JRun wsconfig error- Security alert: attempt to connect to JRun server from host

I was experimenting with the Railo 3.3 installer, which includes an IIS connector to Tomcat, which works really well.   Too well in fact!  When I ran it, it actually unmapped all my existing IIS ISAPI mappings to JRun and was sending all requests to Tomcat.

I decided the quickest fix to this would be to simply open up /JRun4/bin/wsconfig.exe and remap the sites that were no longer connected.  However, when I did this, I received the following error:

Could not connect to JRun/ColdFusion servers on host localhost.

Knowing perfectly well that I had an instance of JRun running, I went to the terminal to look at the standard out and saw this:

Security alert: attempt to connect to JRun server from a host

In case that is too hard to read, it says: “Security alert: attempt to connect to JRun server from a host”.   I suspect that because I am attached to a WIFI connection with an IP Address on 192.168.*, and then VPN’d into my company with a second address of 10.252.*, JRun assumes that the connection attempt is coming from outside the subnet.

I went digging through files in JRun4/lib and came across security.properties.  In this file, there is a default setting:


I altered that restriction  setting from “″ to “*” like this:


Once I did this and restarted the server, I was able to use wsconfig without issue.  And my ACF sites are pointed to JRun, my Railo sites are pointed to Tomcat, and all is right in the world again.

NOTE: DO NOT DO THIS ON A PRODUCTION MACHINE!   If you do, I strongly recommend that it is a very temporary change.

Piecing together optional view elements at runtime with Mach-II

Often in web development, you run across a case where there is a display that contains optional view elements that are derived at runtime.  Perhaps there is a section of a form that is only available to residents of the US.  Maybe, only users with a certain level of group access have the ability to see a section of a page that can be partially viewed by other user types.  I am sure you can think of numerous cases that you have come across in your own work.   In a current project at our company, one of our developers was tasked with rewriting an old piece of legacy code in which logged in agents can select one or more of multiple reports to display.  The legacy code was a complete nightmare that would probably be worthy of an entire series of what not to do, but that is for another day!  To boil this piece down a bit, essentially the agent has a series of checkboxes of specific reports, and “to” and “from” date inputs to provide a date range.   Depending on what the agent selects, the submission page might show a single report, or a series of several reports in line.

One approach to this would be to have an event defined in which you compile each piece of data into some kind of data collection

if ( [Report1 was selected] )
     get data for Report1
if  ( [Report2 was selected] )
     get data for Report2
(... and so on...)

Then on the view, you could do something like:

if ([we have report data for Report1])
show Report1
if ([we have report data for Report2])
     show Report2
(... and so on ....)

Well, we could but it would be wrong!  Why?  For one thing, we now have conditional logic about each report built into multiple places in our application.  From a complexity and maintenance standpoint, you have just made it, at a minimum, twice as complex as it needs to be.  There is also a strong argument that could be made (and I would make it!) that your view shouldn’t be responsible for determining what it’s supposed to display.  It should simply display!

So what is another approach to this?  How could we employ MVC techniques without the individual components involved becoming intertwined, creating yet another administrative issue.  Here is the solution that I proposed to our developer:
First, let’s start with our form, which is remarkably simple:

<h3>Select the reports you would like to view</h3>
<form name="reportform" action="#buildUrl( "viewreports" )#" method="post">
<input type="checkbox" name="reportList" value="report1" /> Report 1<br />
<input type="checkbox" name="reportList" value="report2" /> Report 2<br />
<input type="checkbox" name="reportList" value="report3" /> Report 3<br />
<input type="checkbox" name="reportList" value="report4" /> Report 4<br />
<input type="checkbox" name="reportList" value="report5" /> Report 5<br />
<input type="submit" value="run reports">

As you can see, we are going to load up an event-arg on the submission named “reportList” that will be a comma separated list of reports that we will be displaying. For instance, if we make the selections you see below, on the viewreports event, event.getArg( “reportList” ) will be: report1,report3,report5

Report Selection form output

I decided that generally I wanted it to behave with a flow like this:

Reports flow diagram

It is a good goal in application development to move as much specific knowledge of the flow of the application outside of any component (view, service, or otherwise) that is not responsible for it to avoid coupling issues.  For instance, our report display page shouldn’t understand flow should it?   (hint: “no“)   Our service layer that is responsible for retrieving data shouldn’t should it? (you guessed it: “no”)

So where does that responsibility lie?  I place it squarely on the front controller framework at hand, namely Mach-II in this case.

