Posts from My External Blog
I wasn't planning on writing a "moving on" post on this blog. I was going to wait for the folks at Adobe Feeds
(the only blog aggregator where I'm listed) to update my entry to point to my new blog and simply start blogging there. But with the release of the ColdFusion 9 and ColdFusion Builder betas on Adobe Labs
last night, now's not the time to be without an active blog.
So the point of this post is to serve notice about my new blog over at:
I'll see if I can cajole Ray Camden to take a break from his stream of tutorial blog posts and videos on CF9/CFB to add my new blog to his ColdFusionBloggers aggregator
, so that at least I'm aggregated somewhere (not that ColdFusionBloggers is any less of an aggregator than Adobe Feeds; in some ways it's better). We'll see how that goes. :)
Until then, and until Adobe Feeds is updated with my new blog RSS feed address, the best way to find out if I've posted anything new would be to follow me on Twitter (bcswartz).
For those readers who didn't see my previous post regarding my conversation with Glen
, Glen is a technical trainer who treated me to the usual "ColdFusion is dying" mantra we normally hear from other programmers.
The big question I had after that first encounter was why, as a trainer rather than a programmer, he had developed that opinion about ColdFusion. So when I ran into him again at the gym the other day, I asked him about that.
Turns out his belief that ColdFusion is dying is based on the job market for ColdFusion jobs. He told me he works/interacts with a dozen recruiting firms in the Washington D.C. area, firms looking to fill positions for government contractors like Lockheed, and that the number of ColdFusion positions compared to the number of positions programming in Java or Ruby is just so small. He added that a lot of the ColdFusion positions that did exist were senior positions where candidates were expected to know how create web services, work with Java, write object-oriented code, etc., making it hard for up-and-coming ColdFusion developers to find work.
I also found out that most of his training work involves training/teaching programmers OO-based languages over several weeks, so his perspective on programming trends isn't all that different from an actual programmer. Glen (who doesn't mind talking) went on to give me the standard advice given to modern-day programmers (the importance of having multiple programming language skill sets, the need to have a new job lined up before leaving your current one, etc.) before we parted company once again.
My thoughts? I don't doubt there are more jobs out there for languages like PHP, Ruby, and Java just as Glen said, but whenever I go out on websites to look for ColdFusion jobs, they're out there, and while many of them are senior-level positions, there are a few junior-level jobs to be had. Actually getting hired, however, made take some effort, as Michael Dinowitz noted in his recent blog post, "Are There Really ColdFusion Jobs?"
In the end, Glen's position on ColdFusion is nothing original: lack of marketshare is at the heart of every "ColdFusion is dying" argument we hear. But marketshare is only one metric, and it shouldn't be the main consideration when choosing a programming language.
The main consideration should be "does this technology allow me to build the web application I want?" And when that question is directed at ColdFusion, the answer is almost always "Yes."
As I previously mentioned
on my blog last week, Mozilla has launched a new means of creating add-ons for Firefox called Jetpack
As it happens, the first two functions listed in the Jetpack API
were the clearInterval()
functions, and that gave me a idea. My most recent AIR application, focusTimer
, is a desktop widget inspired by time management techniques like Pomodoro
, where you basically shut out/off all distractions and work on a task for a set amount of time. Once that time is up, the idea is to take a short break before starting another distraction-free period.
So my Jetpack add-on, browseTimer
, is a timer built into the status bar of Firefox that lets you set how much time you want to spend browsing the web before getting back to work. Once the timer expires, the add-on uses the Jetpack API functions for the Firefox tabs to blank out the content of all of your open Firefox tabs and turn the body of the now-blank pages red (in other words, you KNOW when the timer has run out!).
It's certainly not the most useful add-on in the world, but it didn't take long and it helped me learn the basics of Jetpack.
If you're interested in checking it out, visit the following page...
...for the link to the Jetpack add-on need to run all Jetpack-based add-ons, links to the Macintosh and Windows versions (there were slight differences in how the input elements were displayed in the status bar that warranted two separate versions), and instructions on how to uninstall it if you don't like it/need it.
Since I've already defended Twitter
in two other people's blogs this past week, I figured I should write my own post on the matter. That way, if I feel inclined to comment on Twitter use again, I can just post the URL to this entry and leave it at that (save myself some typing).
I wasn't enamored with Twitter when I first checked it out. I wasn't interested in the mundane things people were doing at the moment, and I certainly didn't think anyone really cared what I was doing.
But at cfObjective() 2008, it quickly became clear that Twitter could help me connect with fellow conference-goers and clue me in on what was going on in particular sessions, where people were gathering to hang out or go out, etc. And I've used Twitter ever since: I'm not on it every waking moment and I don't feel like I'm disconnected when I'm not on it, but I do make use of it.
I really feel that the simple trick to getting value out of Twitter is to follow people whose Twitter posts ("tweets") provide some value to you: information, insight, humor, whatever. Most of the people I follow are ColdFusion/RIA/Web developers, and they'll post any interesting links about those topics that they encounter as they surf the web. It's almost like a people-powered RSS feed of tech articles, except that you're getting the information from people you know and respect rather than random people.
Sure, there are the occasional tweets about where people are or what they're having for lunch, the tidbits of daily life, but those can be easily ignored if you're not interested. And yes, it can be a distraction if you're getting live updates from Twitter via a desktop client like Twhirl
, but there's a simple solution to that: turn it off while you're working, and turn it back on when you're taking a break.
I'm not trying to push Twitter on anyone--you can live without it--but I think folks should give it a serious try before deciding one way or the other.
I found out about this last night from a tweet sent out by the jQuery Twitter account
(which is probably a good indication that they like the idea).
You can learn more about Jetpack via the following URLs:
...the tutorials in the final link give you a good idea of the kinds of things Jetpack will allow you to do: the last example is a Jetpack add-on that will count and display the number of unread e-mails in your Gmail Inbox.
I want to give Jetpack a whirl, but I honestly can't think of any functionality I want to add to Firefox that I can't get from an existing plugin. Anyone have any suggestions for something to try with Jetpack?
It's interesting how web technologies keep being repurposed as a development option in other technologies (Adobe AIR, the upcoming Palm Pre's WebOS
, and now Jetpack). Even though I'm not particularly interested in delving into all these different areas, I must say that I like the trend. :)