Archive for January, 2004

Visualizing Mailing Lists

As I was browsing through FlashLounge today, I can across a link to Social Circles, an application written by Marcos Weskamp and Dan Albritton. Social Circles seeks to create a visual representation of the dynamics of mailing lists by charting contributors. Each contributor’s size and position on the chart indicates the frequency with which they post, and how “visible” those posts are.

Why was it created? Although I would encourage you to check out the Social Circles about page, here are a few excerpts that I think do a good job of summing the project up:

Social Circles intends to partially reveal the social networks that emerge in mailing lists…When subscribing to a mailing list you never know who the principals are, how many people are listening or what subjects they are talking about. It’s like entering a meeting room with plenty of people in the darkness and then having to learn who is who by just listening to their voices… Social Circles … aims to raise the lights in that room just enough to let you enhance your perception of what’s happening.

This is a very interesting and innovative project, and I think very effective. Check it out and see where you fit in.

ColdFusion and Types

I saw an interesting thread on CFCDev about overloading, which lead to a few posts on types in ColdFusion, which lead to this post, which lead to the new survey off to the right. Basically, I’m curious about what people think about types in ColdFusion. Should ColdFusion be a more strongly typed language? Should typing be optional? What do you think the advantages would be? How far should it go (in other words, should there be a predefined set of types, or should developers be able to define their own types).

This is a tricky topic, and I’m not sure where I stand on it. I clearly see the advantages of ColdFusion being a loosely typed language, and I appreciate the flexibility and simplicity it allows. On the other hand, there are a lot of advantages to more strongly typed languages, mostly relating to compile type optimizations and validation (anyone who has gone from ActionScript 1 to ActionScript 2 knows what I’m talking about).

So what are your thoughts? Post here and take the survey!

ColdFusion Query Objects and Central

It seems that Central does not deserialize ColdFusion query objects returned from web service calls in the same way that Flash MX 2004 does. Instead, you get back an object with a property called “columnList” (which is an array), and a property called “data” which is also an array. It’s not hard to massage the data from there, but fortunately, the Central SDK comes with a handy utility written by Mike Chambers called QueryToDataProvider which does the work for you. It’s located in Utilities/classes. If you are integrating Central with ColdFusion, you will probably want to check it out.

Are Apple Power Adapters Suspicious?

I just flew in from my brother’s wedding at Oklahoma University, and I had an interesting experience at the Tulsa airport. It seems my Powerbook’s power adapter made one of the screeners very nervous. She X-rayed it three times, poked, prodded and groped it, then eventually seemed to need to get it officially approved. She said it looked like “some kind of tool.” I assured her it was no more dangerous than my iPod or my mouse, but she seemed unwilling to take my word for it. Eventually I was allowed to pass, but not before my wife had gotten completely bored and wandered off to get some coffee. I’m glad I remembered to take the Leatherman off my keychain or I might still be standing there.

Anyway, I’m glad to be home. Now if only my luggage would join me.

I Haven’t Abandoned My Weblog

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have not abandoned my weblog. I’m actually on vacation all this week, visiting family for holiday celebrations and to attend my brother’s wedding. I’ll be back to work on Tuesday, January 6th.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already, check out Christophe’s latest post on using browser navigation buttons in Flex. I think this is incredibly cool, and a very important step for RIAs.