Oct
29

I spent the better part of the entire day yesterday upgrading my blog from BlogCFC version 3.9 to the latest and greatest 5.5. I've been meaning to upgrade for some time but knowing the amount of work that was going to be involved I put it off. While the process went smoother than I expected (always good), it was a major time commitment. It took several hours to create a staging environment to perform all the work, which included getting all my production data pulled down and working in a new 3.9 instance. I already had my blog running on localhost but I wanted to isolate the upgrade in case I ran into issues along the way. The next step involved getting Ray's latest and greatest code from his Subversion repo and creating a vanilla 5.5 install. Super easy.

Now that I had a 3.9 database and a 5.5 database I went about comparing the architecture of the two and writing scripts that would bring my 3.9 database up to par. This consisted of several ALTER TABLE statements needed to add columns to existing tables, some UPDATE statements to bring my existing data into compliance with new columns, and Ray's CREATE TABLE statements for tables that weren't in the 3.9 version. It wasn't a big deal, but I went slow and was very careful to document every single change I made and test all my code against the staging environment. I did this by pointing the staging DSN (for the vanilla 5.5 install) to my newly upgraded 3.9 database. Everything worked flawlessly.

At this point I had my production data on localhost, I had written scripts to migrate my production database, and I had tested the scripts pretty thoroughly. My next step was to merge all the 3.9 customizations I had made - including styles - into the vanilla 5.5 codebase. This step was by far the most time consuming taking somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-5 hours. Ugh. I had applied the aura styles and cleaned them up significantly, not to mention shoe-horned my own custom background images into 3.9. While working with all the styles I recalled how many pain-staking hours it took to originally create the graphics and styles. Not being a designer and certainly not being good at cutting up graphics for a Web site, the work took at least a day and half. To get things right this time - in 5.5 - was not as bad but it's not the kind of coding I really enjoy.

With the database migrated and my customizations in place it was time to load everything up to production. It only took 20 minutes to run the scripts against the live database and upload the new codebase. However, in this small amount of time over 1500 RSS error e-mails were generated. My application level CFABORT and maintenance message stopped no telling how many e-mails, but before I had that in place several minutes had passed. The errors were thrown due to the 5.5 code residing on the server before the database changes were made. Just goes to show, that Ray's blog software works amazingly well if I can get 1500 error e-mails in about 5 minutes. I can't even imagine what my Inbox would look like if a major error was introduced to production code and left unresolved.

So, 5.5 is up and so far is running well. I'll be watching it closely over the next few days; if you notice anything funky please let me know. In an effort to help anyone else upgrading from BlogCFC 3.9 to BlogCFC 5.5 I've zipped all my SQL code and made it available as a download. Use the Downloads pod to the right or simply click here.

Aug
24

In an effort to support the open source community (which includes the ColdFusion community via projects like BlogCFC and CFEclipse) I've added a new pod on the right that serves up Kalator ads. Kalator is a new ad service created by Rob Rohan that only serves up ads from open source projects. If you have an open source project you can submit it to the Kalator service or you can help support the open source community by picking a banner size and adding the appropriate code to your Web site.

Aug
15

Skype Me

Posted by Aaron West at 10:34 PM in ColdFusion, General, Site News

I've had Skype for a while and I use it on occassion. After reading Sean's post here and Stephen Collin's post here I decided to hook up a little Skype pod to show when I'm available for calls. So, if you have a ColdFusion question or you just want to chat, feel free to ring me. Don't worry, if I'm busy I'll be sure to let ya know. ;-)

May
10

My Blog Turns 4

Posted by Aaron West at 10:33 PM in BlogCFC, Site News, Blogging

Five days ago was the 4th anniversary of my blog. It was so uneventful that I didn't even realize it occurred. I knew it was coming up after checking some blog stats a month ago but I had since forgotten about it. It's rather embarassing, but I'd like to share just a few stats on my blogging history. For starters, I don't post near enough to keep the content as fresh as I want to. As of today I have been blogging for 1,466 days having posted 128 entries. While that is pretty pathetic I am not too upset considering the first 3.5 years I didn't try to keep up with the blog much at all. It wasn't until I switched from Greymatter to BlogCFC that I started to keep my posts up.

Having shared some of the bad, what about some of the good? Last month was certainly a milestone in the life of my Web site (6 years old now) and blog when over 70,000 page views were recorded. Ever since November of 2005 my page views have almost doubled every month. Why? One reason is crawlers. The largest reason though is RSS. A lot of my site hits come from people with various news readers like NetNewsWire (Mac) or FeedDemon (PC). Another cool stat, is that my MusicStoreAutoPlay AppleScript has been downloaded over 300 times in just two months. Additionally, all of my sample CF code and tutorials have each been downloaded more than 100 times with the majority of them having been added within the last 40 days.

All-in-all, I'm relatively pleased. I want to continue doing more traffic on the site and continue posting as much relative, interesting, and helpful content as possible. Here's to another 4 years!

