Tomorrow evening (April 21) the Nashville ColdFusion User Group and Dave Ramsey / The Lampo Group are sponsoring a stop on the Adobe ColdFusion Builder 2 tour. If you are in Nashville tomorrow you should head to the Brentwood area to hear Greg Wilson talk about CF Builder 2, ColdFusion, and Flex on mobile including iPad/iPhone.

Food and drink will be provided and prizes will be awarded to some who RSVP. Hit up the NCFUG site to submit your RSVP and get the full meeting details.


For those reading this that do not know, I'm the CTO of Nashville-based startup Dataium, LLC. Dataium is the largest aggregator of Internet automotive shopping activity, and we're looking to hire a software engineer. We're specifically looking for someone with skills in several different technologies such as Java, Apache Hadoop, Adobe Flex/ActionScript 3, ColdFusion, and MySQL.

If you're interested in learning more, the full job description is included after the break.

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If you're planning on attending my BFlex session tomorrow on creating AIR application updaters, please click here to download the lab assets we will be using. I will have the files available on USB drives tomorrow but grabbing the assets now will get you all prepared. Be sure to also check out the prerequisites and software requirements on my session page on the BFlex Web site.

If you aren't attending my lab but you are interested in working through the content yourself, you can also download the assets. I've included my slides, a 30-page step-by-step instructions doc, and all the source code.

Update: September 12, 2010
Thanks to Joey from Nashville for pointing out I forgot to include the instructions doc in the download. I've fixed this and uploaded new download assets.


Quick Update on BFlex 2010

Posted by Aaron West at 8:24 AM in Presentations, Adobe AIR, Flex

A few things have changed with BFlex over the last week that have led me to pick up an Adobe AIR session I wasn't originally slated to teach. Other than the illustrious Simon Free's AIR session on mobile development, my session will be the only one focused on Adobe's Integrated Runtime. The downside (if there is one) to this schedule change is I don't have a specific session prepared yet. If you are going to be at BFlex I would love to hear your ideas for a hands-on session written for intermediate developers.

Here are a few ideas from myself and my twitter followers, feel free to provide your thoughts in the comments:

--creating an awesome AIR application updater that includes a force update feature
--creating screenshots of specific parts of an app and providing drag-and-drop to desktop functionality
--using the file promises API in AIR 2 to write remote files to disk
--something else AIR 2 related (native processes, etc.)

Finally, if you haven't seen the new BFlex/BFusion site (powered by Mura) released today, go check it out.


BFlex and BFusion Registration Open

Posted by Aaron West at 9:00 AM in ColdFusion, Flex

Hey folks, this is just a quick post to let everyone know registration for BFlex and BFusion 2010 is now open. Having spoken at both of these events for the past two years I know what high value these two days of hands on training offer participants. And you will participate as BFlex/BFusion is not you run of the mill event. You experience hands on training from seasoned ColdFusion and Flex developers.

I'll be there helping out the crew again this year. If you are anywhere near Bloomington, Indiana I hope to see you there. But don't forget to register here: http://bflex.info.


Image of Logitech Anywhere MX mouse and Flash Builder

Over the past few months I've found I use the heck out of the debug feature in Flash Builder 4. And when working on really complex Flex applications sometimes the only way to see whether my code is doing what I need is to run the application. Why? Because design view in Flash Builder 4 doesn't know how to work with popular Flex frameworks such as Swiz. At least, I've not been able to get it to work quite right for me.

Sometime last week I grew tired of pressing the debug button so I configured my Logitech Anywhere MX mouse so it initiates debugging sessions for me. It's pretty rocking. Click the image after the break to see a short video demonstration of how it works. If you want to learn more about the Anywhere MX mouse, I blogged my experience with it last year.

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A few weeks ago I started using Chrome on Mac OS X as my main Web browser. I had grown tired of Safari 4 chewing up nearly a gig of RAM after leaving it open for a week or more. Don't get me wrong, Safari is a fantastic browser and I wasn't happy about switching. But I can't have any browser chew through a gig of memory even if it takes it a week to do so. Chrome is nearly as fast as Safari (for me) and I've left it open for two weeks without any tab hogging memory. Each opened tab spawns its own process allowing a single tab to fail without affecting other tabs. In general I've found each tab occupies 25 MB to 40 MB of RAM. If you do that math you'll realize I can open around 25-40 tabs before Chrome takes up a gig of RAM.

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I'm three days late blogging about this, but if you haven't seen Christian Cantrell's blog post of the same title you need to check it out. He shows an application he wrote that runs on five screens including Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Android. I'd argue it's more like seven screens given the different device operating systems. Christian says he wrote the application code once and different wrappers for each operating system. I know this is supposed to be possible given the Flash Player runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux and Flash Professional CS5 can compile a Flash app to native iPhone code. This would get his app onto iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. But Christian says his app is able to run on all the devices because it's built with AIR. Ok, cool. I want to see /how/ though.

Christian promised to release his code as open source so inquisitive developers like me can learn more about this.


