Tuesday, February 2, 2010

ACP Spotlight: Cutter Blades

I'm here today with Steve "Cutter" Blades, an new ACP member who specializes in ColdFusion, being an active member of the ColdFusion developer community for almost a decade.

Liz: Hello Cutter! Wait, why do you call yourself Cutter?

Cutter: I was in the Army, going through Russian language training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. One of the other guys gave nicknames to the people he liked. My last name is Blades, so...

Liz: I hear you have a book called " Learning Ext JS" and you have a 2nd edition coming out soon. What does it cover?

Cutter: "Learning Ext JS" is the first book to explore development with the ExtJs client-side JavaScript framework.

Liz: How did you get involved in writing about this subject?

Cutter: Several years ago I was looking to update some interfaces in some administrative tools for our clients. They were originally written in what I call "classic" HTML; old tired tables, form posts to update, etc. I had heard that the Yahoo User Interface (YUI) library had a really nice data grid, but when I Googled it I found ExtJs. ExtJs was a branch off of YUI, from one of it's brightest developers (Jack Slocum), and had just gone 1.0. I figured out how to create a paging grid, and in the process I wrote a series of articles on my blog. I continued to work with ExtJs and, several months later, Adobe did a prerelease tour for ColdFusion 8, introducing their CFAjax controls, most of which were based on ExtJs. At that point I stuck with it, knowing they were a great match.

Fast forward to spring 2008, when Packt Publishing was looking for another contributor for "Learning." The primary author had gotten buried in side contracts, and they needed someone to help them finish the book. They found my blog articles and contacted me about the project. "Learning" came out in late November of 2008, and we're currently writing a second edition to cover the great updates they've made to the library.

Liz: I hear you kind of "pushed" ColdFusion into the book. How did that come about?

Cutter: When I started working on the book I had not seen any of the other chapters. The first chapter that I wrote was about working with server-side data. A few months later they're doing the technical review, and I get a call from the publisher, "Why did you use ColdFusion for your examples in the book? All of the other server-side examples use PHP." So I said, "No one told me to use PHP, and I'm a ColdFusion developer, so..." They asked me if I could re-write the examples in PHP, and I told them I couldn't, having never worked with it.

The publisher went back to the primary author, to have him convert my examples. When they sent them back to me, I read over them and found that none of them would work. I studied the PHP site, and figured out and wrote a PHP solution that would mirror the ColdFusion examples. But, it was about 5 times as much code. The publisher finally came back and said, "You know, we're going to use your examples to show that the library can work with any server-side platform." And that's how ColdFusion ended up in the book. The second edition will have even more ColdFusion.

Liz: I also hear you're a singer?

Cutter: Since I was five. I became a karaoke junkie in the 90's, which is how I eventually met my wife. When I was the IT director for Seacrets, me and a few of the guys put together a band to sing the employee Christmas parties for a couple of years (which you must do well for a crew that sees four bands a day during the summer). My grandmother keeps telling me to ditch this programming thing and make a living singing the Blues.

Steve "Cutter" Blades
Adobe Community Professional - ColdFusion Adobe Certified Professional
Advanced Macromedia ColdFusion MX 7 Developer

Co-Author of "Learning Ext JS"


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