Web Software Architecture and Engineering – Life on the Bleeding Edge

Archive for June, 2008

ColdFusion & Lucene: Installing Seeker

Here are some simple instruction to installing Seeker on Windows. I believe only slight adjustments may be necessary for other platforms.
1. Download Lucene

  • Lucene 2.3.2 seems to be latest version. Find it @ http://lucene.apache.org/.
  • Click on the link that talks about “Binary and source distributions…”.
  • That should take you to a Mirrors page, or click here to directly go there.
  • Click on the Mirror you prefer, and you should see an old school directory listing. I clicked on “lucene-2.3.2.zip” and downloaded the file.
  • Opening the file, you’ll find the JAR file you need: “lucene-core-2.3.2.jar”.

2. Install Lucene in ColdFusion

  • Installing JARs is easy. Simply place it in the CLASS PATH. That usually means the /lib directory. Since I have a Multi-Instance install of ColdFusion though, mine goes in: “%CFRoot%JRun4serverscfusioncfusion-earcfusion-warWEB-INFcfusionlib”.
  • That’s it. Restart CF.

3. Install Seeker

  • Seeker can downloaded @ http://seeker.riaforge.org/.
  • Version 0.5 seems to be the latest. You’ll note four folders inside the zip. The two that concern us today are customTags and cfAdmin.
  • CustomTags: Place the files in the customTags folder or add a new customTag path pointing to this folder in CFAdmin. Nothing new here.
  • CFAdmin: Place this folder as a sub-folder to the /cfide/administrator folder. In other words, for my Multi-Instance install of ColdFusion, I had to go to: “%CFRoot%JRun4serverscfusioncfusion-earcfusion-warCFIDEadministrator”. This should be easy to find in normal CF installs. Here is the trick though. Inside this folder, create a folder called Seeker. Place the files inside CFAdmin inside Seeker. So in the end, you should NOT have a CFAdmin folder anywhere. And finally, ging back to the Administrator folder, find custommenu.xml and place this code inside the menu tags: <submenu label=”Seeker”><menuitem href=”seeker/index.cfm” target=”content”>Seeker Home</menuitem></submenu>. Feel free to change “Seeker Home” to whatever label works for you. Reload the CFAdmin interface, and now in your left menu items should be Seeker.

You’re done.
Next, I’ll explore the demos, and perform some tests with our internal DB. Stay tuned.
PS: Let me know if there are any mistakes in the install, I’ll quickly fix them.


ColdFusion & Lucene / Solr

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that the Verity search engine has its limitations. Its nice, will serve many functions, but once you need to go beyond a certain record limit or hit performance snags, you quickly start looking for alternatives. (And thats just Windows) I’ve been working with Lucene off and on for 3 years. I’ve never quite gotten it to work with ColdFusion quite right. My company has finally started hitting both performance and record limit issues, so we need an alternative. I was working with Solr as well, and SolColdFusion is promising as well. But raw integration with Lucene, that’s another thing.
So when Ray Camden decided to give it a go, I was quick to encourage him. And finally getting a chance to evaluate his code, I’ll be posting on what I find.
First things first. We’ve had integration with Lucene in the past. There was Lindex, CFLucene, and others. Lately, Wayne Graham started work on integrating Solr with ColdFusion. In case you haven’t heard, Solr is a project on top of Lucene that allows you to hit Lucene commands via HTTP. Officially, “Solr is an open source enterprise search server based on the Lucene Java search library, with XML/HTTP and JSON APIs, hit highlighting, faceted search, caching, replication, and a web administration interface. It runs in a Java servlet container such as Tomcat.” Having that sort of API makes it easier to interact with Lucene. And finally, we have Ray’s work on Lucene in a project named Seeker.
So what’s next? Well, I’ve asked Adobe to simply include Lucene/Solr as alternative to Verity natively. But until that happens (and if it ever does), I’ll be playing with Ray’s and Wayne’s code further and posting my thoughts here.

Lousy ColdFusion Job Posting #2

Here is another Lousy ColdFusion Job Posting. This one is special. Why? Because its for a Software Development Manager (ColdFusion) from Dice.com.
As a posting for a Software Development Manager, you (the recruiting company) should have to work hard to define a job posting that is both enticing and engaging.
Looking at the job posting below, one is left with more questions than answers.
What do they mean by “multiple years”? Is that 3 years, or a dozen? Hands on experience: at a basic level, or must he/she be an expert developer?
Of course, we have the usual complaints: No information about the company, the types of apps being built, the size of the team, etc. What is the manager supposed to manage?
What they are trying to do is hook someone so that they call in or send their resume. In my experience, 99% of the recruiters would not have answers to any of the above questions if you did contact them. So what are they doing? Is this a type of “job phishing”? Is it a “mandatory” listing so that in reality they can give the job to someone they already know (a typical case)?
Maybe I’ll work on coming up with a set or rules and guidelines for hiring ColdFusion Developers and Managers/Architects. Think this would be worthwhile?

