July 01, 2003

Macromedia MAX 2003

As a few others have pointed out, the session schedule is now available for MAX 2003 (November, Salt Lake City). As you can see, there's a good mix of sessions from basic to expert with a lot of interesting ColdFusion-related sessions. Quite a focus on CFCs, Web Services, Architecture and OOP - a good thing, in my opinion. I'll also highlight Dave Watt's session on Working with Multiple ColdFusion Instances which should convince folks what I've been preaching for a while: CFMX for J2EE has a lot of worthwhile benefits over the CFMX Standalone / Server edition.
I've just come back from a weekend in Salt Lake City - a cat show - and found it to be a very friendly (& very patriotic!) city that is easy to get around, once you 'grok' their grid system which is all numbered streets that extend out from the temple. We stayed in Motel 6 at 200 W 600 S - effectively two blocks west of the temple and six blocks south (the road numbers generally go up in hundreds).
Posted by seancorfield at 09:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | macromedia | mx

June 17, 2003

The RSS Aggregator in DRK3

Josh and Daniel Dura go under the hood of the XML news aggregator - one of the sample applications from the DevNet Resource Kit Volume 3. It's a good example of OO-style ActionScript and shows the power of Flash MX.
Posted by seancorfield at 05:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx

ColdFusion & Flash Data Connection Kit

Ben Forta has just published an in-depth article showing how to build a complete Rich Internet Application using ColdFusion and the Flash Data Connection Kit. It's a good read and it shows just how powerful these two products are when used together.
Posted by seancorfield at 05:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | cf | mx

June 11, 2003

JavaOne - An MVC Alternative

This was a bit of a strange session. Starting from the premise that the web is not a perfect match to the MVC idiom, the speakers showed how they constructed a CRUD / HTTP mapping that can be used for simple applications. Their solution was, in my opinion, an academic construction that overloaded the HTTP methods PUT and DELETE to produce a very literal create / read / update / delete mechanism.
The point about MVC not matching the stateless nature of HTTP-based web applications is worth examining, however. The traditional View in MVC performs direct state queries on the Model and initiates updates through the Controller. Changes to the Model can then be notified directly to the View. Since the "View" is transient in an HTML web application - it is constructed as HTML then sent to the user and at some later point the user then sends back some data (either an HTTP GET or an HTTP POST) - the change notification and the asynchronous updates are not possible. That's partly why we have such a clunky user experience on the web : click-wait-click. A Rich Internet Application can support traditional MVC using a Flash View and either ColdFusion MX and/or J2EE for the Model / Controller parts. And a Rich Internet Application provides a better user experience. This seems to be another case of picking the right tool(s) for the job instead of trying to shoehorn traditional MVC onto HTML web applications - or constructing artificial solutions to a simple problem.
Posted by seancorfield at 04:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | j2ee | mx

June 05, 2003

CF Studio to HomeSite+

Todd Rafferty has some useful tips for setting up HomeSite+ so that it looks and behaves more like ColdFusion Studio 5.
Posted by seancorfield at 05:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx

May 21, 2003

DENG Browser Beta Announced!

The first public beta of the DENG browser for Windows is available. This is essentially a wrapper around the DENG components that render XHTML, CSS etc within Flash.
As Claus noted in a comment, there is now a Mac version available! You can download the HQX file. It actually does a halfway reasonable job of rendering several of the pages on my site - even though it isn't really intended to be a full-blown web browser. I will probably work on those pages that fail to render to see if I can fix whatever is choking DENG. Awesome work Claus et al!
Posted by seancorfield at 06:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | mx

Learning About Macromedia Products - On Demand

Wouldn't it be great if you could learn how to use Macromedia products by having someone talk you through various tasks and show you "how", whenever you wanted, at your own pace? Check out Macromedia On Demand. These free, online seminars will help you get started and evaluate the products so you can become productive more quickly. I ran through a few of the ColdFusion MX sections and I was impressed. The seminars seem to be well-paced and very clear, with Closed Captioning available throughout (great for when you have to have the sound off, as well as for the hearing-impaired!)
Apart from the sheer usefulness of these seminars, On Demand is a great example of how Flash can be used for educational material (and the back end is powered by ColdFusion MX of course).
Posted by seancorfield at 09:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | macromedia | mx

May 16, 2003

CFMX & Mac OS X

Macromedia's DevNet is fairly Mac-heavy right now, including an article on installing CFMX on Mac OS X. The new Flash Detection Kit is also heavily featured.
Posted by seancorfield at 11:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | cf | macromedia | mx | osx

May 14, 2003

Royale : Flash for Programmers?

