JRun going into hibernation

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Anyone who has used ColdFusion will have heard of JRun, the out-of-the-box Java server that ColdFusion runs on top of. For many years people wondered whether JRun was going to be continued as a separate product or ditched entirely, especially seeing competing products go through multiple major releases while it sat by the way-side. Well, it seems the final decision is somewhere in the middle.

Adobe, who bought Macromedia a few years ago and took over the JRun reigns, have decided that they don't want to continue JRun as a separate product, instead have merged its development team into the ColdFusion team where it will continue to be enhanced as needed to run the Java-based engine.

So, for anyone using JRun as a stand-alone product, I'd suggest starting to research alternatives, if you haven't already; for 95% of ColdFusion developers - don't bat an eyelid, this news makes absolutely no difference to you unless you're also running separate Java apps.

IE6 and the min-height CSS attribute

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There's a really useful attribute in CSS called min-height that lets you set the minimum height an element should be displayed as; this is often used to make two boxes appear the same height even if one has less content than the other. Well, Firefox, Opera and Safari support it but Internet Explorer 6 and older don't. Luckily there's a really simple work-around for it, you simply add a defintion to your CSS that browsers other than IE will ignore and set the height to the same as the min-height, e.g.:
[source:css]
/* for standards-compliant browsers */
.bigbox {
width: 300px;
padding: 2px;
border: 1px solid #000;
min-height: 200px;
height: auto;
}
/* for Internet Explorer */
/*\*/
* .bigbox {
height: 200px;
}
/**/
[/source]
Thanks Stu.

Panic Transmit 3.5.6 incompatible with Vandyke VShell 3

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I use the excellent Transmit FTP/SFTP client from Panic Inc both at home and at work - it is easy to use and is generally bullet proof. Well, it turns out that it is incompatible with version 3 of Vandyke's equally excellent VShell SSH/SFTP server. After bringing this to Panic Inc's attention they put their minds to it and in a day or two came up with a custom install of Transmit for me that fixed the specific problem experienced. Excellent stuff! Of course my custom Transmit has problems of its own, like not working with plaintext FTP, but this should be all cleared up with their next release, whenever that happens.

Scriptaculous + JS optimizations can cause problems

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With everyone raving about YSlow I used it to prune a new project I was doing. Well, after the results worked just great with Safari and Firefox I was thoroughly confused why it wasn't working correctly in IE. The problem was that my Script.aculo.us routines weren't working, and more specifically I was getting really weird errors when the page was loading, before any of the routines executed. Some of the errors were very vague, e.g. "'Class' is undefined", and "Effect.toggle is undefined". Well after lots of kicking around I finally tried something - I removed the defer="defer" attributes off the JS calls and it magically started working! Go figure! So, at the end of the day the lesson is that if you are using Script.aculo.us you can't use defer="defer" on your Prototype.js call, otherwise visitors using IE will be greated with a whole bunch of error messages and nothing will work.

SPF the easy way

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Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an open standard that aims to help prevent spam, and stop legitimate email from being tagged as such. While the specifications can take some time to understand, there are some web-based tools to help you make creating your SPF records a little easier than by hand, but I still find them to be a bit misleading. According to the SPF FAQ the simplest way to create your SPF record is to simply list the IP addresses of all servers that mail goes out through, e.g.:

v=spf1 ip4:192.168.0.10 ip4:192.168.0.12 ~all

and just add more "ip4" strings for each address. Then just paste it into a TXT record in your domain's DNS and you're good to go!

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