Forta Blog

Thoughts, ideas, tips, musings, and pontifications (not necessarily in that order) by Ben Forta ...

NOTE: This my personal blog, and the opinions and statements voiced here are my own.

March 3, 2005

ColdFusion MX 7 And Flash Player Version Requirements

Lots of users have been asking about the Flash Player versions needed for ColdFusion MX 7 features. There are three ColdFusion MX 7 features that can take advantage of Flash, and the player requirements are different for each:

Posted at 6:19 PM | Link | ColdFusion,Flash | Comments (8)

Conditional CFMX7 Report Inclusions

Reports created using the ColdFusion Report Builder are more report templates than actual reports. They are designed to allow you define the presentation of report data, data that may not even exist until report execution time. For example, although a SQL query could be embedded in the report as the default query, it can be overridden at runtime by passing an alternate query to cfreport. Similarly, name=value pairs may be passed to cfreport and these may be used as display fields or as parts of a CFML expression.

One of the more intriguing Report Builder properties is the Print When property. Just about any field or object (including embedded charts and sub-reports) have a Print When property. This property is usually empty, and so the item will always be included in the report, but you may provide an expression so as to conditionally include items. For example, suppose you had a chart in your report, and you wanted to allow the user at runtime to specify whether or not the chart is to be generated. To do this you'd define a report input parameter (perhaps named ShowChart with a default value of 1), and you'd set the chart Print When property to params.ShowChart. This way the chart will be generated when the ShowChart parameter is true (the default), but not when it is false. Then at runtime you could simply pass ShowChart as an attribute to cfreport (or cfreportparam) specifying true or false as needed, thereby overriding the params.ShowChart default value, and thus conditionally including or excluding the chart.

This type of flexibility allows developers to construct highly dynamic reports that can be adapted as needed at runtime.

Posted at 3:08 PM | Link | ColdFusion,Tips (CF) | Comments ()

March 2, 2005

Still Planning On Attending The March 3rd DC CFMX7 Gov Launch, Virtually

The big Government CFMX7 launch events in D.C. are scheduled for tomorrow (March 3rd). Unfortunately, I'll not be there in person, but I still plan on attending virtually, via the magic of Breeze. Tim Buntel will be doing the presentations in person (if you have yet to see Tim present you're in for a treat), and I plan on connecting from home (audio only, I'll spare you the video!).

Posted at 3:29 PM | Link | Stuff | Comments ()

March 1, 2005

Not Going To Make It To DC

I was scheduled to be in the Washington DC area all week this week, but am stuck in bed with the flu and a respiratory infection. I am told that I look pathetic and sound even worse. Fun stuff, huh? I was also supposed to speak to the MDCFUG tomorrow night, but obviously won't make it now. In all the years doing what I do, this is only the second time I have had to cancel an event due to illness, and I am not pleased about having to do so. I'll plan a follow up visit to make up for it, promise. For those of you attending the government CFMX7 events on Thursday, those events will go on as scheduled with Tim Buntel taking my place (and giving up much deserved time off to do so).

Posted at 8:46 PM | Link | Stuff,ColdFusion | Comments (5)

February 28, 2005 On CFMX7 Story Online

Brian Kotek's story on CFMX7 is now online (also carried on TechRepublic).

Posted at 7:23 PM | Link | ColdFusion | Comments (1)

On ColdFusion MX7 Flash Forms And Macromedia Flex

I wrote an article for Macromedia's Edge newsletter on Flash Forms and Flex, explaining the similarities and differences, and clarifying when to use each. The article entitled ColdFusion MX 7: Creating Flash Forms with Ease and Flex-ability is now online (see section 2).

Posted at 4:19 PM | Link | ColdFusion,Flex | Comments (3)

Pixar Using ColdFusion

Steve Jobs' Pixar Animation Studios, creators of some of the most successful computer animation movies of all time (including Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles), winners of 16 Academy Awards, creators of the award winning Pixar RenderMan, ... yeah, that Pixar. Pixar is using ColdFusion to power their Corporate Profile and Investor Relations pages. Thanks to Micha Schopman for this great find.