The FlashCoders mailing list has been a-buzz with discussions about what Royale might or might not be, spurred on by the recent InfoWorld interview with Rob Burgess where Royale is mentioned. Much of the discussion has been about what people imagine Royale might actually be and there has been some interesting speculation. So far, about the only details that have been publicly released are:
  • Royale is a new server product
  • Royale lets you build Flash applications using XML
  • Royale provides (traditional) programmers with an alternative to the visual / timeline idiom of the Flash MX authoring tool
Posted by seancorfield at 11:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | mx

May 09, 2003

Sean Neville on RIAs

The Server Side has a video interview with Macromedia's Sean Neville about Rich Internet Applications that is worth checking out. There's a full text transcription too if you don't want to deal with the video.
Posted by seancorfield at 11:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx

May 08, 2003

Rob on Royale

"It's essentially Flash for programmers" says our CEO Rob Burgess in an InfoWorld interview today.
Posted by seancorfield at 08:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | macromedia | mx

April 26, 2003

Elastic Satellite, Meet The Makers

About a month ago I mentioned a Meet The Makers interview with John Lenker and commended his website as an engaging, if somewhat complex, interactive use of Flash. Invioni puts out a period newsletter called "Elastic Satellite" and in the latest issue John writes favorably about the approach Macromedia is taking with Rich Internet Applications. The newsletter also contains a Flash tutorial about animation using ActionScript and a thought-provoking article on the pros and cons of outsourcing offshore.
Meanwhile, Brian Alvey's excellent Meet The Makers website continues it's tradition of thought-provoking articles with it's latest "conversation with..." series, this time examining the "brand gap" between actual market value and brand value.
Posted by seancorfield at 01:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx | personal

April 24, 2003

DRK - Impressive!

I was just looking at Mike Chambers' DRK blog category where he shows examples of the various components from the new DRK... sweet! The validating text field and the accordian panel are awesome productivity tools and I'll be using these in a project I'm just starting (to rewrite an internal tool we use for managing URL redirects). I'll post more about my experiences as I build the tool...
Posted by seancorfield at 03:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | mx

April 22, 2003

DRK3 & Firefly

Some very exciting announcements on Macromedia DevNet today about the latest DevNet Resource Kit (Volume 3) and the Macromedia Firefly Components behind the forthcoming Flash MX Data Connection Kit.
DRK3 speaks for itself with a lot of ColdFusion content this time around as well as some great sample applications.
You can get a sense of just how exciting the Data Connection Kit will be by reading Aral Balkan's article Building an RSS Aggregator with Macromedia Firefly Components.
Posted by seancorfield at 09:55 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | cf | macromedia | mx

April 21, 2003

Jesse Fights Back?

