Saturday, June 01, 2002

MX inSite magazine is now shipping its first issue. I haven't seen it yet myself, but I know the quality of the people behind it, and am glad they're here, helping drive this revolution forward.

Friday, May 31, 2002

COM objects in ColdFusion MX: There's a bit of discussion on the CF-Talk mailing list about differences in accessing native Microsoft objects between CF5/Win and CFMX, which is now built in Java. Where we could make direct native calls before, now the Java engine needs to reach out to the platform-native code, so this extra layer of intermediation can add some cost, depending on the complexity of the extension. We're still working on additional documentation here... you can pick up contextual info in the Migrating CF doc (do a text search on "Java Native Interface") and the Documentation Additions (do a text search on "com2java.exe")... right now there's still a placeholder at Technical Brief 22922 which isn't finished yet.Summary:You can now access Java native routines and --if you're serving on Windows -- Windows native routines, but the means differ between Windows native code and the new Java code.

Phil Chung's newsfeed display: This is righteous... Phil downloads the XML Macromedia news feed once, and then presents multiple views on demand, without having to hit the server again. He also features a regular multi-site RSS display, but this doesn't offer the categorization that the non-RSS feed offers. (I understand there are debates about RSS extensions for categorization, but for me right now RSS aggregation is too dumb, too hard on the eyes... I prefer Mozilla's tabbed group bookmarks by far.) Compare these two interfaces... there's a very dramatic usability difference between them!
[via Jarle Bergersen]

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Transform 1.1, J2EE SWF SDK Stuart Mackay posted an announcement in the newsgroup. I haven't evaluated it, but it seems a set of Java classes to both parse existing SWFs and, after manipulation, to write a new SWF. I don't know yet if this is an author-time utility, or can also be used on the server for high-volume customization...?
ADMIN: State of Flashcoders is a message from Branden Hall, voluntary host of the FlashCoders list. It's not fun to confront a litterbug, because the messenger can easily get shot, but this is all sensible feedback, which helps the entire community. Be nice, read the FAQ, and write good messages, that's the long and short of it.(Don't let Groucho's dictum come true!)
DW MX Mac "can't use commands": Dreamweaver Support had a call this morning from someone getting a JavaScript error when trying to access the Commands menu under MacOS 9. Once they did the normal troubleshooting steps the mystery element turned out to be a particular version of Action Utilities. We haven't tested against various versions of this extension in the shop to see if it's a some-or-all situation, but if you get an alert when accessing the menus, the usual first step of checking without customizations can help big. (Here are docs for general Mac troubleshooting, Dreamweaver Mac troubleshooting, Dreamweaver Windows troubleshooting.)
[Keyword: HotIssue, Dreamweaver MX]
NYC Bloggers: Great idea -- a database of bloggers in New York City, with a visual map representation of where they are. But the implementation is a little pokey, even on a T3 line... 68K of HTML, 66K of GIF image, lots of little image requests for numbers and rollovers, a big table to render, and a trip back to the server to create another page whenever a database call is made. This sounds like a job for SuperSWF.... ;-)
[via Anil Dash, hope you had a good trip!]
Evolution of digital theft: I don't like to keep harping on the parsites, but this article shows how protection methods have evolved to catch up to casual transmission of suspect executable code: "The organization recently began using MediaForce's MediaSentry system to patrol the Internet for unauthorized copies of software programs on peer-to-peer systems, IRC channels, Web sites, FTP sites and newsgroups." Reality isn't static; it evolves... the file-sharing networks sprang up, which then created a counter-pressure.

Those who rip other people off do lose control over their own fate. Following the Golden Rule still seems the best long-term protection.

(There's also a lot of talk these days about theft of digital files (MP3, eg), rather than applications. The music business does have a bit of history about rightful artist compensation, but I haven't heard anyone aver that programmers have been treated in similar ways. Atop that there's a significant safety difference between running a suspect file on your computer, and running a suspect application, particularly when we know that the Internet is an obvious terrorist target. We're all creating digital content these days, so each person will eventually think through their actions.)
Same serial on network: I see from the referral logs that someone came here with a Google search on "dreamweaver mx using the same serial on one network". Yes, when you start up the recent applications they'll check the local network to see if there are other copies running with the same serial number. (This is also why you might see a dial-up when starting the app, if your system is set to auto-dial whenever a network request is made.) If your company has a policy of buying one copy of an application and using it on multiple machines, then it's more economical for them to stay in accordance with the terms-of-sale and avoid the penalties. Matter of fact, you can often collect a bounty in such cases... write to for more details.
David Doull on Flash MX Components: A well-written overview, focusing on the "why" and not just the "how". This could be particularly useful for people coming from ColdFusion, Visual Basic, or other application development environments. (I agree that documentation is a never-ending process... if there's a subject you need addressed from folks in the shop then dropping a note could make sure we get it in the schedule, thanks.)
[via CHris MacGregor]

