May
28

Adobe MAX 2008 is likely to be bigger and better than ever this year; it sold out last year! Registration for this years MAX, taking place in San Francisco November 16-19, is now open. Here's the blurb on the registration home page (link below):

Adobe MAX 2008 will bring together forward-thinking designers, developers, and decision-makers interested in shaping the future of engaging experiences.

Attend MAX to gain a competitive edge through intensive skills development and unique networking opportunities. Discover the tools and training you need to create compelling engaging experiences across multiple media, including web, video, and devices.

Over 200 sessions and 50 labs
Regardless of your place in the greater Adobe ecosystem, MAX 2008 offers an unrivaled opportunity to broaden your expertise and hatch new ideas. Choose from over 200 sessions and 50 labs held in three tracks: Envision, Design, and Develop. Industry leaders and Adobe experts will offer everything from highly technical skills development to insightful discussions on our industry's future.

http://max.adobe.com/na/

May
21

ColdFusion 8 Wins a Codie Award!

Posted by Aaron West at 6:11 PM in ColdFusion

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIAA) has announced the 2008 Codie Awards. ColdFusion 8 was the winner of the "Best Web Services Solution" category.

Initial press coverage is here:
http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/05/20/Codie-awards-go-to-Red-Hat-Adobe-Salesforce_1.html

And the Codie site is here:
http://www.siia.net/codies/2008/winners.asp

May
21

twitterAIR Renaming Contest

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

If you follow my twitter feed you may have seen a tweet I posted this week about getting a trademark violation e-mail from Adobe. I brought this on myself as I submitted twitterAIR to the new AIR Marketplace. Shortly after submitting it the senior product manager for the AIR marketplace e-mailed me the violation note.

So, twitterAIR needs to be renamed and I'm fine with it as I have no attachment to the name. In fact, I'm horrible with creating product names hence the original really sucky one. I decided yesterday to run a contest to see who submits the best replacement name. To give you some context I am defining "best" as the most original, catchy, interesting, easy to remember name that still keeps a correlation (somehow) with the Twitter service. Whomever submits the name I choose will receive some goodies via snail mail. I'm currently thinking of sending the Adobe AIR for JavaScript Developers pocket guide, some t-shirts, and perhaps a few other things I come up with. Feel free to submit your ideas in the comments below or e-mail them to me directly - trajik210 at gmail.

The deadline for submissions is next week, Wednesday May 28.

May
21

I'm hanging out at Webmaniacs this week and there's been a lot of confusion surrounding BlazeDS and push messaging. This confusion has been rooted in Adobe's marketing of BlazeDS including several presenters saying BlazeDS has the ability to push messages to a client just like LifeCycle Data Services (LCDS). Even this week at Webmaniacs presentations have been given talking about the differences between LCDS and BlazeDS. In a small grid of features including Flash Remoting, Messaging, and Data Management/Synchronization, the only missing check mark on the BlazeDS side was for data management and synchronization. Developers have taken this to mean BlazeDS includes the full spectrum of messaging that is included in LCDS.

Just after the introduction of BlazeDS in February, at Dealerskins we began creating a BlazeDS/HTML/Ajax/AIR application with the intent to push messages from a ColdFusion interface to an AIR application running on several dozen remote computers. After trudging our own path with BlazeDS (there is VERY little documentation and info online) we discovered you simply can't do push messaging without purchasing the full featured LifeCycle Data Services.

This week I was finally able to confirm with Adobe you cannot do push messaging in BlazeDS. Some folks have been quick to argue "push messaging" is a matter of definition or context. There are definitely different flavors of push messaging most of which are defined by whether the client is actively listening to the server or if it even knows it is in a position to receive a message from the server. Putting definitions aside, LCDS brings true push messaging to the table because it uses Adobe's proprietary Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) to create a constant connection between itself and the client. BlazeDS is open source, and since RTMP isn't (incidentally, Adobe's AMF binary protocol _is_ now open source) it is not available as a channel in the BlazeDS configuration files. Your only option for implementing messaging is to create a channel for AMF polling, configure some settings for polling, and then define your message producers and consumers.

