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Undocumented ColdFusion MX 1.0
Undocumented ColdFusion MX 1.0

Discovering undocumented features in your favorite application is always something of a thrill. This is especially true when those features expose little nuggets of functionality that you can leverage in your own code. And so, as promised in my last column, I'm going to introduce you to the factory, a set of internal ColdFusion MX services exposed via Java objects and APIs.

The Factory
When most of us think of ColdFusion we instinctively think of CFML, the ColdFusion Markup Language. This is understandable: after all, it's CFML that we spend most of our time with.

But ColdFusion is actually much more. It's also a collection of application services and runtime services, and has to be. When you build a dynamic SQL query statement something must process that and build the query. When you execute queries something needs to track that information in order to display debug output. When you use <CFCHART> an entire charting engine must be present to execute your request. The list goes on and on.

ColdFusion 5 (and earlier) never exposed these core services. They were built into ColdFusion and were for the most part inaccessible. ColdFusion MX changes this quite a bit. Built on underlying Java code and Java openness, CFMX includes all sorts of services that perform all sorts of processing (starting with the examples I just mentioned).

For example, consider debugging. Ever since ColdFusion 1.0 days, debug output has been appended to the bottom of generated pages. CFMX still generates the same debug output, but it also offers a new DHTML-based dockable debug screen (which is much easier to use). If you've ever dug around in the ColdFusion directory structure, you'd have found a directory named debug (under CFMX's WEB-INF directory). In it are three CFM files:

  • classic.cfm: ColdFusion code that emulates classic ColdFusion debug output, appended to the bottom of each page
  • dockable.cfm: ColdFusion code that generates the new DHTML-based debugging
  • dreamweaver.cfm: Used by Dreamweaver MX to obtain debug content for displaying in Dreamweaver's own Debug tab

In other words, unlike CF5 and earlier, CFMX doesn't automatically append debug information to pages. Rather, it collects that information and exposes it via APIs so that regular CFML code can be used to render it as needed. The debugging appended to the bottom of your generated code is placed there by CFML code that emulates the behavior of earlier versions of ColdFusion. You could create your own debug output formats (modeled on the ones in the debug directory) and then save them in this directory so that the ColdFusion Administrator could see them and make them available as debugging formats.

And talking about the ColdFusion Administrator, it too is good old CFML. How does it get to validate datasources, set SMTP servers, and more? Answer: it uses APIs exposed by ColdFusion and makes calls to them.

Which brings us back to the factory and integrated services. The factory is a set of objects that expose all sorts of integrated services. It's used by the just-mentioned debug pages, as well as by the ColdFusion Administrator. You can use it too.

A Visit to the Factory
Intrigued? You should be. This starts to be lots of fun very quickly. The factory is a set of Java objects, so interaction with it is via the <CF OBJECT> tag (or the CreateObject() function if using <CFSCRIPT>). Look at this code:

 

<!--- Access factory --->
<CFOBJECT ACTION="CREATE"
TYPE="JAVA"
CLASS="coldfusion.
server.ServiceFactory"
NAME="factory">

This <CFOBJECT> creates a local object (a ColdFusion object) named factory that can then be used to access factory services. You can execute the foregoing line of code as is. It will work (in CFMX, not in earlier versions), but won't actually do anything with the instantiated object. To see what's inside the factory, you can simply <CFDUMP> the object like this:

 

<!--- Access factory --->
<CFOBJECT ACTION="CREATE"
TYPE="JAVA"
CLASS="coldfusion.
server.ServiceFactory"
NAME="factory">
<!--- Dump factory contents --->
<CFDUMP VAR="#factory#">

Execute this code and you'll see a dump of a complex nested structure containing objects, methods, and more. Everything you see on your screen is accessible to you (if you can work out what they do, what parameters they expect, and what assumptions they make - hey, that's what makes this fun!).

