Archive for July, 2003

Public Service Announcements From Christian Cantrell

The following are public service announcements from Christian Cantrell:

  1. Feel free to submit tips and tricks to me (email, and if they are good, I will post them here. If I don’t know you, make sure you include your name so I can give you credit. If you don’t give me your name, I will be forced to call you “Anonymous Coward”. If you have your own weblog, I can understand keeping all your tips and tricks to yourself, but if you don’t, blog vicariously through me! I will post just about anything pertaining to web development.
  2. Do you use a web-based aggregator? If not, check out MXNA (Macromedia XML News Aggregator) for news on Macromedia technologies (ColdFusion, Dreamweaver, Flash and Java), and on web development and technology in general. You can also check out for more Macromedia focused news aggregation.
  3. Do you use a local aggregator? If not, Windows users should check out Newzcrawler, Mac users should check out NetNewsWire, and Linux users should check out NewsMonster.
  4. See that text box down and to the right that is labeled “Email Updates”? Put your email address in there, and you will receive notification whenever I make a new post. I promise not to spam you, or sell your email address to companies peddling any type of generic performance enhancers.

Quick Public DRK Beta

Macromedia needs your help in testing out the new Macromedia Pollster application that will be on DRK 4. The application lets you manage polls through a ColdFusion web interface, then deploy them either with a Dreamweaver extension, or just by copying and pasting a set of tags. The poll below took about 30 seconds to build and probably about another 30 seconds to deploy. Can you find any bugs or unexpected behavior? If so, please post them in the comments, and thanks for your help.

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Macromedia Launches Affiliate Program

Macromedia is going to start rewarding people in the community for what they already do: recommend Macromedia products. Anyone who has a website or a weblog that doesn’t promote inappropriate and/or illegal material can become a Macromedia affiliate and earn up to 10% commission on each sale of Contribute and Macromedia Studio MX that originates from their site (other products will be added in the future). All you have to do is create a free account, then add some links to your site. You can even monitor your account through Macromedia’s online reporting interface. Check out the following URL for details:

ColdFusion at Flashforward 2003

I was in New York last week for Flashforward 2003, and I was really impressed with the number of ColdFusion developers who were there. I did a session on integrating Flash MX and ColdFusion MX using Flash Remoting, which I have done versions of at two other Flashforward conferences, and this was by far the biggest audience with the best questions that I have had yet. I was also glad to see that the audience was not just made up of ColdFusion developers who are learning Flash, but there were also a lot of Flash developers learning ColdFusion. Flash Remoting has really opened up a lot of doors for all kinds of developers.

News From Flashforward

During the keynote at Flashforward in New York this morning, Mike Chambers announced that DRK 4 will be available to everyone (not just DevNet subscribers) for $99 when it launches this month. That means that DRK 3 and DRK 4 will be available to everyone at the same time, and will not require a subscription. Of course, you still save money by subscribing to DevNet, but at least now you have more flexibility.

Mike also demoed Macromedia Pollster, which will be available on DRK 4. The Pollster app lets you easily build polls, deploy them on your website, and both aggregate and chart responses. It is built with ColdFusion, Flash, and will come with a Dreamweaver extension to make embedding and configuring your polls easier.

Norm Meyrowitz mentioned the Royale initiative and showed and a set of very cool Flash forms that were generated just with XML. It even did navigation and data validation. You can find out more about Royale at

And of course there was Breeze Live, which I guess is best explained as a real-time meeting, presentation, and collaborative solution. Among other things, Breeze Live lets you share your desktop during a presentation, stream audio and video, and allow participants to interact in meetings. Extremely cool and powerful. You can find out more by reading the Macromedia press release.

Now I have to go work on my presentation (Integrating Macromedia Flash MX and ColdFusion) which I’m doing today at 4.

What Are You Building with MX Products?

A message from Macromedia:

We know many of our customers are creating amazing experiences with
Macromedia MX products. As part of the evolution of MX, we want to tell
your story.

Send us an email and tell us what you’re doing with Macromedia Flash MX,
Fireworks MX, or Dreamweaver MX. We’re talking weird, wild, different,
extraordinary, breakthrough, entertaining – you name it – we want to
hear about it.

Please email your project description and include the following

  1. Full name, street address, and telephone number.
  2. Indicate which Macromedia software you used.
  3. A short description (3 – 5 sentences) of your project detailing what sets it apart from the rest.
  4. Provide links to your work.

If your project raises enough eyebrows around here, we’ll contact you
and take it from there. What’s in it for you? The chance to share your
work with a global audience (okay, and some free stuff).

Send all submissions to

On My Way Out the Door

In about 5 minutes, Mike Chambers and I will be heading up to New York for Flashforward 2003. I will be doing a session on integrating Flash with ColdFusion MX (through Flash Remoting). I think Mike is going to be doing Advanced Flash Remoting. Anyway, I’ll post what I can, when I can, and I’ll put my presentation online sometime next week after I get home. If you are going to the conference and you see me around, grab me and introduce yourself. I always enjoy putting faces to names.

Adding Enhanced Rounding Support to ColdFusion

Over the weekend, I ran into a situation where I needed more fine-grained rounding than ColdFusion supports. Rather than rounding to the closest whole number, I wanted to be able to round to a specific decimal place. For instance, given the number 2.345, I didn’t want the number 2; I wanted the number 2.35. Fortunately, Java picks up where ColdFusion leaves off. The following UDF lets you specify the number of places to round to:

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Rolling Your Own CFPAUSE Tag

Somehow it came to my attention recently that BlueDragon supports a CFPAUSE tag. According to the documentation:

The CFPAUSE tag allows you to pause the execution of a page for a specified number of seconds. The interval attribute is required and must specify an integer value.

I’m not sure why you would want to do this (if your application is just too darn fast?), but if it appeals to you for some reason, and you’re using ColdFusion MX, here is my own CFPAUSE tag:

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How to Snoop on ColdFusion Data Types

Last week, I made a couple of posts about ColdFusion Arrays, and how they are actually java.util.Vectors, which means that you can convert them to Java arrays by calling toArray(). How did I figure that out? I didn’t ask the ColdFusion engineers. That’s cheating. The first thing I did was find out what type of class we are actually dealing with when we have a reference to an array. The Java object “Object” (which all objects extend) has a method called getClass() which returns the runtime class of an object. Calling toString() on the class (or simply the act of outputting it, which automatically calls toString()) will reveal the class name:

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