If that is the approach we are going to follow, then how can we have freely operating pieces, and create a composite view without the individual pieces having any knowledge of each other, nor any knowledge of their role in the bigger picture?   We achieve this by creating small encapsulated pieces that are individually responsible for their limited role, and count on our framework to do the rest.

If you look at the flow diagram above, you will see that we start with a conditional statement on our submission event: “Has form output been generated?”

In our Mach-II configuration we can achieve this by doing the following:

<event-handler event="viewreports" access="public">
 <event-mapping event="noData" mapping="multi_report1" />
 <filter name="checkForReportData" />
 <view-page name="selectreports" contentArg="form" />
 <view-page name="reports" />

Let’s talk about what those pieces are doing.  First, we are defining an event-mapping “noData“.  What this means is that anywhere further in this event, if someone announces “noData“, the event that we are really going to announce is “multi_report1“.   By doing this, we don’t bury specific knowledge into our component responsible for the announcing, but more on that in a moment.  Next, we are calling a filter named checkForReportData. Filters are Mach-II components that contain a single public method filterEvent() which returns a boolean value telling Mach-II whether or not it should continue further within this event.  In the code above, if the filter returns “false”, the <view-page/> nodes will not be processed.   So let’s take a look at the filterEvent() method.

<cffunction name="filterEvent" access="public" returntype="boolean" output="false" hint="I am invoked by the Mach II framework.">
     <cfargument name="event" type="MachII.framework.Event" required="true" hint="I am the current event object created by the Mach II framework." />
     <cfargument name="eventContext" type="MachII.framework.EventContext" required="true" hint="I am the current event context object created by the Mach II framework." />

     <cfset var result = event.isArgDefined( "reportOutput" ) />

     <cfif NOT result>
          <cfset announceEvent( "noData", event.getArgs() ) />

     <cfreturn result />

Very simply, we are saying: Is there an event-arg named reportOutput defined? If there is, we are returning true, telling the event to continue.  If not we are going to announce an event noData, and returning false.   By announcing a generic event named “noData”, and then defining what “noData” means in the XML config, we have just insulated this filter from change.  For instance, right now the <event-mapping/> says that this means that we should announce “multi_report1“.  If this ever changes to another report, then we only have to change the config.  Additionally, we might be able to repurpose this filter another way in the future and announce a completely different event by using a different event-mapping.

So in our example, we have no reportOutput on our first pass through this method, so we are being rerouted to the event “multi_report1“.  Here is what it looks like:

<event-handler event="multi_report1" access="private">
     <event-arg name="reportName" value="report1" />
     <event-mapping event="nextEvent" mapping="multi_report2" />
     <filter name="checkIncludeReport" />
     <notify listener="ReportListener" method="getData" resultArg="data" />
     <view-page name="reports.report1" contentArg="reportOutput" append="true" />
     <announce event="nextEvent" copyEventArgs="true" />

On the second line, all we are doing is defining an event-arg named “reportName” and assigning a value of “report1“.   We will be using this value in a moment.  Before we get to that, and now that you understand what event-mappings are doing, the third line should be clear.  We are just telling Mach-II “if someone or something announces nextEvent within the context of this event, announce multi_report2 instead“.  Again this allows our components to announce generic events which are explicitly defined in the config.   Next, we are calling a filter to see if report1 has been selected in the form by calling a filter named checkIncludeReport.   If the report was not selected in the form, we will kick out and announce nextEvent aka multi_report2.   However, if the report is included, we will continue down the line calling a method on our listener to retrieve data, and then using that data in a view named “reports.report1“.  We take that generated HTML and append it into an event-arg named “reportOutput“.   If you look at our code above, you will be reminded that this is the argument we were testing for in the checkForReportData filter.   Here is a look at our checkIncludedReport filter which makes the decision to include this report or not.

