chapter 14, "Syndication and Remote Access," of the Programming with Allaire Spectra manual.

Alternatively, content vendors wouldn't need their own Spectra servers, but would simply package the data in an XML format, WDDX, that Spectra understands (Figure 1, Scenario 2). Allaire will soon begin to promote WDDX, as implemented by the COAPI, for this purpose. Spectra users and content providers can also use XSL transformation engines to normalize XML data before or after syndication. Allaire may soon bundle Granularity Information Architecture's GIAXT XSL transformation engine (www.granularity.com) to provide such translation services.

In the meantime we'll need to process newsfeeds ourselves and programmatically funnel them into the object store through the COAPI (Figure 1, Scenario 1). It's not elegant, but it's easy to implement and works quite well.p> If you want real-time news from a variety of sources and you want it fast, one of the best places to start is Screaming Media (www.screamingmedia.net). Screaming Media is a nice solution because they aggregate content from hundreds of traditional and nontraditional sources, provide data in a consistent format, allow you to pay only for what you use and don't require impression-based royalties. For $2,500 up-front and $500/month (and up), Screaming Media will send piping-hot, filtered news to a proprietary Java component, Siteware, that sits on your server. Reuters, Wavo and iSyndicate provide a similar service and each has its own proprietary or third-party syndication components.

Installing the Siteware component first requires installing the Java 1.1.8 Run-time Environment (JRE) from http://java.sun.com. You then unzip some files and add a "siteware.bat" shortcut (on NT) to the start-up (C:\WINNT\Profiles\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup) directory. This file includes the JDBC:OBDC driver that Siteware uses to communicate with MS SQL Server. Make sure you install this in the default directory.

When you order news from Screaming Media, you specify filters describing the type of news you want, industry segments, keywords and so forth. Each filter becomes a feed that has its own configuration files specifying field delimiter characters, escape character policies, headers and footers. Siteware "wakes up" every 15 minutes and pulls your feeds off the Screaming Media servers. It then processes the feeds in one of four ways as Hclient, DBClient, fClient or pClient.

If you're running MS SQL server or have access to a JDBC driver for your favorite database, using the DBClient database insertion method is a no-brainer (tell Screaming Media this is how you want Siteware set up). The Hclient method is quite interesting since it will write content into templates using variable substitution. Once we build our Screaming Media News object type, we could create a sample object and use it as a prototype template for use with this method. Since databases are more flexible than flat files, I've chosen to use DBClient for my own installation. fClient and pClient can also write out delimited text files but you need to parse them and process them yourself - no fun.

To store Screaming Media content temporarily, you'll need to create a table in your SQL database with the columns listed in Table 1.

I've set up a DSN in the ODBC administrator called "SyndicatedContent" that points to my "SyndicatedContent" database and defaults to the "ScreamingContent" table.

If you're getting sports scores from Screaming Media, you'll need to add additional fields to your ScreamingContent table or create a new table ("ScreamingSportsContent," perhaps!). For more information on sports scores, contact Screaming Media directly.

Screaming Media's technical staff will edit Siteware's configuration files to match the DSN and table names you've created. Extract the *.zip file they send you and run siteware.bat (located in the IMDSJServer/bin directory) from the command prompt. When you see two "SUCCESS" prompts and a blinking cursor beneath, Siteware has initialized successfully and has begun dumping content into your database. Look into your database table and you'll see the stories that meet your filter criteria.

The next step is moving the content from the syndication table into Spectra. The first thing we need to do is create a ScreamingNews object type that defines how the data will be stored in the Spectra database. This requires some "data modeling" in the Webtop. After logging in under the admin account, go to System Design > Site Object Designer > Property Definitions and create the properties in Table 2.

I've added the bCleaned property to those in the database as a flag to denote whether the default text has been reviewed to clean up any formatting inconsistencies from the feed. I also added properties that allow me to bind photographs to ScreamingNews objects. You can license photos from several places on the Internet including Reuters and the Associated Press. Spectra ships with a "core" system object type IMAGE (70E7DFB6-A67E-11D2-B3AC00C04FA35A23) that you can define as an embedded property in any object type. We'll embed an IMAGE property into the news article as well as provide a vertical alignment control variable and useimage flag.

Once the properties are created, you can actually create the object type itself (you must follow this sequence). Go to the Type Designer, create a new object type called "ScreamingNews" and map in the property definitions as indicated. Then add the method handlers given in Table 3.

Note that we didn't include "create", "edit" and "delete" methods as they are implicit and use the default handlers. If you write any of them yourself, write the edit handler - the default is quite ugly. There's no special "create" or "delete" functionality required, so there's no need to declare these methods and write your own handlers. Beware of the embedded image object - implementing embedded objects in handlers is an "advanced" skill.

This is public news, so there aren't any permissions on this object type. Applying permissions in Spectra slow down the application considerably - less so for object types than for objects themselves. Caching permissions in the CF administrator is virtually essential.

