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What Is the Certified ColdFusion Developer Exam? xxi

The Macromedia Certified Professional Program xxi

About the Exam xxii

How to Use This Book xxiv

Where to Go from Here xxviii

What Is the Certified Coldfusion Developer Exam?

The popularity of Macromedia's products continues to grow, and along with it, so has the demand for experienced developers. Once upon a time (Internet time, that is, but actually not that long ago in conventional time), claiming to be a ColdFusion developer was easy; the product was simple enough that, with a minimal investment of time and energy, developers could realistically consider themselves experts.

That is not the case anymore. The product line has grown both in actual products and in their complexity, and the levels of expertise and experience among developers are diverse. Claiming to be an expert is not that easy anymore, and recognizing legitimate expertise is even harder.

The Macromedia Certified Professional Program

This is where certification comes into play. Formal, official certification by Macromedia helps to mark a threshold that explicitly separates developers by their knowledge and experience, making it possible to identify who is who.

The Certified Macromedia ColdFusion Developer certification is part of a series of certification tracks from Macromedia—this one concentrating on developers who use Macromedia's flagship product, ColdFusion. Additional exams and certification programs concentrate on other products and areas of expertise.

Reasons to Get Certified

There's really only one important reason for ColdFusion developers to become certified (aside from the goodies you'll receive): Being able to call yourself a Macromedia Certified ColdFusion Developer means that you can command the respect and recognition that goes along with being one of the best at what you do.

Just as has happened with other products and technologies in this space, certification is becoming a prerequisite for employers—an additional barometer by which to measure the potential of candidates and applicants.

Whether being certified helps you find a new (or better) job, helps persuade your boss that the pay raise you want is justified, helps you find new clients, or gets you listed on Macromedia's Web site so that you can attract new work or prospects—whatever the reason—it will help you stick out from the crowd.

About the Exam

Becoming a Certified Macromedia ColdFusion Developer involves being examined on your knowledge of ColdFusion and related technologies. As far as exams go, this one is not easy—nor should it be. In fact, more than a third of all examinees fail their first test. This is not a bad thing; on the contrary, this is good because it means that you really have to know your stuff to pass. You do not merely receive a paper certificate; the exam and subsequent certification have real value and real significance. “Very challenging but fair” is how many examinees describe the exam itself.

The Exam Itself

The exam itself is a set of multiple-choice questions that you answer electronically. A computer application issues the test, and you'll know whether you passed immediately upon test completion.

You are presented with questions and possible answers. Some questions have a single correct answer; others have two or more (you'll be told how many answers to provide). If a question stumps you, you can skip it and come back to it later.

After you have answered all the questions, you can review them to check your answers. And after you are done (or when the time is up; yes, the test has a 70-minute limit), you'll get your results. You need at least 65 percent correct to pass. If you do not pass, you'll need to wait at least 30 days before you can try again. You may take the test no more than three times in a single year (starting from the date of your first test).

Examinees who score at least 80 percent on the test are certified with Advanced ColdFusion Developer status. So to stand out from the crowd, you need to know your stuff, and know it well.

The test is available a variety of languages. The questions are the same in each language, so content studied using this book is applicable regardless of the language you are being tested in.

What You'll Be Tested On

Being a ColdFusion expert requires that you know more than just ColdFusion. As such, the exam includes questions on related technologies. The subjects you'll be tested on are as follows:

  • ColdFusion functionality

  • ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) usage and syntax

  • Internet and Web fundamentals

  • ColdFusion extensibility features and technologies

  • Basic Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and related client technologies

  • Database fundamentals and concepts

  • Structured Query Language (SQL)

Every question counts, and you cannot assume that one particular topic is more or less significant than others. You need to know it all, and you need to know it all well.

Preparing for the Exam

Obviously, the most important preparation for the exam is the use of ColdFusion itself. If you do not use ColdFusion regularly, or have not done so for an extended period, then you probably will not pass.

Having said that, we can tell you that many experienced ColdFusion developers still find the exam challenging. Usually, they say this because they don't use some features and technologies, or because they have learned the product but have never paid attention to changing language and feature details (and thus are not using the product as effectively as they could be).

And that is where this book fits in. This book is not a cheat sheet. It will not teach you ColdFusion from scratch, nor will it give you a list of things to remember to pass the test. What it will do is help you systematically review every major (and minor) feature and technology of the product—everything that you need to know to pass the test.

Where to Take the Exam

To offer the exams in as many locations as possible, Macromedia has partnered with a company called Virtual University Enterprises (VUE). VUE offers exams and certification programs for a wide range of companies and products, and it has more than 2,500 regional testing facilities in more than 100 countries.

You can take the ColdFusion Certified Developer exam at any VUE testing center. For a list of current locations, visit the following Web site:


How Much It Costs

The fee to take the exam in North America is $150. Pricing in other countries varies. The fee must be paid at the time you register. If you need to cancel, you must do so at least 24 hours before the exam, or the fee will not be refunded.

