In preparation for my talk at BFlex I've created an Adobe Connect recording that illustrates how to install the binary distribution of BlazeDS on an existing ColdFusion 8 multi-server instance. If you're planning on attending my hands-on talk I would highly recommend you watch this recording and get everything configured properly. If you're just looking for help on BlazeDS and CF8 integration, the demo should help you as well.

Click here to view the 15 minute recording:


I've firmed up the details of my talk at BFlex (in two weeks) and the information should be appearing on the site soon. My talk will be part of the advanced Flex track alongside sessions from Simon Free, Zach Stepek, Mike Labriola, and Kevin Schmidt. Here's the title and description for my session.

AIR Messaging: Integrating AIR, BlazeDS, and ColdFusion

In this session I'll show you how to integrate AIR, BlazeDS, and ColdFusion 8 to create a real-world messaging service. I'll demonstrate how to install BlazeDS and "hook" it to ColdFusion 8 and will walk through building a Flex-based AIR application that communicates with the ColdFusion and BlazeDS server to consume a one-way messaging service.


Last year was the first BFlex event held in Bloomington, Indiana. The folks at the Bloomington Flex User Group, the Indiana University Flash User Group, and the Indiana University Multimedia User Group (all Adobe affiliated) held a fantastic hands-on training event on Adobe Flex. This year they are expanding the training opportunities and including content on ColdFusion.

I'll be attending the event this year as a speaker and assistant. My hands-on talk will be on integrating BlazeDS, ColdFusion, and AIR. Based on last years successful event and the speaker lineup for this year, you can bet this is going to be a great event at an incredible cost, FREE! Yes, 2 days of hands-on ColdFusion and Flex training, all lunches, and some sponsor giveaways and books are ALL free. All you have to do is get yourself to Bloomington, IN.


A little over a month ago Joshua Cyr announced the RIAdventure event, a Bahamas cruise designed for fans of ColdFusion, Flex, AIR and other technologies. The idea is get folks together who may only see each other at conferences or user groups to enjoy the sun, open sea, some island hopping, and of course tech talk!

My wife and I have been on several cruises and we're gonna venture out on this one as well. We've already spoken with the travel agent and we'll be booking our cabin and airfare this week! I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with Joshua and a slew of others slated to go. Add some drinks, sun, water, and warm weather and you'd be hard pressed to have a better time anywhere else. Prices for the cruise are incredibly reasonable. Most people unfamiliar with cruising are shocked when they learn how inexpensive it is to have a full week on a cruise ship with boarding, meals, and plenty of entertainment all included.

So cruise on over (pun intended) to the RIAdventure site, read all about the event, and consider going. I hope I'll see you there!


A few moments ago I spent an Audible credit on Al Gore's book Assault on Reason. After confirming my order Audible automatically began downloading part 1 and 2 of Gore's book. That wasn't anything unusual, but I admit I was surprised at the targeted user content displayed on the downloads page designed to guide me through the download process.

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Tenets of Effective Leadership

Posted by Aaron West at 12:36 PM in Dealerskins, Personal

My first "real" job after graduating college with a Computer Science degree was at HealthStream based in Nashville, TN. I was hired by the vice president, Steve Clemens, as an applications content developer which is a really horrible title for a Web developer. About a year or so after starting the job Steve left the company for other opportunities. Before leaving he sent me and several others an e-mail about leadership. Having just started my career I was humbled that Steve saw potential leadership qualities in me and since that day I have kept his e-mail printed and in a safe place. What he shared with me planted a seed that I have nourished over the last 8 years while developing my career. Once or twice a year I realign myself with Steve's tenets of effective leadership. I recently shared these with the General Manager of Dealerskins and decided to share them with the world at large on my blog. I'm listing them below along with my own thoughts on each one. I hope you find as much value in these as I have, especially if you are in a position of leadership in any aspect of your life.

If you're in a leadership position...

1. Always view your job as one of service to those that report to you.
You are in a leadership position so you can help others do their jobs effectively, not the other way around. Enable those around you with useful resources, communicate clear expectations, and then get out of their way. Look at Andy Stanley, Jim Lawson, and John Lewis for outstanding examples.

2. Always criticize in private and praise in public.
Don't wait for "praise opportunities" to present themselves, look for them. If you've recently started leading a group of people you think is intimidated by you, seize every opportunity to show you're wrong and someone else in the group is right. This will show you have enough confidence in yourself not to be threatened by someone's ability. Ensure that you only criticize in private. Mistakes happen and that's okay. How you react to mistakes is more important than what went wrong. As people make mistakes, pull them aside to learn what happened, create a plan to avoid the same mistake in the future, and move on. (see number 4 for more on this).

3. NEVER take responsibility for good work that someone who works for you did. ALWAYS take responsibility for bad work they did.
During the last 14 years I've seen many unfortunate situations where managers took credit for something someone on their team did. These managers were often ineffective at creating results for themselves and their team and needed to steal credit from others to make themselves look good. It's at the opposite end of this viewpoint where effective leaders reside. If something goes wrong, you as the leader of the team are responsible. Period. If something goes right, elevate that event publicly and ensure the proper team member(s) are praised.

4. Let people make mistakes.
As a perfectionist (which at times I believe is a character flaw) I struggle with this one. When looking back over my career however, I realize its my mistakes that have shaped the positive nature of my growth. Don't work yourself to death avoiding mistakes. Let them happen naturally as it is the only way people learn.

5. Fight for your people.
This is one of the most important lessons, but also one of the hardest to learn. You can't walk around broadcasting how you fight for your team and announcing the sacrifices you make on their behalf. But even though they don't know what you're doing, you should fight for them anyway.

6. Always do your best to be fair.
Fair may not make someone happy, but people can live with disappointment if they feel they've been treated fairly.

7. NEVER allow the company to break it's word to an employee.
Trust is difficult to hold onto and the most important asset a company can have (other than its people). If your company makes a promise to someone on your team (even on another team) ensure that promise is kept. Loyalty, job satisfaction, and workplace passion are all affected by trust between the company and it's employees.

8. Don't promote too quickly.
Don't just think about someone's next job, but instead consider what they'll be doing 3 jobs down the road. Career development is not about attaining the "next" position, it's about paving a road of success for years to come.

9. Have a life of your own that doesn't involve business.
This one is difficult for many people including myself. I don't consider myself a workaholic, but all too often my "work life" bleeds into my "non-work life" in a way that creates negative outcomes for me and my family. As I'm learning, you will either create a healthy, fun life outside of the office or you'll be consumed by it. Find things you enjoy that don't involve business and do them regularly. It could be playing with your children in the back yard or traveling with your spouse. It doesn't really matter what you do just that you do it regularly.

If you do these things consistently, people will want to follow you because they'll know they can trust you, they'll know you know what you're doing, and they'll know they will be successful simply by being around you. Ultimately, leaders are judged not by what they accomplish themselves, but by what they are able to get others to accomplish around them.


The Acrobat Connect recording for last weeks Nashville ColdFusion User Group meeting is now available. Mark Mandel gave an excellent talk on how to build applications with Transfer ORM. The recording is 1 hr and 11 minutes and includes all Q&A.

Watch it here: