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)

A Developer's Story, Part 1

"Actually, it's no one's fault." This was the conclusion I had come to after a week of working on a nightmare project I had been called in on. The CIO had asked me for a briefing on what I had found so far. "But how could this be such a mess?" the CIO wanted to know. "Granted, the project involves a sizable change of an existing piece of software, but that was written only three years ago. I've got 1,500 customers waiting to use this new version. It's very high profile - and we can't get it out the door. Costs are crazy. I don't even want to think how far above budget we are. We... (more)

System Thinking

It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best." - W. Edwards Deming In several recent CFDJ articles, I've described software architecture as akin to model building. In both designing software models and building scale models, it's important that the model be internally consistent as well as sufficiently rich to encompass the desired behaviors of the real-world system. For example, if you want to create a model car, you will want to ensure that it's internally consistent (turning the wheels does not cause the hood to open, for example) and ric... (more)

The Benefits of Well-Written Software

Mae West, the indomitable actress/comedienne of the 1930s and '40s, left us with some unforgettable quotes. She gave us such lines as, "When caught between two evils, I generally pick the one I've never tried before," and "Too much of a good thing...can be wonderful." She also offered the ironic observation that "Virtue is its own reward." It does seem that way at times, even for software developers. During the heyday of the "dot-com boom," signing bonuses were being passed out for anyone who could spell "HTML" and the benefits of well-written software were passed over in favor ... (more)

Extreme Programming

The Agile Manifesto is the product of 17 smart, well-meaning developers who met in February 2001 to discuss problems in software development. The list of developers included Kent Beck, Alistair Cockburn, Martin Fowler, Ron Jeffries, Robert "Uncle Bob" Martin, and Dave Thomas - people who have all made substantial contributions to software development. During the three days the group met, they spoke of the frustration they had with writing software and found a great deal of common ground. From their discussions, the Agile Manifesto emerged in its current form. "We are uncovering b... (more)