Accessing Factory Services
Now that you know how to access the factory, the next thing is to learn how to access specific services. Look at the top-level objects in the previous <CFDUMP>. You'll see names like DataSourceService and DebuggingService. To access any particular service just use the appropriate get method. For example, the getDataSourceService() method returns the DataSourceService, and getDebuggingService() returns the DebuggingService. To access the DebuggingService you could do the following:

 

<!--- Get "factory" --->
<CFOBJECT ACTION="CREATE"
TYPE="JAVA"
CLASS="coldfusion.
server.ServiceFactory"
NAME="factory">
<!--- Get datasource service --->
<CFSET dsService=factory.
getDataSourceService()>

dsService then provides access to the DataSourceService itself. You can <CF DUMP VAR="#disservice#"> to see what it contains (it'll be a subset of the prior <CFDUMP>).

Using the Datasource Service
For our first example we'll use the datasource service. Suppose you want to programmatically validate that a datasource was valid. There's no CFML function to do this, but it must be doable. After all, the ColdFusion Administrator does it! Well, it is indeed doable, using the factory (just as the ColdFusion Administrator does).

Listing 1 is an example I used last month when discussing UDFs, and as promised, the following is the explanation of how it works.

VerifyDSN() does just that: you pass it the name of a datasource and it'll return true if that datasource can be verified (as usable) or false if not. VerifyDSN() accepts one required parameter - the name of the datasource to be verified. Let's walk through the code together.

The function and required argument are defined using <CFFUNCTION> and <CFARGUMENT>. (These were explained in the August column [Vol. 4, issue 8]).

Next, two local variables are defined: dsService will contain the datasource service object, and result is the return value (which is initialized to true - kind of innocent until proved guilty).

Then a try/catch block is defined. One of the things you'll learn very quickly about the methods exposed by the factory is that they don't throw pretty error messages or let you know when you messed up passing an argument. You need to use them exactly as intended or they will throw error messages. More on this in a moment.

Next comes the factory access code I showed you earlier.

The actual DSN validation is performed by the verifyDatasource() method, which takes the name of a datasource as a parameter and returns true if it can be validated and false if not. Whatever verifyDatasource() returns is saved to the result variable.

verifyDatasource() requires that a valid datasource name be provided; if the name doesn't exist, an error will be thrown. There are methods that return a list of datasources, so the function could first have done that and checked the name to see if it was valid, but why bother? We already trap errors with try/catch handling. If verify Datasource() throws any error at all (including an error because the specified datasource didn't exist), we'll just treat it as a false, which is exactly what the <CFCATCH> block does.

And finally, <CFRETURN> returns result, which will be true if the datasource can be validated, or false if not (either because the validation failed or because an error was thrown).

VerifyDSN() can now be used just like any other function:

 

<CFOUTPUT>
#VerifyDSN("exampleapps")#
</CFOUTPUT>

If you do indeed want to obtain a list of datasources, the getDatasources() method can help. Listing 2 is an example.

This time getDatasources() is used to obtain a full datasource list. This method returns a complex structure, the top level of which contains the datasource names, and beneath are complete datasource details. As all we want are the names, the StructKeyToArray() function is used to return an array containing the top-level key names - in other words, an array of datasource names. The names are then dumped in a simple HTML unordered list.

Using the Debugging Service
Of particular interest is the debugging service, the service used by the debugging engine in ColdFusion. This is what drives the debug templates referred to previously.

The debugging service doesn't generate any output. Rather, it keeps all information that may be of use in debugging in a query in memory. The code in the debug templates extracts data from that query and presents it as needed. And if that code can access the query, well, so can you.

A function I've always wanted was one that could return the exact SQL statement as submitted to a datasource post any dynamic processing. ColdFusion obviously knows this information - after all, it's in the debug output and always has been, but there's been no way to access it. Execution time, record count, column list - those are all accessible, but not the SQL itself.

Well, if the debugger knows this information, and in CFMX your code can know everything that the debugger knows...see where I'm going? Take a look at the code in Listing 3.

QueryGetSQL() takes the name of a previously executed query and returns its SQL statement. Let's walk through the code.

The function and argument are defined and variables are then initialized.

