|By Christian Cantrell||
|July 11, 2003 12:00 AM EDT||
What is the Macromedia DevNet Resource Kit, and how can I get it? As both a Macromedia DevNet Resource Kit (DRK) product manager, and the Macromedia Server Community Manager, I hear these questions often from both the online and offline ColdFusion communities. Starting with volume 3, the DRK has become extremely relevant to ColdFusion developers, and future volumes will be no exception.
The DRK is a developer resource that Macromedia releases quarterly containing components, extensions, utilities, sample applications, and reference materials for several Macromedia products. DRK volumes 1 and 2 heavily emphasized Macromedia Flash and Dreamweaver; however, the goal of DRK 3 was to provide the ColdFusion community with a comprehensive and diverse set of ColdFusion content, including ColdFusion components, user-defined functions, custom tags, sample applications, book chapters, and articles. And although I can't go into detail about future DRKs, I can say that DRK 3 is just the beginning.
ColdFusion content on DRK 3 is divided into three parts: custom tags and components, utilities, and sample applications. In this article, I discuss my favorite projects in each category.
Custom Tags and Components
DRK 3 contains several custom tags and components that are designed to be integrated into other ColdFusion projects or utilities. Rather than being standalone applications, they can be considered application building blocks.
The Calendar Component
The calendar component is a model of a single page in a calendar. All you have to do is set the month and the year, then call getPage to get back a two-dimensional array that models the columns and rows of a calendar page. The two-dimensional array will always have seven columns (for every day of the week) and the right number of rows for the specified month and year. The values of the elements in the two-dimensional array will either be the appropriate day of the month, or -1 when they fall outside of the month's range.
The calendar component is really designed to encapsulate the messy logic you need to render calendar pages in HTML. It has all the functions you need to quickly and easily add a calendar to your site.
The Init Custom Tag
The init tag is a sophisticated encapsulation technique many developers already use to initialize and configure their applications. Any code in the body of the init tag is only executed the first time the tag is encountered during the life span of the application, so it's a great place to put your applications' initialization routines, like defining application variables for data sources, parsing XML files, etc. It is thread-safe, but not entirely synchronized, so you can use it in your Application.cfm file without worrying about single-threading your application and dramatically slowing it down. The init tag also allows you to dynamically reevaluate any code in its body simply by passing a special query string parameter in to the page that contains the tag, so you can update your configuration without having to restart your server.
The Recordpager Custom Tag
The recordpager custom tag automatically generates linked page numbers to allow users to browse through multiple pages of records returned from a database query. It is used in circumstances where you want to limit the number of records to display on a single page, but still allow users to access the rest of the records on subsequent pages. The generated page numbers are linked to a page that you specify, or will automatically default to the current page since paging through record sets usually means making multiple requests to the same page. The recordpager tag will also automatically pass the specified page the record number that it should start with when displaying the next set of records, as well as optionally allow you to pass in a struct with name/value pairs that also need to be passed to other pages of query results. Finally, you can pass style class definitions in to the recordpager in order to adapt its look and feel to any application.
DRK 3 contains a set of ColdFusion projects that are considered utilities, which means they are more extensive than just single tags and components, but are still designed to be integrated into larger projects. Here are two of my favorites:
Data File Access (DFA)
DFA allows ColdFusion developers to interact with XML and comma-delimited files (CSVs) as though they were database tables. The easiest and most flexible way to store and retrieve data in an application is to use a database and SQL; however for smaller projects, creating an entire database can be more hassle than it's worth. With DFA, you get all the advantages of using SQL to both save and retrieve data, but the underlying data structure is either an XML or CSV file.
Let's say you decide to put together a quick survey to allow your co-workers to vote on their favorite activity for a company picnic. You want to be able to save and retrieve the results quickly using SQL, but you might not want to go through the hassle of setting up a database. Using DFA, you can use a simple XML or CSV file to store your data while still being able to leverage the convenience of SQL. DFA even comes with the dfaQuery tag, which works almost exactly like the cfquery tag you are already accustomed to using.
Lindex (Lucene Indexing Engine)
One of the most powerful aspects of ColdFusion MX is that it is implemented almost entirely in Java. Writing utilities that leverage Java is less a matter of integrating ColdFusion MX and Java and more a matter of naturally using Java to extend ColdFusion. The fact that Java can be used so easily to extend ColdFusion means that developers can leverage all of the open-source Java projects out there, such as those being developed under the Apache Jakarta project.
