ColdFusion Application Developer Post Available

With me moving to a new job in a months time Dott need a new ColdFusion Developer to take my place.

The role is on-site based in the Robert Stephenson Centre here in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne with a good bunch of people.

If your interested in the post please download the pdf attached to this entry and send your details to Claire Capaldi using the details in the pdf.


First day back

Well it was my first day back to work yesterday after Christmas and paternity leave and a slightly stressful day its was.

First up I didn't really want to leave the house without my 3 week old son and secondly I had to hand in my notice.

I haven't actively been looking for a new job as I enjoy working here at Designs of the time, but a permanent ColdFusion development role turned up and I had to investigate the possibility.My contract here at Dott is only a fixed term by the very nature of the project.

I think this project is great and I love working with everyone here. Unfortunately, good CF posts, particularly permanent ones, don't appear in the Northeast of England very often, so when I got asked to go and have a chat with Mike White at Knowledge House I had to go and find out more.

After a long chat with Mike about the Knowledge House and the services and products that they provide as well as discussing what my role would be.

After this conversation I got asked back for a more formal chat with the Business Development Director and one of the Technical users of their system at which time I was asked if I would like the position. So in a months time I will be moving to a new role with Knowledge House. Knowledge House is a collaborative service provided by all the Universities of the Northeast. I'll be helping to maintain, further develop and provide training for their KHIS application, so they should keep me out of trouble and in beer money for the foreseeable future. ;)

I'm not looking forward to leaving Dott, but I am looking forward to my new job, so I'm kind of in a weird state of flux at the minute as well as my head spinning thinking about all the things that need to be documented for hand over!

Anyway, on with work and writing some articles on Farcry seeing as Geoff let me have access to update the source and I've been tinkering with the farcrycms library. :)

Farcry Bloodline navigation filter

I recently grabbed the latest nightly build from Jeff Coughlin and had it running a copy of our works website on my laptop for a few days before I put the updated fourq and farcry_core files on to the production server.

During the time I was working with it locally, I didn't notice any problems with it. It was all running really well. When I put it live it all continued to run really well. Except for the sudden panic from my colleague who does all the editing of content on the site!She'd been adding all sorts of new content for the launch on Tuesday of Dott's school's Eco Design Challenge.

A lot of the content she'd been adding was in draft mode waiting to be put live at the appropriate time and she'd been looking at the site in design mode for the last couple of days. When she switched back to "live mode" she got a shock when all the navigation for the new content stayed on the site! To start with we thought it was a caching issue, but, and cutting a long story short, it turns out that there has been some changes with the bloodlines tree method.

I have been using a navfilter with the bloodlines method to filter the results out, so that only those items with a status in request.mode.lvalidstatus would show up.

view plain print about
2navfilter[1]="status IN (#listQualify(request.mode.lvalidstatus, "'")#)";

I didn't investigate too deeply, but it would seem that this filter has stopped working for bloodlines. Thats the bad news. The very very good news is that at some point bloodlines got a status argument!

In _genericNav.cfm, I changed :

view plain print about
1qNav = evaluate("o."&attributes.functionMethod&"(objectid=attributes.navID, lColumns='externallink', "&attributes.functionArgs&", afilter=navFilter)");


view plain print about
1qNav = evaluate("o."&attributes.functionMethod&"(objectid=attributes.navID, lColumns='externallink', "&attributes.functionArgs&", status=request.mode.lvalidstatus)");

and all the draft content disappeared into the background again.

I don't know when the status argument was added and I may have been utterly blind in the past when looking at the method, but I know its there now. :) Cheers guys.

I do have to say that the Eco characters that have been designed for Dott by NE6 look ace, so check them out, especially if you're somehow involved with Year 8 in a school in the North East of England. ;)

Flash Developer and Illustrator required.

Just a quick note. Dott (Designs of the time) are looking for a Flash Developer for a project.

If you're interested or know someone that might be - take a look at the tender document here :

Being blogged

Its aways nice to see one of the blogs in your aggregator talk about the company you're working is a green/environment blog that I've started reading since I started working for Dott. Always on the look out for articles for my colleague to blog about on the site. One of the contributors to treehugger is a service innovation and design organisation called live|work. live|work is also one the project teams for a couple of the Dott public commissions and have written an article about their projects that they are undertaking on Treehugger.

Return to the rain...

Bah! Look what I come back to from the Spanish sunshine!

Torrential rain and flooding in the office!

Carbon footprinting

Working for an organisation like Designs of the time you start looking at everything you do and everything around you in a different way. One small part of what Dott is trying to promote is designing more a sustainable lifestyle. A small part of that is looking at ecological and carbon footprinting. Thinking about eco-footprinting has made me much more conscious of making sure I turn off lights behind me, switching the TV off of stand-by and making sure everything I can recycle is recycled.

One of the projects next year will be an education project based around ecological and carbon footprinting.A number of links have been floating around the office for different footprint quizzes as we look at what has been done and how we can do it differently and in an engaging way for Year 8 kids (13 year olds).

Probably my favourite one is this Carbon Footprint one from BP. Its a very nice bit of data-driven Flash animation, but it does frighten me that, while lower than the UK average of 9.85 tonnes a year, I am still the cause of 6 tonnes CO2 emissions every year! Thank goodness I take the metro to work everyday and don't drive into the city centre!

Designs of the time website launched.

I mentioned in my last entry that the new website for Dott 07 was launched on Monday the 3rd of July.

After two months of development time with the able assistance of Farcry and lots of research and text editing and question asking by my collegue and web editor, Claire Capaldi, we got the site up and running late on on Monday.The excellent design was created and cut up into lots of images and tables for us by BlueRiver. I spent a fair amount of time trying to do away with the table and replace it with a pure css/div design, but to no avail. CSS just doesn't cut it for more complex layouts. I asked for some help of the guys on the Scottish CFUG mailing list as well as on the CSS-Discuss list, but never managed to get a consistent display with different browsers and time was rapidly running away from me!

