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  ::   November 20, 2003

Sneak Peek: Blackstone (ColdFusion MX 7)
Of course there is no commitment on Macromedia's part to include anything I'm about to blog in any future version of any of there products. That said, here are some features/functionality to think about from the MAX Sneak Peek session:

  • cfform tags as flash components
  • cfgroup to create, layout and group form fields
  • Flash based forms within cfml
  • Tab navigators within the cfgroup tag
  • Accordion panes within cfgroup
  • Binding text fields to the data grid in Flash based forms
  • Reporting via a cfdocument tag. Handles tables, divs, headers, pagination, etc. All layout done via HTML, and the output can automatically be converted to PDF.

  ::   November 20, 2003

IBM Further Embraces Flex in Eclipse
IBM gave a sneak peak at an Eclipse plugin for developing Flex applications within Eclipse. For those of you using Eclipse for your Java (or other langs) development, having the ability to develop Flex front ends in the familiar environment of Eclipse is going to be pretty sweet.

  ::   November 20, 2003

CFC Geeks of a Feather Wrap-Up
Last night, a group of about 20 developers met over at the Marriott to have an informal discussion about CFCs. Ray Camden and his company Mindseye sponsored the room.

There was a lot of great discussion regarding how people are using CFCs right now, as well as the challenges they face and the enhancements they would like to see in the next version of CF. Among the key themes:

  • CFCs could use a true constructor
  • People would like to see interfaces
  • The ability to serialize/deserialize CFC is a key requirement
  • Copying of CFCs needs to be fixed

The general agreement in the room was that CFCs are the best thing to happen to CF in MX, and that Macromedia should continue to evolve them to meet the needs of developers.

As Ray stated in his blog, we really could use more of this type of session at the next MAX conference. Time to meet with developers in a formal space, but an informal discussion format (with Macromedia in attendance) would be a great addition.

  ::   November 19, 2003

IBM Weighs in on Flex
At this morning's keynote, Rod Smith, VP of Emerging Technology at IBM gave a ringing endorsement for Macromedia's new Flex technology. His two main points:

1. J2EE is a great platform for middleware, but falls short on the client/presentation layer. 2. Flex represents a platform agnostic (meaning supported by J2EE/ColdFusion and .Net) solution for the presentation layer that appeals to traditional code based developers.

One other interesting point that I think Rod made (actually it was just on a slide) was the use of Flex with enterprise portals. I've been doing a lot of research/work with portals lately, and I think it would be really interesting to see how Flex would/could be used within the Portlet framework specified in JSR 168 and JSR 170. I'm hoping that IBM and Macromedia will have more to say on this topic soon.

  ::   November 19, 2003

Latest Update: CFC Geeks of a Feather at MAX
Tonight's CFC Geeks of a Feather is scheduled from 6-8 pm in the Park City room of the Marriott Down Town, directly across from the convention center. For some reason, the sign may say "Mindseye" instead of "CFC GOF".

In any case, the event looks to be gaining interest. If you plan to attend, you should be aware that our event takes place at the same time as the official Meet the ColdFusion Engineers event over at the convention center.

In order to make the meeting even more enticing, we'll be giving away two copies of my book, Programming ColdFusion MX along with a copy of the DRK 5. Hope to see you there!

  ::   November 19, 2003

ColdFusion MX 2 - Codename Blackstone
At today's keynote, Ben Forta "unofficially" announced the next version of ColdFusion MX, code named Blackstone. No details on the development cycle, or when alpha/beta would be available for testing.

According to Ben, the most requested feature for this version is enhanced reporting/printing. In my opinion, it would be a waste of time and resources for Macromedia to try to come up with their own reporting engine, especially when enterpries class engines such as Crystal and Actuate already exist. What I'm hoping is that they add intgration into popular reporting engines, as well as built-in support for generation of PDF files (via Apache FOP and XSL-FO, perhaps?). I would also think that some level of advanced report formatting could be achieved via CSS, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Other features hinted at were improved performance, more deployment options, and the ability to "protect" source code. My guess on that one is some sort of obfuscation scheme.

  ::   November 18, 2003

Wi-Fi at MAX
As many of you are discovering, there are open Wi-Fi hotspots all over the convention center hosting MAX. Connectivity from my laptop is pretty decent in all the places I've tried so far. One small gripe: I can't connect to my VPN at work. I'm assuming Macromedia is preventing VPN access for one reason or another. Although this isn't a huge problem, I do wish I could use my email client instead of the browser based access.

One other thing I find interesting is there seems to be many more people accessing the network via devices (especially Pocket PC) this year than during previous conferences.

  ::   November 14, 2003

Lookout MAX... SLC, Here We Come!
This year, my company is fortunate to be sending a full on contingent to Macromedia Max. Three of us, Brendan O'Hara (design patters guru), Steve Rittler (Philly CFUG manager), and myself are all headed out on Monday, in time to make the SLC CFUG meeting on Monday night. Our 2nd wave, Jim Bambrough (Flash remoting master) and Scott Varga (Dreamweaver magician) will follow on Tuesday. All in all, we're all looking forward to catching up with all of our virtual colleagues, friends, and fellow community members. We're all staying at the Mariott downtown (right across from the conference center), site of the unsanctioned CFC Geeks of a Feather.

If this year's MAX is anything like past events, we're all in for a fun, informative week in SLC.

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Recommended Reading
ColdFusion MX Developer's Cookbook

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Raymond Camden's Blog
Christian Cantrell's Blog
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Based on blog.cfc by Raymond Camden

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