DRK 3 contains a project called Lindex, which stands for Lucene Index. Lucene is an open-source Apache Jakarta project for creating and searching document collections. ColdFusion comes bundled with the Verity text search engine; however, the advantage of using Lindex to integrate Lucene into your applications is that since it is pure Java, it will run on any platform that ColdFusion MX runs on, including Macintosh OS X. That means you can develop and deploy your ColdFusion MX application on two separate platforms without having to worry about compatibility issues.
Lindex works almost identically to Verity in that you create collections which you then populate with text, HTML, PDF, and ColdFusion files. Lindex includes both a ColdFusion and a Java API, as well as an administrative interface very similar to the ColdFusion Verity interface.
DRK 3 contains two sample ColdFusion applications. You can use the ColdFusion sample applications on the DRK to learn best practices and see examples of development techniques and principles, or you can simply install them for your own use.
Macromedia XML News Aggregator
The Macromedia XML News Aggregator, or MXNA, is an extremely useful application for gathering, parsing, storing, and displaying RSS news feeds. RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is an XML format that many news sites and weblogs publish in order to allow RSS aggregators to syndicate their content. For example, my weblog (www.macromedia.com/go/cantrell) does not just contain an HTML version of my posts, but it also produces an XML version, as well (www.macromedia.com/go/ccantrell_rss). Anyone is welcome to use my RSS feed to either aggregate the content of my weblog locally on their computer, or to republish the content of my XML feed anywhere they want.
MXNA is based on the source code for the Web site fullasagoog.com, which is a very popular aggregator of Macromedia MX - related weblogs. The MXNA source code on DRK 3 has a very different look than fullasagoog, however, and has a few extra features. You can see a production version of MXNA focusing on Macromedia MX technologies, technology news, and Web development in general, running at www.macromedia.com/go/weblogs.
If you go to Macromedia's version of MXNA, you will find that we are aggregating somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 feeds. Imagine trying to keep up with 150 news sites and weblogs which make anywhere between one and probably a dozen posts a day. MXNA allows you to visit a single site, browse by category, and quickly find posts that are relevant to you.
Running your own version of MXNA will allow you to customize both your feeds and your categories. At Macromedia, we run one external version of MXNA (at the URL above) and one internal version which we use to aggregate things like internal project status reports. With MXNA, you can easily set up your own personal RSS aggregator, or launch your own RSS portal.
RSS 1.0 XML Feed Creation and Management Application (RSSify)
RSSify is a Rich Internet Application, or RIA, which means the user interface is implemented in Macromedia Flash MX while the back end is implemented as a ColdFusion component. RSSify is an excellent example of integrating Macromedia Flash and ColdFusion using Macromedia Flash Remoting in order to achieve a richer, more efficient user experience.
RSSify provides users with a simple and intuitive interface for creating and managing RSS XML feeds. The interface allows users to import, save, load, delete, and author RSS feeds, as well as publish them to a server where they can be made accessible to the rest of the world. The Macromedia Flash interface handles the creation and formatting of the XML document while the ColdFusion back end handles the persistence and publishing of the feeds. RSSify is perfect when you need to generate an RSS news feed (to be aggregated by MXNA, for instance), but you don't already have an automated process for doing so.
To find out more about these and other ColdFusion projects on DRK 3, visit the DRK 3 home page at www.macromedia.com/go/drk3. To find out more about how you can get DRK 3 and future versions of the DRK, visit the Macromedia DevNet subscription page at www.macromedia.com/devnet/ subscriptions.
Note: Portions of this article were originally published on the Macromedia DevNet Resource Kit, Volume 3.
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Nov. 25, 2015 05:00 PM EST Reads: 297
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 25, 2015 04:15 PM EST Reads: 471
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:45 PM EST Reads: 489
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Nov. 25, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 498
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 420
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 504
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 347
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 25, 2015 01:30 PM EST Reads: 460
There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content. Join @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indespensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.
Nov. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 515
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
Nov. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 360
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Nov. 25, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 428
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 25, 2015 09:45 AM EST Reads: 115
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 265
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Nov. 25, 2015 08:15 AM EST Reads: 348
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Nov. 25, 2015 07:45 AM EST Reads: 344
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 25, 2015 07:30 AM EST Reads: 250
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Nov. 25, 2015 05:45 AM EST Reads: 377
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 25, 2015 05:45 AM EST Reads: 288
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Nov. 25, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 681
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 25, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 291