Review: Railo 3 Beginners Guide

The first Railo book Railo 3 Beginner's Guide, and hopefully not the last, was published by Packt Publishing sometime near the end of December, and while it's taken a bit of time a copy finally arrived last week for me to review.

I've already posted a review on Amazon and won't be repeating myself here. I also won't be doing a seriously in-depth exhaustive review a'la Charlie Arehart, cause thats not my style.

The Review

Firstly I just want to say this. It's about friggen time! The book could have been written sooner, hell I started writing a jumpstarter book a few years ago but then all hell broke loose (personally) and the project failed to really take off. I'm quite thankful that it did because Mark et Al did a bang up job.

I have a little beef with the title though, I think beginners guide is a misleading title, sure they go on to say that the reader is "expected to have some experience in web application development..." and given the intro chapter in CFML it's definitely a book by developers for developers.

I was a big confused with the jump to the server Admin in chapter 4, but when I think about how I learn, or how we learn in general, its good to get results fast. No one wants to sit in theory class for 6 weeks before sitting behind the wheel when learning to drive, show me the important stuff: brake, gas, clutch, steering wheel, ok? good! Here are the keys lets have a quick go around the empty parking lot to get a feel for it.

Besides chapter 5 through 8 go into more depth, then a bit more classroom work in Chapter 8 with Resources and Mappings, then back out behind the wheel with Extending Railo and the Video sharing application.

What I missed

I would have liked to have seen an Appendix with Railo's own CORE tags that are not in "Standard" CFML e.g. Engine specific Tags, and an Appendix showing their Engine specific Attributes when they differ. Quasi a comparative Matrix like we know showing the differences between the popular Browsers.

Buy it...

Buy it don't steal it, the e-book is only $19 don't be a cheap bastard and leach it.

Coldfusion's SerializeJson Sucks!

If I recall correctly CFML is a typeless language. I mean we can really all agree that Coldfusion is typeless right?

Ok now that we have that out of the way lets talk about Adobe's implementation of serializejson(). Serializejson is simply trying to be too damn smart for its own good.

Listen I don't want you to frig with my data, I want you to take my structured data, be it query, structure, or array, or whatever, and simply convert that structure into its JSON equivalent. Don't try to parse my dates, numbers or what not, or even try to. Just take what I give you and simply covert the data from one structure to the other mmmkay?

Since when is 9999999999999999E+10 equal to 9.999999999999999E25. Ok mathematically they are, but did I ask you to be smart and do math? NO, I don't think I did!

Either provide me with enough options that I can influence how numbers and dates are handled or do what Railo does and output everything as strings.

/rant off

Who is Hosting Railo?

Saw a tweet recently about Hosting for Railo and thought I would post an entry on this subject in hopes of getting a decent list of Railo Hosting Providers.

After doing a google search and looking at the hosting provider list on I don't see any other hosting providers

Here is what's out there:

I'm honestly quite surprised the list is so small. If you know of any other companies offering Railo hosting or if you are planning on offering Railo hosting please let me know.

Adobe CF XML Issue

While working with an XML document the other day I noticed some "interesting" behavior when trying to access a XML Element that started with an underscore. The XML document is valid, parsed correctly and also displayed correctly when dumping the XML Document out.

This issue only showed itself when trying to access the XML Element using dot notation.


CF9 PreserveSingleQuotes bug

This little bug comes courtesy of my boss at Contens. It appears that the function PreserveSingleQuotes() in Coldfusion 9 is unable to handle the results of a function that returns a string.


Multiple Tomcat Instances as a Service

Yesterday I posted how to set up Multiple instances of Tomcat running Railo. The whole setup turned out to be relatively painless.

Running the multiple instances as a service is a small improvement that can make life a little easier. A small adjustment to the service.bat file is all that is needed in the Windows environment, a startup script for the linux environment could also be made/modified in a similar way.


Creating a Multi-Instance Railo Install with Tomcat

If you want to run multiple instance of Railo on a single server then keep reading because I am going to show you how to do just that using a single physical Tomcat and Railo install.


You will need to have the latest Java JDK installed, then grab Tomat 6 zip, and Railo 3.1.2 Jars.

Once you have downloaded the required files we can begin.


Creating JPG Images with Rounded Corners

Rounded corners seem to be the next "big" thing for web designers, every damn box or image has to have a rounded corner. The problem is of course if you are using a content management system you can't possibly expect the users to first add rounded corners to the image before uploading it.

Thankfully there are a few different solutions, you could buy Image Effects, you could use ImageDrawRoundRect() function as shown by Gareth, or use a Java solution as shown on cfSearching.

If you want to do more than just rounded corners with your images it may well be worth forking out the $50 bucks for the Image Effects component from Foundeo.

CF8 ImageDrawRoundRect()

I tested the method by Gareth and found that the quality of the image even after setting the image quality to 100% produced image aberrations in the corners of the produced jpg image.

Java, but PNG Only

I also tested the Java method by leigh at cfSearching and was impressed with the quality of the image, the only problem was that it only worked with png images and I needed it to work with JPG.