Software Development Manager (ColdFusion)
ColdFusion, SDLC
Los Angeles, CA
Area code:
Tax term:
Pay rate:
Position ID:
Dice ID:
Job description:
Excellent company in the Los Angeles, CA area is looking for a permanent Software Development Manager. Qualified candidates should have:
* Multiple years of experience leading teams through the full SDLC (should have lead teams with at least 5 direct reports).
* Experience leading teams working with ColdFusion applications.
* Hands-on background in ColdFusion is a plus.
* Four year degree is preferred.

Travel required:

ColdFusion Blog Aggregators – My Experience So Far

Since I’ve launched my blog, I’ve had a tremendous response. So far I’ve had hits from across the world; from over 20 countries; all in such a short time.
One of the tasks associated with starting a blog is of course getting your name out there. One of the ways to do that is to get your blog aggregated. Here is my experience with 4 major aggregators. If I’m missing any, do let me know. And yes, I’m pinging them with new posts.
When I launched my blog, I emailed a handful of folks. Ray Camden was one of them. The next day I got an email back saying something to the effect: “Glad to see you blogging, I added you to ColdFusionBloggers.org.” And that was it. I immediately saw my blog entries being picked. No pain points. This was by far the smoothest one. Nice job Ray!
Rating: A
** NEW ** Adrian reminded me about cfblogs.com. I remember adding myself, but never checked back. I quickly checked and saw this very entry at the top. Looks like they are quick. I’ll continue to watch them.
Rating: A- (Not sure what kinds of hits they get.)
I knew there would be issues here. Several people have blogged about not being aggregated, or not getting a response from Geoff. Fortunately, I did get a response pretty quickly from him, and after working out some RSS formatting issues, I was added. I saw my first 3 blog posts. However since then, none of my blog posts have shown up. Many people have complained that its slow to pickup posts, and you can add me as one of them.
Rating: C-
Feeds.Adobe.Com (Formerly MXNA)
Having read other blogs, I expected the same issues with Feeds as I did with FullAsAGoog. And yup, got the same exact issues. Getting added was easy, however after the first couple posts, my entries never got picked up. It pretty much has the same issues as FullAsAGoog.
Rating: C-
I’ve tried to contact them twice, with no response yet.
Rating: D-
I’m hoping there are more aggregators and more tips out there for getting picked up properly. So far its been a rocky start. I’ll keep this entry up to date as soon as I hear more.

Eclipse 3.4 (Ganymede) is here!

Matt Williams just told me Eclipse 3.4 is finally out! Thanks Matt, I’m definitely upgrading.
More details can be found @ http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/ including the Release Notes.

AbleCommerce Responds

In my previous post, I asked people if they had any experience with AbleCommerce. Several people responded with largely neutral to negative reviews. I added in the comments that I may contact them to see what they have to say. Well, I did, and they responded.
My comment to AbleCommerce:
“I am trying to gather knowledge about people’s experiences with AbleCommerce for ColdFusion. Can you provide references. Also, my blog generated some comments and I was wondering if AbleCommerce would like to address some of the concerns. http://www.bytestopshere.com/post.cfm/ablecommerce-need-some-insight&#8221;
AbleCommerce’s response:
“Hello Sami,

I don’t recognize any of the folks on your blog as having purchased AbleCommerce.  Post to our cfmx forums if you want real opinions.
Honestly even though our CFMX product is without peer in the CFMX community it represents about 2% of our sales and we’ve never recouped our 500k investment in it’s development.  It’s sad considering it was our foundation for our first three versions dating back 14 years, I was the one that wrote versions 1 to 3.  Anyone including myself could program in CFMX, I cannot make heads or tails out of asp.net :), but it’s what everyone wants.

Our 5.5 product still sells but it’s not going to be updated it’s just not worth the effort. Sadly the CFMX community will be left with one man (woman) development efforts for their eCommerce software choices.

Kind Regards,
Mike Randolph
Thoughts? Why don’t we have an industrial strength e-commerce offering written in ColdFusion? Perhaps ColdFusion is the only large web development platform without a set of industrial strength tools, particularly in the field of e-commerce. We know PHP and ASP.NET have them. Tis a sad day to see an email like this, but I’m not surprised either. Maybe we can do something about it.

Bye Bye Bill Gates

Last official day at work is June 27. (tears) No! I’m fine, really.
Read more @ http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=080622161814.w591gsc0&show_article=1