I'll consider myself flattered that Jesse Ezell responded so quickly to my recent post about his criticism of Flash Remoting! He has posted a long, explanatory post on his blog which goes into much more detail about .NET vs Flash & Flash Remoting.
Of course, I'm still not entirely happy with his comments but, hey, how would we have a healthy discussion otherwise?
1. Jesse says "Flash Remoting isn't bad." - in response to my puzzlement as to why he raised network latency as an issue and seemed to lay the blame at Flash Remoting. I'm still puzzled by his comments about network latency but his follow-up doesn't clarify his comments so I'll let that go for now. He makes a perfectly reasonable observation that .NET doesn't require him to use remoting. Well, no, of course it doesn't. Nor are any web developers required to use Flash Remoting, not even Flash developers. It's a pretty convenient way of communicating between Flash and the server (be it ColdFusion, Java or even .NET). No one is forcing you to use Flash and, yes, HTML is a perfectly acceptable user interface for many web applications. So we probably aren't disagreeing about anything here (but I'd sure love to hear more about the network latency problems that Jesse is so concerned about).
2. I questioned Jesse's logic in building an application façade in ActionScript as opposed to using a server-side façade. He's responded to this at length but I'm even more puzzled by his response than I was by his initial suggestion. First off, he criticizes the CFC-based façade for requiring you to "pass around name value pairs throughout your UI layer"... since you can pass complex data objects back and forth between Flash and ColdFusion, I don't see where the "name value pairs" come from. One of the benefits of Flash Remoting is the automatic translation of complex Flash objects to complex ColdFusion objects and back again, for example passing a query object natively from ColdFusion to Flash. He talks about many things you might want to do in ActionScript (including caching, security, error handling etc), none of which are precluded by having an application façade on the server. In fact, if you look at MVP (Model-View-Presenter) you'll see how the responsibilities of the Controller can be expanded and split logically between client and server in a way that both client and server can benefit from the use of design patterns like Façade. Design patterns are intended to be used to help us produce better solutions, where 'better' can be measured in a number of ways. No one is saying you can only apply design patterns to part of your application.
3. Multiple languages - required or optional? I think both Jesse and I agree that .NET doesn't require you to use multiple languages even tho' in his original post he recommended mixing C# and ASP.NET - however, we're both advocating using the best language for the job. If you are in the pure .NET world, you'll use ASP.NET, C# and VB.NET as appropriate, quite possibly with JavaScript too. If you've already decided to build a Flash UI, you'll be using ActionScript for that, regardless of whether your back end is on .NET or on J2EE (either CFMX or Java). There's no arguing with the point that Flash does indeed require you to use a specific language. I'm already familiar with JavaScript so ActionScript isn't a huge stretch for me. If I had to develop for .NET, I'd have to learn one or more new languages since I don't know ASP.NET, C# or VB.NET. But this point originated from Jesse's comment that Flash & Flash Remoting inherently creates a maintenance nightmare because of multiple languages. He argues, rightly, that simple applications can be all one language (since we're already agreeing that simple applications don't have to use Flash - HTML is just fine - then we're clearly in agreement on this point too). He also indicates that more complex applications, even in .NET, are likely to be implemented in multiple languages (ASP.NET and C#, for example). So it appears we agree here that in larger applications, using multiple languages is the way to create the best result - does that mean complex .NET applications that use multiple languages are a maintenance nightmare? I hope not. I wouldn't expect that to be any more true of .NET than it is of Flash applications since it's nothing inherent to Flash & Flash Remoting.
4. Back to IDEs. Since I already conceded that building a dynamic Flash application requires you to use Flash MX as well as "something else" for the other application pieces, I won't beat this dead horse too much. Jesse makes an interesting point in his response tho': "[Studio MX] is a heck of a lot more like the integration in Visual Studio 6". Since Studio MX is only the first step toward a more integrated set of developer tools, perhaps we should be encouraged by that comparison? Microsoft quotes Visual Studio .NET as $1,079 against Studio MX's price tag of $899 - the latter includes Fireworks MX and Freehand MX for developing the graphical elements of your user interface, as well as Dreamweaver MX (your code / HTML IDE), Flash MX, Contribute and ColdFusion MX Developer Edition. Oh, and Jesse asks about extensibility in the MX suite - I'd just point him at the thousands of extensions developed by the community and available from the Macromedia Exchange.
5. Spaghetti? Jesse blames #include. That's it. Easy enough to keep that under control with a few simple coding guidelines. It doesn't sound as bad as the ASP and COM+ spaghetti he compared it to originally. Mind you, everyone knows that you can write bad code in any language (the Obfuscated C Competition even made a virtue of it!).
6. "code behind requires you to be multi-lingual" - I didn't say that. Jesse recommended using C# for parts of an application (that is written in ASP.NET as well). We're both agreeing that using the best language for the job at hand is reasonable practice - see point 3. above.
7. Limitations of Flash - thanx for the specific list! I'll leave it to others to argue the pros and cons of each point now that we have a list (others more qualified to talk about the specifics of Flash). No technology is perfect and I'd expect to see similar lists of criticisms for every language or tool we use today. Am I ignoring valid points? No, I think that's a somewhat unfair criticism, especially since the article that started this discussion tackles some of these sorts of points head-on and offers constructive solutions. That should be true of most articles on technology, working from the stance that nothing is perfect we should all be working to get the best from our tools and technology.
What I really want to know is: where's my copy of Visual Studio .NET for Mac OS X?
Posted by seancorfield at 04:57 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack | mx

