Amazon Announces ElastiCache: An In-Memory Cache in the Cloud

It was only a matter of time before Amazon's offerings would include an in-memory cache service via their amazon webservices (aws) cloud architecture and today is the day! If you're looking for a scalable object caching system, you might want to seriously consider Amazon's ElastiCache. Although it's currently in beta (what isn't these days), it's open for business and ready to handle your caching needs.

The documentation is farily robust considering it's 'beta' status. I found their section on choosing cache node type and the number of cache nodes particularly helpful.

Be sure to check out this cool little demo of ElastiCache >>


Dynamically Define a Mura CMS Theme's Display Regions

A question came up recently regarding Mura CMS and how to alter the available content object display regions. This is actually quite simple to control from within the Admin area of the site by going to Site Settings > Select the Site > Select the Display Regions Tab and then choose the Number of Display Regions, select the Primary Display Region and define the Display Region Names as a carrot "^" delimited list.

However, this particular inquisitor was actually interested in how to control these settings from within a specific theme itself. Luckily, as with most things in Mura, it really isn't all that difficult to do.

Since this is not something we would want to happen everytime a page loads, it would probably work best to use the onApplicationLoad() method in the theme's eventHandler.cfc. This way, it will only be executed whenever the entire application is loaded. The next thing we need to figure out is what methods we need to call and how to tell Mura to save our settings.

So, as I've pointed other people in the past, most all of the important methods that comprise the Mura engine can be found under the /requirements/mura/ directory. Since we're dealing with Site Settings, we'll want to review the methods available to us under the 'settings' directory. There you'll find settingsManager.cfc among other files. Within this file, you'll be able to locate a method called update() which takes an argument called data which is required to be a struct/object. The data object should have a key which contains the siteid of the site we wish to edit the settings for. Then, we can update any of the available settings we wish!

Here's some code for you to play around with:

<cffunction name="onApplicationLoad">
    <cfargument name="$" />
        var local = {};
        // dynamically alter the available display regions from within a theme = {
            siteID = $.siteConfig('siteid')
            , columnCount = 5
            , primaryColumn = 3
            , columnNames = 'Test^Left Column^Main Content^Right Column^Footer'
        local.siteBean = $.getBean('settingsManager');

If you're wondering what settings are available to you, simply do a dump of all the existing values:

<cfdump var="#$.siteConfig().getAllValues()#" />

Hope that helps someone else trying to update their Mura Site Settings from within the theme itself.


SQL Syntax To Get Columns From Database

Have you ever wanted a simple way to get the column names of a database table, but just didn't know how to go about doing it? I've seen this question come up from time-to-time in the wild and thought I would share my simple solution using straightforward SQL syntax.

Obviously, most programming languages offer methods to obtain this information as well, however I thought this might be helpful to ColdFusion/CFML developers or any other SQL users who are looking for a quick and painless way to get what they need.

MySQL Syntax

<!--- MySQL syntax to get column names --->
<cfquery name="rsMySQLColumns" datasource="MyDSN">
    SHOW COLUMNS from MyTable
<cfset MySQLColumns = ValueList(rsMySQLColumns.Field)>

MS SQL Syntax

<!--- MS SQL syntax to get column names --->
<cfquery name="rsMSSQLColumns" datasource="MyDSN">
    SELECT column_name,*
    FROM information_schema.columns
    WHERE table_name = 'MyTable'
    ORDER BY ordinal_position
<cfset MSSQLColumns = ValueList(rsMSSQLColumns.column_name)>


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