Oct
30

Finally, after a week of preparations and changes I've switched my DNS entries to HostMySite. I've been on a great host for over 5 years but in order to stay current with the latest version of ColdFusion it has been necessary to find a new provider. After doing a bit of research and talking with other CF developers I chose HostMySite's Linux Builder+ plan. After moving my general site files (and updating some pages therein) I began moving my blog from Greymatter to Ray Camden's excellent BlogCFC. Ray's blog is set up very nicely and was very very easy to install. I had initially installed MovableType but after huge headaches and hours of attempting to import my three years of posts I decided to give BlogCFC a try. Skinning the blog was definitely the most time-consuming. I downloaded the base Aura skin and had a version of my new blog up in no time. After looking through the CSS files for Aura and feeling like the code was a little bloated (lots of unnecessary CSS classes and ID's) I decided to build my own version of the skin.

The basic look of my skin is not unlike other Aura skins out there (see Steven Erat's blog and Ray Camden's blog). However, my skin does not make use of the 4 CSS stylesheets and all the directories that come with Aura. It's much easier to grasp and it's very easy to make changes without getting lost in the CSS. Not being a designer it took me a painful amount of time creating all the image slices and getting everything to line up. And, I'm not done yet. I still have to create a footer graphic to round out the bottom corners. The work was well worth it though and I'm very happy with the new look of the blog (and my new host)! Now, users can subscribe to my various feeds through RSS 1.0 and 2.0 (see the RSS pod in the sidebar to the right). Comment posting and e-mail subscriptions are also now available. All-in-all, I'm excited to have a fresh new blog up and I'm excited about now being on ColdFusion MX 7. With all these changes you'd think it was the new year or something!

Nov
23

TrajikPlayer Version 3.0

Posted by Aaron West at 9:35 PM in Site News

I've been working on an improved version of the TrajikPlayer. A beta of version 3 has been placed in the MP3 Player section so you can take a look.

Short run-down of the new features:

  • Support for multiple playlists.
  • Support for high and low bandwidth tracks encoded at user-specified bit rates.
  • New XML structure that allows users to configure their own directory structure/track organization.
  • Viewers can choose to have the player remember their bandwidth setting use to use.
  • New slide-out menu to accomodate new features keeping the main interface uncluttered.
  • Minor player functionality explained/outlined in the slide-out menu.
  • All this in a 56KB SWF (does not include XML file size).

Sep
5

TrajikPlayer v2

Posted by Aaron West at 2:12 PM in Site News

I've released version 2 of the FlashMX based MP3 player I've dubbed "TrajikPlayer." All of the bugs found in version 1 are fixed in version 2. Also, there are significant enhancements that come with the new player the most major being the new playlist functionality. I'm only supporting one playlist at a time on this site, but with the addition of some simple code you could have multiple playlists on a Web site and allow users to pick which playlist they want. The only reason I decided not to provide this type of functionality on TrajiklyHip is because I don't want a lot of MP3 files on the server.

If you are interested in having the player on your Web site feel free to give me a shout. I'm not giving the source code away, but you can purchase a license to use the player for a minimal fee (in which case you will receive a zip file of everything you need including the FLA). If you want to see some examples of the player in use (other than on this Web site) check out the following Web sites. Both may not have the player available today, but they are working on getting their version up.

Nov
19

I've completed rewriting the ColdFusion, WDDX, and Flash tutorial and have uploaded it. Feel free to jump right in and take a look. Some of it was changed since it was last written in 2001, but in my "biased" ;-) opinion this one is much much better. Enjoy, and if you have any problems with it please let me know.

Nov
4

TrajiklyHip.com v2

Posted by Aaron West at 2:05 PM in Site News

After many hours of reformatting content and interface edits I've uploaded v2 of TrajiklyHip. I don't have everything online yet, but a good portion of the tutorials are up. That was my main driving force in getting the site up as quick as possible. A lot of people come to TH for the tutorials and with the web site in disarray none of them have been available. All the ones online have been reformatted to fit within the new design including the new Flash navigation toolbar. I still have a few tutorials to reformat and 2 on the table to be written. The two new ones are:

  • ColdFusionMX and FlashMX - A Developers Heaven
  • Creating a Multi-page Form Using Session Variables

You can go ahead and check out the new site, and in the near future I will have this web log transformed as well as the CF Hosting site.

Oct
23

Site Update

Posted by Aaron West at 5:15 PM in Site News

The new design on the web site is going quite well. If you haven't noticed, the main page has changed. As the new splash page says, I am working to repurpose all my content and get it into the new interface. I've got almost all of the tutorials put in and plan to begin work on the hosting site transfer next. After that, the blog will take a beating. =) Keep checking on the new site as it will have some new tutorials, as well as reformations of some of the older ones. It's been a long time coming and I can't wait to get all the various TH (TrajiklyHip) "stuff" contained within ONE interface.