State of the (ColdFusion) Union 2013

Further to previous CFUnited State of the Union surveys, the 2013 survey is now complete and the results are available. There were approximately 450 respondents and some very interesting results. Take a look at Michael summary and the results directly on the CFUnited blog: http://cfunited.com/blog/index.cfm/2013/2/12/State-of-the-CF-Union-survey-2013–results-and-winner

Join us at the SOTR ColdFusion Conference

We look forward to meeting you at Scotch on the Rocks (SOTR) this Thursday and Friday – 3/4 March in Edinburgh, Scotland!

SOTR ColdFusion conference brings you current informative content and sessions to enhance, enrich and excite you. The wide range of topics and presentations this year is a reflection of the rapidly progressing and growing area of ColdFusion, and includes related development and wider industry topics, so is also suitable for those in the wider development community.

David Tattersall – Managing Director and David Stockton – Technical Consultant will be there to answer any questions you might have about our products and services. In addition, David Stockton will be giving a session on how to sort out your legacy applications. You can read more about the presentation below.

The road to sanity – sorting out your legacy applications
Thursday 3.March 13:30 – 14:30

We can help make your life easier! With our unique tooling combination of FusionReactor, FusionDebug and the jewel of in the crown FusionAnalytics – we will demonstrate how you can quickly focus on and correct your legacy application stability issues and proactively improve quality, performance and reliability over time.

The website is down! (PS Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year)

Christmas is still a busy time on the web. With new computers for Christmas and days off work there’s plenty of time for Internet users to be out there surfing your site. But what if your site is down? Perhaps then it’s not such a Happy Christmas!

Through a combination of factors – including our geographically distributed team – we can still offer consulting services over the holiday season.

Having said that, those with a pro-active attitude can save themselves some money, time and stress with some simple tips:

  • Plan
    • It sounds obvious but releasing code on at 5pm Christmas Eve is probably asking for trouble!
  • Test
    • Make sure you’re testing your code – from unit testing to load testing, the tools to help are available for a reason.
  • Monitor
    • Keeping an eye on your server is one thing, but if you don’t react then you could be in big trouble.
    • Using a tool like FusionReactor ( http://www.fusion-reactor.com ) can help identify issues before they become a problem.
    • FusionReactor has several features that can help you work pro-actively even when un-attended. Setting up good crash-protection settings can keep you alerted via email or even react to prevent your server failing in the first place.
  • When all hope is lost…
    • Sometimes, bad things happen. If your application server fails, you don’t want your users to have to wait 3 days for someone to restart a service. FusionReactor Enterprise edition has a feature called “Enterprise Scripting”. This lets you configure scripts to run when a service fails to respond within given parameters. For example, if your server is polled every 5seconds and fails to respond to 5 polls in a row, you may want to restart the service. What’s more, FusionReactor includes the scripts to do just that – even from a remote machine requiring authentication. Just look inside the <FusionReactor Installation Direction>\etc\cp\ folder where you’ll find a bunch of scripts for *nix and Windows environments along with a helpful Readme.txt – or you can refer to the online help.
    • With prices starting from less than $0.50/day there’s no reason any server should be lonely without FusionReactor this holiday season!

Have a great holiday and we look forward to seeing you in 2011 with our new “jewel in the crown” to the Fusion product suite, FusionAnalytics!

Tom Meets Fusion Debug – Week 2

First Debugging Session

We left off last week just after I had installed the FusionDebug plug-in to Eclipse. I was surprised at how quick it was to install FusionDebug.  Within just a few minutes I was ready to debug my CFML application on a ColdFusion 9 developer server.

At the start of this week, I was issued a new project to create a ColdFusion application that interacts with the Harvest time tracking software. Harvest provides an API that is well documented for PHP, Ruby, Pearl etc. but not for ColdFusion!  All that is provided is a simple URL based API that returns XML data once a request has been made.  I know I can use CFHTTP to send the request, but the structure of the XML returned is a mystery.

I began my investigation by using the built-in debugging feature <CFDUMP>. By passing the parsed XML to CFDUMP it presents you with the XML structure and the data within it, this is what I got.

I am a web developer; I like to see my XML looking like XML. I don’t want to see a formatted table, I want to see raw XML so I can easily use the data.

I thought about how I could get the raw XML. I didn’t want to write anymore CFML code.  As readers from last week will know, I am new to CFML and still learning, so I don’t feel confident creating code to print out this XML to the screen. It also seems like a waste of time as the application does not require the raw XML to be printed to the screen. So, I fire up FusionDebug.

I discovered this by accident, but I am glad I did! By pausing the application just after you make the CFHTTP query you can actually see all the elements that the request returns! You can see in the image below where I positioned my breakpoint.

As soon as the breakpoint is hit in the code, FusionDebug displays all the variables currently set. When you make a CFHTTP request this creates a variable called CFHHTP.  CFHHTP contains information about the request that has been made, including “Filecontent”. This is where the raw XML I was looking for is stored. Below you can see that by selecting “Filecontent” Eclipse displays the XML that was returned.

Now I know the exact structure of the XML without any ColdFusion formatting making things hard to read. FusionDebug has proven itself to me as a learning tool. I can use FusionDebug to work with API data I don’t understand. It helped me to learn how the XML data was structured and how I can use that to perform my required tasks. Over the last week I have used FusionDebug on several occasions.

Next week I will discuss some even more inventive ways of using FusionDebug to make life as a CFML developer easier.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FusionDebug
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/cvYlCp
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/fusiondebug

Tom Meets FusionDebug

The First Encounter

As the new web guy here at Intergral it is my job to maintain our public sites as well as our internal system known as FusionOrders.  Our system is written in ColdFusion, so the Team recommended that I install and use FusionDebug.  I have never used a code debugger, why would I need one?! We are all super coders, we don’t need such things!

Over the next few weeks I will be installing, using and learning why I need a CFML step debugger. At the same time I will be evaluating the FusionDebug user experience.  If I can’t find the information online, you can’t either!  Difference is I have access to do what I like to the website. If the process is not fluid, I’m going to change it!

Today I took some time to install and configure FusionDebug with Eclipse, this is the primary IDE used here at Intergral to develop our products.
As you may or may not know, there are a two ways you can install FusionDebug.  I tried both – and immediately became a fan of installing FusionDebug by using the Eclipse plug-in manager – which I will explain below.  For our next version release (coming soon!), I have recommended we provide this download option as the primary way to download and install FusionDebug. I will remove the complete IDE installer as I found it confusing.

Step by Step as I Install FusionDebug

I boot up Eclipse after installing it and begin to read, to find that the installation instructions on the FusionDebug website are not updated for the latest version of Eclipse. These instructions will soon be updated on the FusionDebug website!
After spending a few moments trying to figure out what is going on, I finally work out that the new version of Eclipse has a new name for the plug-in manger.  I added the FusionDebug update site to my new package installer interface and hit next, everything went great. FusionDebug is now installed and ready to go!
The installation of FusionDebug using the Eclipse Update Site is really simple; it takes less than 5minutes

Next week I’ll give you some insight into what I think after my first week of CFML step debugging.

Let me know what you think!

Do you find the FusionDebug install easy or challenging? Let me know on Twitter, Facebook or just reply to this post.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FusionDebug
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/cvYlCp
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/fusiondebug