ColdFusion Developer Week 2012

Adobe's second ColdFusion Developer Week kicks off today, June 4, and continues through Friday, June 8, 2012. Whether you're a new or experienced CFML developer, there's probably more than one session you'll find very interesting and useful. From basics to advanced language features, as well as frameworks and a focus on the new ColdFusion 10 release, there's just loads of good stuff, all provided via free online Webinars.

Check out the sessions and schedule, and sign up.

Like last year, I'll be presenting Improve Your Apps Through Unit Testing, tomorrow.

I also hope to revive this sleepy blog with some more interesting tid-bits soon, so stay tuned! It's been a busy year, but I've queued a number of topics for blog posts, so hopefully I can catch up a little in the near future.

Git Global Ignores, Can Be Overridden

First off, I'm loving Git (fast/awesome/free/open-source distributed version control system). If you haven't already, check it out!

I'd like to briefly mention how to ignore certain files from version control, both by project and globally. I'd also like to confirm that it's very easy to add files to version control, which are normally globally ignored.

Git makes it simple to ignore certain files/directories/patterns from version control by creating a .gitignore file in your project root, and optionally in any sub-directory. Check out the gitignore docs page for more.

That said, I quickly found myself ignoring the same patterns for every repository. Fortunately, Git also makes it easy to globally ignore patterns. You just set a global config property of core.excludesfile to tell Git where to look for a global gitignore file. The following two commands take care of setting the property and creating a file with a few popular ignore patterns.

git config --global core.excludesfile ~/.gitignore
printf ".project\n*.iml\n.idea/\nWEB-INF/\n" >
> ~/.gitignore

The above commands will work on both Linux and Mac. Windows users will likely want to locate a global .gitignore file in some common user settings directory. You can then create/edit the text file any way you'd like.

For me, on Ubuntu Linux, I end up with a /home/jkrug/.gitignore file that looks like this:

.project
*.iml
.idea/
WEB-INF/

You can also manually edit your .gitignore file, of course, and add comments if you'd like:

# Eclipse project files
.project

# IntelliJ IDEA project files
*.iml
.idea/

# Java WAR directories
WEB-INF/

Now here's the bonus: if you have one repository in which you'd like to add a file that is globally ignored to version control, you can do so. Simply use a standard add command with a -f flag, e.g.,

git add -f WEB-INF/web.xml

The global ignores are especially useful to me when I fork a project that may not have an ignore for my primary IDE's (IntelliJ IDEA) configuration files. And when I have a custom project in which I'd like to add one of those global ignores--no problem!

Happy versioned coding :)

Railo 3.0 on JBoss AS 4.2 via Apache 2.2 with Root Context and No Proxy

So I wanted to take a good look at the Railo 3.0 CFML engine and see what all the buzz was about. I wanted to be sure I could replicate the same basic Apache virtual host configurations I've been using with my ColdFusion 8 multi-server configuration. I also decided to try to get this all working with the JBoss Application Server. This entry summarizes the battle that was eventually won...

Choosing An Application Server

After a great deal of reading comparisons and opinions regarding Resin, Tomcat and JBoss Application Server (also with/without Apache), I decided I wanted to shoot for running the Railo CFML engine on the JBoss Application Server. There was plenty of good press and lots of die hard proponents for each of these application server options, so I don't feel there's a wrong decision and recommend you decide for yourself. For me, I just liked the robustness of JBoss and the full-featured community edition (Resin, for example, only provides a lot of its full-featured options in the paid licenses).

Basic Railo Installation/Deployment (EAR/WAR)

I'll leave out a lot of the lower level details of my installations, because there are plenty of Railo installation guides out there already (and probably growing). I must, however, mention that a lot of Gary Gilbert's Railo posts were particularly useful in my learning experience.

Using the aforementioned guides I was able to get JBoss AS installed and then deployed Railo 3.0 as a WAR and then also tried the EAR deployment alternative. I was not able to deploy Railo 3.0.2.001 on JBoss AS 5.0.1.GA, but all deployments worked fine for me on JBoss AS 4.2.3.GA. I've noticed other folks comment on being able to deploy Railo on JBoss 5 on Ubuntu 8.04, which is my development OS, but I was not successful. The errors I received appeared to be known JBoss 5 bugs, but who knows!

Adding Apache HTTPD to the Stack

After getting Railo 3.0 running on JBoss 4.2, I then wanted to integrate Apache 2.2, which was relatively straightforward using the mod_jk module for Apache HTTPD (again, this stuff is already well documented). At this point, however, I could either have only one Railo Web root and/or needed to use specific context paths for each Web site/context (e.g., http://localost/app1-context, http://localhost/app2-context, etc.).

