We hosted a “sneak peak” session yesterday afternoon here at MAX, engineers from all the product teams (in bee costumes, don’t ask) used the opportunity to showcase cool stuff they were working on (stuff that may, or may not) make it into future products.
Mike Nimer presented for the ColdFusion team, and without question, his sneaks got the greatest applause. Mike showed two different works-in-progress:
1) He showed a tag, the old (and rather despised) grid applet, and then changed an attribute so that the grid rendered in Flash. He also showed form fields associated with the grid, creating groups, tab dialogs, and more. His entire demo was actually using Flex internally, and served to demonstrate the potential afforded by ColdFusion+Flex.
2) He also showed an HTML page, complete with styles used for formatting. He then changed the document type to “PDF” and, yep, generated a PDF on-the-fly (complete with headers and footers and column headers and more).
And the crowed loved it.
Of course, as Paul and Norm both reminded us several times, the sneaks are prototypes and works-in-progress, and are not commitments to specific features or implementations. Still, fun stuff!

14 thoughts

  1. Why are you saying this, and not show any videos πŸ™‚ That is like holding a candy before a child and quickly put in in your mouth.

  2. Any chance of some image manipulation functions? I think that’s been a gaping hole in CF for a long time and I don’t think it would be too difficult to add.

  3. How does the PDF rendering currently work?
    Does it use a browser engine to render the HTML and print it to a PDF driver….OR
    does it use a standard like XSL:FO to format and return the document in PDF?
    Thanks!

  4. As far as image manipulation goes, that is on the wishlist, nothing more to say about that yet.
    As for how the PDF generation works, we are still experimenting with all options, it’s still early.

  5. The clever "FlashPaper" seems to have died off or will this be an option with the PDF generation – printing to SWF would be handy also. I saw a Quicktime video of the Blaskstone sneak peek and it sounds awesome. The venue for the conference looked great also. Hopefully some of this stuff can be expanded on for MXDU 2004. Cheers!

  6. Ben,
    Could you give is some more information about the source code protection, if you are allowed to πŸ˜‰
    The part that worries me, is how an application with source code security is deployed. Will this be done through one single WAR file, or are only the CFM files compiled to source protected format?
    The reason why I ask this, is because of the following. When using deployable applications you loose control on the application at the moment it is on a customers server.
    However, you will always keep bugs. Were people write software, they create bugs. Bugfree software does not exist. In that case you want to provide your customers with some sort of updating tool like Windows update. Either you write it yourself, or Macromedia could create a a basic updating framework for CFM apps to start with.
    In that way you can extend the ColdFusion administrator with a updating extension, which regularly checks our servers with a new version of specific CFM files. If a bug is fixed the update is automatically downloaded.
    When using a single WAR file, this could become one awesome update. I wrote a CMS system which now consists out of more than 1500 CFM files. I would like it, when I can only specify one of those files to be updated instead of all 1500 CFM files in a single war file.

  7. Peter, FlashPaper has not died off at all, in fact there was a FlashPaper sneak too (searching). We’re discussing what the FlashPaper/CF integration story should be, but no decisions there yet, we’ll still discussing it.

  8. Micha, the current prototype is per file, basically using bytecode without the CFM source (much like I demoed at DevCon 2001 in Orlando). This is still early, stuff can and may change, but your point is a good one and is duly noted.

  9. Was there at the sneek and can confirm what Ben wrote… the crowd went wild for the CF demo! Amazing what can be done and I love where these products are going. And Macromedia is doing a good job of cross pollinating functionality in all these tools as well (to use a bad pun – you had to see the bees to get it πŸ˜‰

  10. MAX2003 sounded great, unfortunately didn’t make it this year.. Anyone know where MAX2004 will be held next year? I need to get the info to my boss early this time πŸ™‚

  11. Leon, we’re still working on it, the list has been narrowed down to a few options, but contracts were not finalized in time to announce it at MAX, I expect an announcement soon though. Stay tuned.

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