Damon Cooper's BLOG
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October 31, 2004
Blackstone-Powered SMS Notifications at MAX
Quick note for MAX 2004 attendees:

We have a Blackstone-powered mobile SMS conference session tracker application online for MAX.

It's hooked into the MAX conference registration system, and if you provide your mobile number and enable the service, you'll receive notifications of your next session about 5-10 minutes prior to your next session, and you can also obtain your conference schedule for the current day with a simple textual-based menu option.

Sending "max" to the special short code will invoke the top-level menu.

This simple application should be available on all US-based cell phones. To make use of this service, be sure to enter your cell phone number and enable the notification option when you register online.

See you at MAX, and welcome to the (newly) simplified world of 2-way interactive session-enabled mobile SMS applications!

Damon

October 30, 2004
Back from Bermuda
God to get away, good to get back. Stayed at the Grotto Bay Beach Resort and discovered a great Japanese and Sushi place called Oriental in Halilton on Bermudian Street, off Front. Highly recommended, if you should ever get the chance.

Good to be back.

Now, off to MAX.

October 19, 2004
Changing CFHTTP DNS Caching Behavior
Geoff Bowers pinged me recently, logged a Blackstone bug and was pretty frustrated over a behavior he was seeing on his http://www.fullasagoog.com site, which aggregates many, many Internet RSS feeds via the ColdFusion CFHTTP tag.

Many of Geoff's RSS sources frequently change servers, sites, domains, etc, resulting in changed DNS entries, but the DNS entries were being cached indefinitely in CF, so the CFHTTP calls would timeout or fail when the DNS entries were updated (cached didn’t match new real entries). Those RSS sources were therefore lost from his aggregator until Geoff bounced his ColdFusion server, and the caused the DNS cache to be repopulated.

I asked Tom Jordahl take a look, and he discovered there's actually some Sun VM behavior at play here. Tom blogged this earlier today here, but to recap, Java has a default "caching forever" behavior for DNS lookups. See the Sun docs on this subject here for more details: http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/docs/api/java/net/InetAddress.html

ColdFusion HTTP uses the java.net.InetAddress class to resolve hostnames. While this is the only place in our ColdFusion code to directly use this direct lookup technique, be aware that DB drivers and other OEM technologies may use this, however, and you should therefore keep in mind that this is a server-wide setting, so be sure to test thoroughly before making any changes to a production server.

As it turns out, there is a JVM property to override the default caching behavior, to help thwart DNS spoofing. We're investigating whether to change this default setting in the "Server" configuration to something more reasonable for Blackstone, with some documentation so J2EE setup folks know about this as well and can make the change if they desire this behavior.

Two Java security properties control the TTL values used for positive and negative host name resolution caching:

1) networkaddress.cache.ttl (default: -1). This indicates the caching policy for successful name lookups from the name service. The value is specified as an integer to indicate the number of seconds to cache the successful lookup. A value of -1 indicates "cache forever". A more reasonable default of, say, 14400 or 4 hours (4*60*60) or even a smaller value (30 minutes?) might make more sense in some cases, like Geoff’s, especially where a large number of small public Internet sites are constantly processed via CFHTTP.

2) networkaddress.cache.negative.ttl (default: 10 seconds) This indicates the caching policy for un-successful name lookups from the name service. The value is specified as an integer to indicate the number of seconds to cache the failure for un-successful lookups. A value of 0 indicates "never cache". A value of -1 indicates "cache forever".

To change this behavior on a ColdFusion MX-based server on a Sun 1.4.x or later VM, you’d change these two values in the java.security file in the cfusionmx\runtime\jre\lib\security directory.

Damon

October 14, 2004
Axis 1.2:: Almost There
We're pushing through the last mile to get Axis 1.2 done.

It's goodness, but we've had more than a few issues we've had to dig into and fix so far to help whip it into shape, but Doc literal requires it, so we're going for it and helping push the Apache project towards the end goal.

Standards and interoperability are goodness.

Damon


Information Security Magazine Correction Issued
From the editor at Information Security Magazine,

"We ran this in the newsletter today:

CORRECTION In the Oct. 7 issue of SWP's Weekly Security Planner we erroneously referred to ColdFusion. It’s a Web-application development platform from Macromedia used by Web sites for a variety of purposes including Web applications and e-commerce. It isn’t free and doesn’t come installed by default. Our thanks to the handful of readers who wrote in to correct us.

and fixed it on the Web site."

October 12, 2004
Information Security Magazine: Shelley Bard's
We contacted Information Security Magazine's editor as a result of an article mentioning ColdFusion and some inaccurate information.

Ben blogged this as well in Ben's Forta's Blog.

The editor will be contacting the author and says they should have correction in next month's issue to help clear things up.