Railo on JBoss via Apache, as I really wanted it to be

I then wanted to be able to run multiple Apache virtual hosts as multiple Railo web contexts on the same instance of Railo, but without needing a unique context path for each and without needing to proxy from Apache. After hours of experimentation and searching for help, I just could not find a way to make this happen.

Just as I was about to give up, I was reassured that this could be done when I read a couple installation guides that used Tomcat virtual hosts and a Railo installation using the JARs download only (not an EAR or WAR deployment): this one by James Constable and this one by Gary Gilbert.

These guys were doing exactly what I wanted to do, simply with Tomcat instead of JBoss, and since I knew JBoss AS uses Tomcat as its Web server, I knew there must be a way! I simply needed to identify the JBoss deployment directory in which to locate the Railo jars, and which web.xml and server.xml files to modify within the JBoss deployment directory structure. Here they are:

{JBOSS_HOME}/lib -- Drop the Railo jar files in here.
{JBOSS_HOME}/server/default/lib -- Drop the Railo jar files in here.

{JBOSS_HOME}/server/default/deploy/jboss-web.deployer/conf/web.xml -- Define the Railo servlet, servlet mappings and welcome files in this file.

{JBOSS_HOME}/server/default/deploy/jboss-web.deployer/server.xml -- Define Host entries for each application/virtual host in this file (to match up with Apache virtual hosts).

Next Steps

I would like to learn a bit more about JBoss AS administration and be sure my environment is configured for high performance and sensible security. I'll also want to run JBoss as a daemon that starts automatically at boot. I'm running Ubuntu 8.04 as my main development environment and I found what promises to be a fantastic article on a proper JBoss AS installation on Ubuntu!

I'm also looking for some sort of confirmation that my basic method of configuring this Railo/JBoss/Apache stack makes sense, or whether there's a preferred alternative (using WAR, EAR, proxy, etc.). I hope to get a lot of answers in the near future since Railo just recently joined forces with JBoss (read the Railo announcement here or the JBoss.org announcement here).

Hello, [blog] world!

Yes, it was probably at least two years ago when I first thought, "I should start blogging," and here, finally, is my first ever post. Since this will be a blog about ColdFusion development and other programming related topics, I couldn't resist a "hello world" style title for my first post. That said, I'd like to share a little about why I decided to start blogging, what I hope to share and what I hope to gain from blogging.

First, my relevant geek background, in a nutshell:

  • First program written in BASIC on a TRS-80 to calculate my baseball batting average at approximately 10 years old.
  • Geeked out in MS-DOS, C programming and a touch of Perl (1989-1994).
  • Finally made the switch from DOS to Windows 95 in 1996.
  • Entered the University of Rochester as a computer science major -- a little too disinterested in many of the non-programming topics -- graduated with a music degree and a minor in mathematics, but also got a good little dose of data structures, Java and C++.
  • HTML, MS Access and other general computer-related gigs for a couple years (1998-1999).
  • Web development using ASP scripting with MS Access and SQL Server databases (1999-2002).
  • Fell in love with ColdFusion around 2001 (using ColdFusion 4.52 at first) and used it to build and maintain dozens of sites (2001-2003).
  • Really started digging in to object oriented CFML development and helped build, grow and maintain a group of large-scale applications primarily running Mach-II and ColdSpring (with a touch of Transfer, Reactor and Model-Glue) (2004-2008).
  • Read on for present-day geekiness...

In October of 2008 I decided to go solo and freelance develop again to have a better opportunity to code and learn and code and learn (as opposed to management and meetings and management and meetings). I've spent the last few months doing nothing but coding and learning, and I'm loving it! My main project right now is www.mortgages.com, which I've built up from a blank slate, using ColdFusion 8 Enterprise on Linux, PostgreSQL 8.3, Model-Glue 3 (Gesture, bleeding edge release), ColdSpring, Transfer ORM, MXUnit, jQuery and and I even wrote a little code myself :) I also decided to ditch Microsoft entirely and I'm running Ubuntu 8.04 on my development laptop, along with a Windows XP VM via VirtualBox virtualization to allow for IE testing (will be looking to setup a Mac testing ground as well). This project has helped me ask and answer a lot of questions around good object oriented design, best practices, using the right tools, etc. Though I feel I've had a great sprint of learning over the past few months, I'm hungry to absorb so much more!

That brings me back to my main point, this blog. From many other bloggers I've learned a lot through finding countless answers, great tips, great examples and tutorials, etc. I've also solved a number of problems either on my own or with the help of tid-bits from various online resources. So, I'd like to have a platform to share when I think I have something worth sharing, and that will be this blog. I will also likely blog about some of my own learning experiences, when I think it might help others embarking on a similar learning path. If I'm lucky, some folks might actually read my blog and share some feedback, which will help me and other readers learn more and better ourselves as programmers.

Well, thanks for reading. Cheers to blogging!

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