<cffunction name="filterEvent" access="public" returntype="boolean" output="false" hint="I am invoked by the Mach II framework.">
     <cfargument name="event" type="MachII.framework.Event" required="true" hint="I am the current event object created by the Mach II framework." />
     <cfargument name="eventContext" type="MachII.framework.EventContext" required="true" hint="I am the current event context object created by the Mach II framework." />    

     <cfset var result = ListFindNoCase( event.getArg( "reportList" ), event.getArg( "reportName" ) ) />

     <cfif NOT result>
          <cfset announceEvent( "nextEvent", event.getArgs() ) />

     <cfreturn result />   

All this filter is doing is checking in the event-arg reportList, which is a comma separated list of reports, and seeing if the value of event-arg reportName (which was defined on line 2 above) exists in the list.  Based on our example of selecting reports 1, 3, and 5, the plain English translation of this comparison is:  If the list “report1,report3,report5″ contains “report1″, return true, otherwise announce “nextEvent” and return false. As you surely know by now, in this case “nextEvent” translates to “multi_report2

Essentially we just repeat this exact pattern for the next 4 events, with a minor change in the last event:

<event-handler event="multi_report2" access="private">
    <event-arg name="reportName" value="report2" />
    <event-mapping event="nextEvent" mapping="multi_report3" />
    <filter name="checkIncludeReport" />
    <notify listener="ReportListener" method="getData" resultArg="data" />
    <view-page name="reports.report2" contentArg="reportOutput" append="true" />
    <announce event="nextEvent" copyEventArgs="true" />

<event-handler event="multi_report3" access="private">
     <event-arg name="reportName" value="report3" />
     <event-mapping event="nextEvent" mapping="multi_report4" />
     <filter name="checkIncludeReport" />
     <notify listener="ReportListener" method="getData" resultArg="data" />
     <view-page name="reports.report3" contentArg="reportOutput" append="true" />
     <announce event="nextEvent" copyEventArgs="true" />

<event-handler event="multi_report4" access="private">
     <event-arg name="reportName" value="report4" />
     <event-mapping event="nextEvent" mapping="multi_report5" />
     <filter name="checkIncludeReport" />
     <notify listener="ReportListener" method="getData" resultArg="data" />
     <view-page name="reports.report4" contentArg="reportOutput" append="true" />
     <announce event="nextEvent" copyEventArgs="true" />

<event-handler event="multi_report5" access="private">
     <event-arg name="reportName" value="report5" />
     <event-mapping event="nextEvent" mapping="viewreports" />
     <filter name="checkIncludeReport" />
     <notify listener="ReportListener" method="getData" resultArg="data" />
     <view-page name="reports.report5" contentArg="reportOutput" append="true" />
     <announce event="nextEvent" copyEventArgs="true" />

As I mentioned, there is a slight change in multi_report5 in that nextEvent is defined as “viewreports“.   By doing this, we have then ended our report generation and are redirecting the flow back to the initial event that kicked this process off.  Since we now have reportOutput data, we are directed to the page that ouputs it all.  Quite simply, our big, massive, magnificent multi-form display page looks like this:

these are the reports:

<cfoutput>#event.getArg( "reportOutput" )#</cfoutput>

There is no conditional nonsense, and the view simply outputs all of the generated output that was appended into the event-arg reportOutput.   Additionally, if you reflect on the things we have done, no where are we explicitly saying “if the user selected report1, do something“.  We have left it all fairly generic and hopefully have created some potentially reusable components.    For instance, let’s say that we now have a requirement for an event that only displays report2. No problem!  All we need to do is add an additional event like this:

<event-handler event="report2" access="public">
     <notify listener="ReportListener" method="getData" resultArg="data" />
     <view-page name="reports.report2" />

Easy, huh!

