ColdFusion 8 Released

Posted by Aaron West at 8:59 AM in ColdFusion

I would've bet money CF8 would be released at CFUnited this year. Luckily, no money was lost. However, Adobe's first release of ColdFusion is now available.

Pimp it.


twitterAIR 1.1.2 Released

Posted by Aaron West at 12:06 PM in twitterAIR, Adobe AIR, Flex

I've made some minor updates and fixed some annoying bugs in twitterAIR. The new version, 1.1.2, is available here or by clicking the "twitterAIR" link in the downloads pod to the right. Users with twitterAIR already installed will be prompted to update on the next app restart.

Here's what has changed:

  • Fixed a bug where clicking any link in a tweet would cause tweets to randomly lose their text. As you scrolled up and down - with the scrollbar arrows or the scrollbar track - tweet text would be missing from different and seemingly random messages. As you continued scrolling, tweet text would be appear and disappear randomly. In order to resolve this I had to switch from my custom HTMLText component to the built-in Text component and dump the rollover affect on links.
  • Fixed a bug where clicking the Twitter user links (http://twitter.com/[username]) in each tweet would open up two browser windows.
  • Fixed a bug where the error pop-up window would be created more than once if several errors occurred before the original error window was closed. When this happened there was no way to get all the error windows closed.
  • Added support for displaying the app name in the "from" text in the tweets displayed on twitter.com. This was accomplished by working with the folks at Twitter to set up the super secret (not really) handshake between the app and their servers. Thanks to Alex at Twitter for taking care of this!!
  • Added tooltip styling to areas of the tweet messages.


ColdFusion powered AIR

Posted by Aaron West at 2:44 PM in ColdFusion, Adobe AIR

Just finished listening to a good presentation on ColdFusion and AIR integration. There was also a lot of discussion about AIR features, AIR competition, and security concerns with running AIR applications. The presentation portion is about 45 minutes with 30 or so minutes of good Q&A at the end. I'd credit the user group that recorded this preso, but I don't know who's responsible other than my man David O.. O.. O.. O'Malley (subtle Good Morning Vietnam reference). Check it out here:



Must Have iPhone Wallpaper

Posted by Aaron West at 2:14 PM in iPhone

I discovered some cool iPhone wallpaper that everyone with an iPhone should download.

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If you're familiar with Microsoft's Surface this video will be very funny. Don't you want a big ass 10,000 dollar table?


Andy Jarrett posted a photo of all the ColdFusion bloggers who've created a Simpson's avatar of themselves. You can check out the group photo here. We're a motley crew for sure.


Embedding Fonts in Flex

Posted by Aaron West at 5:53 PM in Flex

Some of the best looking Flex applications are those that steer away from the default styling. Using customized backgrounds, component skins, and even fonts help make your applications stand out from the crowd. I used all of these concepts when building twitterAIR, my Flex/AIR application that integrates with the Twitter service. But how do you get a font embedded into a Flex application and why would you want to do this?

If you're building an application and you like using standard fonts that reside on most computers - like Arial and Verdana - you don't need to embed any fonts. You can be confident most of your end users will have the fonts your application uses. However, if you design your application with a custom font or anything non-standard you'll need to embed the font in your application in order to ensure everyone sees the same thing.

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twitterAIR 1.1.0 Released

Posted by Aaron West at 2:12 PM in twitterAIR, Adobe AIR, Flex

I've updated twitterAIR - my AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) / Twitter application - with some new features. Thanks to those of you who have submitted comments and suggestions. Below is an excerpt of the changelog illustrating the new features. You can get the new version by pressing the appropriate link in the Downloads pod to the right, or by clicking here.

  • Added minimize button.
  • Switched the twitterAIR and trajiklyhip.com logo positions.
  • Added support for typing "@username" in the input box. If you begin a tweet with @username, the typed username will be matched against your friends list.
  • Added support for sending direct messages with "d username message."
  • Added support for viewing direct messages. Press the DIRECT button to view your messages.
  • Added hyperlink support for the twitter.com/username links in the top right of each tweet. Clicking the text will now load the user's twitter page.
  • Added support for the @username callouts and URL's. Any @username text and hyperlink (http://, https://, or www) can now be clicked.
  • Separated the e-mail and blog parts of the feedback text (in the Settings window) so my e-mail address can be copied/pasted while my blog URL can still be clicked.
  • Added support for version tracking. When new versions of the app are released you will be prompted to update.


twitterAIR on AIRapps.net

Posted by Aaron West at 10:52 PM in twitterAIR, Adobe AIR, Flex

A co-worker informed me twitterAIR is now on AIRapps.net. You can check out the other 47 applications by visiting the Web site.