Java, JPG Rounded Corners


Railo Whitespace Management

A little while ago a reader sent me a message asking me if I had any problems with whitespace and carriage returns on BlogCFC under Railo.


Now Powered by Railo 3.1.2

I've been running the enterprise version of Railo 3.0 for some time now and have finally decided to upgrade to 3.1.2. Since Railo has moved to open-source there is no longer any development on the closed source branch and no way to do an automatic upgrade via the upgrade button in the Administrator.

What I am about to describe is quite possibly the most difficult upgrade procedure known to mankind.


Railo Hosting with Vivio Technologies

Last year (or was it the year before) I decided to get my own Virtual Private Server (VPS) with Viviotech, at that time they also had managed Adobe Coldfusion servers, but I wanted to give Railo a try so I just got a so-called "true vps" and "fought" with the box for a bit getting all the software installed that I needed (my first Railo install).


Setting up EHCache on Railo

One of the things I like about my current job at CONTENS is that we do a lot of work on the technical side of the platform just thinking up ways to improve overall performance. Caching and the ability to Cluster naturally plays an important role.


Using ProxyPassMatch

Building on from the Clustering Railo with Tomcat and Apache article we set up the Railo Tomcat cluster but it was set up to send all requests on to Tomcat. While in a low traffic site sending every single request to Tomcat for processing may not be a big deal, you probably haven't gone through the trouble of setting up a cluster for a low traffic environment therefore, you certainly want to squeeze as much performance out of your available resources.


Clustering Railo with Tomcat and Apache

This post is a result of a request from a client of ours to have a Railo cluster. The original idea was to use jBoss but ended up settling on stand-alone Tomcat instead.

We are going to set up a "High-Availability" cluster with load balancing using Apache to perform the proxying, Tomcat as our servlet container and Railo to serve up our CFML. You notice that I placed high availability in quotation marks; this is because while automatic failover will be enabled our sessions won't be replicated to all nodes in the cluster. The reason we won't be replicating the sessions is mainly because of performance reasons.


Mango Blog Test Drive

Last night I downloaded Mango Blog and did a local install to take it for a test drive. I've been using BlogCFC since I started this blog and it has served me well so far, but the Mango Blog interface is just so much better.


A New Chapter

Friday is my last day with my current employer, who happens to also be my first employer in Germany.


Viviotech Offering Railo VPS

My hosting provider has just announced that they are providing pre-configured Railo VPS.


Extending Built-in Functions in Railo

I'm not sure how I missed this blog entry by Todd Raferty on the Railo Blog, but this is definitely worth mentioning again.


Railo Documentation

If you have been playing with Railo lately you may have noticed that the Railo Wiki is still a tad meger. Well all that is soon to change.


Railo Expands Team

With the release of Railo 3.1 and Railo going open-source came the announcement that Mark Drew will be heading up Railo Technologies UK. Today Railo announced another addition to the growing Railo Team.


Railo is Open-Source So Now What?

Unless you have been living under a rock you will have read that the alternative CFML engine Railo has released their much anticipated version 3.1 as open-source under jBoss.


Railo 3.1 Now Available!

After the announcement at last years Scotch on the Rocks that Railo would be going open source, and be included as a project, the day has finally arrived.

Railo Goes Open-Source


Installing Railo 3 on SUSE 10 with Apache2 and Tomcat: Part 2

In my previous post we set up our SUSE 10 VM, Installed Apache and Tomcat and got Tomcat to start up without throwing any error messages. In this post we will continue with the installation of Railo and then hook Tomcat up to Apache, and finally make an index.cfm page and check that everything is working.


Installing Railo 3 on SUSE 10 with Apache2 and Tomcat: Part 1

Earlier this week I mentioned that I had successfully installed Railo on a SUSE 10 Enterprise virtual machine. I had also said that I would provide a step-by-step guide on how you can achieve the same. Hopefully this guide will help you set up your instance a heck of a lot faster than it took me to set up mine.


Railo 3 on SUSE 10 VM with Apache2 and Tomcat

I must admit that it was a bit of a struggle for me to get this all working. It ended up taking quite a few frustrating hours first trying to get mod_caucho to compile on SUSE 10 before I gave up and switch tack and went with Tomcat.


Railo Hosting with Alurium

Want to try out Railo but having trouble finding a hosting company? Well Alurium just started offering Railo hosting plans (Along with PHP and Ruby). It's a brand new start-up started by Peter Amiri.


Railo Regional Settings Caution

One of the great things about Railo webs is the ability to set regional settings for each of your contexts. That means you can have several different context on the same server all showing different time zones. But you have to be rather careful when using it.


Interesting Railo Issue

I've been working with the code from cfbloggers for a little while now. Converting the code to work on Railo and while doing some testing on the feed processing I noticed that some feeds were getting outright rejected because of invalid XML.


Skype Stole Port 80

In an effort to reduce unnecessary running process on my machine I decided to turn the IIS process into a manual start-up process, same with Coldfusion, Railo etc. So today I had a bit of time to do a little testing and wanted to test the difference between Railo and Coldfusion's CFFEED.