The debugging service collects information only if debugging is needed (which actually makes perfect sense). This means that this function can be used only if debugging is enabled, so the processing is enclosed within a <CFIF IsDebugMode()> condition.

The debugging service is then accessed just as we did earlier with the datasource service. The debugging information itself is stored in a query, as already explained, and the getData() method exposes that query. Thus the following snippet creates a local query named events that contains the debug information:

 

<!--- Get the event table --->
<CFSET events= cfd.getDebugger().getData()>

The events query contains all sorts of information (do a <CFDUMP> - you may find something intriguing or useful). So how to extract the single column we need for the one desired entry? We can query that query:

 

<!--- Get SQL statement (body) for query --->
<CFQUERY DBTYPE="query"
NAME="getquery"
DEBUG="false">
SELECT body
FROM events
WHERE type='SqlQuery'
AND name='#queryname#'
</CFQUERY>

Each entry in the events query has a type. The type we want is SqlQuery (other types contain other debug information). The WHERE clause filters this type for the specified query name - this way we obtain just the row we want. Rows are made up of lots of columns, including one named body which (when type is SqlQuery) contains the SQL statement. That's the one column we want.

The function then saves that body column to result and returns the value. Simple as that.

Using the Runtime Service
One of the most intriguing (and, when you look at the method names, scariest) services is the runtime service. I'm still working my way through this one, but here's one method that's already finding its way into my applications.

Ever wondered how you could easily determine if the SESSION scope was safe to use (i.e., session state management was enabled)? The runtime service contains a method named getVariables() that returns a structure containing two other structures, application and session. Each of these structures contains (among other things) a member named enable, which will be true if enabled and false if not. I'm not going to give you the code to access these - try to work it out yourself.

Ah, the possibilities are mind-boggling!

Summary
ColdFusion MX is built on a brand-new, completely redesigned architecture - you already know that. But what you may not have known is just how open and flexible this architecture is. The factory is a perfect example of this openness, and while its use is undocumented, it's also perfectly legal. Want to create an administrative program of your own? It's doable. Want access to internal data? That's doable too. Want to create graphs, work with log files, tweak the schedule, or read and write CF Admin settings? All that is doable. Want to create your own debug screens? As already explained, even that is doable.

When you tinker at this level, of course, you're on your own (never experiment on production servers!). There's no documentation on this stuff. It's undocumented - anything I've shared here was learned by browsing files and experimenting - but that's just part of the fun. So give it a try, and if you create anything really cool I'd love to see it (or submit it to www.cfml.org if you can turn it into a function). Enjoy!

SIDEBAR
Caveat emptor:

Undocumented means unsupported - there are no examples, no documentation, and no support. In addition, any undocumented feature may be changed or removed in future versions of products. That's what distinguishes features from undocumented features; vendors are under no obligation to support anything undocumented. Use at your own risk.

About Ben Forta
Ben Forta is Adobe's Senior Technical Evangelist. In that capacity he spends a considerable amount of time talking and writing about Adobe products (with an emphasis on ColdFusion and Flex), and providing feedback to help shape the future direction of the products. By the way, if you are not yet a ColdFusion user, you should be. It is an incredible product, and is truly deserving of all the praise it has been receiving. In a prior life he was a ColdFusion customer (he wrote one of the first large high visibility web sites using the product) and was so impressed he ended up working for the company that created it (Allaire). Ben is also the author of books on ColdFusion, SQL, Windows 2000, JSP, WAP, Regular Expressions, and more. Before joining Adobe (well, Allaire actually, and then Macromedia and Allaire merged, and then Adobe bought Macromedia) he helped found a company called Car.com which provides automotive services (buy a car, sell a car, etc) over the Web. Car.com (including Stoneage) is one of the largest automotive web sites out there, was written entirely in ColdFusion, and is now owned by Auto-By-Tel.

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"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.

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Sponsorship opportunities are now open for Internet of Things at Cloud Expo 2018 New York, taking place June 5-7, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, and Internet of Things at Cloud Expo 2018 Silicon Valley, November 6-8, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For sponsorship, exhibit opportunities and show prospectus, please contact Carmen Gonzalez, carmen (at) sys-con.com.



