Another CF Debug SQL Explorer Extension Update

Here is another update for the CF Debug Extension to the SQL Explorer Plugin. The extension wasn't properly handling yes/no true/false values for cf_sql_bit queryparams. This update fixes the issue.

To get the latest version of the extension click the download link at the bottom of this entry, between the send and del.icio.us links. (You may need to right click and "Save Link As...")

Araxis Merge For OSX

Every since I started using source control one of my favorite utilities on Windows has been Araxis Merge. It is certainly one of the better diff/merging applications I have used, plus it does folder comparisons and synchronization which is very handy when trying to sync up files on different servers. Since switching to the Mac I've been looking for something comparable and today I was happy to find out that my search may soon come to an end. I've just downloaded the early-access test release of Araxis Merge for Mac OS X. I haven't really put it through its paces yet, and according to the download page it is still a little rough around the edges, but so far it looks pretty sweet. If it ends up being anything like the Windows version I'll be one happy camper.

If your looking for an awesome diff/merge application for Windows or Mac definitely check out Merge. It isn't free, but I've found it well worth the money. (You can download a Windows trial from the website. If your looking for the early-access test release for the Mac you best bet is to contact Araxis via their website.)

Updated SQL Explorer Extension

Well, I found out some other people are using my CF Debug SQL Explorer Extension so I'm releasing this update. In my original extension I forgot to escape single quotes, so this version fixes that. (I noticed I forgot to handle this while looking through Ben Nadel's code for a bookmarklet which does something similar to this extension.) This release also includes the source if anyone is interested, just look in the .jar. Installation instructions are still the same and you can find those in the related entry. Enjoy!

ColdFusion Debug SQL Explorer Extension

Have you ever wanted to be able to copy a query from ColdFusion's debugging output and run it in SQL tool to see the results? No big deal really, unless you happen to be using cfqueryparam. (You are using cfqueryparam aren't you?) If your query does use cfqueryparam you will notice that the SQL listed in the debugging output has question marks wherever you used a queryparam. The type and value of each queryparam is listed in the debugging output just below the query, but in order to run your query in a SQL tool you have replace each of the question marks in the SQL statement with the actual queryparam value, remembering to quote values as necessary. Still not a big deal, until you have to do this for a 500 line SQL statement with 50 or more queryparams. Then it gets to be a little annoying.

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XML Notepad 2006

A coworker sent me a link to Microsoft's XML Notepad 2006 today. According to the download page, "XML Notepad 2006 provides a simple intuitive user interface for browsing and editing XML documents."

I downloaded it just to give it a quick try. It opens XML files in a tree view, similar to Eclipse's default XML editor. It also looks like it can do XSL transformations, but I couldn't get this to work. (To be fair I really didn't try that hard, I just wanted to see what the tool looked like.)

Anyway, some people may find this tool useful, but as I'm an Eclipse user I think I'll stick with XMLBuddy for now.

The Value of Valid HTML

This morning I was working on the redesign of a small section of an existing application. What I found is that most of the HTML generated by this application was nowhere near valid. Now, when you generate invalid HTML you are basically leaving it up to the browser to decide how it is going to render the content. Some browsers give you what you want, others don't. This led me to do some quick tests of different browsers and what I discovered is that the HTML was so bad that some browsers (Netscape 4.8) crashed while trying to render it. (Older versions of Netscape were notorious for just not rendering invalid HTML tables, but I've never seen it flat out crash due to bad HTML.)

Anyway, as part of this redesign I've had to go in and cleanup some of the HTML. How did I do this? I validated the rendered HTML using the W3Cs validation services. It sounds like this could be a PITA, but browser plugins have made this extremely easy. I've been using the Web Developer extension for Firefox for a couple of years but recently MS caught up and release the DevToolBar for IE. (I still think the Firefox plugin is much better, but at least users of IE have something.) Both of these extensions offer validation for the page you are currently viewing. Because my dev server is not publicly available I choose the Validate Local HTML option. What this does is it saves a local copy of the HTML you are viewing and uploads it to the W3C Markup Validation Service.

I've found this process of validation invaluable as it often leads me to other problems in the code. (I discovered two additional bugs this morning. The first, incorrect img tag attributes, was the result of some bad CF code. The second, inconsistent rendering of the frame borders between browsers, was just a result of bad HTML.) Basically this validation process serves as another quality assurance procedure.

It's also worth noting that these tools also offer the ability to validate your CSS. This is another great way to help produce quality code.

SQL Prompt

A few weeks ago "Dave the disruptor" posted about a free sql tool on the CF-Talk list. The tool is SQL Prompt from Red Gate Software and what it does is provide Intellisense for SQL Server's Query Analyzer.

I don't use SQL Server for personal development, but I just started a new job last week where I'm working on a fairly large enterprise application based on SQL Server so I decided to give this product a try. So far this tool has been a huge time saver. Instead of searching in the object explorer to find or remember an exact table or column name I just type the first few letters and up it pops. Fantastic.

The only thing I didn't like about the product when I first started using it was that it requires a separate login to the database to get the database's info. Not a big deal if you are only working with one database, but if you have several databases that you switch between like I do, all of the logins can get kind of annoying. Well it turns out that if you look under the Connections tab in the SQL Prompt configuration tool there is an option to "Use same credentials for all databases on same server." Problem solved.

So I have to say that so far I really like SQL Prompt and would definitely recommend this product to anyone who is working on an unfamiliar database or who just hates typing.

ieHTTPHeaders

I'm a huge fan of the Live HTTP Headers plug-in for Firefox. It can be a lifesaver when it comes to debugging complicated redirects and cookie issues. Well today I was doing some debugging in IE and I wanted to see what headers were being passed to and from the server. A little looking and I found ieHTTPHeaders. The tool doesn't have all the features of Live HTTP Headers, but it lets you see request and response headers from a window in IE which is all I needed.

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