Archive for the ‘Website Development’ Category

Integrate WordPress into your ColdFusion app

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Lately I’ve been working on a few ColdFusion apps that require a comprehensive blog system. While I could easily install Mango Blog or Blog CFC, nothing really rivals the functionality of WordPress when it comes to blog apps – but of course, WordPress is a PHP based system.

Installing WordPress alongside a ColdFusion app isn’t too difficult, but I need to customise the blog so that it looks identical to the rest of the site, and allow the user to switch seamlessly between the two.

This level of integration requires two main bits of functionality. Firstly I need to use ColdFusion to connect to the WordPress database and pull out articles and comments for use in summary blocks around the rest of the site, and secondly I need to be able to embed CFML templates directly into the WordPress blog to generate headers and footers whilst keeping any session based information such as login status, cart contents etc. – Essentially I need a CFINCLUDE equivalent for PHP.


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Posted in ColdFusion, Railo, Website Development | 19 Comments »

If ColdFusion is dead, it’s Adobe that killed it.

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

(Or, ‘Controvertial ColdFusion post #34124′)

I’ve been using ColdFusion happily for the last 6 years. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for the ease of learning ColdFusion, and the instant gratification to be gained from rapidly developing apps that interact with databases, I’d have never found my way into backend development.

Like any language however, ColdFusion is not without its problems. We can compare functionality until the proverbial cattle return to their domiciles, but what I’d like to talk about is the culture of elitism that surrounds ColdFusion.

‘Elitism?!’ I hear you cry, ‘But ColdFusion is so easy to pick up, and the community is so friendly and welcoming! That’s hardly elitist, is it?’.

Yes. You’re right… but what I’m concerned with is the difficulty ColdFusion developers face in the environment in which they work. Adobe have done a very good job of making ColdFusion inaccessible to the masses by focussing on enterprise clients, inadvertently turning ColdFusion into quite an exclusive club.
Don’t believe me? Reel off the names of some well known ColdFusion celebrities… Ray Camden, Ben Nadel, Ben Forta, Et al. I’ll bet if you’re a ColdFusion developer, you’ll know who those people are. You’ll have read their blog posts, be aware of projects they’ve done. You’ll probably be able to list 10 more without too much trouble…
Well, you shouldn’t be able to do that – because the list should be huge. If we were talking about PHP, there’d be maybe 5,000 people in that list. In ColdFusion there’s maybe 20.

Let me explain… (more…)

Posted in ColdFusion, Railo, Servers, Website Development | 17 Comments »

Mercurial tool to export changed files

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Recently, my friend Chris Brown convinced me to move my source control from SVN to Mercurial (or more specifically, Kiln).
I found Mercurial to be infinitely better than SVN in almost all resepects, but there was one thing missing that I could do with Tortoise SVN but not Tortoise HG, and that was to export any changed files from one revision to the next – something which as a web developer, I have to do very often.

Well, Chris came to the rescue and created a simple program to do exactly that. So here’s Chris to explain the program and how it works:
Download links are at the bottom of the page.

Posted in General, Source Control, Website Development | 5 Comments »

Combatting misinformation in web design

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I received an email from a client recently, informing me that they have hired someone to redevelop their entire website in php, as they have been informed by their SEO company that ColdFusion is ‘bad for search engines’.

Frankly, I think it’s astounding that any SEO company could make such an assertion, anyone in the industry would immediately understand just how ridiculous this statement is – but unfortunaty our clients are not experts and can only make their decisions based on the advice they receive from the people who claim to be. My clients in this case have made an informed choice, based on patently false information…

So I’d like to state definitively: ColdFusion has nothing whatsoever to do with SEO… Neither does php, asp, ruby, python, perl, or in fact any back end language at all…

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Posted in ColdFusion, General, SEO, Website Development | 6 Comments »

Pixels vs. Ems – my proverbial 2 cents

Friday, June 19th, 2009

A wise man once said: “A moving target is not so easy to hit”.
At least, I think that’s what he said. He was running past me rather quickly at the time.

As a conscientious web developer, I aim to create clean & accessible code, using currently accepted best practices. Unfortunately no-one can seem to agree on what those best practices might be and in any case they keep changing, so it’s difficult to keep up.


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Posted in General, Website Development | Comments Off on Pixels vs. Ems – my proverbial 2 cents

Jack, Jill and Hill of all trades.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

When the likes of the Oliver Twins and David Brayben were writing video games in their bedrooms back in the mid-eighties, I’ll bet they had no idea just how advanced the world of games development was to become. These days a commercial video game takes a team of hundreds, with a budget of millions (which incidentally, is why there are very few original games released these days – nobody wants to bank roll an unproven idea).

In recent years, the web industry has begun to wander down a similar path. With the scope of the average web project being so much greater than a decade ago, the most successful web agencies are those housing multiple specialists.
These days a web project needs information architecture, copy writing, user experience & interface design, database design and development, back end coding, front end coding, user testing, a dash of marketing and some project management to tie it all together.

So where does this leave the ‘Jack of all trades’? With the recent economic ‘apocalypse’, a lot of people and especially freelancers, are wondering where their next paycheck may be coming from… How do we weather the storm?

Posted in General, Website Development | 2 Comments »

The uncomfortable truth about SEO

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Let me preface this by saying that I’m not an SEO professional. I don’t work for an SEO company and I don’t charge for SEO in any way. But I have been developing websites for a long time, and in that time I’ve been involved in a lot of SEO projects. I’ve had sites at the top of Google, and I’ve had sites blacklisted. I’ve been shafted by black-hat SEO companies, and I’ve employed black-hat techniques myself. I’ve witnessed the rise of CPC advertising, I saw the demise of ‘Top-Pile’, and I’ve voted for the ‘president of the internet‘… In short, I’ve learned a few things…

Having just had a conversation with yet another ‘SEO consultancy’, I’m simply amazed that there are still people out there disseminating these crackpot ideas of what SEO is. That clients of mine, unsuspecting business owners with little or no knowledge of the intricacies of SEO, are still parting with inordinate, over-inflated lumps of cash to these cowboy companies for a service they don’t understand, and are therefore unable to accurately gauge the effectiveness of, simply angers me.

So here, in an attempt to enlighten as well as entertain, is my compendium of uncomfortable truths about the world of SEO in 2009.


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Posted in SEO, Website Development | 4 Comments »


Simian Enterprises is the trading name of Gary Stanton, a freelance web developer working by the sea in Brighton, UK. Gary's been creating websites since 1996 and still loves it. Read more


Gary Stanton


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