Sharpen the Axe

While busy with several urgent projects, I spent most of yesterday improving my tool set. This might seem like a bad time, but I think it will pay of well.

I found that I was performing several tasks several times. My general rule is that on the third time I perform the same task, I try to automate it. I found that I had several tasks that I had performed more than three times and that I would need to perform more times very soon for my urgent problems.

Abraham Lincoln said "Give me eight hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first six sharpening the axe." I think this is a valuable (which has been discussed as Sharpening the Saw). 

I think that time spent improving your tool set is time well spent. Be careful, however, not to try to wait until your tool set it perfect before you start your work.

I find it is valuable to improve my processes and tool set a little bit every project. I find that in the long run, the time a save as a result more than makes up for the investment of time in improving your tools. 

In this case, DataMgr received some major improvements. I was planning to make these upgrades a 1.5 release, but they have already had such a major impact on my coding, that I might rename the release 2.0 (still plenty of testing before it is ready though).

According to his quote, Abraham Lincoln would spend two thirds of his time improving his tools. I suspect he was exagerating a bit. I spend about a sixth of my time improving my tools.

Dreamweaver Extensions for ColdFusion Frameworks

If you are using any of the three major ColdFusion frameworks (Model-Glue, Mach-II, Fusebox), Massimo Foti has put together a Dreamweaver extension to make your life easier.

As I am not currently using any of the major frameworks (I am a recovering Fuebox addict), I haven't tried the extensions. Massimo has been responsible for plenty of other good work, however, so I am confident that these won't dissapoint.

You can find them on the Dreamweaver Extensions portion of his site, or use the following URLs for direct access to the extension of your choice.

As I said, Massimo has done plenty of good work. If you go to his site, I recommend that you take the time to peruse his other free ColdFusion offerings as well (be sure to read the license first though).

Preview of New Code Creator

Recently, a few ColdFusion programmers have written code generators. I was pretty excited about this until I realized that they don't write code the way I write code. I figured I wasn't the only one to want code generation "my way".

So, I started work on a code creator that would write code however you want it. The code creator provides a wizard and tools for creating a code generator. The generator is a cfc that extends a provided Generator.cfc. Each generator would take the information from the wizard and creates code from it.

Keep in mind that this is just a preview at this point. That being said, feel free to take a look and give me any feedback.

I know it still needs plenty of work, but I am curious if this is something that others would find useful and what improvements other see that it needs.

Things I know that I need to add:

  • The ability to select the type of form field based on the datatype.
  • Limit the length of the form fields based on the length allowed in a column.
My hope (perhaps idealistic) would be that we could get some generators to create code for the different popular frameworks. This would make it more generally useful and provide another means of learning and comparing frameworks.

Incidentally, I am currently calling this "Configurable Code Creator", though I am not committed to that name, so I am open to suggestions.

This code is built on several other tools on which I have been working. Namely sebtags, DataMgr, and tag.cfc (now in version 0.2). I hope to write more about each of these in the future.

Handy JavaScripts

Over time I have found a handful of nifty little JavaScript utilities. I was about to compile a handy reference of them for myself when I realized that others might be interested in them as well.

These are scripts that I have used and liked as well as some scripts that I haven't used book look nifty.

Here they are in no order:


Let me know of any other scripts that I should add to the list.

BlogCFC was created by Raymond Camden. This blog is running version 5.8.001.