ColdFire 1.001

Ray just posted version 1.001 of ColdFire over at Riaforge. This version should now work when you open Firebug in a new window.

Application.cfc and ColdFire

While working on the latest version ColdFire I "discovered" the following: If you use the onRequest method of the Application.cfc the page's variables scope is not available to the debugging template. Not a big deal most of the time as the built in debugging templates don't output anything from the variables scope. This is a problem for ColdFire however because it renders the variable dumping functionality basically useless.

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Get ColdFire!

As you may have seen on Ray's blog, today we released version 1.0 of the ColdFire ColdFusion Debugger. For those that don't know ColdFire is extension to the Firebug Firefox extension, similar to YSlow, only ColdFire displays ColdFusion debugging info. To use ColdFire you need to install a custom debugging template on your server (coldfire.cfm) then configure ColdFusion to use this template via the Administrator. (Detailed installation instructions can be found in the download.)

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Gotcha When Sharing Eclipse Workspaces Between Platforms

On my home computer, a MacBook Pro, I have a few Eclipse workspaces: one for ColdFusion development, one for Java stuff, and one for Firefox and JS development. I also run Windows XP under Parallels on this machine and I happen to share a few of these workspaces across platforms. (I'm sure this is not recommended, but hey...) One problem I've run into is that sometimes my Eclipse window gets "stuck" under the menu bar in OS X. This will happen if I've moved my Eclipse window to the top of my Windows screen, close the workspace, then open the workspace in OS X.

When this happens there are two ways to solve the issue. One way is close the workspace in OS X, reopen it in Windows, then resize the window so that it is not at the top of the Windows screen. Sometimes though, I don't have my Windows VM running and I don't feel like starting it up. On those occasions I open the [my_workspace_folder].metadata/.plugins/org.eclipse.ui.workbench/workbench.xml file and modify the following element (near the top of the file):

<window height="812" maximized="true" width="1139" x="3" y="18">

I can change this to something like:

<window height="600" width="800" x="20" y="20">

I then save the file and re-open the workspace in OS X and I'm able to move and resize my Eclipse window as needed.

I don't run into this issue as much now that I'm aware of it, but it really stumped me when I first encountered it so I though it was worth sharing.

SQL Formatting

This is something that drives me crazy. The other day I needed to debug a problem report so I asked the developer to send me SQL he was using to generate the report. The SQL looked something like this:

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ColdFire 0.0.6

On Sunday Ray quietly released version 0.0.6 of ColdFire. With this version, the ColdFire extension actually modifies the user agent by adding "ColdFire/0.0.6" to the end of the string. This allows the coldfire.cfm debug template to check the user agent header for this string and only return debugging info if it is present. This means you shouldn't encounter much debugging overhead if you don't have ColdFire installed or if you choose to disable Firebug for your site. ColdFire only modifies the user agent header if Firebug is enabled.

While this may seem like a minor update it actually involved some major changes to the FireFox extension code. The biggest change was the addition of an XPCOM object to handle the request header modification. Compiling an XPCOM typelib requires the Gecko SDK and unfortunately there isn't an Intel Mac build of the SDK. While I could have tried to build it myself, in the interest of time I ended up switching to my PC for extension development. Even then, building the typelib wasn't exactly straightforward. If you find yourself trying to build a XPCOM component on Windows you may find the following helpful: Find xpidl.exe in Gecko SDK for compiling IDL files.

Anyway , enjoy and look for more ColdFire updates soon.

ColdFire Updates

A while back I sent some updates to the ColdFire ColdFusion debugger over to Ray Camden and today he published those updates. So what's new?

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Object Search in SQL Query Analyzer

In MS SQL Query Analyzer for SQL 2000 you can search for just about any database object using the Object Search. To access Object Search just press the F4 key while in Query Analyzer. Since my co-worker turned me on to this feature I've found myself using it quite a bit. It is great for finding column and table names in large databases as it allows you to do wildcard searches. Say for example you can't remember if a column is named "LastLogIn" or "LastLoggedIn" and say you also can't remember which table it is stored in. Object Search to the rescue. Just select the "Column" object type and search for "LastLog%" and you will get a list of all columns that start with LastLog, as well as what tables they are stored in.

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LogWatcher Plugin for Eclipse

Lately I've been using the tail utility available in the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools to monitor ColdFusion log files -- that is until today.

I usually don't repost things I read on the Goog, but earlier today Steve Brownlee posted about the LogWatcher plugin for Eclipse. I just installed this plugin and I can already see it will be an extremely useful tool. If you use Eclipse definitely check it out.

Practical Perforce

We use Perforce for source control here at work. Perforce is a little different than other version control systems I have used in the past (CVS, Subversion, VSS) so I decided to read O'Reilly's Practical Perforce to help bring me up to speed.

It was a huge help. Much like Open Source Development With CVS, this book goes beyond just command documentation and tutorials to really explain the Perforce view of the software development process. As I said, Perforce operates a little differently than other version control systems and learning Perforce's approach to the software development process really helped me understand why Perforce works the way it does.

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