Adam Tuttle

Elvis Is (Back) in Production

Remember how I gave Adobe a really hard time about their fumbling of the Elvis operator (among other things) in ColdFusion 11 Update 3?

Today they released Update 4 in the stable update channel. Of course, there were two pre-releases of this patch, so if you were willing to run beta software in production, then you could already be ahead of the game on this one. As a policy, we don't run pre-release platform patches in production.

I wish it would have been released in the stable update channel sooner. The last pre-release refresh was on January 27th. That's 3 weeks and 2 days ago. I think 2 weeks is a pretty good testing period. But, it's been released, and it works —I tested it pretty thoroughly, at least as far as the Elvis operator is concerned. I've already installed it on our production server. So I won't give them too much grief over the timing.

If you're wondering why I cared so much about the Elvis operator, I present to you a sample, in the form of a diff of the awesome terseness that is ?:. These are just a few of the changes that I had sitting in a branch waiting for this day.

What I do think they still could have done better is the updating process, though. It's very evident that Adobe haven't figured out how to use the updater in situations like this.

When I refreshed from the first pre-release to the second, I had to uninstall and re-download the patch. Granted, it was point-and-click through the updater, but... isn't the whole point of having the updater to prevent the tedium of steps like "uninstall, re-download"? I would seriously consider the folks at Adobe read up on semver. The updater should be able to handle all of these situations flawlessly, without the need for manual deletion and re-downloading.

v11.0.4-beta1 is, by semver definition, less than v11.0.4-beta2. And v11.0.4 is by semver definition, greater than both of them. The updater should see all of these version numbers, regardless of which channel was used to install whatever updates are currently installed, and know how to get from point A to point B, with a single "upgrade" button.

Instead, you must:

Re-download

  • Go to the Installed Updates tab, and click the Uninstall button
  • Wait for the service to restart
  • Go to the Settings tab, and click the Restore Default URL button (thank god we got them to add that)
  • Restart the service manually. This isn't listed as a required step, but I always do it because I don't trust them to get it right without a server restart.
  • Log back in, go back to the Server Updates section, Available Updates tab, and click the Re-download button, because apparently the new update looks like the old one to the updater and it thinks you already have the stable release. You don't.
  • After it downloads, click the Install button, and wait for the service to restart

Is this better than the old process? Sure. Is it "good" yet? Nope.

Published 2015-02-19 @ 11:37 in ColdFusion

ColdFusion 11 Member Functions: Where They Got It Wrong

One of the things that Adobe put into ColdFusion 11 that I actually like (*coughs in the general direction of cfclient*) is member functions.

With them, this perfectly functional —if a bit inside out— line of code:

dateTimeFormat( dateAdd( 'd', -5, now() ), 'yyyy-mm-dd' );

... can be rewritten as the much more readable:

now().add( 'd', -5 ).dateTimeFormat( 'yyyy-mm-dd' );

At a glance, I personally enjoy reading the latter one more than the former. It's easier to read left-to right rather than unpacking sets of parenthesis mentally.

But there's still one problem here: .dateTimeFormat() Why not just .format()? Probably because they support all three non-member-function variants: someDate.dateFormat(), someDate.timeFormat() and someDate.dateTimeFormat().

Maybe this doesn't sound completely crazy to you. Fair enough. What if I tell you that, aside from List functions (which get a pass because lists aren't actually a type, they're just strings with some extra parsing rules implied) these three member functions are the only member functions that include their type prefix? Here's the list of all new member functions so you can check for yourself. Now do you think it's an anomaly that's worth looking at?

How can we fix this? By realizing that we don't need all three. The new dateTimeFormat() function added in CF11 uses slightly modified masking from its dateFormat and timeFormat predecessors to allow it to do everything they can do, only better. And since dateTimeFormat() is new in CF11 (just like member functions), it makes a good amount of sense to rip this band-aid off now, while we still can. If we wait any longer, someDate.dateFormat() is going to end up in a lot of existing codebases, and we'll never be rid of it, because of backwards compatibility.

As Scott Stroz is fond of saying, "If only the meeting had lasted 5 more minutes..."

Some have called for deprecation of the dateFormat and timeFormat member functions. I disagree, but also think it's better than nothing. My opinion is that member functions are still new enough that it's ok to say, "Sorry, we screwed this up. Let's fix it before we make it any worse."

