So you wanna build a Flex application - Part 6 - Tables Bar Charts and Pie Charts

To date, in our series on Surfing Stats, we have covered the intent, directory structure, data sets, main application file, ChartToggle component, states, implicit getters/setters, navigational elements and ViewStacks. (download the code using the download link at the bottom of the the Intro to Surfing Stats post). In this series, we'll discuss the 3 display components, TableView, BarChart and PieChart.


Diagnosing Server Issues

I've had the pleasure of working for many diverse employers and clients. A number of times I've been on a team working to resolve misbehaving software/servers. Part of the job is digging through logs. Another part is load testing specific workflows looking for knots or bottlenecks in the process. Still another part is analyzing each query for suboptimal performance.

There can be many factors that contribute to performance problems. Mike Brunt, Systems Guru at Alagad, has the skills to quickly analyze an application and tune it for proper efficiency. Mike has been posting on the Alagad blog for some time now. I find his posts to be informative and to show an uncommon depth on complex topics. Mike has an ability to simply explain tough subjects.

After reading his latest post, I was struck by how much I do not know. I understand, at a base level, how the JVM allocates memory and that changing the allocated memory can improve application performance. I don't pretend to have the experience needed to diagnose problems and fix them by providing more appropriate settings.

Organizations that rely on critical web applications should pay attention to server performance. While performance problems can be mitigated, to an extent, by increasing the hardware running the system, adding hardware brings additional expenses in the form of hardware, software licenses, maintenance efforts, increased power consumption and less available room in the server racks.

If you run into server performance issues, keep in mind the professionals in our community that specialize in diagnosing and repairing server performance. There is more to server performance than code and database queries!

Flex 3 Release World Tour Hit Raleigh/Durham

Last night, Ben Forta came to Cary, North Carolina to showcase the soon to be released Flex 3 and AIR products from Adobe.

Flex Builder 3 is a compelling upgrade for the product. The IDE offering has actually gone down in price even while adding nice new features like Improved Designer/Developer workflow, a memory profiler, advanced components, and support for the AIR platform.

For more complete information on Flex 3 Features see the page.

Also soon to be released is the long awaited Abode Integrated Runtime product. AIR, as it is known for short, offers a cross-operating system runtime that allows developers to leverage their existing web development skills (Flash, Flex, HTML, JavaScript, Ajax) to build and deploy rich Internet applications (RIAs) to the desktop.

This means your application can now access the local file system, accept drag and drop assets from the desktop, run outside of the browser and actually run completely offline. The product even contains the SQLite database to help handle offline data.

Many people have not fully grasped one of the most interesting features of AIR. You can write a desktop application using the AIR platform, HTML and Javascript. This will level the playing field by allowing existing web developers and designers to use their current skilling to create functionally relevant desktop applications.

Honors of the night go to the Anthropologie demonstration. The premise of the application is to show how the Anthropologie catalog of apparel can be displayed in an offline mode. The user can search for an article of clothing based on standardized parameters. The user can also drag an image onto the application and use a color dropper to select a color and use that color as search criteria using very intuitive workflow. When Ben actually drug a picture onto the application, selected a color and the search results automatically filtered, the collective breath left the room. See for yourself at this video of the Anthropologie Catalog AIR application.


Are you prepared for the upcoming RIA arms race? It promises to be interesting!

Note: I've been keeping up to date with the blog chatter on the meeting. A local TV station even interviewed Ben Forta! See my article on for more content./p>

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ColdFusion Exam Preparation

Before the end of 2007, I wanted to move closer towards my goal of being an Adobe Certified Expert and Adobe Community Expert, so I took the ColdFusion 7 Developer Exam. The exam tests expertise and competency of a ColdFusion Developer. Question topics range from Web Development to ColdFusion Product specific knowledge. The exam is 66 questions in multiple choice format.

Examinees who pass are awarded one of two titles dependent on score:


Beowulf in 3D

Shannon and I watched Beowulf in 3D at the local Raleigh Imax theatre. I henceforth proclaim (Using Beowulf Accent) that all movies shall be in 3D.

I have no idea what Beowulf would look like on a conventional movie theater screen. I can only imagine it to be dull and lifeless compared to the visually stimulating and realistic portrayal watched by us.


Are you using ColdFusion with Java? I'd like to interview you.

There exists untold billions of lines of Server Side Java code running in production environments today. Java is a fine language, widely adopted and used by companies both large and small. One of the drawbacks in Java development is that Java is not a rapid development environment. Adding functionality, screens and new applications on top of an existing Java based SOA requires manpower and time.

ColdFusion is built on J2EE underpinnings. The deep Java heritage offers tremendous power and functionality. ColdFusion objects are Java objects. A ColdFusion Array is actually an instance of java.util.Vector thus you can run Vector methods directly on a ColdFusion array. It is just that simple. ColdFusion can easily create or consume SOAP webservices. ColdFusion can knit together disparate subsystems to make a unified SOA. All without fundamentally changing platforms or languages.


How to recover a deleted file in Eclipse

Today I accidentally deleted a file in Eclipse. I didn't even know I did it until I ran my code. I am not even sure how I deleted it. My best guess is the current focus was on the project explorer and some strange key combo sent the file to the netherworld.

Eclipse, as you probably know, does not use the Windows 'recycling bin'. As luck would have it, the file was long, complex, just freshly debugged and not yet in version control.

I was able to recover the file by using the Restore from Local History option located in the context menu inside the project navigator.

"What?!?! I thought that only worked for files, not directories..." , you might say. I thought the same thing. Thankfully Eclipse is smart enough to know that when humans are behind the keyboard, expect the unexpected.


Find/Submit interesting articles on ColdFusion at

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See ColdFusion on

Thanks to for adding the tag.

So you wanna build a Flex application - Part 5 - States - ViewStacks and Getters

To date, in our series on Surfing Stats, we have covered the intent, directory structure, data sets and the main application file. (download the code using the download link at the bottom of the the Intro to Surfing Stats post). Now we examine ChartToggle.mxml.


So you wanna build a Flex application - Part 4 - The Layout

To date, in our series on Surfing Stats, we have covered the intent, directory structure, data sets and the main application file. (download the code using the download link at the bottom of the the Intro to Surfing Stats post). Now we will look more in depth at our main application file and examine the layout.