Posted at 9:55 AM | Link | Using CF | Comments (2)

Here's What Jeremy Has Been Up To

Story in today's Business section on Jeremy Allaire's new venture.

Posted at 9:44 AM | Link | Stuff | Comments ()

February 27, 2005

John Beynon On Justifying ColdFusion Enterprise

UK CFer John Beynon has posted a very useful document that could help you justify ColdFusion Enterprise (over Standard).

Posted at 8:28 PM | Link | ColdFusion,Tips (CF) | Comments (1)

February 25, 2005

A Lemony Snicket Fortunate Event

If you've never heard if Lemony Snicket, talk to your kids. The official A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket web site is powered by ColdFusion MX. This find sent to me by Greg Ostravich.

Posted at 12:48 PM | Link | Using CF | Comments (1)

Government Computer News:

Government Computer News is running a story entitled Apps on tap about tools and products to use to bring Web Services based applciations online, and gives an example of ColdFusion being used at the San Diego County Department of Child Support.

Posted at 11:07 AM | Link | ColdFusion | Comments ()

February 23, 2005

Europe Is A Wrap, And A Public Thank You

I just finished my last session in Amsterdam, thus wrapping almost three weeks of International ColdFusion MX 7 launch activities (in Japan, England, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands). The past 17 days have been a blur of flights hotels and taxis, interviews and briefings with more than 50 members of press, user group and seminar presentations to over 500 attendees, dozens of partner and customer meetings, and much more.

Tim Buntel, Dave Gruber, myself, and others on the ColdFusion team have been out selling the ColdFusion MX 7 story non-stop for a while now, and the global response has been overwhelming. The bottom line is that ColdFusion MX 7 is a hit, and I want to publicly thank the engineering team, the QA folks, the documentation writers, the thousands of beta testers, and everyone else who helped us create (in the words of one Japanese member of press) "the ultimate ColdFusion"!

Posted at 4:55 PM | Link | Stuff,ColdFusion | Comments (3)

February 22, 2005


If you have not tried this one yet, you must. Really. This is one gem that has, for the most part, slipped under the radar

<cfquery ... result="queryInfo">

<cfdump var="#queryInfo#">

n addition to the actual query, $lt;cfquery$gt; can return a structure containing query information (including the SQL executed)

Posted at 6:06 PM | Link | ColdFusion,Tips (CF) | Comments (6)

Great Event In Brussels, Despite Presidential Interference

I am in Amsterdam now, the last stop on this European launch tour.

I presented ColdFusion MX 7 in Brussels this afternoon, at a CF Seminar attended by crowd of 120. Less than a dozen of those present had seen CFMX7, so the content was fresh for most. I have now presented CFMX7 hundreds of times to many thousands of developers all over the globe, and it is still incredibly gratifying to see the reactions to the new features, the same reactions every time. The big winners, once again, were the printing and reporting features. Lots of interest in XForms and Flash Forms, and lots of interest in asynchronous processing too.

The only hiccup was having to hastily reschedule a morning customer meeting at the last minute when we discovered that it was impossible to get around the city because downtown Brussels was essentially shutdown thanks to President Bush dropping by. And you know, just be very clear about this, I believe that the CF meetings and events were scheduled before the President's trip was scheduled, we should have had priority I think. Oh well.

Posted at 5:52 PM | Link | Stuff,ColdFusion | Comments (3)

Clarifying Sourceless Deployment And Deployment Package Creation

Judging by how often this one comes up, there seems to be much confusion and need for clarification. So ...

ColdFusion MX 7 can execute compiled .cfm files, Java bytecode instead of CFML source. All editions of ColdFusion can compile CFML source for deployment, and all versions of ColdFusion can execute compiled code.

ColdFusion MX 7 also allows for the creation of deployment packages, EAR or WAR files that contain your application as well as the ColdFusion engine itself. All versions of ColdFusion can create deployment packages, however a ColdFusion Enterprise license is needed on the machine that the package is deployed to.

