Hal Helms

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Top Stories by Hal Helms

With the release of the MX version, ColdFusion has moved from its strict procedural programming background toward object-oriented design and programming. This move has evoked both hope and fear in developers, some welcoming the decidedly new concepts of object orientation (OO) and some dreading that they will lose the language they love. Within the Fusebox community, the introduction of ColdFusion components (CFCs) has stirred a great deal of interest: Would Fusebox leverage these new capabilities and, if so, how? Almost a year ago, we - along with John Quarto-vonTivadar - began work on a new version of Fusebox that would leverage the new capabilities of MX. At once there was a good deal of speculation on what "Fusebox MX" would look like. Would Fusebox become an OO framework? Would developers have to understand polymorphism and inheritance to use it? This article ... (more)

Seven Strategies for Surviving Outsourcing

One of the most enduring of American legends is that of John Henry, the "steel drivin' man," who pitted his strength against a machine - and won. Unlike many legends, John Henry was a real person - a former slave who was hired by the C&O Railroad to cut holes in rock into which explosives were placed in order to create tunnels. It was slow, difficult, dangerous work and John Henry did it better than anyone. One day, a salesman came to John Henry's camp and boasted that his steam-powered drill could outwork any man, and the now-famous contest was on. John Henry won the race, dril... (more)

Études: Studies in Structures

The life of a writer is sometimes a lonely one. After writing something, you send it out and aren't sure how it will be received. Last month was a happy change: I received a lot of feedback from my column introducing the idea of études. In the introduction to the series on études, we looked at arrays. This month, let's do a workout on structures after a quick primer. Structures, also known as associative arrays, are a collection of name-value pairs, typically associated with a single topic or idea. Take the idea of a book. Variables associated with a book might be its author, titl... (more)

Why Should ColdFusion Be Statically Typed?

"A good model guides your thinking; a bad one warps it." -Brian Marick In this article, I argue that by adopting the static typing model found in languages such as Java, we have been seduced into accepting a bad model - or at least a model that is inappropriate for the dynamic typing mechanism inherent in ColdFusion. I'll explain the problems that such a mindset has caused and how the promised benefits of static typing fail to materialize in ColdFusion. I must ask your indulgence, however. This exploration is going to be fairly lengthy and parts of it will get quite technical. An... (more)

ColdFusion Developer's Journal Special "Frameworks" Focus Issue: Mach-II

It's all Simon's fault. We say this to all framework writers who, even now, are trying to recover from the task assigned them by CFDJ's editor-in-chief: provide an article and an implementation of the Macromedia Pet Market application in their chosen framework. Realizing that our first sentence might not serve as sufficient explanation for those weary framework authors, allow us to provide further clarification... It began with an innocent-seeming dinner for speakers at the recent "Fusebox and Frameworks" conference. When we found ourselves seated next to Simon Horwith, we had... (more)