Lastly,  I know that some of the more astute of you may have noticed a fatal flaw in the design above.  What happens when no reports are selected?   In the interest of keeping this example as stripped down as I could, I let that one go, but it is a very simple fix.  What would you do?  Where would you put it?   Feel free to post your fix in the comments, along with any other thoughts you have on this solution.

download fully-functional example files – NOTE: doesn’t include the Mach-II framework

Help the homeless. Scriptalizer.com is being evicted!

I am cross posting this for AaronScriptalizer is a GREAT project that needs a home.  If you have a server, VPS, etc running a CFML engine (Railo, OpenBlueDragon, or ColdFusion), and wouldn’t mind adding another site to your server, I am sure Aaron would be grateful.

For details contact Aaron in the comments of this post.

Railo, Structures, Keys and Case

After hundreds and hundreds of development hours, Aaron and I are on the verge of releasing the completely rewritten InstantSpot to beta this week.  I plan on a more detailed post of the technology later, but in a nutshell, we are releasing it as a Linux/Apache2.2.x/Tomcat/Railo2/Mach-II application.

Until today, we have found only one place that we have had to make a Railo workaround and that was using some pretty fringe functionality doing XMLRPC for desktop blogging.

Last night I ran into the second point where we have to make a workaround, although from an architecture standpoint, again it is pretty slight.  This time, it came about as I was changing our Mach-II config to use the ColdspringProperty rather than the ColdspringPlugin.  When I did, the application died a horrible death with errors stating that it couldn’t find our imported ColdSpring XML files that are defined in our main ColdSpring XML.

After tearing into it this bit, I found that the DefaultXMLBeanFactory.cfc calls a recursive method to build a structure of the main config XML, with additional keys for each imported XML file which are the full physical path to the file itself.   I could see that just prior to adding to the structure, the case was correct.  However, when I look at the key that was created, it was converted to lower case.

Later in the process as the Mach-II ColdspringProperty.cfc tries to loop through these keys, the config files cannot be found if there are any capital letters that exist in the real path.

I then tried modifying the ColdSpring code to use structure bracket notation for adding the key, rather than using StructInsert(), since this is one known way of preserving key case in ColdFusion.  However, I found that no matter what I did, the structure key that is created is all lowercase.

Stepping back a bit, I decided to do a simple test which confirmed this functionality:


Here were the results:

number 3
number 2
number 1

As you can see, no matter which approach I took, the key is lowercase.

So, what does this mean for our release?  Not much… back to using the ColdspringPlugin.  However, it is something that I hope the fine developers of the Railo project keep in mind as a future fix.

Railo RC 2.0 is released and WOW!

The Railo team has announced the release of its 2.0 release candidate, which brings them up to CFMX7 compatibility regarding tags/functions, with a few inconsequential (to us!) exceptions.  Coincidentally the past few days, Aaron and I have been playing with setting up Apache webserver using the jk_mod connector to Tomcat.  Using this setup we have been swapping in all the different CFML processing engines and playing with them as we work on the next big release of InstantSpot.

This morning I took a sandbox app that I have set up, which uses a basic Mach-II 1.5 application with ColdSpring which we are using to wire together our concrete data model.  I have a sample event that trees through several levels of child relationships, and outputs/dumps information along the way.

In ColdFusion, this event has been taking about 650ms with debugging turned off.  I dropped that same code into my Railo 2.0 instance this morning and after the initial load of the application, that same event ran in 42ms!!!! Even when I turned debugging on it ran in under 100ms.  With that kind of performance gain, it would be silly not to consider using Railo in our future.