This has been logged as a bug: 3940802. Your votes and comments would be appreciated.

Published 2015-02-16 @ 05:07 in ColdFusion

My Thoughts on James Harvey's Apology

In my last entry I detailed all of the evidence we could amass for the systematic and repeated plagiarism of James Harvey, aka WebDevSourcerer before he erased his existence from the internet. (We still have archive.org and the google cache, but I think we've built a pretty solid case against him already, why spend more effort?)

I knew at the time that Dave and Scott, the hosts of the CFHour podcast were also trying to reach out to him and get his side of the story. (How journalistic!) I never expected him to respond, given his track record of silently pulling down content instead of apologizing to those he was stealing from.

But he did.

As you may have heard on the most recent episode, if you've listened to it yet, he sent them back a response and attached an apology. He specifically said they could "disperse it as [they] see fit," and Scott sent me a copy for my use here. I'll reproduce the apology letter in full, and then comment on each section below.

To those out there on the internet, calling me a plagarist, I say this:

I am most sincerely sorry.

I meant no disrespect, nor did I intend (or have it interpreted) that I was taking credit for items I had posted. I was using a very well assembled reference, and appending to it, however that wasn't ever mentioned, nor does it need to be any further as the offending post was removed and purged.

I meant only repsect and admiration of my community peers, not trying to take credit for thier works in any way. Yes, perhaps I had "written" I had developed or written certain codes, as I've done similiar projects, and often do get them mixed up.

I am trying to get the exposure out about ColdFusion, and how dynamic and powerful a development language it is, and I can appreciate everyone's views about that. That's it isn't as "dead" as others would like to think, and assist in making it a prevelant language again.

Of that I am guilty, and I am sorry, with all my soul, about that.

Yes, perhaps I should have made it exceedingly clear in my writting that I was not the source of the reference, but merely a messenger and trying to get the exposure for the language back out there.

For a long time, I hadn't seen what other communities were saying about the coldfusion one, until now.

I'm sorry for promoting a fantastic language, I'm sorry for not citing my sources properly or clearly, and I'm most sorry that you all aren't happy with getting your work admired and respected by another peer.

-James Harvey


Ok... so first of all... I guess... I appreciate that he acknowledged he was in the wrong and (sort of) apologized. But let's look at what each individual section is actually saying, and see if that mounts to a successful apology.

To those out there on the internet, calling me a plagarist, I say this:

I am most sincerely sorry.

A decent start, I suppose.

I meant no disrespect, nor did I intend (or have it interpreted) that I was taking credit for items I had posted.

I find this disingenuous given that he literally said "This is a ColdFusion Component the Ol'Sourcerer wrote some time back" (that is a verbatim quote) in his blog post taking credit for Nathan's pagination CFC, and had a git commit that removed Nathan's copyright info. I think he very much meant to take credit for it.

I was using a very well assembled reference, and appending to it, however that wasn't ever mentioned, nor does it need to be any further as the offending post was removed and purged.

That you kept meticulous records of what you stole and from whom does not excuse the stealing. And he referred to it as if it were a single offending post to make it seem like we're blowing things out of proportion when at least 4 were identified and documented (screen shots still available), and he took down his entire website, Twitter account, and GitHub account to scrub any more offending content before it could be found. Shady? Shady.

I meant only repsect and admiration of my community peers, not trying to take credit for thier works in any way. Yes, perhaps I had "written" I had developed or written certain codes, as I've done similiar projects, and often do get them mixed up.

More disingenuous hand waving, in my opinion. I use jQuery a lot, and I write a lot of my own JavaScript, including modules and micro-libraries, but I never forget that I didn't write jQuery. Even if you forget...somehow... If you don't remove the copyright text, you'll have that to remind you.

Respect and admiration manifests as "check out this awesome code that Nathan wrote" not "The Ol' Sourcerer is at it again."

I am trying to get the exposure out about ColdFusion, and how dynamic and powerful a development language it is, and I can appreciate everyone's views about that. That's it isn't as "dead" as others would like to think, and assist in making it a prevelant language again.

Whether or not he's right about CF's abilities and perception (and if you want to think highly enough of him to believe him capable of such manipulation, this could be seen as attempting to garner support by claiming altruism for the platform, something most CF community members would respect), that does not excuse stealing in any way, shape, or form. Altruism or no.

