|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.
Every day we read jaw-dropping stats on the explosion of data. We allocate significant resources to harness and better understand it. We build businesses around it. But we’ve only just begun. For big payoffs in Big Data, CIOs are turning to cognitive computing. Cognitive computing’s ability to securely extract insights, understand natural language, and get smarter each time it’s used is the next, logical step for Big Data.
May. 24, 2015 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,799
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
May. 24, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,823
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver 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. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
May. 24, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,001
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
May. 24, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,069
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
May. 24, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,145
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
May. 24, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 6,322
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in 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 change in personal an...
May. 24, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,353
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be
May. 24, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,710
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers is very hard. You have to learn five new and different technologies and best practices (libswarm, sy...
May. 24, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,758
SYS-CON Events announced today that DragonGlass, an enterprise search platform, 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. After eleven years of designing and building custom applications, OpenCrowd has launched DragonGlass, a cloud-based platform that enables the development of search-based applications. These are a new breed of applications that utilize a search index as their backbone for data retrieval. They can easily adapt to new data sets and provide access to both structured and unstruc...
May. 24, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,704
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
May. 24, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,798
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
May. 24, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 5,099
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
May. 24, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,822
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fil...
May. 24, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,684
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
May. 24, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 6,457
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
May. 24, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,354
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 24, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 4,097
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
May. 24, 2015 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 5,442
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...
May. 24, 2015 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,205
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...
May. 24, 2015 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,606