Upcoming Site Maintenance

Posted by Aaron West at 8:53 PM in Site News

Due to some major instability problems on the shared server my site resides I'm having some changes made. Specifically, my site and blog will be moved to a Virtual Private Server - running enterprise Linux and CF 7 - within the next 24 hours. During the switchover from shared hosting to VPS there's likely to be at least some downtime. Hopefully things will be running much better very soon.


Me As a Simpson's Character

Posted by Aaron West at 10:14 AM in Personal

Following several others (Mark Mandel, Andy Jarrett, Mark Drew) here I am as a Simpson's character.


twitterAIR Screen Shots

Posted by Aaron West at 10:49 AM in twitterAIR, Adobe AIR, Flex

Here are a few screen shots of twitterAIR so folks can see what some of the windows look like before downloading and installing the app. The images are a little bit smaller than the actual size of the app.

Friends view (public view looks the same):

Settings view:

Error view:


Web Hosting - Help End My Pain!

Posted by Aaron West at 9:07 PM in ColdFusion, Personal

I'd like nothing more than to be typing this blog entry directly into my Web site. Unfortunately, due to my site being up and down and up and down again, I'm typing it in TextEdit on my Mac. For the last 6-8 months it seems my site's uptime and performance has dramatically decreased. I pay pretty close attention to my stats, I have a pretty good error tracking system in place, and for the last 4 days I've "caught" my site throwing 500 errors at least once a day. I think it's safe to say I'm pretty fed up with shared hosting.

With that said, I'm curious what people would recommend in the way of hosting. Should I go with VPS, dedicated, co-lo, or some other option? What about providers? HostMySite has been great in regards to their support staff, but the performance of their shared servers flat out sucks. I've even been switched to other "less busy" servers and things were only better for a short while. Their response has always been: shared hosting is made for one or a few domains only. That's just a load of crap. I help run a technology department that hosts over 1,800 Web sites on just a few servers. I can't believe they would spew that marketing crap to me to try and get me to upgrade to a different plan. If that's their opinion on shared ColdFusion services why are they offering the service? Are there providers that offer GOOD shared hosting? Or should I investigate some of the other options at places like CFDynamics, VivioTech, or SozoHosting? Incidentally, the Nashville CF User Group site is with CFDynamics and I've never ever seen the site go down; granted it gets very little traffic.

In order to help folks recommend something that would actually be viable here are my basic requirements:

  • OS must be Linux (preferably RedHat Enterprise)
  • ColdFusion 7 (pre-installed or available and few, if any tags disabled)
  • MySQL 4+
  • Performance should rival dedicated servers
  • Must support 500,000+ page views/month
  • Must support 30GB data transfer/month
  • Must have a great stats package
  • Must provide e-mail services
  • Must have some sort of control panel
  • Must have responsive, knowledgeable support


In reference to the release of twitterAIR, Simon writes:

Hi Aaron, as much as I'd love to see your code for the AIR app, I won't bug you for it. But I did want to ask why you packaged it as an AIR app. It's the second Twitter app done in Flex but shipped as a wrapped AIR file and I'm wondering if both developers (that's you as well) ran into some kind of browser limitation.
While I currently don't have plans to share the code for twitterAIR in it's entirety I don't have a problem with discussing how things were done. In fact, I plan on posting a few blog entries on working with the file/directory API, creating custom form validators, and other features.

To answer your question, I didn't even consider building twitterAIR to work in the browser. If someone wants to post tweets using a browser I'd recommend using the twitter.com Web site. My focus was building an AIR application right from the start. To me it just makes sense to use a desktop application to post tweets, just like it makes sense to use the desktop for instant messaging. I tried a few Twitter applications that run on the desktop including Tweet-r (another AIR app) as well as Twitteriffic. I wasn't completely satisfied by any of them (though both are very good) plus I wanted to build an app that showcased a few of the things you can do with Flex-based AIR applications. A detailed list of these features can be found at the bottom of this entry.


Several weeks ago I became hooked on Twitter and the ability to keep up with what my friends are doing. Since then I spent some time building an Apollo application that integrated with the Twitter services. Shortly after that Adobe announced AIR and I scrapped what I was working on and started over. My goal was to not only build something that worked with Twitter but to use some key development aspects of Flex 3 and AIR. Along the way I hoped to learn more about Flex development.

Today I'm making the application (twitterAIR) available for the general public to try in the hopes of getting comments and suggestions. I'd like for twitterAIR to become an application people enjoy using on a daily basis but in order for that to happen I need to know what works well, what doesn't, and what features folks would like to see.

So, if you use Twitter and you'd like to try twitterAIR on Mac or Windows you can download it via the Downloads pod to the right or using this link:

Download twitterAIR!

If you're interested you can also read about some of the features of Flex/AIR development I used to put the application together. Just click the "more" link below.

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