Virtual Education with Flash Communication Server

Although SARS has closed down schools in Hong Kong, Macromedia's Flash Communication Server is being used to provide virtual classes over the Internet.
Posted by seancorfield at 10:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | macromedia | mx

April 19, 2003

.NET does it all?

It's always interesting to read an evangelist for one particularly technology talk about other technologies (and why theirs is better, of course). In this instance, Jesse Ezell talks about why he thinks pure .NET is better than a Flash / .NET hybrid.
Jesse makes several points, some of which I just don't get at all, and seems to totally miss some other points that I would've expected to see. He talks about "network latency" making it sound like a problem specific to Flash Remoting. I don't get it - any client / server model (and your web browser is the client, regardless of whether you're using Flash or not) is going to suffer from some network latency... that's kind of a given when using a network. He doesn't say how .NET avoids this. He does however give my facades article a plug and suggests writing the facade in the client in ActionScript which would negate any benefit that Value Objects might have as well as forcing you to completely expose the layer that the Façade is intended to hide. Strange.
Then he says you have a "matinence" (sic) headache because you need to learn another language (ActionScript). I don't get this point either. He says the number of developers who are fluent in both C# and VB.NET is very small (no comment!) and that they wouldn't recognize / understand a lot of what is going on in Flash (again, no comment!). But part of the whole point of .NET is that it is multi-lingual and recommends you use the best language for the job, be it C# or VB or ASP... And aren't most web developers going to have to know JavaScript anyway? ActionScript is pretty straightforward for anyone familiar with JavaScript so I don't quite follow his argument.
Next, he turns his attention to the IDE. VS.NET is a single IDE that lets you create everything whereas to use Flash (and anything else) you need two IDEs (Flash MX and something else). There's some validity in that point. I'd counter it by saying Studio MX is a well-integrated suite whose components just happen to be available separately. Even in VS.NET, you effectively have two IDEs - the visual UI creation piece and the code-centric piece. However, Jesse then undoes himself a little by criticizing Flash for simply not allowing folks to read the source code without Flash installed. Our developers use Dreamweaver MX for pretty much all our code - both client and server - using Flash MX as the visual UI creation IDE and compiler. To me, that doesn't seem like "two entirely different IDEs" (since they share a look and feel and are well-integrated). Our back end engineers can and do read the front end ActionScript .as files and our front end engineers can and do read the back end ColdFusion .cfm / .cfc files. All with a single IDE, Dreamweaver MX.
Then he apparently criticizes ActionScript by comparing it to ASP and COM+, saying that these all create "spagetti code all over the place". ActionScript allows you to create very well-structured, OO code. There's no need (nor excuse) for spaghetti code in ActionScript. Oh, and remember how he criticized the Flash + X model for requiring you to be multi-lingual? He recommends writing business logic in C# behind ASP.NET's front end. How or why is that better than writing business logic in ColdFusion behind Flash's ActionScript front end?
His closing comment is that there are "Limitations of Flash" (which he does not specify) and feels "No nead to go over these again" because he is "spoiled with all the power that the .NET framework gives [us]". I'm sorry but even as a 'single-technology evangelist' I would have expected a more coherent and reasonable argument than this... or is he just preaching to the choir?
Posted by seancorfield at 01:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | mx

April 07, 2003

Under the Hood : Performance Tuning

Beta 4 of macromedia.com went live on Friday evening and the associated report went up this morning, along with an Under the Hood report from my colleague Jonathan Snyder who heads up our Flash development team in the Web Technology Group. There's some interesting hints and tips in there for creating higher performance Flash applications.
Posted by seancorfield at 02:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | architecture | macromedia | mx