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Preview newsgroups: These are officially deprecated as of today, and will be rolled into the full newsgroups sometime soon. You can still post into either one, but I think it would be better to post into the real newsgroup for each section, rather than the corresponding Preview newsgroup. No biggie here, we'll just see the transition within a week or so.
About those "keywords": They're not really keywords... as you can see from the link, it holds a Google query searching just this site for the term in question. They likely won't show any results for a few days, until this page gets indexed again. After that they'll likely return a number of archive pages. Whether you search for pages or just use this current page and a number of recent archives, a text search in your browser for "[Keyword: HotIssues, whatever]" will then let you jump directly to these articles within the archive. Not perfect, I know, but I hope it may help categorize all current things people out there get snagged by! (Radio contains automatic categorization, which could be useful for tasks like this... another tack would be to do automatic parsing and databasing of the RSS feed for this blog.)
General MX newsgroup notes: There are still posts about VBox alerts on trials. Searching the technotes with "vbox" will pull up info on this.

I see a few threads asking about additional upgrade options ("I have A & B, and I want C without D, so why is it $X?", eg), and these are hard to answer in a newsgroup, particularly because there are no geographical boundaries... the website itself has the best pricing info, and if you need a one-on-one then checking in with sales or customer service would get you the most reliable definition, and would also allow us to track ambiguities.

[Keyword: HotIssue, general MX]
ColdFusion MX newsgroup notes: I see requests for benchmarking. My knowledge is imperfect here, but I think the first set of these isn't done yet... definitely something on the agenda, and I suspect that a variety of benchmarks will be more persuasive when dealing with others in a group, but my current understanding is that this work has been scheduled for after the release date, rather than at the release date itself.

There's a thread about subscription updates, for those who purchased the previous ColdFusion subscription program. I read a reply in another forum earlier today on this but didn't retain it, regrets... will log the answer here when I pick it up on the next go-round.
_Update_: Vernon Viehe has info on subscription updates here on CF-Talk.

For "Should I uninstall previous versions of ColdFusion before installing the actual ColdFusion MX release?" Matt Brown advises: "You can have both CF5 and CFMX on the same machine. In development though if you had CF5 installed, you had to install CFMX to a separate web root and a different web server (included with the install) on port 8500."

[Keyword: HotIssue, ColdFusion MX]
Dreamweaver MX newsgroup notes: I see one thread in the Dreamweaver newsgroup about a Trial version asking for a serial, but so far see just the symptom without the cause... could be a clock change or other security trigger, could be an unusual config, could be something else. I track these closely, but usually people present just the symptom, so it's finding the hidden mystery cause that's the tricky part.

There are various threads about which extensions work in the new environment. I don't have encyclopedic info here, but I suspect these will each get squared away pretty quickly. In the meantime a good strategy is to either check the extension's docs, or just try it, or do a newsgroup search at for any recent conversation on the extension.

There are threads about "Where's HomeSite+?" and if you purchase hard copy it's on the CD, and if you purchase online it's a separate download authorized through your purchase. (HomeSite is still a PC application, and so is not available for Mac design work. I understand that the updated ColdFusion tags will be available for ColdFusion Studio users too, but don't have firm confirmation yet.)

There were some "can't download" posts but these were concentrated in the morning, when we expected the largest crunch of simultaneous demand. These seem to have trailed off during the day.