In the application we built at Dealerskins, ColdFusion was a message Producer and AIR on the desktop was a message Consumer. In other words, a ColdFusion application produced a message that was sent to a CFC which then talked to BlazeDS, which then waited for AIR clients to request/consume new messages. While this worked fine, it is in my opinion overkill as we could've written the AIR application such that it connected to ColdFusion directly (CFC) in order to get new messages.

I hope this clears up some differences in features between BlazeDS and LifeCycle DS.

May
19

Ben Forta kicked things off this morning giving a talk he titled "ColdFusion 8 and Beyond." Here are my rough notes on the information Ben covered. He began by discussing the ColdFusion Open Process Initiative which is made up of the following:

  • public bug database
  • public enhancement request system
  • custom advisory board
    • CFML design
    • feature definitions
    • specification reviews
    • early release reviews

But what comes next in the world of ColdFusion? Work has begun on "Centaur" which is about improving the integration story of ColdFusion. CF has had an integration story since 1996 with ColdFusion 2. Centaur will be about improving the integration of ColdFusion especially with regard to Flex and AIR. Another thing Centaur will be about is improving the developer experience. Particularly making the process cleaner, easier, and better for developers writing CFML and technologies that surround CFML. More details on Centaur will be released at MAX this year in San Francisco on November 16-19..

CF has evolved into being the ideal backend for rich Internet applications. The trend started several years ago with the introduction of WDDX (Web Distributed Data Exchange) and Flash Remoting. This further evolved - with Adobe at the helm - into data services integration with LifeCycle Data Services and more recently the open source BlazeDS. LCDS adds two things to the mix from a CF perspective: messaging and data management (including data synchronization).

There are two ways LifeCycle can be installed

  • CF + LCDS installed as the same instance on a J2EE server
    • simplied installation
    • high performance (direct Java APIs instead of RMI calls)
    • requires CF8
  • External LCDS (external to CF for clarification)
    • simpler upgrading of LCDS because it is separate from CF
    • better suited if LCDS used by more than CF
    • supported by CF 7.0.2 and 8

Messaging is the term used to define sending any data at all from one destination to another destination. With CF and Flex, messaging is about ensuring your data makes it to its destination instead of hoping it does like e-mail.

LCDS push technology keeping the connection open between client and server.

  • Publish and subscribe
    • producer and consumer
  • Asynchronous communication
  • Messages have header and body
    • values can be complex types
    • values are converted to/from CFML and AS types
  • ColdFusion can be both a Producer and a Consumer
    • publish - SendGatewayMessage()
    • Subscribe - Event Gateway CFC
  • Data Management
    • the old last to save wins scenario was described
    • Data Services solves this problem
    • it can have a knowledge about structured data and who (which clients) and what data and what state that data is in
    • Data Services is the server component between the client and ColdFusion
    • automatically compares original data with changed data when it is returned from the server. it can say "oh, you changed this field and other users have this record, so we must send them the new copy."
    • can build conflict screens in apps to not only show what data has changed, but to show conflicts and allow users to choose how to handle them which in turn will tell LCDS what to do.
    • wizards available to the Eclipse environment generate all the CFCs needed to manage this type of data management process

LCDS has Flash Remoting, messaging, and data management.

BlazeDS has Flash Remoting and messaging but not data management.

LCDS is in beta version 2.6 now. It is going to integrate well with AIR clients. Think about an AIR client going offline and keeping up with changed data on the client. When the client reconnects, the changed data gets pushed back to LCDS which performs any necessary data management stuff it needs to from there.

May
18

A Fix for Time Machine's Backup Failure

Posted by Aaron West at 1:30 PM in Mac, Leopard

Returning home from the Adobe Community Summit I knew there were a couple of things I had to do. Getting a bit of rest and hanging out with my wife and son were at the very top of the list. Closer to the bottom was plugging my MBP into a power brick in order to backup my computer to my Time Capsule. Little did I know it wasn't going to be as easy as usual.

