Java, Apple Doesn't Love You Anymore - She Probably Never Did

I have said before that, but for Adobe, I would abandon MS Windows. And, even for my own direct needs, I would probably already have plunged off the cliff towards Linux nirvana. The anchor that keeps me firmly tethered in the grasp of Redmond is the need to support designers. If the Creative Suite would play nicely on Ubuntu, I would pretty much force about a half dozen or so artists to take the plunge. But, back to reality. The only option away from Microsoft is Apple.

Apple has always been a non-starter for me. Perhaps unduly biased by a father who insisted on building his own computers - literally transistor by transistor in 70's and 80's - the early Apple offerings were considered "toys". That probably wasn't fair, but what might have been a hard-to-justify historical bias has instead become healthy fear of a company that would control its customers instead of serve them (this is done by offering a diminishing pool of seductive choices until one has so much invested into a brand that self-deception is easier than objective decision making - thinking may hurt more, but it's a good pain). Anyway, I don't have a good opinion of Steve Jobs the businessman or Apple the company (Steve Jobs may be a great guy in other arenas). Short story long, jumping to Apple is not likely happen of my own volition.

That said, it'll probably be a moot point soon. As Apple threatens to kill java as a viable application platform on the Mac, one suspects that this will ultimately mean the end of Mac versions of Flash Builder, Flash Catalyst and ColdFusion Builder. The problem is not that Apple will stop supporting Java, but that too much of the Apple platform is hidden from developers:

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Tampa Bay Area: Flex 4, Flash Builder 4 and ColdFusion Builder Meetup and Happy Hour (04MAY2010)

This Spring is really shaping up to be really good for developers in Tampa. And of the upcoming events, this is the freebie one that you'll want to definitely attend. With promises of T-Shirts, software (Adobe Flash Builder 4/ColdFusion Builder) and potentially other stuff (I'm thinking stickers and maybe posters) - oh and adult bevarages - the Central Florida Web Developers User Group is hosting a meetup on Flex 4, Flash Builder 4 and ColdFusion Builder.

Click for details and to RSVP.

Tampa Bay Area: Free ColdFusion Builder and Coldbox Framework Workshop

A quick heads up. On May 8, 2010, the Central Florida Web Developer Group (Tampa Bay Area, FL) is hosting a free full day ColdFusion Builder and Coldbox Framework seminar (10:AM-5PM). This crash course is a bring your own laptop affair that threatens to be really useful. I've been meaning to use Coldbox for awhile, especially as it seems to offer some interesting features for RIA developers, and I'm hoping that this will be the nudge I need to fully embrace it. Plus, it is good to see the user group experimenting with different formats.

Anyway, as of this writing, there are 14 spots available for this free ColdFusion Builder and Coldbox Framework seminar so RSVP quickly if you want to take advantage of this opportunity.

BTW: Aaron and Derek have been using Coldbox for awhile now and are bringing a lot practical experience with the framework to the workshop.

Thank You Hal Helms

As many might remember, Hal Helms backed out of his speaking engagement at CFUnited 2009, but offered to make it up for free. Understandably, that caused comments by many, but, hey, Sarasota is just an hour-or-so away, so I was happy to hear it.

Having trekked over the Skyway bridge and back a couple of times now with Alex, I can say that I am really glad things worked out the way that they did. In total, eight of us converged upon the office of CityMind to meet with Hal and bask in his wisdom.

Ben Nadel is a better source to learn about Hal's commercial Real World OO classes, but this weekend was somewhat informal and focused a good deal on philosophy and business practices - with some CF Object Oriented Programming and jQuery examples and discussion thrown in for good measure. For me, this was very timely, as I have just finished reading The Passionate Programmer and have been contemplating some of the non-technical details of my career.

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Wraptext Can Break Links in CFMAIL HTML Emails

I've been working with an automated messaging system as of late and have run into little snags along the way - mostly in trying to normalize output across multiple email clients (I'll post on that shortly). One of the more peculiar things that I've observed is that the wraptext property of CFMAIL can affect the rendering of HTML mail content. Specifically, whitespace is injected at the line breaks.

I might not have realized this was happening, or even been affected by it, except that I had left in a quick test case of a wraptext at 30 characters. When the HTML content is rendered, it isn't obvious as to what is happening. However, both Outlook and GMail were inserting a single white space at the line breaks. This is annoying when it affects text, perturbing on anchor text and devastating to functionality in links. In one case, the break occurred between the "c" and "o" in the ".com". Outlook's response was to not even try to launch it. If, however, the break occurs after the fully qualified domain name, Outlook will at least try, even if it doesn't go where you want it to. (It was the doing nothing that drove me nuts).