March 27, 2003

Unplugged

Macromedia Central. Flash Unplugged. Way cool. And useful.
I was extremely excited the first time I saw an internal demo of this new product. As a Mac user, I've become dependent on Watson for TV listings, phone number lookup, weather, movies... To have similar functionality in a desktop Flash application that can also be easily extended and also work offline is pretty much a dream come true for (and, I hope, many others)!
Macromedia Central was just one of many exciting announcements made at FlashForward 2003 - read Christian Cantrell's report for more details!
Posted by seancorfield at 12:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | macromedia | mx

March 26, 2003

Meet the Makers

In October last year, I went to a one day event organized by Brian Alvey, called Meet the Makers. It was a fascinating event about standards in web development. I just received a newsletter from Brian, highlighting the first of a series of "conversations" on the newly designed Meet the Makers website. The conversation is with John Lenker and it makes interesting reading. Be sure to check out John's company website (linked at the end of the article) for a very engaging - if rather complex - interactive Flash experience.
Posted by seancorfield at 06:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx | personal

March 13, 2003

I Can't Believe It's Flash

Interesting article about the rise of Flash advertising. I didn't realize New York cabs were sporting ad systems powered by Flash! It's even more ubiquitous than I thought. The article talks about Flash moving to devices and tracking user behavior in a Flash movie. Even if you hate Flash, it's an interesting read.
Posted by seancorfield at 10:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | mx

March 11, 2003

Your macromedia.com

Did you know you can personal the home page on macromedia.com? The selections you make in the "Products" and "Solutions" drop-down menus are remembered from one visit to the next. I use this to provide me with short cuts on the home page to CFMX pages (product page, support center, application development center and exchange) and the Rich Internet Application pages.
The drop-down navigation tray (activated by the small triangular button on the left of the main navigation bar) also remembers your selection from visit to visit. I leave it pointing to the DevNet > Topics area so that I can get to any topic area with just two clicks (less than the alternative route of clicking DevNet in the navigation bar, then choosing a topic from the drop-down - either click-drag or click, click - then clicking the [>] 'go' button).
These selections are all remembered using Local Shared Objects from the Flash user interface to save information locally. LSOs are something like cookies only more flexible - they allow Flash movies to store & retrieve structured data directly where as cookies only handles strings. The Flash Player stores each domain's LSOs separately, respectively the sandbox security model of the Flash Player, and allows users to control how much disk space can be used to store LSOs.
Oh, and before you say it, yes, the drop-down navigation tray is a little slow at the moment - it has to download and parse an XML document that describes most of the site structure and then dynamically create the necessary Flash Components to render the menu - but we're working on speeding it up and we'll probably use LSOs to cache some of that information.
Posted by seancorfield at 02:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | macromedia | mx

Flash Remoting MX SP1

As noted elsewhere, there is an updater available for Flash Remoting MX to update the Flash MX Components (for authoring) as well as the Java and .NET versions of of 'standalone' Flash Remoting MX Server. If you develop applications with Flash MX and use Flash Remoting MX, you should download the updater to get the fixes for the Components.
The server-side fixes for Flash Remoting for ColdFusion MX will be included in the next CFMX Updater (Updater 3), coming soon.
Posted by seancorfield at 02:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | macromedia | mx

