Archive for December, 2010

Asynchronicity

December 21, 2010

“Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance.
He knows that something somewhere has to break” – The Police

I recently attended SpringOne 2GX and had a great time.  The folks behind Spring, Groovy, and Grails are fantastic.  Go find a NFJS event and be dazzled.  During one session I learned about RabbitMQ, a recent acquisition of SpringSource.  This is an impressive project done in only 12,000 lines of code!

I’m greatly intrigued by a message queuing system.  My only experience is as a gateway to a mainframe system.  Not exactly a keen architectural strategy as much as “that’s how you gotta do it.”  So I’ve seen something there, but have struggled to find a good use.

But I feel like I’ve found something!  We have many applications that have a common need to interface with an external system via SOAP.  This is an expensive operation and is currently handled synchronously.  Ah HA! Toss it behind a queue and make it asynchronous and regain some performance.  This call doesn’t need to have a response so the application doesn’t have to wait for the return!

Now throw in other ideas like an enterprise language-agnostic logging system, and step that up a bit with a destination for critical errors  to be stored for investigation and triage.  I think I now have a trifecta of ideas, and enough critical mass to justify revving up a new service!

What are your thoughts and experiences with asynchronicity?

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Making Coldfusion sensitive to your (JSON) case

December 20, 2010

I inadvertently discovered that, contrary to popular belief and my own past experiences, ColdFusion can honor your variables’ case when using the built-in SerializeJSON.

First, the simple approach, which fails to produce most obvious results.

<cfscript>
 map = {};
 map.someNumber = 4;
 map.someString = "Hello JSON";
</cfscript>
<cfoutput>
 #SerializeJSON( map )#
<cfoutput>

This produces the following results. Notice that the keys (properties in JavaScript parlance) are UPPERCASED as though the serializer were shouting at you.

{"SOMENUMBER":4.0,"SOMESTRING":"Hello JSON"}

This becomes a problem when you deserialize the JSON in a case-sensitive context (i.e. JavaScript in a browser). It turns out this has little to do with the serialization and more to do with how ColdFusion creates struct keys from your (case-insensitive) code. We can help ColdFusion “do the right thing” by being more explicit with our keys.

Instead of creating a struct with variable names (which ColdFusion treats as case-insensitive), we’ll create struct keys with strings (which maintain their case.)

<cfscript>
 map = {};
 map[ "someNumber" ] = 4;
 map[ "someString" ] = "Hello JSON";
</cfscript>
<cfoutput>
 #SerializeJSON( map )#
</cfoutput>

This results in the following:

{"someNumber":4.0,"someString":"Hello JSON"}

Now we have no surprises when we consume this JSON in a browser. Our JavaScript object literals can use the same keys our CFML struct literals did.