Sorcerer's Tower

Welcome to the Tower, my programming and web development blog. Here you will find articles relating primarily to CFML and regex, plus assorted other technologies, techniques, and ideas.

If you are interested in more than just programming, you can visit my aggregated blog, where you will also find entries on my photography and other interests.

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Why Railo 3.3?

It's been over two and a half years since my last "why railo" post, and - despite Railo "only" being 0.3 versions on - there's been a lot of improvements!

In fact, because it's been so long, a few of the things here are not new with v3.3 (though they are all new since the previous article), but are still great features that deserve mentioning!

Read on to find out what my ten favourite new feature are.

CFML on Wikipedia

If you've ever looked at the CFML related articles on Wikipedia, you can't fail to have noticed that, especially when compared to other programming articles, they're not very good.

When somebody puts "coldfusion" or "cfml" into Google, they will almost certainly see the respective Wikipedia pages amongst the top three results, but when they follow those links they're unlikely to get a very good impression!

Not only could both these pages themselves benefit significantly from being cleaned up and improved, but there are only a few frameworks and tools that even have pages, and most of what does exist are very unencyclopaedic stubs. And this doesn't even consider the generic programming pages that often don't even mention CFML.

Take a look at the CFML category page - does that category contain everything you would expect an encyclopaedia to cover about CFML? Check the pages for the frameworks you are familiar with - do they go into the level of detail you would expect, and tell you everything you'd want to know if you were entirely new to CFML?

If you agree that the CFML presence on Wikipedia can and should be improved, and it's up to the CFML community to do it, then read on to find out how you can help fix it.

Introducing the cfRegex Project!

The cfRegex project is two things. Firstly, it is a complete regex implementation for CFML, providing more functionality, flexibility, features and power than the existing CFML RE functions. Secondly, it is a drive to encourage people to properly learn and make use of regex.

Regex is a very flexible language for matching patterns within text, and it has the power to greatly simplify certain programming tasks. However, it can also be intimidating to people not experienced with it.

This problem can be compounded by the relatively limited support for regex in CFML, which often means code is written that is more complex than should be necessary.

cfRegex helps to address both these problems. It provides a number of functions and features that help to reduce the amount of code which programmers have to write, whilst also helping to make their code clearer and easier to understand. In addition, the project provides documentation, not just for its own features, but also for regex itself, helping people to understand exactly what their expressions are matching, and how to get the most out of regex.

Whilst cfRegex is still at a relatively early stage, it is currently usable, and if you're a fan of regex it is certainly worth checking out.

It currently runs on CF 9.0.1, OpenBD 2.0, Railo 3.2 and later.
(Support for CF8 and others will be considered if enough people need it.)

The documentation should tell you everything you need to know about using it, but if not then get it touch and say what's missing so it can be fixed!

If you get stuck, there's a mailing list where you can receive answers to any problems or questions you have.

International Regular Expressions Day 2010

It's 1st June 2010 today, and that means we're celebrating for the third time the annual International Regular Expressions Day.

Ben Nadel kicked off this event two years ago, in order to promote the use of Regex, especially amongst those who might consider them something scary and obscure.

As before, Ben is running a contest, this year's prizes being some O'Reily Regex books and IIS Mod-Rewrite Pro licenses.

Entry to the competition requires writing some code, and the deadline is today, so if you're interested then hurry up and read Ben's blog entry to find out more.


Happy Regex Day!


Railo: Still Awesome!

It's nearly a year on from my last Railo blog post so it is well overdue that I write another - just in case there is anyone still sitting on the fence, unsure if they should use Railo - or indeed, anyone who might be unaware of Railo's very existance!


So to start with, a quick summary of what Railo is:

Find out why Railo is the perfect choice for your next development project.