March 06, 2003

macromedia.com a.k.a. Dylan65

Well, yes, it's finally here and everyone's very excited. After many months of work, both on the design & production side (kudos to Tony Lopez for steering that ship) and the engineering side (kudos to my boss, Robin Ducot, for same), we launched the brand new site on Tuesday evening. The deployment went smoothly - amazingly so considering the complexity of rolling out such a vast rewrite.
We've received a lot of feedback about it, via the feedback form on the site and the survey, as well as via the many community mailing lists and forums. We're reading it all and it'll help us decide what to address and how. Thanks to everyone who has provided direct feedback so far.
As Christian points out, one of the key things to remember is that this is a dog food site now using ColdFusion MX on the back end for all dynamic content, powering the Rich Internet Applications and other parts of the site. When you look at the numbers, you'll see that no one can tell you that ColdFusion "doesn't scale" - during morning peak times, we see in excess of 15,000 concurrent active sessions. There's about 80,000 lines of in-house developed CFML code in production, just over half of which is in CFCs. There's about the same amount of code again behind our automated test harness and regression suites. About 10,000 lines of that production code represents CFC façades that are called via Flash Remoting as part of our Rich Internet Applications: Exchanges, Membership, Trial Downloads and Product Registration.
There's also about 75,000 lines of ActionScript in about 300 movie files that make up the user interface of those four Rich Internet Applications and the home page navigation system. Finally, there's about 30,000 lines of Java code behind the site, mostly dealing with encryption, data security and search engine integration.
Sure, there are some issues with the current site. I think we know about most of them (thanks to all the valuable feedback we're getting) and we'll be addressing them as we move forward. We still have a long way to go and we'll be deploying new and improved Rich Internet Applications over the coming months.
Posted by seancorfield at 07:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | cf | macromedia | mx

March 03, 2003

New Flash Player

Also reported elsewhere but important enough to repeat: an update of the Macromedia Flash Player is now available.
Posted by seancorfield at 04:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | macromedia | mx

Flash Remoting & PHP: MyPhoto

Already reported elsewhere but worth another mention, Robert Hall has ported the MyPhoto application from DRK2 to use PHP as the back end. This shows a couple of things, one of which is that the amfphp project on sourceforge has been improving steadily since it now has a PHP gateway for auto-discovering services. Seeing MyPhoto running puts my earlier example to shame so I'll have to do something about that!
Posted by seancorfield at 04:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx | php

February 24, 2003

Macromedia DevNet & PHP

PHP is featured very highly in the latest Macromedia DevNet update. Lots of articles about building sites in PHP, covering how to set up your environment (Linux, PHP, Apache, MySQL), PHP and IIS, PHP and Mac OS X, PHP and server-side graphics and hand-coding PHP. Take advantage of Dreamweaver MX to build better PHP sites!
Posted by seancorfield at 10:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | macromedia | mx | php

February 14, 2003

MXDU

As some folks have noticed, the MXDU keynotes have been updated and I am no longer speaking. I am very grateful to Branden Hall for stepping up at such short notice to take over my day 2 keynote slot. I'm very disappointed that work commitments make it impossible for me to attend the conference, especially since the change of plans has come at the eleventh hour.

Posted by seancorfield at 06:32 PM | Comments (0) | mx

February 06, 2003

UML Modeler for Flash

Just saw this referenced in Jeremy's blog. Grant Skinner's gModeler.com - free online UML diagramming and documentation tool. I'm a big fan of visual modeling anyway - and this is a very cool and useful little tool. I found it very easy to use and very fast. It really does feel like a full-blown desktop UML tool (although obviously an early release). One to watch!
Posted by seancorfield at 10:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx

February 04, 2003

Java Flash Remoting with CFMX for J2EE

Several people have commented that if you put CFMX for J2EE on top of JRun, you ought to be able to access Java via the Flash Remoting gateway. First off, why was it disabled? Mostly it's a security issue: if a Flash movie could access Java classes within the ColdFusion system, it can do quite a bit of damage (consider the ServiceFactory!). However, if you really want to enable some Java functionality within the ColdFusion Flash Remoting gateway, edit the web.xml file in the WEB-INF directory and, in the flashservices Servlet definition, add the following:
<init-param>
        <param-name>DISABLE_JAVA_ADAPTERS</param-name>
        <param-value>false</param-value>
        <description>When set to true, this setting disables 
                the Java Adapters in the gateway.</description>
</init-param>
This will enable the Java Bean Adapter and the Java Class Adapter. It will not enable the EJB or Servlet Adapters. More on that later I hope.
Posted by seancorfield at 11:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | cf | j2ee | mx

January 29, 2003

Flash Remoting & PHP

A fascinating development of late has been the appearance of some PHP code that allows you to use Flash Remoting with PHP. You can read the initial flurry of discussions on Flash Database's forum. There's explanations of the machinery and links to the code. I downloaded it and, after several subtle problems, got it working. Things to watch out for: when you download the PHP code, make sure you have no rogue whitespace characters in the files (either illegal whitespace inside the <? ... ?> or any whitespace outside the <? ... ?>). The original code from "musicman" handles byte ordering and works on both Mac and Windows. The current code on SourceForge is Windows only because it does not handle byte ordering correctly.

p.s. I'm still bummed that Safari doesn't support Flash Remoting.