After plugging in and initiating the backup, Time Machine took over 20 minutes to prepare the data - it simply displayed "Preparing data" for what seemed like ages. Finally, it finished the prepare data phase and displayed how much data it was backing up, about 5.3 GB. I'm simply amazed that one weeks worth of work could generate 5.3 GB of changed data. Realizing it was going to take Time Machine quite a while to copy 5.3 GB wirelessly to the Time Capsule I shut the MBP's screen about 80% of the way and decided to return to the living room to do other things.

A few hours later I came back to my MBP to see the following message:

First, many thanks to Apple for giving me a useful error message I could do something about. Pfff. I tried several things to get Time Machine working again including rebooting, reconnecting to the Time Capsule, and simply restarting the backup process. All failed with the same error message.

After hitting up Google for answers (Google always seems to have answers you know) I found a few posts on the MacCast forums that seemed promising. A user by the name of "karinlord" deserves credit for the right set of steps to mitigate this problem.

I believe my problem started when my computer decided to sleep in the middle of the backup process. I am unsure if this occurred because of my systems preferences or whether I actually shut the computer lid enough to force it to sleep. Regardless, Time Machine seems to freak out if it gets interrupted during the backup process. When this happens several files and folders are left on your backup volume that deter any subsequent backups.

To get Time Machine going again, you need to remove the errant files with the following steps:

  1. Ensure your backup device is turned on and connected to your computer (wirelessly or wired, it doesn't matter)
  2. Turn off Time Machine using the big button in Time Machine preferences. NOTE: I did not execute this step and was still able to fix Time Machine.
  3. Make sure the backup volume (which is just part of the backup drive) is mounted to your desktop/Finder. You may have to initiate (and subsequently cancel) a Time Machine backup process in order to see the drive on the desktop or in Finder.
  4. Access your backup volume in Finder (it should be named "Backup of your-computer-name..." or something similar) and double-click into the "Backups.backupdb" folder.
  5. Next, click into the "your-computer-name" folder. You should see a bunch of folders with dates. These are all the dates corresponding to days you ran a successful backup.
  6. At the bottom of the folder listing will be one or two things you need to move to the trash. You may see only one or both of these, but delete the file that starts with a date (it should be the date the backup failure started) and ends in ".inProgress." Also delete a file named "Latest" if it exists.
  7. Return to Time Machine preferences and turn Time Machine on. Remember, I was successful without performing this step.
  8. Initiate a backup using the Time Machine drop-down in the menu bar or wait until the next scheduled backup run.
  9. A final but important step, be patient. Time Machine may sit in "preparing" mode for a while. It's important to at least let it run for an hour or so to see if the process will continue actually writing files to your backup volume.

If you continue having problems and are unable to get Time Machine to perform a successful backup, I recommend running the following command in Terminal. This command will let you view your system log - where Time Machine errors are located - in order to [possibly] get a clearer picture of what is causing your backups to fail.

sudo grep backupd /var/log/system.log

May
18

Day three of the Adobe Community Summit was the second day of talks by various folks at Adobe. The day was jam packed with more content and information than presented the previous day. Read on for more...

Continue Reading

May
15

Flash Player 10: Link Roundup

Posted by Aaron West at 4:41 PM in Flash

Earlier today Adobe announced a public beta release of Flash Player 10. Some of the new features include 3D visual effects, a new text rendering engine, and changes to how the player handles dynamic sound loaded at runtime. If you are interested in learning more about the significance of FP10, check out the current blog buzz by visiting the links below. I've trolled through the latest content and hand selected some of the most informative and interesting blog posts.

