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Using HTTP Agents

HTTP agents provide developers with the opportunity to leverage other Web servers as an information resource. ColdFusion uses <CFHTTP> to connect to and retrieve content from remote servers. The agent (your ColdFusion code) behaves just like a Web browser, retrieving the entire contents of the designated URL's page. Combined with other ColdFusion technologies, HTTP agents form the basic transport for content and application syndication services. HTTP agents fall into two camps: unilateral and cooperative.

Unilateral agents retrieve the contents of a Web page without any type of cooperation with the remote information resource. The developer has to determine flexible methodologies for coping with the returned data to accommodate potential changes in the structure of the information returned. For example, when syndicating headlines from the home page of a news portal, the portal owner might change the layout of his Web site from time to time. Consequently, unilateral agents are generally more complex to code, can break easily, and are prone to copyright infringements.


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