How to use this Book

This book is designed to be used in two ways:

  • To prepare for your exam, you should start at the beginning of the book and systematically work your way through it. The book flow, layout, and form factor have all been specially designed to make reviewing content as pleasant an experience as possible. The content has been designed to be highly readable and digestible in small, bite-size chunks so that it will feel more like reading than studying.

  • After you have reviewed all content, reread the topics that you feel you need extra help brushing up on. Topics are covered in highly focused and very manageable chapters so that you can easily drill down to the exact content you need. And extensive cross-referencing allows you to read up on related topics as needed.

Even after the exam, you'll find that the style and design of this book makes it an invaluable desktop reference tool as well.


The book is divided into eight parts, each containing a set of highly focused chapters. Each chapter concludes with a summary and sample questions (the answers to which are in the Appendix).

Part I: The Basics

This part covers the basics of Internet development in general and ColdFusion development in particular, and includes chapters on the following topics:

  • Web Technology and Terminology

  • Working with Variables and Expressions

  • Conditional Processing

  • Looping

  • Redirects and Reuse

  • The Application Framework

  • Using Databases

Part II: Variables and Expressions

This part covers the use of different variable types, scopes, and expressions, and includes chapters on the following topics:

  • URL Variables

  • FORM Variables

  • APPLICATION and SERVER Variables

  • Session State Management

  • Locking

Part III: Data Types

This part covers the data types supported by ColdFusion, and includes chapters on the following topics:

  • Lists

  • Arrays

  • Structures

Part IV: User Interface & Data Presentation

This part covers the ColdFusion features used to collect and present data, and includes chapters on the following topics:

  • Flash Forms

  • XForms

  • Printing

  • Reporting

  • Graphing

Part V: Advanced ColdFusion

This part covers a wide range of advanced development technologies and features, and includes chapters on the following topics:

  • Scripting

  • Dynamic Functions

  • Stored Procedures

  • Transactions

  • Debugging

  • Error Handling

  • Application Security

Part VI: Extending ColdFusion

This part covers ColdFusion's extensibility features, and includes chapters on the following topics:

  • Custom Tags

  • Advanced Custom Tags

  • User-Defined Functions

  • ColdFusion Components

  • Web Services

  • Java, COM, & CORBA

  • XML

  • WDDX

  • Flash Remoting

  • Event Gateways

Part VII: Services and Protocols

This part covers the services and protocols supported by ColdFusion, and includes chapters on the following topics:

  • Full-Text Searching

  • System Integration

  • Scheduling and Event Execution

  • Email Integration

  • LDAP

  • Other Internet Protocols

Part VIII: Databases

This part covers database concepts and terminology, and includes chapters on the following topics:

  • Basic SQL

  • Joins

  • Aggregates

  • Advanced Database Features

  • Improving Performance

Part IX: Tuning and Optimization

This part covers tuning and performance-optimization techniques, and includes chapters on the following topics:

  • Application Performance Tuning and Optimization

  • Server Performance Tuning

Conventions Used in This Book

The publishers have spent many years developing and creating computer books designed for ease of use and filled with the most up-to-date information available. With that experience, we've learned what features help you the most. Look for these features throughout the book to help enhance your learning experience and get the most out of ColdFusion.

  • Screen messages, code listings, and command samples appear in monospace type.

  • URLs that identify pages on the Web and values for ColdFusion attributes also appear in monospace type.

  • Terms that are defined in the text appear in italics. Italics are sometimes used for emphasis too.


Tips give you advice on quick or overlooked procedures, including shortcuts.


Notes present useful or interesting information that isn't necessarily essential to the current discussion, but which might augment your understanding with background material or advice relating to the topic.


Cautions warn you about potential problems that a procedure might cause, such as unexpected results or mistakes that could prove costly.

Cross-references are designed to point you to other locations in this book that will provide supplemental or supporting information. Cross-references appear as follows:

→ Arrays and structures are covered in detail in Chapter 14, “Arrays,” and Chapter 15, “Structures.”

The Accompanying Web Site

To further assist you in preparing for the exam, this book has an accompanying Web site. This site contains the following:

  • Updated exam information, should there be any

  • Links to other exam-related sites

  • Book corrections or errata, should there be any

  • A sample interactive test that can help gauge your exam readiness

The URL is http://www.forta.com/books/0321330110/

In addition, book support is available via an online forum at http://forums.forta.com/

Where To Go from Here

Now you're ready to get started. If you think you're ready for the exam, start with the sample questions (in the book or online) to find out for sure. If you're not ready (or if the sample questions indicate that you might not be as ready as you thought), make sure to pay close attention to the areas you need to focus on most by reading the documentation and actually writing appropriate applications.

When you're ready, work through this book to review the content and prepare for the exam as described here.

And with that, we wish you good luck!

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