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ColdFusion plus Adobe's Portable Document Format add up to a lot of graphical power — and they mix like mint & julep. ColdFusion and PDF Let's say we need to produce a customized handbook for each of our employees, who would download it from our web site. Additionally, the handbook also needs to contain some glitzy artwork that must be printed in a tightly controlled format. To do the job properly, we decide we need a to use a tool fancier than HTML. The right tool for this job, we decide, is PDF. What is PDF? PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It lets a user view documents regardless of platform when Adobe Acrobat or an Acrobat plug-in for the user's browser is properly installed. There seems to be a lot of confusion on how to get ColdFusion to work with PDF files. In this article we'll discuss two ways to accomplish this mystifying task. Adobe FormsDocument ... (more)

Your First Custom Tags

There's a fine line between developing to deliver simple content and delivering the feeling of a real application. Programming is varied enough on the low end that a ColdFusion developer can toil for months in the richness of CFML and never have need to go beyond the basics. My own ColdFusion development has tended toward extraction and reporting systems from legacy backend databases, often replacing a less portable application written in a high level compiled language. Such tasks rarely go beyond query and display, but recently the limitations of simple markup made themselves apparent. As a veteran of several years of CGI programming, I tend to take for granted features of the language in which I work the most (Perl). Programmers in most languages have some facility of subroutines or functions. Many of these are built into the language and used directly within code.... (more)

ColdFusion and XML-RPC: Part 2 of 2

In the first installment of this article CFDJ (Vol. 3, issue 9), I established the benefits of secure communication between two applications. I discussed the need for standardized communication that allows two companies to share data that would in turn enhance the service offerings of their existing applications. Through the use of the cfservlet tag, I created the foundation for communication between the ColdFusion Application Server and the JRun Application Server. In this article I demonstrate the actual connection between the CF Server and the JRun Server, display a few intricacies associated with the exchange of data between CF and JRun, show what XML-RPC is and what it looks like, and finally work with data returned from the connected system. Before I continue I would like to establish the theme behind this work and any work that can become the basis for true We... (more)

AJAX on the Enterprise

In Star Trek, Scotty – James Montgomery Scott – was my favorite character, perhaps inevitably. Spock was always the cool and collected uber-genius, inscrutable and forced into an emotional straightjacket, and while the parallels to the real politik of the time are obvious, to me Spock has always been the epitome of the pure ivory tower researcher. Scotty, on the other hand, was the enginee , in many ways the ultimate hacker. Spock may have been able to tell you what properties of dilithium would induce warp speed, but Scotty knew exactly how to crack the damn crystals in such a way as to eke out that last 0.5 warp factor necessary to escape the baddies chasing the Enterprise. Scotty knew about estimates – and how much you could pad an estimate to insure that you got the correct time necessary to complete your work down to the minute... (more)

Building a Drag-and-Drop Shopping Cart with AJAX

Keeping up with the latest Web technologies is tough nowadays. Every week it seems new sites are launched that push the envelope further and further in terms of what can be accomplished using just a Web browser. The rise of AJAX over the past several months has taken over the development world and breathed new life into the Web. Although these techniques have been possible for many years now, the maturity of Web standards like XHTML and CSS now make it a viable alternative that will be viewable by all but the oldest browsers. It's also been possible to accomplish many of the same things using Flex or Flash, but the development cycle with those applications is typically more involved and the overhead often not justified. We're going to harness the power of the JavaScript library to provide our interaction. As their Web site states, this library "provide... (more)

What Is AJAX?

