Todd Sharp has put together a very short slide deck (12 slides) detailing reasons why you should attend CFUnited 2009 in Leesburg, Virginia. The deck has information about where and when the conference will take place, video of the conference venue, what valuable content you can expect, and more. If you're on the fence about attending I recommend taking 3 minutes to view Todd's slide deck.


RIAdventure 2009 has been over for a few weeks now and I'm missing the sun and relaxation already. It was great to get away from the office and shut off the phone and laptops for a full five days. I enjoyed hanging out with those that came along and I want to give HUGE props to Joshua Cyr for arranging the trip. He was like a travel guide making sure everyone knew what was going on, where we were supposed to meet to not miss the shuttle ride to the ship and as always was a joy to hang out with. I'm definitely looking forward to the possibility of a second RIAdventure in 2010 but in the meantime I have some photos to help make the weight a little more bearable.

For those curious what RIAdventure was all about you can view all the Flickr group photos here. I've also posted my photos to Flickr as well as three videos (of a super awesome Segway tour!) in my RIAdventure Cruise 2009 set.

Here's a slideshow for those that don't want to manually click through photos on Flickr.


Flex Authority has officially announced Leif Wells as the new Editor-in-Chief. I've known Leif for several years and have gotten to know him through the Adobe User Group program. He's a super passionate guy with a lot to offer the Flex community. To learn more about Leif's background and his plans for Flex Authority read his blog post announcing his new role in the magazine.


Shrinkadoo AIR Application

Posted by Aaron West at 12:42 PM in ColdFusion, Adobe AIR, Ajax, Flash

A co-worker of mine, Andy Matthews, has released a new AIR application I think everyone should check out. Shrinkadoo, an HTML/Ajax/ColdFusion powered AIR application integrates with a slew of URL shortening services to bring the functionality to your desktop. Andy's app is super small and lightweight and makes it really easy to quickly shorten those nasty URLs you want to put in e-mail, blogposts, or on Twitter. Other than the URL shortening itself my favorite features so far are the integrated feedback form and the auto application updates. Andy has a ton of ideas on where he wants to take the application but be sure and let him know what you think after you install it. Simply hover over the minimize/close buttons to see a slide out menu of extra features (nice!). Press the envelope icon, type up your comments and press submit!


This time next week my wife and I will be somewhere in the North Atlantic on our way to the Bahamas. It's been a couple of years since our last cruise so we're pretty excited for the chance to hit the seas again. The particular cruise we're going on is part of the RIAdventure social/tech gathering. I've always enjoyed hanging out with other programmers and tech folks at conferences, but the conference always occupies most of our time. This cruise is all about the social aspects but I'm sure there will be loads of conversations on ColdFusion, Flex, AIR, and rich Internet applications in general. When you get a bunch of geeks together you can be there will be lots of tech talk.

I believe there are upwards of 30 people going including Joshua Cyr, Dan Skaggs, Dan Wilson, Yancy Wharton, Jared Rypka-Hauer, and Todd Sharp. Since I'll be arriving a day before the ship sets sail, I thought it'd be nice to have dinner with anyone else that's already in Miami. If you're going to be in Miami on Sunday the 8th and you want to have dinner, give me a ring (just press the "Call Me" button in the right margin). Or, you can always leave a comment on this post or e-mail me.


Mike Chambers has created his first iPhone application and it's been approved by Apple. If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch and you write ActionScript 3 for Flash CS3 or Flex 3, you need to cruise on over to iTunes and download (iTunes link) his ActionScript 3 API reference guide!! It includes documentation on AS3 for Flash Player 10, Flex 3.2 and AIR 1.5.

Thanks for putting this together Mike.


A few days ago the latest issue of Flex Authority was released. I wrote an article for the issue (Vol 1 Issue 2) on BlazeDS, Flex/AIR, and ColdFusion integration but it had to be removed due to space issues (yea, it's long). Fortunately, my article fits well with the theme of Vol 2 Issue 1 and it'll be included in both the print and PDF versions when released.

Until then, Judith Dinowitz was kind enough to provide me with a sneak peak of my article that you can download right now. Why wait, click right here to download it. Enjoy!


