CMX Weekly Newsletter

Check the News!

Guest CMX Author Takes On Flash Lite

Paul Wilson has written a great introduction to Macromedia's Flash Lite for us this week. Paul is a developer who works with ColdFusion, Flash, ActionScript, Fireworks and SQL Server. His contributions to Flash Lite include being the administrator of the Flash Lite mailing list, and creating a great Flash Lite application for using the MXNA Flash Services. We hope you enjoy reading Paul's article, only available here at Community MX.

Cartweaver Goes PHP

Cartweaver began as one of the best ColdFusion-based shopping carts available. Then the folks at Cartweaver developed an ASP version, which also sits at the head of its class. With some help from Community MX partner Tom Muck, a PHP version of Cartweaver is now available. We hear it's as comprehensive, feature-rich and easy-to-use as you would expect from the Cartweaver team.

Apple Embraces The Two-Button Mouse

Apple's new Mighty Mouse, seen here in a Yahoo! article, not only comes equipped with multiple sensors that act as programmable buttons, but also a tiny scroll wheel that will scroll up, down, sideways or diagonally. The scroll wheel can also perform different functions when clicked. Mighty Mouse is still very similar to the traditional Apple mouse, but these new features should help Apple bolster their sales of Mac accessories.

Good Thing Apple's Advertising, Because Microsoft Is Wiping Them Off The Map

A search at Microsoft's Terra Nova satellite service shows nothing but an empty dirt field where Apple's headquarters should be. You have to wonder if this is just an old photo or wishful thinking.... We thought maybe the satellite picture just wasn't available, but as Leander Kahney's Wired blog points out, Google displays the region just fine. Hmmmm....

Pimp My Cart

WebAssist today announced the Pimp My Cart contest for designers of online storefronts. Winners in the contest will receive WebAssist software worth several hundred dollars; the grand prize winner will be awarded an Apple Color iPod worth $399 as well as $500 of WebAssist software. If you've ever used any of WebAssist's stuff, you know that winning the iPod is not nearly as cool as winning the software. The winner of the contest will be announced at this year's MAX conference in Anaheim, California.

Satisfied Customers Speak Out!

  • "Excellent article on cfflush.  I have often wondered and this is very straight forward article.  Thank you."

    - Barbara O, CMX Subscriber, commenting on the Arman Danesh's CFFLUSH article


    Whether you're just starting out or need advanced support, Community MX will give you answers and ideas to work through your tough issues. Don't miss out. Learn more about CMX or sign up for a free trial today!

Great Quotes:

"Computers have lots of memory but no imagination." — Anonymous

Zorn: To Flex Or Not To Flex?

Zorn is the code-name for the next-generation rich Internet application development tool that Macromedia is developing. For those following Zorn's progress, there has been speculation as to whether or not Zorn will support development outside of the Flex environment. Mike Chambers has provided the answer in a recent blog item.

Mozilla Stops Fighting The Man

The Mozilla Foundation has created their own commercial subsidiary, which makes Mozilla a taxable entity. The benefit of creating a corporation is that Mozilla now has all of the rights and privileges afforded a corporation. Mozilla no longer has to worry about working within nonprofit guidelines, and can now move freely about the corporate cabin. They will offer no stock options to their employees or the public, and profits will go back into the development of open source projects. Read more about it at CNet.com.

Here's Hoping The White Buffalo Goes Extinct

White Buffalo, a company that "promotes relationship-based Web sites" (aka "Major Spammers"), had it all figured out: First, get all the university email addresses you can by using the Freedom of Information Act. Then, spam the living daylights out of those email addresses. Once the universities block your emails from their servers, sue them by citing both the federal Can-Spam Act and the First Amendment. One thing White Buffalo hadn't counted on was a trial judge that sided with the universities. We just wanted to pass along this story of hope. Read more at dailytexanonline.com.

Hey, What's The Problem? Your Spyware Threat Is Gone!

Advertising.com, acquired last year by AOL, distributes the free anti-spyware program SpyBlast, but failed to mention the fact that anyone who installed it would be inundated with a slew of popup ads. The ads are built into SpyBlast and are as welcome as the flu to all but the very lonely. The Federal Trade Commission is forcing Advertising.com to prominently display the popup ad info so that users would know what they were in for before installing the software. Read more about Spybusted at WebProNews.com.

The GreaseMonkey Is Back

Greasemonkey is a popular Firefox extension that allows users to change how websites behave within Firefox. It disappeared for a while when some show-stopping security flaws were found in the extension. Those flaws have been fixed and you can download the newest version of Greasemonkey from mozdev.org. Read more about Greasemonkey at TechWeb.com.

