Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

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

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

Macromedia's DevNet Resource Kit: Just the Beginning

Macromedia's DevNet Resource Kit: Just the Beginning

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.

Utilities
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.

Sample Applications
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.

More Stories By Christian Cantrell

Christian Cantrell is the Macromedia Server Community Manager. He has been developing large-scale, Web-based applications in ColdFusion, Java, JSP, and Macromedia Flash for the last five years. He is the author of numerous tutorials and white papers, and is coauthor of Flash Enabled: Flash Design & Development for Devices. Keep up with Christian by reading his blog at www.macromedia.com
/go/cantrell.

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
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Consumers increasingly expect their electronic "things" to be connected to smart phones, tablets and the Internet. When that thing happens to be a medical device, the risks and benefits of connectivity must be carefully weighed. Once the decision is made that connecting the device is beneficial, medical device manufacturers must design their products to maintain patient safety and prevent compromised personal health information in the face of cybersecurity threats. In his session at @ThingsExpo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
There is only one world-class Cloud event on earth, and that is Cloud Expo – which returns to Silicon Valley for the 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center, October 31 - November 2, 2017. Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers. Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and service...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a...
Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st 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 and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.