ColdFusion Muse

Scope of the Month: CGI

Mark Kruger July 30, 2009 1:40 PM ColdFusion Comments (3)

Starting with CF 6, most scopes became structures - objects with members - but in the pre Java days of ColdFusion there were a good many differences in how various scopes behaved. Few things were objects or structures. All those neat little structure functions that are so darn useful when dealing with a scope were not invented yet. Instead we had famously ugly, workaround code with loops using lists and evaluate( ). You might remember the good old CF 4.x days when, in order to loop through form variables, you used the "special" form variable called fieldnames which contained all the form field names. Remember this code?

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RIA Unleashed is Coming to Boston

Mark Kruger July 29, 2009 12:15 PM ColdFusion Comments (0)

ColdFusion guru and all around fabulous guy Brian Rinaldi has put together what promises to be an outstanding conference called RIA Unleased in the Boston area. The one day event is available for only 30 dollars for early bird registrations - that's unbeatable. The list of speakers includes notables like Jeff Tapper, Adam Lehman, Jason Delmore etc. - the "who's who" of the ColdFusion world (and no doubt dedicated Muse readers :). The even has 3 trackes, Flex and Air, Coldfusion and one focused on overall web development. Knowing Brian it will be an excellent event and well worth the effort. If you have the date free (November 13th from 8 am to 5:30 pm) you should consider attending. You can also follow RIA unleased on twitter at @riaunleased.

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Client Variable Database and Reserved Word Alias

Mark Kruger July 8, 2009 10:25 PM ColdFusion Comments (6)

I had a question from a reader who was having trouble with his client variables database. You don't have to be using ColdFusion for long before you learn (or are told) that if you are going to use Client variables it is important to use a database and not the registry. This goes back to the old CF 5 days when client vars could cause the registry to grow to astronomic proportions before anyone would notice.

The solution to Client variable performance has always been to move them to a data source on an RDBMS (MySQL, MSSQL, Oracle etc). The process is all done using the ColdFusion Administrator. It is a bit involved but not difficult.

  • Add a datasource with create, update, insert and delete permissions.
  • On the "client variables" page, select the DSN from the drop down and click "add". Follow the instructions to set up the DSN. I always check the box to "disable" global variables because I never use them (things like "hitcount").
  • When you submit, the tables will be created and the DSN will be listed under the curiously named "Actions Storage Name Description" section where the registry and cookies are also choices.
Once your DSN is on the list it can be used to store variables - either by selecting as the "Default" storage location in CF administrator or specifying it in your Cfapplication tag.

Meanwhile, having explained the rudimentary steps for adding a client variable DSN my reader is impatience to hear his problem explained - so here goes. He created a DSN named "coldfusion" and used the steps above to insure that it was specified as the client variable DSN. He noticed immediately that the "global" variables were created, but no actual "client" variables were created. In other words, when he did something like "cfset client.user = 'bob'" it had no effect. Subsequent requests indicated that client.user did not even exist. Clearly the records were not being written to the DB.

The Fix

After some trial and error I suggested that perhaps the datasource name of "coldfusion" was the problem. Why you ask? As a rule I never use what could be a reserve word as a variable or datasource name. I surmised that "coldfusion" seemed to fit that standard so I suggested he create a new alias and try again. As soon as he did the tables began to update. The moral of the story - don't use reserve words for things like variable names or DSN's. Meanwhile, if by some confluence of events and aligning of the stars you have chosen to name your datasource for client variables "coldfusion" and you are scratching your head to figure out why it isn't working - try renaming the DSN.