The last step in getting the data into the object store is to build the handler, syndicate_import.cfm, that manages the process (see Listing 1). This handler is nothing more than a simple query against your syndicated content database, and a loop that copies the data into the Spectra object store and then updates the foreign key in the syndicated content database. It then calls a cleanup routine to mark articles older than 30 days as "inactive" and "archived" since it's illegal for you to keep them around. Note that we've created but not coded syndicate_push and syndicate_pull. These method handlers are used at a later time to manage syndication directly between Spectra servers in the organization or with partners (you'll need to discuss licensing with Screaming Media, of course).

You can test the handler in Listing 1 by calling it from a dummy page with the following code:

<cfa_contentobject
datasource="#request.cfa.objectstore.dsn#"
objectid="Put a test object ID in here"
method="syndicate_import"
bsecure="No"
babortonunauthorizedaccess="No"
blogging="No"
busecache="No"
>

The syndication stream invoker (which we'll call next) doesn't care that syndicate_import doesn't require an ObjectID; however, CFA_ContentObject does care so we need to provide a dummy ObjectID in our testing code.

Once you see that this handler is working properly, you need to set up a schedule in Webtop to call it every few minutes. In System Design > Programming Objects > Syndication Streams you can easily add an event to run the syndicate_import method every 15 minutes or at whatever polling interval you've established in Siteware (see Figure 2).

While Screaming Media does channel its content providers' various feed formats into the fields listed above, providers format their stories differently so it's strongly suggested that you edit each article within Spectra prior to posting it on your site. You can see the results of your hard work in the Webtop object finder (see Figure 3).

Sample handler code and the content object types I created above are available in their entirety on the CFDJ Web site and may be installed all at once using the Spectra object type package install function. You'll also want to check the Allaire Tag Gallery and/or the Screaming Media Web site for the latest code as Screaming Media, along with other content providers, has become increasingly interested in the Spectra platform as a turnkey content subscriber and publishing solution.

Conclusion and Next Steps
In this article I've described some of the "heavy lifting" you'll need to perform to get syndicated content into your Spectra object store. Since object type definitions and properly coded handlers are reusable, you won't need to start from scratch; use and modify the source code provided here at your discretion.

It won't be long before syndicated content providers are cognizant of the huge installed base of Spectra servers. When that occurs, they may give you the ability to pull content directly into your Spectra servers by providing it over HTTP in the appropriate format. When this happens, you'll download and install an object type definition file from the content provider and set up a syndication stream handler that polls their database every so often for your content. Alternatively, they could push content directly to Spectra through the remote method invoker interface after you provide them with the appropriate username and password, your IP address and any other default values you care about (e.g., don't publish this article until I see it first!). In these scenarios you may use a syndicate_pull or syndicate_push method handler rather than the kludgy but functional syndicate_import routine provided here.

As a premium service, content providers may also map their metadata keywords to ones you provide, actually marking up the content with metadata before sending it over. They might even write Spectra news-viewer applications that use the content object types they provide. What better way to get you started with their content fast!

Syndicating graphics is going to be a bit more difficult, but easier with ColdFusion 4.5's new facilities for Base 64 encoding. For now, write or use default handlers that bind your downloaded graphics separately to articles you've syndicated and are ready to publish.

In the next article we'll explore how the Spectra syndication API allows transparent syndication of content and applications between Spectra servers.

More Stories By Anthony Krinsky

Anthony Krinsky is an intranet and extranet
application developer with Interactive Documents (www.interactivedocuments.com).

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applications - creating more engaging experiences for their customers and boosting collaboration and productiv...
Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, had reached 30,000 page views on his home page - http://RobertoMedrano.SYS-CON.com/ - on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, Internet of Things Journal, Big Data Journal, and SOA World Magazine. He is a recognized executive in the information technology fields of SOA, internet security, governance, and compliance. He has extensive experience with both start-ups and large companies, having been involved at the beginning of four IT industries: EDA, Open Systems, Computer Security and now SOA.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, representing a model of how to analyze rea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Open Data Centers (ODC), a carrier-neutral colocation provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Open Data Centers is a carrier-neutral data center operator in New Jersey and New York City offering alternative connectivity options for carriers, service providers and enterprise customers.
The IoT market is projected to be $1.9 trillion tidal wave that’s bigger than the combined market for smartphones, tablets and PCs. While IoT is widely discussed, what not being talked about are the monetization opportunities that are created from ubiquitous connectivity and the ensuing avalanche of data. While we cannot foresee every service that the IoT will enable, we should future-proof operations by preparing to monetize them with extremely agile systems.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. Learn about IoT, Big Data and deployments processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ mission-critical systems. ISS has completed many successful projects in Healthcare, Commercial, Manufacturing, ...
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
For years, we’ve relied too heavily on individual network functions or simplistic cloud controllers. However, they are no longer enough for today’s modern cloud data center. Businesses need a comprehensive platform architecture in order to deliver a complete networking suite for IoT environment based on OpenStack. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dhiraj Sehgal from PLUMgrid will discuss what a holistic networking solution should really entail, and how to build a complete platform that is scalable, secure, agile and automated.