Posted at 5:38 PM | Link | ColdFusion | Comments (7)

February 21, 2005

Coming Up, Brussels and Amsterdam

I spent the day in Milan, and just arrived in Brussels. In Milan I spent the morning with customers, and presented at a ColdFusion MX 7 launch seminar in the afternoon. I'm always impressed by the Italian ColdFusion community, Italy is a relatively small market, but is home to a disproportional number of dedicated and highly experienced ColdFusion users. My only complaint about prior Italian ColdFusion events is that they seem to attract the same people over and over. This was not the case this time, and the seminar was attended by quite a few who had never even seen CF previously.

The flight from Milan to Brussels was badly delayed, because one flight attendant did not show up due to a union strike, and the crew could not flight short one member. So, back to the terminal (yep, they figured this out as we were being bussed to the plane), where we waited and watched ever changing new departure times, until an alternate crew member was found.

Tomorrow I'll meet with customers in Brussels, and then will host a seminar here. Attendance is expected to top 100 at this one (and at one scheduled in Amsterdam for the day after tomorrow).

And then it's back to the U.S. Finally.

Posted at 7:08 PM | Link | Stuff | Comments (1)

TechNote GO URLs

There are lots of product TechNotes on the Macromedia site, and their individual URLs can be long and unwieldy. To make accessing specific TechNotes easier, you can use /go/ URLs, in the format /go/tn_nnnnn (assuming you know the TechNote ID, that is). For example, to access TechNote 17883 you can go to

Posted at 2:32 AM | Link | Stuff,ColdFusion,Tips (CF) | Comments (2)

February 20, 2005

Hello From Milan

I just arrived in Milan to start week two of ColdFusion MX 7 launch activities here in Europe. Milan tomorrow, Brussels the day after, and then Amsterdam, before heading back to the US on Thursday.

Thus far, European reaction to ColdFusion MX 7 has been very positive, with customers, partners, and the press, all recognizing the value and power of the its new features. As one press member put it, "this is the ultimate ColdFusion'. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Posted at 8:16 PM | Link | Stuff | Comments ()

February 17, 2005

Zürich Does Not Disappoint

My presentation this evening to the Swiss CFUG went really well. Close to 100 attendees (including a couple of members of the press) spent close to 4 hours, first at a reception, and then listening to my ColdFusion MX 7 presentation. An additional dozen attendees watched and listened remotely via a Breeze connection. The crowd took just a few minutes to warm up, but once they started there was no stopping them. Lots and lots of questions and comments, and a very interactive session. So interactive in fact that I did not even get through all of my content. I left with several invitation for a return visit, invitations that I definitely intend to accept.

Next stop, back to London.

Posted at 4:54 PM | Link | Stuff | Comments (4)

Hello From Zürich

I am in Zürich today, my first time here in four years. I arrived here from Munich a few hours ago, and grabbing a few minutes to catch up on e-mail in between customer visits and a CFUG event. Tonight's event is sold out, this should be a fun one.

Posted at 11:48 AM | Link | Stuff | Comments (3)

February 16, 2005

Made It To Germany, Finally

It's 1:00 am local time, and I am finally in Munich, in time to get a few hours sleep before press briefings tomorrow (um, I mean, today). I was stuck in Heathrow for hours due to (I am not making this up) "loss of airport radar". Now that's exactly what you want to hear at one of the busiest airports in the world!

Posted at 7:02 PM | Link | Stuff | Comments (7)

February 15, 2005

London User Group A Hit

I presented ColdFusion MX 7 to the London CFUG tonight. The event started at 3:00pm with an introduction by Macromedia's Jan Van Jensen, Lucas Sherwood then gave an intro to Flex, Steve Allison introduced Captivate, and then I had 90 minutes or so to present ColdFusion MX 7. I covered printing, reporting, XForms, Flash Forms, charting, asynchronous processing, IM integration, and SMS integration. Lots of good questions, a crowd of over 100, and beer and snacks to close the day some 4 hours later. This was a great event in an incredible Victorian venue, the Café Royal located in the heart of London's West End. Pictures to be posted shortly.

Posted at 6:09 PM | Link | Stuff,ColdFusion | Comments (6)