Hey folks, just a quick blog post to let everyone know I am looking to hire two great Flex developers right now. These two positions will start contract and will have an opportunity to go full-time. This is an immediate need and will pay well. I need folks who understand Flex and AS3 intimately and who know how to build fantastic looking interfaces on top of a lot of data. These positions can be filled by folks in Nashville or anywhere in the world really.

If you are looking for an awesome project that you can start on right now, please contact me so we can discuss. You can hit up my contact form and send me an e-mail, or use the Google Voice widget on the same page to enter your digits and ring my mobile.


Last week I gave a presentation to the Connecticut ColdFusion User Group (CFUGitives) on integrating BlazeDS and ColdFusion 9. This is the same talk I've given other places without the hands-on aspect. I've zipped up my slides and code and made them available for download here. When you extract the downloaded zip file you should see the following folder structure.

  • /FlashBuilderProject/FlexMessaging.fxp (a full Flash Builder 4 project)
  • /Slides/IntegratingBlazeDS_ColdFusion.pdf (my slides in PDF format)

To get started, import the FlexMessaging.fxp file into Flash Builder 4 as a new Flex project. This will setup nearly every aspect of the project. I typically customize my Flex 3 projects in Flash Builder with two other settings. Right-click on your new project folder and select properties. In the resulting window, select Flex Build Path. Change the Framework linkage setting to "Merged into code" and add an appropriate Output folder URL (this setting is located at the bottom of the window). I put my project in my Web root, so I typically set Output folder URL to "http://localhost/project_name/bin-debug/. Adding this setting will allow you to build the project and run it in your default browser with a localhost URL versus a filesystem specific URL.

More after the break.

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This coming Monday, February 15 I'll be giving my ColdFusion 9 and BlazeDS presentation to the Connecticut ColdFusion User Group. It's all going down online via Adobe Connect so fire up your browser at 6:00pm CST on Monday if you want to be part of the fun. All the relevant meeting info, such as the Adobe Connect URL, is located on the CFUGitives site.

But, here's a quick presentation description:

In this presentation Aaron will show you how ColdFusion 9 and BlazeDS are integrated into one server. Aaron will demonstrate how to build a one-way, real-time messaging application from start to finish, using Flash Builder 4 beta and ColdFusion Builder beta.


It didn't take long for the release of the iPad to spurn negative reactions from Apple fans and geeks everywhere. In fact, I heard 80% of the buying public was unimpressed with the iPad. Hitler wasn't impressed either as evident in the Downfall video meme you can watch here. But the best Downfall spin-off yet was when Doug McCune put Hitler in the speaker lineup for CFUnited 2009!


A few hours ago Liz Frederick, manager of the Adobe Community Expert program, announced the program name has been changed to Adobe Community Professionals. The history behind the original name and why it has been changed might not be interesting to you, but I'm proud that I was part of the process to help choose a new name. In fact, the entire Adobe Community Experts group was responsible with coming up with candidate program names that were ultimately submitted to Adobe for final approval. I'm quite happy with the new name as I believe it reflects more on what we are tasked to do. Which is...

The Adobe Community Experts Professionals Program is a community based program made up of Adobe customers who share their product expertise with the world-wide Adobe community. The Adobe Community Experts' Professional mission is to provide high caliber peer-to-peer communication educating and improving the product skills of Adobe customers worldwide.

Being an expert in anything is immensely tough to do. In fact, I often argue that there aren't any experts, there are simply people at different stages of understanding and learning. At the moment you consider yourself an expert you're likely to stop working hard, stop investigating, learning, and growing in your field, and ultimately stop being an expert. Being an Adobe Community Professional on the other hand still means you work hard at what you do, you serve as a leader in your online community, and you help others learn and become more skilled by sharing your expertise.

I welcome the switch from expert to professional and am extremely happy to report that my request to stay with the program in 2010 has been accepted. This marks my eighth consecutive year in a program that has gone from Team Macromedia, to Adobe Community Experts, to Adobe Community Professionals. A big "shout out" and thanks to Liz Frederick (Adobe Community Professional Manager), Adam Lehman (ColdFusion Product Manager), Rachel Luxemburg, and the entire ColdFusion team for allowing me to serve the ColdFusion, Flash, and Flex communities yet again.

I also want to send out a hearty welcome to new members of the program! I went through Liz's list and picked out names I a) recognized and b) were new to the program.

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Are you a programmer? Do you ever work as a consultant? If you answered yes to both of these questions I highly encourage you to read Jesse Warden's latest consulting chronicles blog post. Jesse provides some nice insights on how to be successful at your new consulting gig, how to build trust with other team members and managers, and how to solve difficult problems with good tools and a positive attitude. It's really a great read. If you're busy, e-mail this link to yourself. Otherwise, click over to Jesse's blog now.


I've uploaded all the content for my BFlex 2009 talk on integrating BlazeDS and ColdFusion 9. The download includes my slides, walkthrough instructions, and all the finalized code. Hit the link below to download the zip file and thanks to all those who attended!

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