Posted by seancorfield at 08:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx | php

January 18, 2003

Flash Remoting and Security

Mesh has posted some information about Flash Remoting and the Web Services adapter. Essentially, the issue is that malicious people can invoke Web Services using your Flash Remoting gateway. You carefully put a firewall between your web servers and your CFMX app server and then discover that your internal Web Services are now accessible because strangers can ask your gateway to invoke arbitrary Web Services - including things inside your firewall. This is definitely a potential security issue but it really only becomes an issue when those "strangers" figure out the internal address of your Web Services which - for obvious reasons - you've never documented externally. So it's probably not much more than a theoretical threat.


My advice, however, is to wrap your application server in a firewall as well as your web server, and to lock down port 80 - and possibly port 443 - access from the app server to your internal network. Another option would be to disable the ColdFusion Web Services Adapter... except that Flash Remoting doesn't currently allow you to do that.

Posted by seancorfield at 12:37 AM | Comments (2) | mx

December 18, 2002

MXDU

MX Down Under draws near: February 19-20, Sydney, Australia. I think it will be an excellent conference with some really interesting sessions.

Posted by seancorfield at 11:30 AM | Comments (0) | mx

December 17, 2002

MX Tips

Check out Daemon | Tips & Tricks for a useful (and growing) library of helpful tips for building MX applications!

Posted by seancorfield at 04:07 PM | Comments (0) | mx

November 12, 2002

DWMX for CF Studio users

While at DevCon, I attended Charlie Arehart's presentation Dreamweaver MX for Developers. Charlie has now posted some specific tips from that presentation in his blog. Thanx Charlie!

Posted by seancorfield at 04:24 PM | Comments (0) | mx

November 08, 2002

DevMX

Already reported in a few other blogs, DevMX is a very promising new site dedicated to development of applications using Macromedia's MX suite of products. In approach and appearance (and, in some places, content), it clearly owes a lot to FlashCFM and, indeed, the sites share visionary and editorial personnel. DevMX provides forums, mailing lists and a nice example of data aggregation in a Flash UI on the home page, pulling in hot books from Amazon, articles from Macromedia's Designer & Developer Center and tips from Ben Forta's site. It will in future offer a component library - presumably both Flash and CFC - as well as a "Knowledge Base". Sites like this can be a great resource for the community so Kudos to Dennis Baldwin, Todd Rafferty, Kevin Bridges, Justin Watkins and Edoardo Zubler for creating and maintaining the site!

Posted by seancorfield at 05:25 PM | Comments (0) | mx

October 30, 2002

Dreamweaver MX for Developers

That was the title of Charlie Arehart's talk for the Community Suite. It's a one hour excerpt from his day-long seminar that he gives. The excerpt covers just some of the issues involved in transitioning from HomeSite or CF Studio. The full day's seminar also covers "Speeding up DWMX", "Annoyances", "Tips and Hidden Gems", "Useful Extensions" and "Where to Learn More". You can read more about the seminar on the SysteManage website. Charlie covered a lot of the 'beloved' CF Studio features which are directly present in DWMX (some have different names or locations) and then talked about the extended functionality in DWMX (such as code hints for variables in scope such as server) as well as a few of the CF Studio features which are not present (some of which can be recovered via Dreamweaver Extensions). The audience seemed to respond well to Charlie's assurances that it's really OK to move to DWMX and Michael Dinowitz said that he would now install DWMX and give it a fair crack on the basis of Charlie's presentation.