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Kevin Hoyt on ColdFusion 9

Mark Kruger June 17, 2009 1:31 PM ColdFusion, Coldfusion's Future Comments (10)

You may or may not know that the Muse' company, CF Webtools, sponsors the Nebraska ColdFusion User's Group (NE CFUG). Actually all the real work is done by our ColdFusion and Linux Guru, Ryan Stille who's energy keeps ColdFusion thriving here in the heartland. Last night we heard a presentation by the affable and knowledgeable (and really really tall) Kevin Hoyt. He spent about 2 hours both in presentation and chatting with us afterward. He was pretty cool and called his presentation a "slide deck" and talked about how the "newbies" put in too many "transitions". Oh you Adobe people and your fancy pants lingo. What will you think of next.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a ColdFusion zealot. I know that's not news to my regular readers, but it bears mentioning in case I slip up and say something negative. All in all the Muse has been thrilled with each release of ColdFusion and I have waited with bated (or is it baited) breath for each Beta (or is it Baita) version. When CF 8 came out I rewrote our entire tracking and project management system to take advantage of the new UI features. I'm an early adopter and a CF enthusiast. Also I should note that, although I have the beta version of CF 9, I will only be talking about what was in the presentation. Here's my take.

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My Funny Val()entine and SQLi

Mark Kruger June 15, 2009 2:30 PM ColdFusion, Coldfusion Security Comments (3)

Regular readers know I'm always on the lookout for interesting issues regarding SQL Injection and ColdFusion. This year has been a banner year for injection on ColdFusion sites and if you are not on the Cfqueryparam bandwagon yet I have one more example of a code that might seem to be inoculated but is not. It has to do with the use of val( )....

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Ask-a-Muse: How Do I Upgrade the JVM?

Mark Kruger June 11, 2009 2:41 PM ColdFusion, Coldfusion Troubleshooting Comments (7)

Muse Reader Rob Asks:
I have a silly question. How exactly do you upgrade the JVM on your ColdFusion server? My server is on Win2k3 x64 and the JVM version is 1.6.0_04. Do you specify it manually in the jvm.config file?

I'm glad you asked this question because it reminds me that I sometimes give advice without any follow through - which is the same problem I have with my 8 iron. Upgrading the JVM on a windows installation is pretty easy. Just remember that you will need the correct Java Runtime for your platform and ColdFusion version. Rob specified Win2k3 x64 so I assume he means he is running ColdFusion 8 enterprise 64 bit - in which case the target version is 1.6 update 14 (or 1.6.0_14). I usually start at the Sun Java download page. Once you have the right version in hand the rest is easy.

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Certain JPGs Can Crash Your ColdFusion 8 Server

Mark Kruger June 10, 2009 11:41 AM ColdFusion, Coldfusion Troubleshooting Comments (7)

This issue was brought to my attention by Adrian Lynch on CF-Talk. It seems that if you use the new image functions in ColdFusion 8 against certain kinds of JPG images you can actually cause your JVM to crash. If you have code that uses the latest image functions to handle uploaded images you should definitely take note of this post. I cannot yet see how a user might take advantage of this bug to penetrate your server, but a malicious (or even non-malicious) user could easily perform a denial of service attack and cause your CF server to go up and down like Jack LaLanne doing jumping jacks. So if you fit into that category (handling uploaded images using CF 8 image functionality) here's the scoop.

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Connector Problems - Win2k8, IIS7 and Multi-Server ColdFusion 8 x 64 Bit

Mark Kruger June 9, 2009 6:09 PM ColdFusion, Coldfusion Troubleshooting Comments (0)

I have not yet had this problem specifically, but it was pointed out by CFG Tom Forrest who spent some time wrangling with it. He was trying to use the connector widget to connect IIS 7 sites to ColdFusion instances (running in Multi-Server Mode). He reports as follows:

The connector refused to install anything into IIS. When I started it, the first window would appear. When I clicked "add" I would see something to the effect of, Installing required IIS7 components. It may take 2 to 5 minutes to complete. The window that allows you to set all the parameters would open, and you could select any of your running CF servers. However, you couldn't select any of the IIS sites that were created. Assuming you give up and click ok, allowing it to "install to all" you would get an error window stating error creating IIS application extensions ColdFusion.

According to Tom the fix is to install the IIS 6 Management Compatibility role service. This service allows an IIS 7 server to "act like" an IIS 6 server. Once installed the configuration tool began to work.

While I haven't had this specific problem, I have noticed that a number of other things are easier and more familiar with the IIS Management Compatibility installed. Thanks Tom.

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