[Keyword: HotIssue, Dreamweaver MX]
Upcoming events: There are a lot of free MX-related events in the coming weeks... check out the calendars in the above area to see times & places. Also check the Macromedia User Group locater... nothing beats getting face-to-face with people in your own area.
What if Making a Swing Was Like Making a Website? A cartoon in antique GIF which made me smile. As designers, our top job is to get directly to the final frame... figuring out what people really want, and will really use, and then how to effectively produce it. The technical skills are always evolving because we're always learning, but those tasks of listening, understanding, and delivering are where the heavy lifting happens.
[via Jenny Levine]
New info about macromedia dreamweaver mx crack, coldfusion crack macromedia mx, macromedia flash mx crack, and others. Besides property theft there are security concerns here, because those stupid enough to run executable code from criminal sites leave their machines open to remote control.
JRun 3.1 buffer/security article: InfoWorld reports today that a company selling security software advises that a particular older version of JRun is susceptible to misreading "an overly long Host header field". I don't see mention of this in the Macromedia Security Center but may have missed an older reference, and will update this entry if I catch a link later today. (This doesn't affect the current version of JRun.)
_Update_: This issue is now documented at the Security Zone, with a full article here. If you're using the current version of JRun you're not subject to this potential vulnerability, but if you need to continue with JRun 3.1 then there's an updated patch for that version at this address.
Macromedia Designer & Developer Center: Focus is on usability design & testing this issue. Did you know that all previous articles are still available? Can you find them? If not, we need to know -- there are nav tips and a survey up there this week too, thanks.
Excel & XML security: As software gets more complex, it gets harder to predict all cases, and some potential exploits could be discovered well after people have been using it. If you ever come across any potential security concerns with Macromedia software, please do drop a note to the Macromedia security group... we'd appreciate it greatly, thanks! (A log of current security concerns is one level up, at
Are you illegal? This content of this c|net article affects web developers, even though its current examples are about Dmitry Skylarov & Adobe, or Yahoo and French Nazi laws. Territorial jurisdictions are seeking to apply their rules to the actions of people regardless of where they may be when performing their actions, because their effects of their actions can be felt within the jurisdiction. If you create a site whose content may be controversial in another place, then it may be wise to be prudent when later visiting that place...?

(What will happen? I don't know, I can't effectively predict this stuff. I expect there will be pressures to expand the size of effective jurisdictions -- to share the same rules across wider areas -- but there will also be offsetting pressures for local jurisdiction. The sanest thing to me would be to reduce the number of rules overall, but there are incentives for those involved in the process to create more work and power for themselves.)

Anyway, if you're ever tempted to post a video about kitten cuisine, be careful with your travel plans....
Site traffic today will be heavy, with the expected download rates of Dreamweaver MX, ColdFusion MX, and Fireworks MX. There are additional servers added in today, but you may notice messages at the Exchange, Web Forums and other areas during times of highest traffic.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Why wireframes? An article by Nam-ho Park about an efficient way to handle client approvals of HTML designs. Key concept: Get buy-off on the general idea before risking getting sidelined by content details.
[via Meryl Evans]
Toshiba GENIO plays SWF This device is only available in Japan, but shows the bandwagon effect. On the Macromedia site the best listing is that "supported devices" document, although it lists by manufacturer rather than actual device, and doesn't have full details. I suspect there may be stronger lists on other sites, although I don't have a link at the moment...?

Monday, May 27, 2002

New York Times infographic on World Trade Center attack: I'm of two minds... it's harrowing to see maps and hear accounts of what people in the building experienced, but the presentation itself shows how we can communicate more with interactivity. I don't think I can watch the whole thing right now....
(Caveats: Requires registration; resizes browser window; uses "Loading" screen instead of streaming.)
[via Jason Kottke]
Seattle Times: "Blogs must be assiduously labeled so viewers can determine credibility, independence and other values. Macromedia gets a C+ in the latter regard. As a Wired online article and blogger Meg Hourihan pointed out, the affiliation of Macromedia's blogs with the company was a little vague and possibly misleading. You can kind of figure out that the Macromedia blogs are corporate-sponsored, but there should be fuller disclosure. Macromedia's bloggers want to have it both ways."

I find this a little frustrating. I'm not here to talk to reporters, or the general public, and I don't think anyone would come here wondering "Wow, should I buy some software today?"

I'm continuing the conversation we already have in online mailing lists, newsgroups, and web boards. If you don't know who I am, then why would you be here?

(Even so, after the WIRED article I realized that there might be more reporters here, and people sent by reporters, who wouldn't be reading this for the info it contains but only for the structure of the conversation, so I beefed up the sidebar text and links. I'm not sure if this isn't enough for that inadvertent peripheral audience.) (Then again, I sort of suspect Paul may be setting up readers who may be contemplating doing similar things... I suspect he may not be talking about these diaries in particular, but may be urging consideration of this subject by future bloggers...)
[via David Burrows, who got it from Dave Winer]