Saturday, June 28, 2008

A list of jQuery plugins I use

As part of his blog post today, Ray Camden and a number of the folks who posted comments pointed out that while it was great that there are a lot of plugins available for jQuery, the downside is that it's hard to know which plugins are any good. I'm not a heavy plugin user, but I'd thought I'd list the few plugins and jQuery UI libraries that I've found to be very useful:

  • jQuery Form Plugin: this plugin appears in every project I've done since I started using jQuery. It makes it dead simple to submit forms via AJAX.

    (Oooh, it looks like the author's added some new features since the last time I download it...I'll have to check that out).

  • Tablesorter: this plugin was actually incorporated into version 1.0 of the jQuery UI library, but I don't see it listed in the current version of the UI library. This plugin lets you sort a table in ascending or descending order based on a selected column.

  • Sortables UI library: this part of the jQuery UI library lets you rearrange items on the page using drag-and-drop (something I've mentioned a number of times here on my blog).

  • TableDnD (Table Drag-and-Drop): the Sortables UI library I just mentioned does not work on table rows (tables are just "different," apparently), but this plugin lets you grab a row and move it up or down within the table.

  • curvyCorners: after trying a few different plugins aimed at letting you create curved corners for certain HTML elements (like <div>s), this plugin, although not perfect, seemed to work best.

    I must say that I couldn't get it to work right in IE, but that might have been because of the way I was using it. And it looks like the author has released a few updates since I last downloaded it, so that may not be an issue anymore.

Anyone else have any jQuery plugins they'd recommended using? Or recommend avoiding? :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Some random post CFUnited thoughts

Now that CFUnited's over (at least for me) and I've had some time to rest and mull over things, I wanted to post a few random thoughts and opinions:

  • The entire L'Enfant Plaza Metro station (columns, walls, even some of the Metro railcars that passed through) was one big ad for Adobe LifeCycle. The message: LifeCycle can help the government manage and distribute PDF forms. Unusual? I don't get down into DC too often, but I'd never seen any one company take over an entire station like that before. I want to see more of this high-visibility marketing from Adobe, especially for ColdFusion.

  • Sean Corfield's new asynchronous event-driven framework, Edmund, looks very cool. Being able to fire off events and have them bubble up through the framework much like what you can do in Flex is a very appealing idea.

  • Twitter once again proved to be a useful tool. I found it a lot easy to "tweet" what was going on instead of writing it up on the blog, and thanks to Nafisa Sabu and Elliot Sprehn of TeraTech, anyone who visited the CFUnited website could read the tweets of the conference-goers who had "friended" the CFUnited Twitter account. Hopefully a few folks found my tweets to be useful.

  • While the proposed integration of Hibernate in ColdFusion 9 sounds neat, I think Transfer is still going to be the ORM of choice for many developers, both now and in the future, for some of the reasons Mark listed in his blog and because Transfer works/will work on a larger number of CFML platforms (CF7, CF8, and probably OpenBD and Railo).

  • The discussion about whether or not ColdFusion and ColdFusion development is becoming too Java-like isn't over yet. I met a developer who made the point that it seemed strange (and stupid) to him that we're trying to entice Java developers to use CFML because it makes development faster and easier while we seem to be gravitating towards adding complexity to our development process and our code.

    I made the usual argument that regardless of the focus on OOP in the ColdFusion blogging community, no one was advocating removing those aspects of ColdFusion that make CFML easy to learn and use, and that even OO-style programmers will admit that there are some situations where using an OO application framework is overkill, but he wasn't entirely convinced.

    It made me wonder: if Adobe does develop a teaching curriculum as part of their effort to get ColdFusion adopted in schools, will that curriculum take advantage of CFML's traditional low learning curve, or will they emphasize an OO-style of programming from the get-go?

  • Some promising ideas came out of Brian Meloche's session on promoting ColdFusion/CFML outside of the community. The existence/promise of OpenBD and Railo and Adobe's decision to make ColdFusion free for educational use has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. You should be hearing about these ideas soon, either via the CFConversations podcast or some other channel.

  • Which reminds me, you should check out the CFConversations podcast if you haven't done so already. And I would say that even if I wasn't involved with the project. :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Going to CFUnited tomorrow

Well, CFUnited begins tomorrow, so I'll be getting up a bit earlier than usual so I can drive to the nearest Metro station and head down into D.C.

The last time I attended CFUnited was back in 2005, so it'll be interesting to see if the conference has changed any in terms of atmosphere and organization since then. Certainly the venue will be different; hopefully that means the wireless network will be more robust/reliable.

And this time I won't be ducking out of lunch to settle on a new house (but hey, I did make it back in time for the next round of sessions).

I probably won't post any new blog entries during the conference (it takes me too darn long to come up with what I really want to say), but I might post a snippet or two about what's going on via Twitter. If you're interested in listening in on those "tweets", you can just follow me on Twitter for the next few days: my Twitter handle is bcswartz.

As for any of my fellow conference-goers (if you're listening), if you don't already use Twitter, you might want to make use of it during the conference. I don't know if Twitter is going to serve as a communications channel for what's going on and where people are meeting up like it did at cf.Objective(), but I imagine if nothing else the CFUnited folks will be making use of the CFUnited Twitter account to send out notices and what not. You can either use Twitter via the Twitter website and refresh the page occasionally, or you can use a Twitter desktop app like Twhirl (built with Adobe AIR).

Of course, that's all moot if we manage to overload the wireless network at the conference. :)

Anyway, looking forward to seeing everyone there!