Configuring Resin to Port 80 for Railo

When you install Railo the port for Resin is defaulted to Port 8600 so in order to see your install you need to go to http://localhost:8600. Well what if you want to run it under port 80?


Railo 3 and Coldfish

Back in October I posted an entry mentioning that BlogCFC works with Railo 3.0. As it turns out it doesn't work 100%, or I should say the code highlighting part written by Jason Delmore doesn't work.


Installing Railo 3 on Linux (CentOS): Part 2

In my previous post we started installing Railo on the CentOS Linux distribution. As most of us know installing applications on a Linux system sometimes requires more than one step. This installation is just that type.


Little Railo Gotcha

This may well not be a "Gotcha" at all and a simple settings issue in the administrator but I haven't been able to find the "switch" but here it is anyway. Hopefully someone from Railo will be able to correct me if I am wrong.


Installing Railo 3 on Linux (CentOS): Part 1

In a previous post I alluded to how I learn by doing and generally go about it the "hard way". What I learn while sometimes being frustrating tends to settle in my brain and stay longer than if it was a piece of cake. It also allows me to then share with you what I learned and hopefully make life a little bit easier for you. Not everyone likes to do things the hard way.


Learning the hard way

I'm a big proponent of learning by doing and that is primarily how I learn new things myself. It's like that old saying goes "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime." And with that in mind I decided to finally, and entirely way late in my career, get a Linux machine from viviotech.


When It just Works

Yesterday I spent a bit of time setting up my home machine with Apache, Railo and Resin (I have my PC at work similarly set up but hadn't set up my home machine yet). I have to say that I really like the set-up and by following a few tips by Gert Franz I think I have a pretty good set up that I can move into a production server environment.


Installing Railo 3 on JBoss 4.2.2

In the previous post I made about Railo I translated an entry from Markus Skrabal from Germany on how to configure Apache for Railo under JBoss. I also referenced an article on how to deploy Railo 3 to Jboss. There was only one problem with referencing that article.


Changing the Railo Deployment Folder

You want to install Railo on JBoss but don't want to deploy it into the c:\jboss\server\default\deploy folder so that you to go so deep to get to your cfm pages. In fact you would rather deploy it to somewhere like c:\railo. Well this little tutorial comes courtesy once again from Markus Skrabal and


Railo 3: JBoss and Apache

This is a translated repost of an article written by Markus Skrabal. I found the article very informative and thought that all the non-German folks might also benefit. This isn't a pure translation as I added my own "voice" as well as added and edited some of the content.


Railo 3: Developer Bread Crumb

The folks at Railo aren't just satisfied making an inexpensive and soon to be open source CFML engine that has all or most of the functionality of Adobe's CFML engine. When they built their CFML engine they also enhanced certain functions and tags. In this post I will be focusing on the getTemplatePath() and getCurrentContext() functions.


EC2 Railo 3 Image Available

If you don't know what EC2 is it's Amazons Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2). It is a service that provides re-sizable compute capacity in the cloud.

There are lot of different public server images available


Railo 3: Adding Mail Server

If you've installed Railo 3 and tried to set up an SMTP server you probably haven't had any luck and/or received an error message trying to do so. Railo is aware of the problem and will probably be releasing a patch for a few things that slipped through the QA cycle before release. This is a little bug, a minor annoyance at best and shouldn't prevent you from using Railo to it's fullest.


Deploying Railo 3 to JBoss

Deploying Railo 3 to JBoss couldn't be much easier really. You should already have JBoss installed, if not you can download the latest release from I installed JBoss 4.2.3.GA to C:\jboss\jboss-4.2.3.GA\ I then downloaded railo-


Railo: Configuring New Webs

Railo offers something thats called a Web. A Railo Web is a webroot that has it's own WEB-INF directory that allows you to manage the settings separately.


CFVideoPlayer by Railo 3.0

As I mentioned in my last post Railo 3.0 has been released and naturally I downloaded it and installed it. But wait, what about my Adobe CF install? No worries Railo uses port 8600 and plays nice


Railo 3.0 Released

I've been playing around a bit with the Railo 3 beta and have been so far impressed with the performance and features, and the fact that I can run the express version from my USB stick.


Railo 3.0 Not just a Pretty Face

Last night at the Munich CFUG meeting I had the opportunity to meet Gert Franz and Michi Streit from Railo on the last leg of their Whirl Wind Railo World Tour.


Railo Comes to Munich Cfug

Gert Franz and Michi Streit will be visiting the Munich Cfug on the 28th of August to demonstrate and discuss whats new in Railo 3. They have, apparently, also volunteered to sit in the hot seat and answer "all" of our questions with respect to Railo's open source plans.


Railo 3 to become part of JBoss

Well the guys at Scotch really got a real news sweep on the rest of us. I first saw Seans blog entry about Railo 3 and then Rays and I'm still a little flabbergasted.

That makes two open source initiatives of CFML Engines this year, first Open BD and now Railo.


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