October 7, 2004
Happy 10th Birthday, ColdFusion

Hard to believe it's already been nearly a full decade that ColdFusion has been making developers productive and powering dynamic web applications.

"Cold Fusion" 1.0 was released around June of 1995, and the rest, as they say, is history. ColdFusion has become a critical part of life over the years, for hundreds of thousands of developers worldwide, of every skill set and background.

The ColdFusion "Blackstone" release is going to be a truly landmark release: solid and stable, fast, reliable, powerful, empowering, with radical new capabilities, and breaking out of what has become an increasingly stagnant and commoditized list of application server functionality.

While we're not at the actual 10-year marker yet in terms of the 1.0 release, it was roughly 10 years ago when ideas were coming together, ideas and code were being prototyped, excitement was building around what could be possible, and early customers were getting a taste of what would be in store for them from the product that would in many ways come to change the world.

In many ways, we're at a similar place now with the work happening on the Blackstone release. There's something very special about this one, and it's palpable around here in everything from the customer feedback, to the energy, excitement and determination on the team, to the interest from other teams in making use of our technology, to the mountain of intellectual property amassed so far, and in a hundred other ways. It's an exciting time without a doubt, and you can feel it.

I think that in the innovative sense, we have hit the 10-year anniversary of that first great set of innovations, and we’re marking it with what I believe are equally radical and exciting innovations that will empower developers like never before and enable new categories of Internet applications with radical ease, in record time, and for many years to come.

Happy 10th Birthday, ColdFusion.

Damon

October 4, 2004
Congrats, X-Prize Winner Burt Rutan & Co!

Congratulations to the Ansari $10 Million X Prize winner, Burt Rutan and his crew at Scaled Composites.

Nice job guys! They said it couldn't be done, but you kept at it.

Ansaris X Prize Site

Damon

October 3, 2004
Simple Blackstone and Flex Example

While it's probably obvious that the ColdFusion and Flex products very much compliment each other, the coming Blackstone release, when used with Flex will make for a very powerful solution for customers who are able to use both products.

The combination can use Flex as the presentation-tier solution for delivering enterprise Rich Internet Applications, and Blackstone for providing rich Printing and Reporting capabilities so often needed by powerful RIA's and (especially if you're already a ColdFusion shop), for powering backend logic.

Integration of Blackstone Printing and Reporting functionality, in the form of dynamically-generated FlashPaper 2.0 output might look similar to this, for example:



While this example is just a quick and dirty demo, obviously, and certainly not intended as the official integration story between the two products, I think it does make the point that Blackstone's Printing and Reporting capabilities can be powerful assets in Flex applications.

Check out more about Flex HERE.

Damon

October 1, 2004
SuperMAX

We're bringing virtually every ColdFusion engineer down to this event this year and we'll be having plenty of informal sessions to give you the real deal on Blackstone and ColdFusion in general. We were careful to built time into our Blackstone release schedule to ensure we account for changes in the product as a result of your feedback from MAX, so please take advantage of this unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the people building the product. We're very much looking forward to meeting you, hearing your experiences with ColdFusion and hearing how we can make Blackstone your secret weapon for application development.

Here's the MAX Agenda By Track, and here's the official Macromedia MAX 2004 site.

I'm doing the Mobile SMS Applications Made Easy session, and I hope to see you there.

Here are some of the ColdFusion and Blackstone-related list of sessions that have been posted so far:

Getting Started with ColdFusion
Building a Basic CMS with ColdFusion and Dreamweaver
Using ColdFusion to Power Flex and Flash Applications
The Future of ColdFusion: Blackstone
Database Design Fundamentals
Structured Development, ColdFusion Done the Right Way
Working with Multiple ColdFusion Instances
Leveraging Web Services with ColdFusion
Building for Scalability
Secure ColdFusion Applications
ColdFusion Performance Tips and Tricks
Building Internationalized and Multi-Lingual Applications
Integrating with Microsoft Office
Object Oriented ColdFusion
Advanced ColdFusion Components and Web Services
Java Powered ColdFusion
Coding for Reuse
The Infrastructure Impact
Blackstone Event Gateways
Mobile SMS Applications Made Easy
ColdFusion Printing and Reporting

So if you or anyone you know might be interested in Blackstone, reporting, dynamic FlashPaper 2.0 and PDF output, Rich Forms, XForms, ColdFusion, Flex, SMS mobile text messaging application development, Instant-Messaging and Presence-aware enabling applications, J2EE deployment, clustering, multi-threaded development, instance management, event-based programming, web services, rich internet application development, building your first web application, charting, cutting edge searching, performance & scalability, best practices, L110N application developement, building securing web applications, printing from web applications, content management, integrating with Microsoft technologies, and much, much, much more...

...then you definitely need to be at MAX 2004 this year in New Orleans. You and your organization will be positively impacted by this event.

See you there!

Damon