To be fair to CSS, most of the problem lies with the design having multiple panels in multiple columns. If there were only 2 or more columns and those columns were the panels, then it wouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately, each of the articles I found on creating panels with corners using css had different issues when ever there were more than one panel on a page - fine if there was only one, but two or more just went "wrong" and went wrong differently on IE and FF.

Part of the wrong-ness I think is down to the way that different browsers interprete the CSS Box model and compute the various widths, as well as with problems of positioning images in the back of divs.

One of the things I'm quite pleased with myself for, is that I managed to integrate Ray Camden's BlogCFC into the farcry architecture. The admin was really simple to do - you can literally drop the admin files into a folder in the custom admin folder under farcry_core and create a custom admin menu for each of the sections in the admin. The front end less so and I'm not entirely happy with some of what I've done so I'm not going to say too much about that at the minute, other than to say that entries are displayed using rules/types and pods are done using dmInclude. You obviously need to mess with the layouts and I changed all the cfmodule references in any of the displays to use cfimport, so that I could have the tags anywhere I liked rather than in relative positions.

You also need to do some funky stuff with the config and the application.cfm, but once its in it actually works pretty well. Anyway - enough about that! I need to write a proper article about it really!

Claire does a splendid job of updating the blog and the home page daily and has also made sure that the purpose of Dott is now much clearer on the website than it has ever been.

The site has had lots of positive feedback so far and there is still a stack of work to be done to the site, as well as the additions that will need to be made as each of public commission and education projects come online, as more Dott events take place and showcases are identified!

Where'd I go???

Where to start!!

I blogged a while back that I started a new job with Designs of the time, or Dott 07 for short. Thats been keeping me busy through the day and we launched the new site on Monday the 3rd of July. You can see the site at

Other news, starting with the bad news I guess...Through the night of Friday June 30th, my Mum's dad, Gramps - Eric John Minton, passed away peacefully while in hospital. The funeral, which was this Friday just gone, was quite a joyfully celebration of his life. After the ceremony at the cremetorium the family, who had come from around the country, sat out in the garden enjoying the pleasant weather eating his favourite meal of Fish and chips from the local chippy. It was a slightly surreal day, given that only a few weeks previous we'd all been gathered for Nanna and Gramps' Diamond wedding anniversary. Gramps will be missed but not forgotten!

The happy news is my wife is now about 16 weeks pregnant! This will be our first child who is due, supposedly, on December the 17th! I've pretty much been getting home late-ish from work, doing some odds and ends of work at home, sorting out some bits and pieces around the house, sorting out food between us and then sitting down to watch a movie or some TV and my wife falling asleep on me by 10:30pm most nights!

To prepare for the forthcoming arrival of our child, currently called "The Alien", we've just had our loft converted into a usable space. The idea being that I will be relegated to the loft space with my computer and other office type furniture and the room currently used as an office will be redecorated and given to The Alien. The conversion is complete and carpet is arriving tomorrow, fitted on Thursday and I guess I'll be moving up there at the weekend! I need to sort out some of the "work-in-progress" photos and get them put on Flickr, so you see the work thats been done. At the budget price it was done for it is a very splendid space! I'm really looking forward to getting moved in up there!

Interviews and Job Offers

I didn't do a terribly well with talking about looking for a job and now its all over. In fact it was all over after only one interview and I'm already working!

I was supposed to have two job interviews last week. One out in the sticks on Tuesday and one in Newcastle City Centre on Wednesday.

Unfortunately at the very last moment the Tuesday job interview was 'postponed', because the interviewer had to complete a pitch to a client. ~shrug~ never mind. These things happen.So on Wednesday I went for an interview with a new initiative in Newcastle called Design of the Times, or DOTT07, for a Web Developer postition. They actually were looking for a PHP developer and while I can develop in PHP, I am primarily a ColdFusion developer.

DOTT had sent through a brief of what they wanted their website to be able to do and to contain. The more I read the brief and the more research and preparation I did (too much preparation in fact) over the bank holiday weekend, the more I was convinced that they didn't really need a bespoke solution in PHP or ColdFusion, but that they needed a good Content Management System. This frightened me a little, because I don't like lying and really didn't want to pitch myself to develop a bespoke system for them when that particular wheel had already been invented.

So it was with some trepidation that I went in to DOTT on Wednesday last week for my interview. When I was asked how I would develop the site I, perhaps overly bluntly, said I wouldn't develop their site, but would use a pre-built content management system and build custom components for any special features.

I came out of the interview with the feeling that it could have gone either way. Anyway, cutting this overly long story short! On Thurday night the agency asked me to send over some references. On Friday after DOTT had spoken to my references (a formality according to the agency), I was offered the post. On Monday this week I started working for DOTT!

I'm loving being out of the house, even if it does mean I have to sit in an office when the weather here is glorious at the minute! All the folks at DOTT are really nice people and I'm enjoying starting a web development project from the very start with a Content Editor to actually provide content and direction for the site. I have to say its a refreshing change to have someone actually driving the design and content of the site properly from the beginning. Content is usually the last part of the site to be thought about, if at all!!

I shall endeavour to write more about Design of the Times as I get the hang of it all, because it is shaping up to be a really interesting initiative that'll keep me on my toes for some time to come.

I'd just like to say thanks to Gillian at Concept Personnel, who helped me sort out my CV after an initial false start and tried her best to get me interviews. Also, many thanks to Chris Morrow at NRG who got me in to see Claire at DOTT and, ultimately, the job.