Posted by seancorfield at 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | mx

Back En Suite

I just tuned into the Community Cam and Charlie Arehart is talking about migrating from CF Studio to Dreamweaver MX, going over the differences and how you can change preferences in DWMX to make it more Studio-like. He's also talking about the extra features in DWMX that make migrating worthwhile. I might go up and catch the tail-end of the talk and sit in on the Q&Q.
Posted by seancorfield at 08:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx

October 29, 2002

Round Room (overview)

The Community Suite's "Round Room" discussion covered a lot more than just the pros and cons of ColdFusion MX. After some discussion about certain specific CFMX issues, talk turned to Dreamweaver MX and Charlie Arehart talked about how he's worked with DWMX to get it to behave more like CF Studio. Bob Denny talked about his WebSite webserver connecting to CFMX - lots of enthusiasm about this webserver, which used to ship with early releases of CF. Vern arrived about this point and the discussion shifted once again, this time to the material on Macromedia's website, looking at the level of the material and discussing what people want to see on the website. I'll write this up in more depth later, but right now Hal Helm is talking about his vision for the future of Fusebox and I want to pay attention to that.
Posted by seancorfield at 01:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx

October 22, 2002

DevCon & CF-Community

DevCon is just around the corner and I'm looking forward to meeting many of you face-to-face. I've agreed to be part of House of Fusion's "CFMX Round Room" event - see CF-Community.com - The ColdFusion Programmer's Gathering Place for more details.

Posted by seancorfield at 05:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx

October 19, 2002

Flash Player 6 Public Beta

A new version of the Flash Player is in public beta right now. It provides windowless transparent mode on all platforms as well as a host of other goodies. If you are a Flash developer who wants to try this out, you can read Macromedia - Flash TechNotes: Macromedia Flash Player 6 public beta. I've been playing around with windowless transparent mode this morning and it's very cool!

Posted by seancorfield at 02:13 PM | Comments (0) | mx

October 10, 2002

since1968.com

I've just been made aware of this site and an interview they conducted with Brian Ghidinelli of IconMediaLab Interview, about the Boreal MountainLink website / web application. It's a very cool Rich Internet Application and the interview covers some of the technical aspects of it as well as broader issues surrounding RIA development. Worth reading! There are other interviews on the site (including one with Jeremy Allaire) as well as reviews and other web development resources.
Posted by seancorfield at 08:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | mx

September 30, 2002

Rich Internet Applications

A new topic area has just appeared on the Macromedia - Designer & Developer : Rich Internet Application Development. You can find out what all the fuss is about, download your "starter kit" and learn how to build your own Rich Internet Application!

Posted by seancorfield at 07:33 PM | Comments (0) | mx

Dreamweaver corrupts include statement

Users of DWMX occasionally see a mysterious rewrite of a server-side include (e.g., #include or <cfinclude...>) even when they have disabled all code rewriting. Macromedia - Dreamweaver TechNotes: Dreamweaver adds translator code to document source code might help you resolve this problem.

Posted by seancorfield at 04:39 PM | Comments (0) | mx

September 23, 2002

Flash Remoting MX

Macromedia Flash Remoting MX Available for .NET and Java Application Servers. This brings the power and ease of the NetConnection machinery to platforms other than ColdFusion!

Posted by seancorfield at 09:36 AM | Comments (0) | mx

August 25, 2002

DevCon 2003

If you can't make it to Macromedia DevCon 2002 in Orlando, FL this October, perhaps you can make it to DevCon 2003 in San Diego, CA (September) or to MX DownUnder AsiaPac Macromedia DevCon, which will be held in Sydney, Australia in February 2003?

Posted by seancorfield at 04:54 PM | Comments (0) | mx

August 24, 2002

DevCon 2002

You can save $155 if you hurry up and register for Macromedia DevCon 2002 now! I hope to see plenty of you there. I'll mostly be staffing the community suite as well as helping out in a few of the sessions.

Posted by seancorfield at 09:24 PM | Comments (0) | mx

August 16, 2002

The Answers Panel

If you use Dreamweaver MX (or Fireworks MX or Flash MX), you may have noticed a panel called "Answers". It's a great way to get the latest hints & tips for these products and you can also search for tech notes or product extensions, from the comfort of your favorite authoring environment! You can read all about it in this month's Logged In column on the Designer & Developer Center.

Posted by seancorfield at 02:27 PM | Comments (0) | mx