Adobe announced today the Flex 3 with AIR certification. There's an exam preparation guide that includes information on the exam structure and sample questions. You can download the guide here.

To register to take the exam head over to the VUE web site. The exam will also be available on the Prometric web site in a couple of weeks.


My Thoughts on BFusion/BFlex

Posted by Aaron West at 8:00 AM in ColdFusion, Adobe AIR, Flex

BFusion/BFlex has been over for a month and I realized I had not blogged any comments on the event. Several folks have already blogged their thoughts with Dan Wilson's being nearly an identical mirror of my own. And while much of the below is repeating Dan I think its worth it.

General Organization
I was thoroughly impressed with BFusion/BFlex from the moment Bob Flynn asked me to speak to leaving Bloomington for home. Early on I decided to bring my wife and son with me to the conference and Bob was super helpful offering activity suggestions for them. The rest of the staff were no slouches either. Everywhere you turned there were smiling faces ready to assist you in finding a presentation room, help you get on the wireless network, or for speakers, making sure you had all the essentials for your talk. The staff all wore the same color shirts each day (speakers had colored shirts too) which helped you identify who could offer assistance.

I've had horrible luck with hotels this year including the hotel at Webmaniacs double-charging me and the hotel at BFusion/BFlex taking over two weeks to get my bill straight. What they did right however, was supplying a nice room during the four days we were in town. Our room was easily the largest I had ever stayed in. It included a huge open area with couch, table, and desk. The area proved to be of great use for my son to act like a wild man as well as sleep in his pack-and-play. There was also a 42'' LG HDTV that helped the room feel a little bit more like home to my wife.

To start off, WOW! The facilities were a dream come true for both attendees and speakers. Each room was situated with ampitheatre seating fully equipped with ethernet and power. All you had to do was sit down, plug in, and go. Speakers were treated nicely with dual projectors and screens and a fully Crestron automated lighting set up. I prefer to stand up and move around when presenting and having a desk on hydraulics was super sweet! I just pushed a button to raise the desk to my preferred height and I was off. As if that weren't enough presenters were greeted with a teleprompter style screen in the middle of the room. This was useful in keeping on track with your bullets without having to turn away from the audience.

Both days of the conference a free lunch was provided. Everyone knew ahead of time what food would be available and folks selected a specific sub sandwhich for the first and type of pizza for the second. The food was fantastic and there was way more than enough to go around. Folks were grabbing all kinds of extra pizza on the last day.

Speakers for both days included several Adobe Community Experts (or past Adobe Community Experts) and Adobe employees. In the lineup was: Matt Boles, Adam Lehman, Matt Woodward, Peter Farrell, Mike Brunt, Simon Free, Adam Haskell, Mike Labriola, Zach Stepek, Elliott Sprehn, Dan Wilson, Kurt Wiersma, and Kevin Schmidt. That's a lot of top notch speakers for FREE!

Overall, I was blown away by the conference. It's just hard to believe it could be so well organized and thought out considering 2008 was just it's second year. Did I mention all the giveaways? No? Just about every person attending the 2-day event walked away with something. All-in-all, it's hard to beat an event like BFusion/BFlex and with the price of admission (FREE both years so far) you'd be crazy not to do everything you can to make it to this event in the future.

I hope I see you there next year!


I'm excited to report that my wife and I have booked our spot on the RIAdventure cruise to the Bahamas taking place February 9-13, 2009. If you don't know what this cruise is all about I encourage you to check out the site. Or, read my previous blog post which includes 12 reasons YOU should go on this cruise.


I've uploaded the supporting application files for my presentation at BFlex yesterday (link below). The download includes a Flex Builder project archive which has all the Flex/AS, ColdFusion, JavaScript, and HTML that are needed to create the AIR messaging application. The zip also includes a PDF with all the steps needed to get up and running with the application. In other words, everything you'd need to build the application from start to finish is included in the download.

Later today or tomorrow I'll blog my thoughts on BFusion and BFlex as I'm trying to pack things up and get on the road for home.

Click the link below to download the files:
AIR Messaging Files


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!