Fusion Reactor

We purchased a copy of Fusion Reactor last week and today I had my first chance to use it.   Right off the bat I was extremely impressed.  The GUI is very similar to the ColdFusion Administrator and is very easy to get around.

Within the past couple of weeks our production server started experiencing some strange performance issues.  We have been seeing some frequent occurrences where the request times would just get longer and longer, and eventually stop responding all together.  There are about 6 high volume applications on that server and  try as we might, we were never able to reproduce this in a controlled way and point to any particular point that was breaking.

Within about 5 minutes of installing Fusion Reactor, I was able to pinpoint a specific piece of code that was in desperate need of refactoring.    Until I could get the piece of code in place, I was able to set Crash Protection in Fusion Reactor which would gracefully kill any troublesome request if it took longer than X seconds.  This worked really flawlessly and put the application right back on its feet again when it stumbled into the code.

Fusion Reactor includes many very useful features including:

  • Requests
    • View currently running requests, including the ability to see stack traces and to kill specific threads.
    • View request history
  • Threads view current threads
  • Rich memory charts/graphs
  • Request Metrics reporting
  • Filters – This is a cool feature.  You can have Fusion Reactor constantly look for specific strings and alter them at request time if you wish.  A useful time for this might be a discovery of a typo, or a moved url in a link.
  • Crash Protection – It approaches this from several different angles.  You can set it for specific request issues, server memory levels, etc.
  • There are several more features but those are the ones that stuck in my memory after 20 minutes or so of using it.

Keep in mind the standard version of this is only $99.00 which is very undervalued in my opinion.

Head First Design Meditations

OK, not to beat a dead horse, but since we are on the subject I found a great link.  The Head First team is at it again.   To quote their site:

…this time we’re working on a creative design card deck for the software world. Designed to be used as a brainstorming and inspiration tool, the card deck will contain small bits of software design wisdom, insights, idioms, inspiring quotes and perhaps even a chuckle or two.

The are also accepting submissions, if you have a piece of wisdom you would like to share.

The first one I clicked was:

Computers allow you to make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history with the possible exception of handguns and tequila.
– Mitch Ratcliffe

Awesome!

Helms and Peters Outloud

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a lot of respect for Hal Helms.  I took a 1 day class by him at CFUnited this year (his Domain Model OO class) and walked away with my head spinning with all the ideas that I had just tapped into.  His class is part code, part programming theory and part Hal’s philosophy.  Since then anyone who has asked me about training has received a reply “If you can find a class by Hal Helms.  You won’t regret it.”

Well, now you can for free!  (sort of..)  OK, not really a class, but using the new podcast audio series Helms and Peters Outloud, you can get a taste of what his class offers.  In fact, the first one that I listened to “Design Patterns” covered some of the subjects we covered in class, and included an excercise (employees… hourly vs. salary) that we did in class.  FYI, our group in class actually got it right    The left side of the room didn’t fair so well. :)

They don’t seem to have a full library listed on their site www.helmsandpeters.com, but there is an RSS podcast feed that lists several of their sessions.   Considering I have a 1 hour commute to work, I don’t think it will take me long to get through the ones that are there.  I hope more are on the way soon!