Of that I am guilty, and I am sorry, with all my soul, about that.

I think I mostly believe this. If I were him I'd be losing a lot of sleep over this. If future would-be employers Google him, there's a chance his past could cost him a lot in the future. As well it should.

Yes, perhaps I should have made it exceedingly clear in my writting that I was not the source of the reference, but merely a messenger and trying to get the exposure for the language back out there.

And doing so properly would have taken less effort than what he did. A paragraph or two and a link is a heck of a lot easier to write than copying the code, reformatting it, and removing the copyright information. He systematically stole, and tried to hide the evidence.

If his intention was to shine a spotlight on available great content, he did a terrible job, and temporarily made himself look marginally better in the process. Which is more likely: that he did extra work to achieve a worse result and accidentally propped up his own reputation in the process, or that he did exactly what he was trying to do?

For a long time, I hadn't seen what other communities were saying,about the coldfusion one, until now.

What does that even mean? I could speculate about this, but I'll just let it go for now.

I'm sorry for promoting a fantastic language, I'm sorry for not citing my sources properly or clearly, and I'm most sorry that you all aren't happy with getting your work admired and respected by another peer.

Nobody once criticized his admiration of CF. And I'd bet a beer (redeemable at dev.Objective() next May) that I speak for everyone that blogs about CFML or shares code when I say: We love the admiration and respect of peers. That's not why we blog and share code, but it does give us a warm, happy feeling.

Maybe he was promoting CF... great? But in what reality does stealing count as respect and admiration?

Sorry James. I'm not impressed by your "apology." You admitted wrongdoing but barely took responsibility. Still pretty unprofessional, in my book.

Published 2015-01-30 @ 01:00 in Meta

Do Not Hire: James Harvey "WebDevSourcerer"

If you see this man, do not hire him. He is of low moral character and not to be trusted.

I've taken this above photo of James Harvey from his own About Me page (google cache), and copied it to my own server, without his permission, on the off chance that he takes it down or renames it to try and remove it from this entry. He's already proven he's capable of worse.

Indeed, before I could even finish writing this entry he seems to have taken his whole website offline.


Over the last few days, a few of us have discovered and begun investigating what seemed to be recurring plagiarism of authors and works in the ColdFusion community. It all started with Adam Cameron noticing someone stealing his CFScript documentation and claiming it to be his own work (google cache).

When prodded about it, James Harvey, who also goes by WebDevSourcerer on Twitter and on Github, simply removed the offending blog post without so much as a, "Sorry about that!"

Of course we're still digging!

So far, Sean Corfield has found two more instances: One in which he claims that he wrote (google cache) some code that Nathan Strutz posted. Since I expect he'll take that down too, here's a screenshot for posterity: (click for full size)

And the second instance that Sean has found so far is one where he is claiming a stack overflow answer by Tony Petruzzi to be his own (google cache). Screenshot for posterity: (click for full size)

As I've started writing this, it looks like Kev McCabe has found another instance, where James has ripped off (google cache) content from Ray Camden. Again, screenshot for posterity: (click for full size)

And that's where I'm going to stop. ...For now? For the canonical list of things that we know James Harvey has plagiarized, check Adam Cameron's similar blog entry: Public service announcement: James Harvey / @webdevsourcerer is a systematic plagiariser

Why am I so riled up about this? Because I have spent almost 8 years creating free (not always great, but always honest!) content for the ColdFusion community. I would be absolutely sick if I found any of my content on his website with his name on it. (And believe me, James: I'm on the hunt.) And these are my friends he's been ripping off. I know I've had beers (or other non-alcoholic bevvie's in Nathan's case) with 3 of the 4 victims mentioned so far and I'm about half sure on the 4th.

Furthermore, in this industry without your integrity you're nothing. James Harvey? You're nothing, buddy. I hope all of our announcements about your abhorrent behavior outrank every other page about you on Google, and every potential employer you ever apply to Googles you. I hope your self-aggrandizing behavior was worth it, because it might turn out to have been career suicide.


To anyone else that happens to be named James Harvey and be unfortunate enough to work in the IT industry, I feel sorry for you. But this must not stand. That's a big part of why I've included his photograph. At least you can have facial comparison on your side...

Published 2015-01-25 @ 04:33 in Meta