CMX Image Preview (Dreamweaver Extension)

  • Previewing an image in Dreaweaver can be a chore, you can waste some time firing up FireWorks or PhotoShop to see what it looks like, or try using Insert Image and then browsing to the image you're interested in. Not any more...Image Preview 2, adds a menu item to the context menu of the Site panel, allowing you to easily preview an image. The updated version of Preview Image 2 adds multi-image preview as well as open in image editor functionality.

    Take a look at this extension by CMX Partner Danilo Celic

Fun and Freebies!

If You're Getting Fired Soon, Make It Memorable

SimplyFired.com is waging a contest for those who have been fired from their jobs in a big way. Tell the folks at Simply Fired your funniest, saddest, most outrageous story about how you were fired or laid off and you could win a week-long trip to the Caribbean, an Apple iPod Shuffle, or a SimplyFired t-shirt. After you lose that job, go to Simply Hired to get another one.

You'd Look Good Under Water

Ever wanted to put your boss or some other antagonist in a dunk tank? You have? Man, you're mean. However, now you can safely indulge your dunking fantasies at TheDunkTank.com, courtesy of Applebee's restaurants. And you won't even get fired for dunking the boss.

When Is A Wall Not A Wall?

Well, never, really... but you can sure give the illusion that a wall has more dimensions than it really has if you hire the right painter. Check out Stressbuster1.net for some great painting work by Eric Grohe..

Email a Forgotten Password in ColdFusion (Free Tutorial)

  • You've done it... I've done it. We've all signed up at a website and had to create a username and a password for ourselves, only to forget them months or perhaps even minutes later. Most sites allow you to have your password emailed to you automatically. That's what this tutorial will go over: emailing a user their password using some very simple ColdFusion code. All of the action will take place on the log-in page, so your user never has to leave the log-in page.

    This free article by CMX Partners Bill Horvath can be found here.

Weekly Content Listing

dotnet

ASP.NET Windows Authentication

Joel Martinez

When ASP.NET was introduced, it brought with it a fantastic way of securing your applications; Forms authentication ... a topic CMX has written about often.This allows you to dictate what users and/or groups have access to what directories in your application. And the great thing about this was that it was very simple to set up. This article is going to cover one specific method of authentication that ASP.NET offers; Windows authentication. You will normally find this in an internal network environment using Active Directory to handle users. As the size of your organization grows, you will find this sort of thing is more common than in your smaller businesses. ASP.NET offers unprecedented support for this environment (after all, it's all Microsoft) and as such, I will show you just how easy it is to configure things to run in such an environment.

fl

Better Practices for Flash Designers - Part 1: Coding Buttons [FREE]

Robert Reinhardt

One of the many beauties of Flash is that you can create interactive movies with a variety of techniques and ActionScript code, each accommodating a specific user's level of comfort and familiarity with the Flash toolset. In this tutorial, you learn how to expand your use of ActionScript to better organize and write your code for buttons.

php

PHP Image Series: Part 9 - Building a Photograph Gallery Application (Continued)

Joey Lott

In Part 9 we'll build some new functionality into the PHP Photograph Gallery application. Specifically, we'll use PHP to dynamically draw frames around thumbnail images, and we'll add a watermark to the one-up view images.

The PHP Image Series:
PHP Image Series: Part 1 - Basic Drawing
PHP Image Series: Part 2 - Fills
PHP Image Series: Part 3 - Gradients
PHP Image Series: Part 4 - Text
PHP Image Series: Part 5 - Bitmapped Images, Compositing, and Watermarks
PHP Image Series: Part 6 - Building a Photographic Album
PHP Image Series: Part 7 - Building a Photographic Album (Continued)
PHP Image Series: Part 8 - Building a Photographic Album (Continued)
PHP Image Series: Part 9 - Building a Photograph Gallery Application (Continued)

ds

Setting Project Goals: A Web Development Case Study

Zoe Gillenwater

Whether designing a new site, planning a redesign, or adding significant enhancements to an existing site, it's important to remember to build a list of approved site goals before beginning any content or design development. After all, content and design exist for a purpose. If you don't know what the site is supposed to be accomplishing, how can you know what action to take, what content to include, how to organize it, or how to present it visually? Letting realistic, measurable goals drive the development of a web site helps you complete the site on time, in budget, and to the satisfaction of the client and the site's users. This article discusses the importance of the goal discovery and evaluation process within the larger web development process, as told through a real case study of a redesign project.

fl

Flash Video: Your Playback Options

Tom Green

If you have been following this series, Part 1 explained how the video file is created and Part 2 walked you through the creation of the FLV file that will deliver the video. In this, the final installment, I review the end game: "How the heck do I get video to play in my Flash movie?"

