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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Speaking at Scotch on the Rocks 2013

I will be speaking at this year's Scotch on the Rocks conference. My presentation is on the subject of getting help when you are stuck and how to describe your issue in a way that makes it easier for others to help you.

All developers have times when they need help, but it's not always easy to ask for (particularly when all you want is to get past a tricky problem, not have long tangental discussions). Having spent a lot of time both seeking and offering help, I hope to shed some light on the quickest ways to find solutions and effective methods for framing your issues so that fellow developers can understand what you need.

The talk will be aimed at developers of any level who want help with getting help.

Scotch on the Rocks is Europe's longest running conference catering for CFML developers, having been held most years since 2005. This year it takes place on the 6th and 7th of June at the Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor hotel and covers a wide variety of topics on different aspects of web development - so whether you're looking to learn new techniques and technologies or you want to network and socialise with other programmers, Scotch on the Rocks is the conference for you.

Hurry up and book your tickets before they sell out!

QueryParam Scanner v0.7.5 Released

Earlier this week I promoted the release candidate for 0.7.5 of QueryParam Scanner to full release.

For anyone unaware, QueryParam Scanner is a simple tool for identifying unparameterised variables in CFML queries (which may indicate a potential SQL injection risk).

This version has a handful of bug fixes and code cleanups, resulting in faster more accurate scanning than previous versions, plus the addition of JSON output format, giving a more lightweight option if used in scripted processes.

For further details on these, see the previous RC article; other than a couple of trivial fixes and a new readme, nothing has changed since that.

To download the latest version, you can either clone the git repo, or grab it as a zip archive from the GitHub tags page.

For any feedback, problems, or questions, please use the issue tracker.

Apache, cPanel and ErrorDocument

If you're using a cPanel-powered Apache server, there's a chance it may not be setup in the best way.

The same issue might manifest itself in two ways: confusing error messages and ignored htaccess directives.

In both cases, the solution is to use the ErrorDocument directive.

Find out more.

Happy Regex Day 2012!

Today was the 1st June, and that means it's Regex Day again!

This annual event was started four years ago by Ben Nadel to celebrate this wonderful (yet often misunderstood) technology, and as usual Ben is running a fun regex competition, with prizes, on his blog.

If that's not enough regex goodness for you, here's a couple of projects you should know about.

First up, there's XRegExp, a library by Steven Levithan which augments JavaScript's native regex functionality with new functionality, and ensures cross-browser compatibility.

For CFML developers, there's cfRegex a replacement regex implemenation providing more power and functionality than CFML's native functions, whilst being easier to work with.

Whatever your level of regex skill, both of these tools are definitely worth checking out.

QueryParam Scanner 0.7.5 Release Candidate

I have just pushed an update of QueryParam Scanner to GitHub, containing various improvements.

This update is on the rc0.7.5 branch, and it'd be nice if people could take it for a spin and make sure there are no issues with it. (There is a zip download for anyone without git.)

The visible changes which you might notice are:

However, there are also significant under-the-hood changes. I removed my obsolete "Java Regex Utils" library (replacing it with the object part of cfRegex), and made a number of little code clean-ups.

A result of these changes is that qpscanner rc0.7.5 appears to be almost twice as fast as previous versions.

If you have any feedback, please feel free to contact me via GitHub, and similarly if you find any bugs then please raise them on the issue tracker.