The Current ColdFusion Job Market

I found myself, again, at a crossroads. Recently I decided to update my resume. I had accounts on Dice, Monster, CareerBuilder, and ComputerJobs from my last job search, so I decided it couldn't hurt to keep them up to date. I had been in my current position for sixteen months, learned a few things, accomplished various goals, and thought it would be a good idea.

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Nested Tab Sets with JQuery and the Tabs Plugin

OK, I'm working on a small side project with a three column layout. In one column I want to place two multi-step forms. So I decide it would be good to use nested tab sets. From a usability perspective it makes sense, with so many operating system and program dialogs functioning the same way. From a design standpoint it makes sense, because it takes up little space and groups similar content.

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Tools Make Life Easier

I am a huge fan of things that make my life easier, and love tools that do just that. It's kind of like moving from writing my thoughts down on paper to using a computer, I still (try to) write quality content, but it's not nearly as time consuming now. I can write, read over, rewrite a piece over and over agian, without wasting a load of paper, correcting seven million spelling mistakes, or emptying a white-out bottle.

Tools are those things that you use to get a job done, and there are almost as many tools as there are jobs. Tools are those wonderful things that separated man from animal. Funny thing about tools, though, not every tool will handle every job. You have to try them out, take 'em for a test spin, work out the kinks, and see what works best for your development style.

Once I got past the learning curve, Model Glue: Unity turned into a natural flow of MVC development, ColdSpring has assisted me immensely in managing my object dependencies, and Reactor's scaffolding has slimmed down the gruntwork of creating my CRUD methods. This is part of the job of frameworks, to make our lives easier. CFLib and the ColdFusion Cookbook are repositories of experienced knowledge, condensed into freely usable bits of logic. RIAForge takes it to a whole other level, by providing us with entire applications. All of these are tools for making our lives easier. (How many times was Ray indirectly referenced there?) But, it's important to not become married to any one toolset, which is why I keep my nose in Mach II and Fusebox, have started checking into Transfer, and really like the simple flexibility of tools like DataMgr and AjaxCFC. You never know what the next project might call for.

The ColdFusion community has progressed leaps and bounds in the seven years I have been a part of it. As a language, CFML has added constructs to utilize object oriented design patterns, create dynamic reports in a variety of distributable formats, and given us the ability to create server event driven functions, just to name a few of the changes. Open Source projects are all over the place, the server is used in a majority of Fortune 100 companies, the government (of all industries) has adopted this 'expensive' platform like gangbusters, and demand for experienced developers is through the roof.

And when Scorpio gets released the 'other guys' won't know what hit 'em.

So, open up CFEclipse, use Subclipse to checkout some of the wild goodness from their respective repositiories, and start exploring. Take a deep look into their core files (but, don't change 'em!) for some insight into the style of some of the masters of our industry, and look forward to a very bright future. ColdFusion has helped take the guess work out of some complex tasks, and it's only getting better. And easier!

Feedback Request: Indenting Code

OK, I'm looking for feedback from the community at large. In a recent development meeting one of our new developers made the following (paraphrased) comment about cleaning up existing code:

I'd like to, when we can, rewrite a lot our display code. There are a lot of unnecessary tabs and spaces. With several thousand open sessions, this is a lot of unnecessary data being transmitted back to the user, chewing up our bandwidth. I like to keep my opening and closing tags on the same line, most of the time, and eliminate the unneeded space.

While I can see the argument he is trying to make, I personally disagree. First of all, we have a large legacy codebase, with heavily nested table layouts. While I can see replacing tables for non-tabular data, I think the indented code makes it much easier to read, adjust, and maintain. I do the same for most block level elements. And, I absolutely use it within the programmatic (ColdFusion, ActionScript, JavaScript, etc.) code. I believe in whitespace suppression (enablecfoutputonly="true"), but I don't agree with eliminating readability.

Am I the only developer who sees the value of indenting their code? Or, am I just holding on to archaic coding practices pushed upon me by some professor or another? Does my gain (maintainability/readability) outweigh the overhead implied? What are your thoughts?

ColdFusion Recursive Functions

Recursion is defined as a method calling itself.

A long time ago, in a land far, far away, I was studying Computer Science, taking courses to lead to certifications in Object Oriented Programming. Back then I was introducedto the concept of recursion, which sounded very fascinating, but I never thought I would have a practical use for it. Times have changed, for me.

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Steve Bryant on DataMgr

So, I just got home from the monthly Nashville ColdFusion User Group meeting, and I have to say that I'm looking forward to watching the Breezo (Connecto?) again of Steve Bryant's presentation on DataMgr. This lightweight utility seems like it can actually do some heavy lifting with some of your basic database interaction, handling all of your basic CRUD and a whole lot more. Has some very nice, built-in functionality for handling things like automatic data truncation when inserting to a column of a smaller size (but only if you ask it to), rewriting a batch of records to reflect new sort orders (like when re-ordering display orders), and quite a few other things.

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The State of Cutter

Well, it's been a busy year already. I've been working on the largest code rollout in the history of our company. 250+ templates in all. I'm thankful that we hired another senior developer in Andy Matthews, a great guy whom I already knew from our Nashville ColdFusion User Group. Although the initial project was in support of a new project relating to statistical usage reporting, encompassing user and session management, we have also begun a full scale rewrite of our session and application initialization. No small task with our system, and something that will be further enhanced in the coming year as we finalize our migration from ColdFusion MX 6.1 to 7.

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Ben Forta is coming to Nashville

So, Aaron told me about some exciting news from Adobe today. On May 9th, Ben Forta, ColdFusion Evangelist at Adobe and tech author extraordinaire, will be giving a special pre-release peak into Adobe's upcoming release of the newest version of ColdFusion, codenamed 'Scorpio'.

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Beginner SQL Tricks: NULL Value Defaults

OK, I'm not a beginner with SQL. After 7 years of hammering away at web apps I've picked up a little bit here and there. But I also try to remember how difficult it was for me to wrap my head around certain things that didn't necessarily have to do with programming logic. Things like design, layout, and database calls.

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Developer Persona: Cutter

Per Tim's suggestion:

  • 37 Years Old
  • Lives in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Former Army
  • Drives a 2006 Chevy Cobalt
  • Rents an apartment, while working towards a house
  • Married to SuperWife, Teresa, with 5 year old Diva Girl daughter, Savannah
  • Likes to read Stephen King, Tony Hillerman, murder mystery thriller mayhem and things that go bump in the night. Gets to read fiction maybe twice a year.
  • Battlestar (with the wife), Smallville (with the daughter), Heroes (for me)
  • Loves to sing, misses fronting 'The Band'
  • Favorite Book: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Favorite Musician: Jimi Hendrix
  • Loves movies, but rarely goes to the theater
  • Listens (and sings) to everything from Nickelback to Nat King Cole, with strong leaning towards classic rock and the blues
  • Captain and Coke

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