Trying out BlogCFC

I’ve been meaning to set up a personal blog for some time, but I never found quite the right package for my tastes. I wanted something I could tinker with and extend. There were several PHP packages that would have fit the bill, but as a huge fan of Macromedia ColdFusion, I thought I’d look there first.

As it turned out, most of the Macromedia-inspired blogs I read happen to use the same package, Ray Camden’s BlogCFC. This package looked like just what I wanted, but with one exception — the database support was somewhat limited. Only Access, SQL Server, and MySQL were supported out-of-the-box. While I have no qualms with SQL Server, all of my servers run Linux of one version or another so that wasn’t an option. This also disqualified Access, but honestly it hadn’t even gotten into the game.

So now to MySQL. Anyone that knows me has heard my cries of “Use a real database!” every time someone suggests MySQL for a new project. As someone raised on enterprise-level RDBMSs, MySQL always felt amateurish and limited.

I really like PostgreSQL, so I set about hacking BlogCFC to support it. This turned out to be messier than I had hoped; I got bogged down in the details, and never got around to starting a blog.

When I saw that a new version of BlogCFC was available, I figured I needed to check it out again.

I liked what I saw, so I finally put my reservations aside and installed it with a MySQL backend — in the interest of actually getting something going now.

So, here I am. I’m going to try to get my feet wet with short tips at first to try to build some momentum. I’m still not crazy about committing the RAM and processor cycles to a second database backend on my server, but at least now I can work on that PostgreSQL port gradually while getting some practical experience with the package.

Can’t find my way Home

When I joined the IST Solutions Institute this fall, I found myself in a Macintosh-friendly environment for the first time in a decade.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart (or head) for the much-maligned platform — its elegance and consistency appeals to me. Since Macromedia was nice enough to recently begin seriously supporting ColdFusion development on OS X, I jumped at the chance to try working on a modern Macintosh.

My first shock after switching platforms was discovering my dependence on the Home and End keys in Windows. The fact that I couldn’t hit Shift-End to highlight from the current cursor location to the end of the line drove me nuts. Figuring that I could not be the only person to notice this, I did some digging and I finally found a solution.

On most Macintosh-native applications, the same effect can be achieved by holding down the Command (or Apple) key and using the right-arrow (for End) or left-arrow (for Home) keys. If you want to select the text instead of just moving the cursor, hold your Shift key down as usual.