So, moral of the story is that if you are setting the TYPE to HTML, you'll want to omit the WRAPTEXT completely or set its value to "No".

Is the Tampa Bay Coldfusion User Group dead?

The tbfusion.org site is now a Network Solutions ad page (no link because it is now just an ad site). This is somewhat sad as there were about 10 people at the last meeting some months ago and it seemed like a renewed interest in revitalizing the group. Worse, our local Adobe Enterprise evangilist Greg Wilson had offered to help with the group and to coordinate with another potentially dead group, the Tampa Flash, Flex and AIR Developers group.

In the case of the Tampa Flash, Flex and AIR Developers Group (I would have called it the Tampa Actionscript MXML Plus Ajax (TAMPA) group, but rarely is my genius acronym ability consulted), I'm pretty sure that the folks at HD Interactive are busy. The presentation that they gave at barcampa Tampa 2009 showed that they are working with some really cool augmented reality projects so I can forgive them for being a little distracted. That said, when they have meetings, more than 50 people show up. From what I know of user group participation, that's frickin' tremendous.

Anyway, with the Tampa Bay CF group seemingly DOA, and the TFFA somewhat MIA, I guess I'll just have to be happy that the Central Florida Web Developers User Group is still meeting reguarly, even if they are set to endure my neophyte introductory Flex presentation next week (Tuesday, October 13 @ 6).

Preventing The Browser From Returning A Cached SWF

A quick little snippet using Coldfusion to avoid swf caching at the browser. Swf caching can be a real pain in the but during the development and it can also be annoying in production. When you make updates, you actually want to view them. Anyway, enough chit chat:

swfobject.embedSWF('myFlashApplication.swf?nocache=#CreateUUID()#', 'myDiv', '600', '480', '9.0.0', 'expressInstall.swf',{},{});

So the above snippet, using swfobject because it does the trick so nicely, shows that we are throwing a url parameter at the swf to be injects. Essentially, this does nothing at all. However, the Coldfusion CreateUUID() function will give us an easy-to-generate unique number every time and the unique param. The browser sees a unique url and will grab the swf anew each time.

Sept 09 Tampa Coldfusion Meeting: Better Quality Through Unit Testing

This is quickie post mentioning that the next Central Florida Web Developers User Group is going to be Sept 1st on Better Quality Through Unit Testing. I know, for my own purposes, this is one of those things I always mean to get around to exploring, but never manage to squeeze the time to investigate. So I am looking forward on getting re-inspired in that direction.

If you are going to be in the area, definitely stop by.

And, as a quick sort of related aside, the presenter, Aaron Greenlee, is also the organizer of the meetup. Can't speak for others, but this'll be the third meetup of the Group and I really appreciate his efforts. The Tampa Bay Coldfusion User Group can't seem to get any momentum, and the Tampa Flash, Flex and Air Developers Group seems to have fizzled after a tremendous beginning. Aaron is dedicated to growing this group and it shows. So, if you have been disappointed in previous Tampa Bay area user groups, I really suggest coming out and participating.

Wow - Maybe I Should Have Gone To CFUnited This Year

There are a lot of tremendous resources out there, and one of the ones I frequent most is Forta's. So, while chillin' out for a spell last night (watching Lost episodes online and trying not to think about an ever growing Flex shopping cart system) I was at forta.com looking for any announcements from CFUnited. So imagine my surprise after following a link from Ben's site to the CFUnited 2009 Community Achievement Award that I found mention of this blog.

Sure, it would've been swell to have won the Best New Coldfusion Blog award, but, seriously, I have visited Jason Dean's 12robots.com and Marc Esher's mxunit.org on lots of occasions so I am happy to see them get recognition. That Marc won the honor is great ... and no sour grapes because he has been blogging since 2007!

So really, how the heck did ShortFusion.com make it onto the list? And why did Alex get top billing? ... damn alphabetical order.

Anyway, a very cool discovery to end the day ... and a sincere thanks to whoever was kind enough to include us among the nominees.

CF9, CF Builder & Tampa - Round Two

For those that missed the opportunity to see first hand Adobe CF9 (Centaur) and Adobe Coldfusion Builder (Bolt) in Tampa, FL, you now have a second chance. From what I can gather, Aaron Greenlee has gotten Greg Wilson to agree to do another presentation this Friday, July 10, 2009 at 7:PM.

For more details, including venue, check out the Central Florida Web Developers User Group meetup page for their CF9 & Kickoff Meeting.

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