Hal Helms

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Top Stories by Hal Helms

About two years ago, I decided that it would be "fun" to learn to cook. I figured I would be a quick learner; after all, I liked to eat (passion for the subject), I had been a skilled cabinetmaker (possessed manual skills), and I enjoyed watching "Iron Chef" on the Food Network (had an available learning resource). Compared to cabinetmaking and software development, how hard could it be? When I told my wife, she adopted a Mona Lisa-type smile and told me what a good idea she thought it was. She was remarkably encouraging. So, I started on my journey to becoming a chef (the simple title of "cook" not seeming to properly express my culinary ambitions). Having seen that the TV chefs all had really great cookware, knives, and gadgets, I went and did likewise - and during the time that many of the dot-coms were failing for lack of revenue, I single-handedly kept cooking.... (more)

Ten Reasons for Java Expertise: Why Java is Important, Even for CF and .NET Developers

(Editor's note: Hal Helms, editorial board member and regular columnist for ColdFusion Developer's Journal, is also a strong advocate for Java training. This commentary originally appeared in his Website and is reprinted with his permission.) (May 13, 2003) - Sure, *you* want to learn Java: it makes your code faster, more robust, and more flexible. But what about your company? As a friend of mine says, "we're all listening to WII-FM". As in "What's In It For Me?" If you're asking your manager to approve training, s/he needs to know that there's a better reason than what's in it f... (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)

10 Mistakes Fuseboxers Make

In the last year, I've seen a great number of developers make the commitment to learn Fusebox - and for good reason: the Fusebox framework and the Fusebox Lifecycle Process (FLiP) give developers both a framework and a methodology that work well in creating Web applications. Even so, there are still many pitfalls that can trip up Fusebox programmers. If you're learning Fusebox, here are some tips on avoiding common mistakes: 1.   Asking too much of wireframes The Fusebox Lifecycle Process (FliP) begins with wireframes. A wireframe is a skeletal application meant to engage the clie... (more)

The Power of Antipatterns

It seems that lately, you can't pick up a book or magazine without hearing about design patterns. If you're new to the idea of design patterns, they're simply time-tested solutions to common problems. Design patterns began with the work of Christopher Alexander, a PhD in architecture (as in buildings). Alexander noted that certain problems have optimal solutions, and designated these solutions as "design patterns." Here, Alexander describes design patterns (from his Web site, patternlanguage.com): "For example, if you are building a house you need to go from outside to inside and... (more)