Hal Helms

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Top Stories by Hal Helms

It's finally here! For months, the lights have burned late and e-mails have flown furiously as work proceeded on the latest version of the Fusebox specification, version 3.0. It was released to rave reviews at the Fusebox 2001 conference held in Orlando on October 20, the Saturday prior to Macromedia's DevCon. Someone once said that people should never see how laws or sausages are made. I think I can safely add technical standards to that list. There have been passionate arguments and some painful missteps along the way, but that's all eclipsed as people begin discovering the new power and ease-of-use in Fusebox 3.0. What's New in Fusebox 3.0 Here's a rundown of some of the key features: A nested model for communication between circuits created to make reuse and distributed development easier A nested layout model that opens up possibilities for highly dynamic, fle... (more)

Fusebox 4

The latest version of Fusebox - version 4 - has been taken out of beta and placed into general availability. Over the last seven years, Fusebox has grown from a collection of best practices and snippets of code into a full-featured, robust framework on which developers can build true Web applications. Over these seven years, Fusebox has become the overwhelming favorite of ColdFusion developers, and it has been ported to JSP, PHP, and Lasso. Organizations as large as UPS, Casio, Dell Computers, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, and Rooms to Go employ Fusebox on their Web sites, ... (more)

Creating Configuration Files

In their book Head First Design Patterns, the four coauthors lay out a series of key principles for creating robust software designs. One of the most important of these principles is "Find what varies and encapsulate it." In this article, let's apply this principle to the use of configuration files and explore the support for old-style .INI files and XML files. "Find what varies and encapsulate it" is what most of us do for a living. The heart of any programming language is a variable - a name/value pair. Although we programmers are so used to a variable that it seems the most nat... (more)

All About Arrays

With all of the excitement over the new features of ColdFusion MX, it's easy to skip over some of the basics of ColdFusion. In training developers, I find that the subject of arrays causes a good deal of confusion - so much so that many good coders omit arrays from their code altogether. One friend of mine simply refuses to use them. "They're too geeky," he complains. "Besides, in five years of ColdFusion development, I've always found a way around them." I think that my friend is representative of many ColdFusion developers who come to the language without the formal computer sc... (more)

Is ColdFusion Dying?--Why has Macromedia made a big deal of the fact that CFMX is built on Java, asks software development guru

When they hear that I run a class entitled "Java for ColdFusion Programmers," many developers ask me: "Why the class in Java? Is ColdFusion dying?" It's a fair question. After all, technology in general and languages in particular have a lifespan. It's also true that ColdFusion is being squeezed by two behemoths: Java on the one side and .NET on the other. That's clearly an unenviable position. Yet Macromedia is working very hard to ensure that ColdFusion does not become a casualty. Can ColdFusion withstand the pressure and continue to thrive? It's an important question because onl... (more)