If you are interested, I am pasting the text of the Railo 2.0 announcement from Michael Streit that was sent to the Railo email list:

Railo RC is avaiable for download at http://www.railo.ch/de/index.cfm?treeID=98
Fixed many bugs and also done some performance issues.

we have add some cf 8 features
- add support for ‘onMissingMethod’ to Components
- add support for attribute “statuscode” to tag location

and a particular support for the coldfusion.runtime.ServiceFactory (experimental) and other coldfusion.* specific classes (more to come)
- add Wrapper class coldfusion.runtime.JavaProxy
- add particular support for coldfusion.runtime.ServiceFactory -> coldfusion.server.DataSourceService (experimental)

tnx for all your inputs Michael

fixes for
- fixed Bug in FileHandling “BOM (Byte Order Mask) will not be removed in any case”
- change default date parsing from simple do advanced parser except in comparsion
- fixed bug FileResource “Opening Stream of a none existing Resource on win32″
- fixed bug in HTTP/FTP ResourcePath Util “cant handle path with no path”
- fixed bug in java reflector “cant cast content of one array to a other”
- fixed bug in caster “can not cast calendar to date object”
- fixed bug in tag directory “railo does not ignore invalid input for attribute sort”
- add support for “Lazy Serializer” to Struct and Array Object for method “toString()”
- change return value of method iterator from Array Object from a key Iteration to a value iteration (similar to java.util.List Object)
- add Wrapper class coldfusion.runtime.JavaProxy
- fixed bug in Application.cfc handling “only allow named argument with name ‘targetPage’”
- fixed bug in error template error.cfm “error template does not check if errorcode exists”
- add support for implizit casting from String to Resource
- add support for “cfdocument” scope to tag “cfdocument”
- fixed bug in tag http “can no read quoted charset definition from response”
- fixed bug in tag http “post with enctype ‘application/x-www-form-urlencoded’ (multipart=false) has a invalid ‘Content-Type’ Header Entry”
- fixed bug in tag http “query string part of value from attribute url should not be encodedgcal1″
- fixed bug in handling of the applicatin.cfc “cfc throws a exception when using tag cfabort”
- fixed “bug” in tag function “when abort execution of function body with tag abort, “output” attribute value “false” should be ignored”
- fixed bug in tag queryparam “sql date date does not accept null valus (empty string)”
- fixed bug in tag logout “tag does not remove session value”
- fixed bug in Application.cfc handling “onApplicationStart is called when the first time the application Scope is invoke by the code”
- fixed bug in Application.cfc handling “when onApplicationStart return false the execution of the page does not stop”
- fixed bug in tag procparam “attribute maxlength and scale is of invalid type (int instead of double)”
- fixed bug in tag lock “tag does not run without scope or name attribute”
- fixed bug in tag query “cant handle multiple resultsets, if first is a update”
- fixed bug in tag query “attribute result produce a NullPointerxception when query does not return a result”
- add support for conversion of array to “java.util.Vector” (CFMX Array Type)
- add support for conversion of struct to “java.util.Hashtable” (CFMX Struct Type)
- add possibility to change general read/write access to tag admin (Web Administrator)
- add support for node objects to Comparator
- fixed bug in tag loop-index “works with integer instead of double value”
- fixed bug in components “super components has no acccess on the members of its children”
- fixed bug in components “instaneof not work properly in the components constructor”
- fixed bug in tag select “attribute multiple has invalid tld definition (type boolean instead of string)”
- fixed bug in java reflection “selection of right constructor can fail when there are more than 1 constructor”
- fixed bug in tag query “QOQ loose typing in case of union selects”
- add support for attribute “statuscode” to tag location
- extend debugging-comment template
- extend debugging-neo template
- fixed bug in tag form “attribute method allows only lower case inputs”
- fixed bug in debugging template “missing cgi.context_path for in img source”
- add support for ‘onMissingMethod’ to Components
- fixed bug in function javacast “type ‘null’ is not supported”
- add particular support for coldfusion.runtime.ServiceFactory -> coldfusion.server.DataSourceService (experimental)

- fixed bug in tag file-upload “attribute ‘filefield’ does not accept form field value as input (fileField = “#form.download#”)”“,1] ); //–>
- fixed bug in Component Body “code in body can access callers local scope”
- fixed bug in web administrator “can not create archive when language is english”
- fixed bug in server administator “can not set init password”
- fixed bug in tag query “if username is a empty string, admin defaults username should be used”
- fixed bug in bytecode writer “return operation does not handle finally block the right way”
- fixed bug in Webservice Client “conflict in handling timezones of remote date objects”