@ThingsExpo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers Include

MATTHIEU
Octoblu

MAHADEV
Cisco

MCCARTHY
Bsquare

FELICIANO
AMDG

PAUL
VenueNext

SMITH
Eviot

BEAMER
goTraverse

GETTENS
goTraverse

CHAMBLISS
ReadyTalk

HERBERTS
Cityzen Data

REITBAUER
Dynatrace

WILLIAM-
SON

Cloud
Computing

SCHMARZO
EMC

WOOD
VeloCloud

WALLGREN
Electric Cloud

VARAN-
NATH

GE

SRIDHARA-
BALAN

Pulzze

METRIC
Linux

MONTES
Iced

ARIOLA
Parasoft

HOLT
Daitan

CUNNING-
HAM

ReadyTalk

BEDRO-
SIAN

Cypress

NAMIE
Cisco

NAKA-
GAWA

Transparent
Cloud

SHIBATA
Transparent
Cloud

BOYD
Neo4j

VANDER-
MINDEN

Flatiron
Strategies

JAME-
NSKY

Embotics

KOCHER
Grey Heron

SPROULE
Metavine

BLACK
SQLstream

WARD
DWE

MILLER
Covisint

EVAVOLD
Covisint

MEINER
Oracle

MEEHAN
Esri

WITECK
Citrix

LIANG
Rancher Labs

BUTLER
Tego

ROWE
IBM Cloud

SKILLERN
Intel

SMITH
Numerex
@ThingsExpo New York All-Star Speakers Include

CLELAND
HGST

VASILIOU
Catchpoint

WALLGREN
Electric Cloud

HINCH-
CLIFFE

7Summits

DE SOUZA
Cisco

RANDALL
Gartner

ARMSTRONG
AppNeta

SMALLTREE
Cazena

MCCARTHY
Bsquare

DELOACH
Infobright

QUINT
Ontegrity

MALAUCHLAN
Buddy Platform

PALIOTTA
Vector

MITRA
Cognizant

KOCHER
Grey Heron

PAPDO
POULOS

Cloud9

HARLAN
Two Bulls

GOLO
SHUBIN

Bit6

PROIETTI
Location
Smart

MARTIN
nfrastructure

MOULINE
Everbridge

MARSH
Blue Pillar

PARKS
SecureRF

PEROTTI
Plantronics

HOFFMAN
EastBanc

WATSON
Trendalyze

BENSONOFF
Unigma

SHAN
CTS

MATTELA
Redpine

GILLEN
Spark
Coginition

SOLT
Netvibes

BERNARDO
GE Digital

ROMANSKY
TrustPoint

BEAMER
GoTransverse

LESTER
LogMeIn

PONO
-MAREVA

Google

SINGH
Sencha

CALKINS
Amadeus

KLEIN
Rachio

HOASIN
Aeris

SARKARIA
PHEMI

SPROULE
Metavine

SNELL
Intel

LEVINE
CytexOne

ALLEN
Freewave

MCCALLUM
Falconstor

HYEDT
Seamless

@ThingsExpo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers Include

SCHULZ
Luxoft

TAMBURINI
Autodesk

MCCARTHY
Bsquare

THURAI
SaneIoT

TURNER
Cloudian

ENDO
Intrepid

NAKAGAWA
Transparent

SHIBATA
Transparent

LEVANT-LEVI
testRTC

VARAN NATH
GE

COOPER
M2Mi

SENAY
Teletax

SKEEN
Vitria

KOCHER
Grey Heron

GREENE
PubNub

MAGUIRE
HP

MATTHIEU
Octoblu

STEINER-JOVIC
AweSense

LYNN
AgilData

HEDGES
Cloudata

DUFOUR
Webroot

ROBERTS
Platform

JONES
Deep

PFEIFFER
NICTA

NIELSEN
Redis

PAOLALANTORIO
DataArchon

KAHN
Solgenia

LOPEZ
Kurento

KIM
MapR

BROMHEAD
Instaclustr

LEVINE
CytexOne

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

GORBACHEV
Intelligent
Systems

THYKATTIL
Navisite

TRELOAR
Bebaio

SIVARAMA-
KRISHNAN

Red Hat
Cloud Expo New York All-Star Speakers Included

