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Introduction

Introduction

“Brody, cut off the techno tunes and answer the phone! If it’s Janice, I’m not here.”

“Hello, SB Consulting. No, Stan’s not here. Can I take a message? Oh hi, Janice.” Brody spins around to face Stan and flashes an evil grin. Leaning on the doorframe, soda can dangling limply in his hand, Stan looks pale and sickly. “Yes, I’ll tell him you called—the admin module, right.” Brody hangs up the phone.

“I was up all night fixing bugs in the admin. Every dang time I fixed one, two more popped up. Betcha Janice wanted somethin’ else added to it,” Stan slurred every other word between slurps of Mountain Dew.

“Yep. She said something about processing prepaid checks. She wanted to know how much time it would take.”

“I swear, Brody, our next job isn’t gonna be like this one. Janice is cool and all, but I’m sick of all the changes.” Happy that he is not in Stan’s shoes, Brody swings back around to his desk and slaps his headphones back over his ears, his stylish sideburns sticking out beneath. Stan closes his eyes, exhales, and slowly turns around, trying to remember the last time he ate.

Sound familiar? Many developers struggle to launch projects on time and under budget without staying up all night to do it. Those of us who are successful often wonder how we can improve our success rates. We need advice about communicating with our clients. We need a standard process to make the project manageable. We need a framework to serve as a base for our applications so we stop reinventing the wheel every time. We need a system that simplifies maintenance and requests for change during development.

We need Fusebox.

This book is about making ColdFusion applications reliably successful by following a standardized system. At the heart of the system is simplicity: a framework consisting of a set of helper files and organizational principles, and a methodology consisting of a set of best practices for managing web projects. Used by application designers, developers, and architects, the system addresses development problems such as unmanageable complexity, wasteful redundancy of effort, time-consuming code maintenance, and slow development speed. Fusebox is not a new creation. In answer to the problems plaguing software development over the past few decades, the framework and methodology described here have been used by thousands of developers to build tens of thousands of applications. This book documents the practices of a large and growing community of users who have not been able to refer to a definitive guide—until now.

One aspect of Fusebox is an application framework. This framework includes guidelines to follow regarding file naming, directory use, and file content. More important, it has a set of core files—files that implement the Fusebox specification, a set of requirements, and an application program interface (API). These core files create the Fusebox framework, which contains powerful features such as variable inheritance and nested layout control.

Fusebox is also a development methodology—a step-by-step process consisting of a set of guidelines and best practices for the entire application development lifecycle. Some of the phases are framework independent; they are especially useful for Fusebox applications, but they are relevant and helpful no matter what application framework is used.

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