Flash Player 10 available on Adobe Labs
http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashplayer10/

Public Bugbase powered by JIRA
http://bugs.adobe.com/flashplayer/

Flash Player team member Tinic Uro takes us on a tour of the new features
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Wired magazine covers the release (by Scott Gilbertson)
http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2008/05/flash-player-10.html

FlashMagazine.com on FP10's new text engine
http://www.flashmagazine.com/news/detail/flash_player_10_feature_new_text_engine/

FlashMagazine.com on using FileReference to load and save files
http://www.flashmagazine.com/news/detail/flash_player_10_new_feature_load_and_save_files_using_filereference/

FlashMagazine.com on PixelBender (formerly known as "Hydra")
http://www.flashmagazine.com/news/detail/flash_player_10_feature_pixel_bender/

FlashMagazine.com on Dynamic Streaming in FP10
http://www.flashmagazine.com/News/detail/flash_player_10_feature_dynamic_streaming/

FlashMagazine.com on Dynamic Audio Generation
http://www.flashmagazine.com/News/detail/flash_player_10_feature_dynamic_audio_generation/

FlashMagazine.com on 3D support in FP10
http://www.flashmagazine.com/News/detail/flash_player_10_feature_3d_support/

Grant Skinner on building FP10 demos
http://www.gskinner.com/blog/archives/2008/05/building_the_fl.html

May
15

This years Summit special event was held at South First Billiards, a rather large pool hall. They must've had 20+ pool tables. For the first hour and a half or so I played pool with Martin Dombroski, Bernie Dolan, and Christine Harold. I used my Flip video camera and shot two short videos of Bernie and I breaking. Check 'em out.


Me opening the game with a decent break.


Bernie Dolan opening the game with a decent break.

May
15

The first official day of the Adobe Community Summit was packed full of interesting talks from several key product players. This years summit is my third and every year it seems to get a bit better. The time spent with Adobe folks is invaluable and the information shared allows members of the Adobe community (Adobe Community Experts, User Group Managers, and Adobe Champions) to prepare for the future in ways not quite possible in the past.

The first person on the podium was Michele Turner, manager of the Adobe Technology Platform. She gave the keynote address discussing Adobe's general technology strategy. She also covered an overview of Adobe's 2 year technology roadmap. There are certainly some exciting things coming in the future.

Following Michele, was Scott Fegette, a long time Dreamweaver user, and video/audio production god. Scott talked about what we're likely to see in the next version of Dreamweaver. His talk was very well received as he is a dynamic speaker and always a crowd favorite.

Mike Chambers, another crowd favorite, took the stage next to walk through the current happenings with Adobe AIR. Most of what he covered is already public knowledge and just a recap what has occurred over the last 3 months since the launch of Flex 3 and AIR 1.0. He did share a few new tidbits indicating AIR has a bright future ahead.

After Mike's talk we broke for lunch. During lunch I had some great discussions with Peter Bell, Bernie Dolan, and David Harris on all things ColdFusion. Peter has walked through the fire of what is application generation and has an unbelievable amount of experience in this area. When he talks, I listen.

Kicking things off after lunch, Doug Winnie discussed how Adobe really has a strategy for reaching both the designer and developer and the workflows that integrate the two.

Next up was Steve Heintz who talked about Flex, both today and in the future. I couldn't remember if I had heard Steve speak before but he did a really nice job talking (conceptually) on what Adobe plans to do with Flex in the future.

One of the most impressive presentations was by Jen Taylor and Doug Benson who showed off some of the new features in the next version of the Flash Authoring tool. There were several jaw-dropping moments that caused me to "double-take" to be sure I wasn't seeing things. About all I can say, is Adobe has been busy on the Flash Authoring tool!

After we all wiped off the drool, Steve Heintz joined us again to talk about Thermo. Thermo's been a seemingly super secret tool with very little information about it shared with the community. That didn't change much with Steve's presentation, but he did give the impression Thermo has a clear focus and purpose which. It will be interesting to see how the community takes to Thermo as more information is shared in the future. I'm hoping this years MAX conference will bring more news on Thermo.

May
15

Most everyone should know by now Ed Sullivan is moving into a new role within Developer Relations at Adobe and he'll no longer be responsible for managing the user group program. There's no real replacement for someone like Ed, but Rachel Luxemburg will be taking on the task.