DE SOUZA
Cisco

POTTER
SafeLogic

ROBINSON
CompTIA

WARUSA
-WITHANA

WSO2 Inc

MEINER
Oracle

CHOU
Microsoft

HARRISON
Tufin

BRUNOZZI
VMware

KIM
MapR

KANE
Dyn

SICULAR
Basho

TURNER
Cloudian

KUMAR
Liaison

ADAMIAK
Liaison

KHAN
Solgenia

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

SUSSMAN
Coalfire

ISAACSON
RMS

LYNN
CodeFutures

HEABERLIN
Windstream

RAMA
MURTHY

Virtusa

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE MENO
CommVault

GRILLI
Adobe

WILLIAMS
Rancher Labs

CRISWELL
Alert Logic

COTY
Alert Logic

JACOBS
SingleHop

MARAVEI
Cisco

JACKSON
Softlayer

SINGH
IBM

HAZARD
Softlayer

GALLO
Softlayer

TAMASKAR
GENBAND

SUBRA
-MANIAN

Emcien

LEVESQUE
Windstream

IVANOV
StorPool

BLOOMBERG
Intellyx

BUDHANI
Soha

HATHAWAY
IBM Watson

TOLL
ProfitBricks

LANDRY
Microsoft

BEARFIELD
Blue Box

HERITAGE
Akana

PILUSO
SIASMSP

HOLT
IBM Cloudant

SHAN
CTS

PICCININNI
EMC

BRON-
GERSMA

Modulus

PAIGE
CenturyLink

SABHIKHI
Cognitive Scale

MILLS
Green House Data

KATZEN
CenturyLink

SLOPER
CenturyLink

SRINIVAS
EMC

TALREJA
Cisco

GORBACHEV
Systems Services Inc.

COLLISON
Apcera

PRABHU
OpenCrowd

LYNN
CodeFutures

SWARTZ
Ericsson

MOSHENKO
CoreOS

BERMINGHAM
SIOS

WILLIS
Stateless Networks

MURPHY
Gridstore

KHABE
Vicom

NIKOLOV
GetClouder

DIETZE
Windstream

DALRYMPLE
EnterpriseDB

MAZZUCCO
TierPoint

RIVERA
WHOA.com

HERITAGE
Akana

SEYMOUR
6fusion

GIANNETTO
Author

CARTER
IBM

ROGERS
Virtustream
Cloud Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers

TESAR
Microsoft

MICKOS
HP

BHARGAVA
Intel

RILEY
Riverbed

DEVINE
IBM

ISAACSON
CodeFutures

LYNN
HP

HINKLE
Citrix

KHAN
Solgenia

SINGH
Bigdata

BEACH
SendGrid

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE SOUZA
Cisco

PATTATHIL
Harbinger

O'BRIEN
Aria Systems

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

BIANCO
Solgenia

PROCTOR
NuoDB

DUGGAL
EnterpriseWeb

TEGETHOFF
Appcore

BRUNOZZI
VMware

HICKENS
Parasoft

KLEBANOV
Cisco

PETERS
Esri

GOLDBERG
Vormetric

CUMBER-
LAND

Dimension

ROSENDAHL
Quantum

LOOMIS
Cloudant

BRUNO
StackIQ

HANNON
SoftLayer

JACKSON
SoftLayer

HOCH
Virtustream

KAPADIA
Seagate

PAQUIN
OnLive

TSAI
Innodisk

BARRALL
Connected Data

SHIAH
AgilePoint

SEGIL
Verizon

PODURI
Citrix

COWIE
Dyn

RITTEN-
HOUSE

Cisco

FALLOWS
Kaazing

THYKATTIL
TimeWarner

LEIDUCK
SAP

LYNN
HP

WAGSTAFF
BSQUARE

POLLACK
AOL

KAMARAJU
Vormetric

BARRY
Catbird

MENDEN-
HALL

SUPERNAP

SHAN
KEANE

PLESE
Verizon

BARNUM
Voxox

TURNER
Cloudian

CALDERON
Advanced Systems

AGARWAL
SOA Software

LEE
Quantum

OBEROI
Concurrent, Inc.