(October 7, 2005) - AJAX isn't a technology, or a language, and there's no recipe to implement it; it's just a combination of various components to achieve something you otherwise couldn't: asynchronous http requests. However, since early 2005, when Google and Flickr popularized the concept, its use has grown rapidly. The name AJAX is short for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. It uses the JavaScript XMLHttpRequest function to create a tunnel from the client's browser to the server and transmit information back and forth without having to refresh the page. The data travels in XML format because it transmits complex data types over clear text. AJAX uses XHTML for the data presentation of the view layer, DOM, short for Document Object Model, which dynamically manipulates the presentation, XML for data exchange, and XMLHttpRequest as the exchange engine that ties every... (more)

The Next Programming Models, RIAs and Composite Applications

I’ve been around software for 20 years now. Looking back, I have mixed feelings about the progress we’ve made. The end results have been amazing but the process of building software hasn’t fundamentally changed since the 80s. In fact, I see us make some of the same mistakes over and over again. One of the common anti-patterns is over-relying on tools and frameworks instead of inventing new programming models. Layers of abstraction are fundamental to software. Some layers are defined through programming models, e.g., machine language, assembly language, 3GLs, JSP. Others are defined through a combination of tools and frameworks, e.g., MFC and Visual Studio on top of C++. There is a limit to how high we can raise a level of abstraction through tools and frameworks alone. At some point, a new programming model is the best way forward. Here are some examples: CASE tools ... (more)

AJAX Sponsor Webcasts Are Now Available at AJAXWorld Website

Live Webcasts of four sponsor sessions from the New York "Real-World AJAX" event are now available at the conference Website. These Webcasts which are now available online are Sahil Malik's (telerik) "How to Take Desktop Applications to the Web" session, Christophe Coenraets' (Adobe) "Extending AJAX with Adobe Flex" session, Jouk Pleiter's (Backbase) "AJAX Best Practices" session, and Kevin Hakman's (TIBCO) "The Four Quantum States of AJAX" session. The 12-hour event with its entire 11 sessions is also available as an on-demand product, in an easy to navigate DVD for all delegates of "Real-World AJAX" and "AJAXWorld Conference & Expo." The first Real-World AJAX event took place on Monday, March 13, 2006 in New York City featuring 15 speakers in 11 sessions, including the world’s most renowned AJAX experts. Seminar attendees also got a chance to hear from leading... (more)

AJAXWorld University Announces AJAX Developer Bootcamp

MONTVALE, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 05/24/06 -- SYS-CON Events ( announced today that the first international "AJAXWorld(TM) Conference & Expo" (, taking place on October 3-4, 2006, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, California, will offer AJAXWorld University - Developer Bootcamp program. The AJAX Developer Bootcamp will take place on Monday, October 2, 2006, one day before the conference opens. Early bird registration for the AJAX Developer Bootcamp opened today at the AJAXWorld Conference Website: AJAXWorld University's AJAX Developer Bootcamp is an intensive, one-day, hands-on training program that will teach Web developers and designers how to build high-quality AJAX applications from beginning to end. Available as part of or separately from the AJAXWorld Conference & Ex... (more)

SYS-CON Media Readers Cast More Than 4,000 Votes In First Week Of Voting

This year it looks certain that a new participation record will be set, as more than 4,000 votes have already been recorded in just the first seven days of voting, and more than 50,000 SYS-CON Media readers are estimated to cast their votes in this year's Readers' Choice Awards. The winners of this years awards will be announced in November at Web Services Edge 2005 West - International Web Services Conference & Expo in San Francisco. The list of companies heading the various polls reads like a "Who's Who" of the most active and enterprising players in the i-technology space - including all the industry's top software and hardware vendors, services providers, and technical publishers. Highlights after just one week's voting include: 2005 JDJ Readers' Choice Awards: There are 26 categories in this year's JDJ awards. In the coveted "Best Java Application Server" categor... (more)

SYS-CON Media Readers' Choice Awards Polls Will Close on December 31, 2005

  SYS-CON Media (, the world's leading i-technology media company, announced that its 2005 Readers' Choice Awards polls will close on December 31, 2005. So far more than 16,000 readers cast their votes to select the best  software products and services of the year for Java, Linux, Web Services, XML, Microsoft .NET, ColdFusion and Macromedia MX. Best Java Products of 2005: Best Linux Products of 2005: Best Web Services Products of 2005: Best .NET Products of 2005: Best Macromedia MX and ColdFusion Products of 2005: SYS-CON's Readers' Choice Awards program is considered to be the most prestigious awar... (more)