To show appreciation for Ed's influence and leadership in the program for so many years, Bob Flynn and the Indianna University Multimedia User Group, and other user group managers, recorded a video where they try to determine the perfect parting gift for Ed. I recorded the video presentation with my Flip camera and have made the the video available below in four parts. The last video is the presentation of some special gifts the user group managers bought for Ed.


Ed Sullivan Farewell Video - Part 1


Ed Sullivan Farewell Video - Part 2


Ed Sullivan Farewell Video - Part 3


Ed Sullivan Farewell Video - Part 4


Ed Sullivan Farewell Gifts Video

May
13

Way back in January I gave a sneak peek of an Apache article I had written for the Fusion Authority Quarterly. During the welcome reception of the Adobe Community Summit (last night) Terrance Ryan came up and said he had read (and enjoyed mind you) my article. Up until that moment I didn't even know it was released.

If you're interested in understanding Apache more I encourage you to check out my article. While you're at it, why not purchase a subscription to FAQU? It's an excellent magazine available in print and PDF versions.

May
13

Last night, at the Adobe Community Summit welcome reception Rachel Luxemburg was introduced as the new user group manager for Developer Relations at Adobe. Rachel replaces Ed Sullivan who has been an amazing manager in this role for many years. Ed is a stalwart in the Adobe community and will continue working with the community in his new role in Developer Relations.

Rachel hails from New York City but currently lives in CA. She's an avid blogger and twitterer and has been a ColdFusion user as well.

Please give Rachel a warm welcome to Adobe and the Adobe community.

May
13

Yesterday began rather early with a quick trip to the Nashville airport. After roughly 6 hours in the air (Nashville - LAX - SJC) I landed in San Jose and grabbed a cab to the San Jose Fairmont, a really nice hotel in the downtown area.

Walking into the lobby of the hotel I was greeted by several smiling faces, Dee Sadler, Jim Pickering, David Schmidt, Buck Sommerkamp, and more. After a dropping my bags off in the room and catching up with folks we headed to Cupertino to visit Apple's infamous headquarters. While there we perused the on campus Apple Store, bought swag, and took a photo or two (in Flickr stream below) next to the "1 Infinite Loop" sign. I picked up a few Apple branded goodies including a pen, mouse pad, shirts for the fam, and a coffee mug (I love cool mugs).

Back at the Fairmont everyone gathered in lobby and chatted. Adobe Community Experts and user group managers were arriving one by one with each arrival marked with loud "Heys!" and hugs. While talking with Dee Sadler I described the Adobe Community Summit as the summer camp for adults. Most everyone knows everyone else through the different Internet channels we communicate through every day. Events like the summit work to solidify friendships because we spend an insane amount of time with one another at Adobe HQ, off campus events, hotel lobby chat sessions, and lunches and dinners through downtown San Jose.

Shortly before 6:00pm we headed over to Adobe's offices 4 blocks away. All the experts, user group managers, and several Adobe employees including Ed Sullivan, Stacy Sisson (the new Adobe Community Experts manager), Rachel Luxemburg (the new Adobe user group manager in Developer Relations), Jonathan Wall (Ed and Rachel's boss), and Mike Chambers, occupied the patio area just outside of Adobe's huge cafeteria. Adobe served beer (they ran out again this year) and appetizers to help everyone unwind and visit with friends. I don't know the exact numbers but I heard a report that over 150 managers and experts are in attendance this year. That's at least 50-60 more than last year marking an attendance high since the summit started in 2006.

After mixing and mingling with old (and new) friends we had two breakout sessions. One for the managers and one for the experts. Each grouped discussed their program, what was working and what wasn't and how as members of each respective group we can help the Adobe community grow further. It was a great first day.

I haven't taken many pictures yet, but they'll all be loaded to the Flickr photo stream below if you want to check them out as the week progresses.

Flickr photo stream

May
5

Me With Mahalo Gear

Posted by Aaron West at 3:35 PM in Personal

I received an e-mail over the weekend stating I had a package at the office. When I arrived this morning some Mahalo swag was patiently waiting for me. Here's a photo of everything but the beach tote. Thanks Jason Calacanis and the crew at Mahalo HQ!