HATEM
Verizon

GALEY
Autodesk

CAUTHRON
NIMBOXX

BARSOUM
IBM

GORDON
1Plug

LEWIS
Verizon

YEO
OrionVM

NAKAGAWA
Transparent Cloud Computing

SHIBATA
Transparent Cloud Computing

NATH
GE

GOKCEN
GE

STOICA
Databricks

TANKEL
Pivotal Software


Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
General Manager of Window Azure
 
How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
Yasser Khan
CEO of @Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Peak_Ten


Who Should Attend?
Senior Technologists including CIOs, CTOs & Vps of Technology, Chief Systems Engineers, IT Directors and Managers, Network and Storage Managers, Enterprise Architects, Communications and Networking Specialists, Directors of Infrastructure.

Business Executives including CEOs, CMOs, & CIOs , Presidents & SVPs, Directors of Business Development , Directors of IT Operations, Product and Purchasing Managers, IT Managers.

Download Cloud Expo Show Guide
Cloud Expo Show Guide
Download PDF

Join Us as a Media Partner - Together We Can Rock the IT World!
SYS-CON Media has a flourishing Media Partner program in which mutually beneficial promotion and benefits are arranged between our own leading Enterprise IT portals and events and those of our partners.

If you would like to participate, please provide us with details of your website/s and event/s or your organization and please include basic audience demographics as well as relevant metrics such as ave. page views per month.

To get involved, email Lissette Mercado at lissette@sys-con.com.