At first glance that may seem to be a dumb question. It isn't. In fact, it is one of the most common questions asked of me when I talk about video in class or at a variety of speaking engagements. If you take the time to really think through the question you quickly come to the realization it is a two-parter:

  • Do I use FLV or a SWF?
  • Which video delivery option is best for me?

The answer to the first question depends upon how the video is to be delivered. If it is to be streamed either from your web server or a Flash Communication Server then FLV is the best route. All other scenarios will most likely require a SWF.

php

Introducing Recursive Functions in PHP [FREE]

Rob Williams

One of the basic building blocks of any object-oriented programming language is the function. Functions allow you to reuse blocks of code and perform common tasks from other points within a script. In addition to straight calls though, functions can also be created to act recursively, adding a whole new dimension and power to this basic programming building block. In this article we'll take a look at what recursion is and why it's useful. We'll also create a recursive function to convert PHP arrays to JavaScript ones.

css

Creating the Print Style Sheet for Vienna: Part One

Sheri German

You may have noticed that we included a print style sheet with CMX JumpStart Vienna. There are many good reasons to make print style sheets for CSS layouts, but one in particular persuaded me to always include one. In part one of this series we'll look at print style sheets in general, as well as reconstruct the Vienna print style sheet.

pr

Controlling Indexing with the robots.txt File

Adrian Senior

In this tutorial we will look at how we can prevent the indexing of specific parts of our site. We will learn how to secure folders and individual files, we will also see how we can filter indexing privileges to specific search engines by passing information to their bots.

fl

Distributing ActionScript Classes - Part 1

Danny Patterson

If you've ever developed an application or a piece of software that needs to be distributed, you know it isn't always easy. One area that most Flash developers have to eventually deal with is distributing their code. This most frequently happens when working on teams with other developers or designers. In the first part of this series, we will look at techniques focused on distributing ActionScript classes in a way that allows for easy installation, maintenance and scalability.

cf

Using CFFLUSH

Arman Danesh

Why, and when, would you want to use the CFFLUSH tag? This tag is not used by many developers and most ColdFusion developer's don't understand how, when or why to use it. This article provides an overview of the tag and how to use it.

Creating a Custom Look for the CMX Slideshow Extension Using Fireworks

  • I'm an Ultra-Noob when it comes to Flash. Frankly, the application overwhelms me, most likely because I over think the process. So one thing that CMX has helped me with is to learn a bit about this program, by working with some of the cool extensions and tutorials created by our Flash Experts.

    Case in point: In the past few weeks, I have had TWO requests from clients for an automated slide show for their web sites. In the past I have built these as semi-interactive photo galleries, making use of other extensions and then hammering them into submission until the gallery fit in the page the way I wanted. After reading Paul Newman's article on his CMX Slide show Flash Extension I was not only intrigued, but completely hooked. I could DO this.

    And I did, in less than an afternoon, including image selection and batch processing. Let me tell you, I was tickled pink that this worked. Not only did I do something in Flash, I also had an answer for two clients - which means more work and happy customers!

    After my initial elation wore off, the designer part of me kicked in. I started wondering how I could jazz up the slide show. I glanced nervously at the drawing tools in Flash, but my hand knew better. Fireworks was launching before I even thought about it.

    Paul's excellent tutorial gives you all the info you need to make his extension work. This tutorial will look at how easy it can be to design-ify a Flash interface, by working seamlessly with Flash and Fireworks. What we will be doing is creating a custom frame that surrounds the slide show. area. We will customize the frame so that it looks a bit more organic, and then bring the design into Flash.

    Check out the Article by CMX Partner Jim Babbage

Tips, Tricks and Dirty Cheats!

This week's Tip, Trick or Dirty Cheat is courtesy of Tom Muck , CMX Partner.

Get A Better View Of Nested Tables

Have you ever had to work on a page design in Dreamweaver MX 2004 that was built with many nasty nested tables? Expanded Tables mode allows you to see table layouts much more easily while in Design view by putting a large, hollow border around all tables and table cells. Load in your table-based page in Design view, and click the Layout tab on the Insert bar (or the Layout item in the dropdown list, if you have the Insert bar set up as a menu.) Click the Expanded button. This puts the page into Expanded Tables mode, which will give you a clean, wide outline of all tables on your page without making any modifications to the code. It is a "switch" that you can turn on and off to aid in creating table-based layouts. You can then use Split View to drill down into your code based on the visual feedback you get with Expanded Tables mode.

Would you like your tip published? Submit it to tips@communitymx.com.

That's it for this week. Stay tuned for the next CMX newsletter!