@ThingsExpo Blogs
This is the time of year when everyone makes his or her predictions for 2018. I have my predictions as well, but wanted to do something a bit more fun. So I thought I’d look backwards to the state of technology 50 years ago to gain some insights that we can use to make projections about 2018. That is, what “predictions” made in the 1950’s might tell us about 2018. However, it’s really hard to find predictions about the future made in the 1950’s. There was no Internet or Social Media or Reality TV, so I found the next best proxy…sci-fi movies! I decided to review the most popular sci-fi mo...
Our cities have been connected since the dawn of urbanization in the Indus Valley and on the plains of Mesopotamia nearly ten millennia ago. Cities exist to gather and connect people, bringing us together into communities and joint ventures that need complex networks of communication. But in recent years the connected city has come to mean something more. Today and in the future, the connected city will not just be about people connecting with people, but people with machines, people with people via machines, and perhaps most importantly, machines with machines.
The time of year when crystal balls get a viewing and many pundits put out their annual predictions for the coming year. Copying off since 2012, rather than thinking up my own, I figured I’d regurgitate what many others expect to happen. Top 10 Cyber Security Predictions for 2018 – Infosec Institute kicks off this year’s Top 10, Top 10 list with a look back at their 2017 predictions (AI, IoT, etc.) and dives head first into 2018 noting that Ransomware will be the most dangerous threat to organizations worldwide; cryptocurrency will attract fraudsters looking to mine; cloud security will (ag...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development process, accelerating application delivery times, and ensuring that developers will become hero...
A strong declaration from a historically antagonist foe should put chills in the hearts of Americans preparing themselves for the world ahead: Russian President Vladimir Putin says the nation that leads in AI will be the ruler of the world [1]” … The ruler of the world! From the article (with some modification to avoid political landmines), we get the following: “The development of artificial intelligence has increasingly become a national security concern in recent years. It is China and the US (not Russia), which are seen as the two frontrunners, with China recently announcing its ambi...
This month, an AI (artificial intelligence) system passed a medical exam in China for the first time. I wonder how its bedside manner will be? In addition, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a robot named Sophia. With all these rapid advancements, I think it is time we explore the spiritual life of robots. Up till recently, programmers coded and configured algorithms, AI, automation and machine learning system and took personal responsibility for all the code. Today, however, AI has escaped the confines of human oversight and has been empowered and employed to self-program, self-optimize, ...
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been the subject of much discourse in the last several years. They were widely anticipated in the gaming and entertainment industries, but in marketing and corporate settings, the benefits were murky at best. Today, these technologies are becoming more of a reality in all areas of business. For example, the new IKEA® shopping app leverages augmented reality to help shoppers determine how certain popular items will look in their homes – no trip to a crowded megastore necessary. Marriott® deployed virtual reality for customers to see its hot...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As we end 2017, I’m tired of writing “lecturing” blogs about what organizations should be doing to master data monetization in order to power their business models and achieve digital transformation. While the objective of every organization should be to master big data and data science (artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning) to drive “data monetization,” let’s take a breath and have some fun. My recent ankle surgery afforded me the opportunity to binge watch “Game of Thrones.” As I watched the impending battle between the White Walkers and humanity, I couldn’t help but ...
For better or worse, big data has irrevocably altered the digital landscape. The explosion in variety, velocity, volume and value of information presents an abundance of previously unimaginable opportunity. But it also creates a number of challenges that need to be successfully navigated. This reshaped technical world poses the following question to organizations: do you risk presenting, stale, incorrect or erroneous data to your customers? Because, with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data now being created every day, finding a way to manage and harness such potential is a new experience for everyo...
Net Neutrality rules were originally enacted to ensure that all Americans would have equal access to a free and open Internet. We can argue about what Net Neutrality rules did and did not accomplish in a moment, but now I want to explore the most sensational of all the post–Net Neutrality fears: the death of the Internet. If you’re still reading, you know that the FCC voted to repeal Net Neutrality rules (aka the Open Internet) and replace it with the “Restoring Internet Freedom” order. The outcry from the Open Internet camp has been loud, hyperbolic, hypothetical, and mostly based on the fun...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be looking at some significant engineering investment. On-demand, serverless computing enables deve...
“Why incur the expense of generating and collecting all of this IoT data if you’re not going to monetize it?” Organizations are racing to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) as the pundits create “visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads.” McKinsey Global Institute released their study “The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value beyond the Hype” in June 2015 that highlighted the staggering financial value that IoT could create! (See Figure 1.)
Recently I read somewhere this statement – As we end 2017 and look ahead to 2018, topics that are top of mind for data professionals are the growing range of data management mandates, including the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation that is directed at personal data and privacy, the growing role of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in enterprise applications, the need for better security in light of the onslaught of hacking cases, and the ability to leverage the expanding Internet of Things.
There is a war a-brewin’, but this war will be fought with wits and not brute strength. Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration that “the nation that leads in AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be the ruler of the world,” the press and analysts have created hysteria regarding the ramifications of artificial intelligence on everything from public education to unemployment to healthcare to Skynet. Note: artificial intelligence (AI) endows applications with the ability to automatically learn and adapt from experience via interacting with the surroundings / environment. See the b...
What's disruptive innovation, and why does it matter to leaders in the C-suite? It's how the savvy non-conformist will target market opportunities. How does this happen, when established companies seem to have the advantage? Creative software developers can quickly apply new technologies and digital business models to capture untapped demand.

Moreover, the most disruptive new companies will eventually reshape entire industries, swiftly pushing aside the legacy incumbent players -- it's a form of Digital Darwinism. The global networked economy will blossom, thanks to the pervasive In...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to iterate use cases, bring understanding to those seeking to explore complicated technical concepts and ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infras...
So data warehousing may not be cool anymore, you say? It’s yesterday’s technology (or 1990’s technology if you’re as old as me) that served yesterday’s business needs. And while it’s true that recent big data and data science technologies, architectures and methodologies seems to have rendered data warehousing to the back burner, it is entirely false that there is not a critical role for the data warehouse and Business Intelligence in digitally transformed organizations.