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Welcome to Inside ColdFusion MX! This book is intended to be a comprehensive guide for ColdFusion developers. It provides the knowledge to leverage the power of the new, J2EE-based ColdFusion Server to create dynamic web applications.

The release of ColdFusion MX constitutes a major overhaul for the ColdFusion product. ColdFusion MX is the first version of ColdFusion built to leverage the J2EE initiative, and it enhances the ColdFusion developer’s ability to create applications that are scalable and portable. With ColdFusion MX, you can easily extend ColdFusion by tying your application architecture to other existing J2EE-compliant applications throughout an organization. You can also deploy ColdFusion applications across a wide range of J2EE-compliant server products. This is an exciting and necessary advance for the ColdFusion product, and it will require you to gain a unique understanding of the new ColdFusion product and how you can leverage that power.

Inside ColdFusion MX takes you through the changes that that will affect you most when moving existing ColdFusion applications from ColdFusion 4.X and ColdFusion 5 to the ColdFusion MX architecture. In addition, Inside ColdFusion MX provides unique guidance for creating real-world applications from the ground-up that are built exclusively to leverage the power of ColdFusion MX and its uniquely new infrastructure. As the authors of this book, we have had daily involvement with the creation, management, deployment, and support of a multitude of enterprise-level ColdFusion applications. We are not removed “from the trenches,” so to speak. We spend the majority of our time facing the real-world problems that you face, and in this book, we strive to give you a complete reference where you can find solutions and support for your problems.

Who This Book Is For

Inside ColdFusion MX is aimed at the intermediate-to-advanced ColdFusion developer. While everyone who works with ColdFusion will benefit from the information contained within this book, little time is spent discussing the issues that a beginner might face, as there is neither time nor room to cover those topics in addition to the advanced topics we wish to discuss.

If you work with ColdFusion on a daily basis, you will find this book a great addition to your reference library, as we cover in great detail the differences between ColdFusion MX and its predecessors. In each chapter, we provide a brief discussion of what the chapter covers and how it relates to ColdFusion developers. Then, we immediately go into greater detail by taking a problem/solution approach to a real-world scenario. In our experience, this proves to be an incredibly effective way of disseminating the necessary information in an easy-to-understand way, and this format also lends itself easily to reference usage.


Inside ColdFusion MX includes the following coverage in each chapter:

Chapter 1, ColdFusion Starts Here,” discusses the numerous changes to the ColdFusion platform, including changes to the product infrastructure and the effects of the changes on the ColdFusion application development process and developers themselves. It also identifies additions to the ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) language and points to later discussions of syntax changes to existing language elements. The enhancements to the methods developers can use to deploy their applications are also discussed.

Chapter 2, “Preparing Your Environment,” covers installation and configuration of the server and studio products for development purposes.

Chapter 3, “Before You Begin Coding—Application Planning,” discusses how attention to architectural considerations, effective planning, and sticking with a standard development methodology for your project can help you to successfully complete your application development project.

Chapter 4, “Fundamentals of ColdFusion Development,” digs deeper into ColdFusion application development, including ColdFusion development concepts, basic CFML, and interaction with databases.

Chapter 5, “Reusing Code,” covers the key to efficient ColdFusion development. Here we show examples of code reuse and proper syntax for interacting with other application templates and third-party elements.

Chapter 6, “ColdFusion Components,” covers the new ColdFusion components (CFCs), offering both basic and advanced treatment of the topic.

Chapter 7, “Complex Data Types,” shows you how to use complex data types, such as lists, arrays, structures, and queries, to greatly improve the performance and power of your applications.

Chapter 8, “Application Framework,” discusses the statelessness of web applications and reviews the web application framework within ColdFusion. In addition, the ColdFusion variables are discussed. They help develop sites that can remember preferences, maintain state, and improve the overall user experience.

Chapter 9, “Error Handling,” discusses common circumstances that can cause problems within your applications, and it gives you ways to avoid these pitfalls.

Chapter 10, “Regular Expressions,” teaches the basic use and syntax of regular expressions and metacharacters, and how to leverage regular expressions within your ColdFusion applications.

Chapter 11, “Working with Email,” shows examples of how to send email within your application and how to build an application that lets you access your email on various servers.

Chapter 12, “Working with Files,” covers the interaction of ColdFusion with files and enables developers to build applications that show, copy, move, save, delete, and rename files and directories. We also discuss the scheduling of tasks and how that relates to file interaction.

Chapter 13, “CFScript,” discusses ColdFusion’s server-side scripting language implementation—CFSCRIPT. We’ll also show how developers can build user-defined functions (UDFs) within CFSCRIPT.

Chapter 14, “Debugging,” provides a good overview of the choices available as you begin to debug your applications, and it covers some quick tips and tricks that help make the most of that information.

Chapter 15, “CFML Coding: Best Practices,” introduces the most fundamental elements of the ColdFusion coding language and how those elements interact with each other. This section discusses using ColdFusion graphing capabilities to extend or enhance data presentation. We’ll also discuss how to extend ColdFusion’s built-in graphing capabilities by configuring ColdFusion to work with a full version of Macromedia Generator.

Chapter 16, “Further Extending Your Applications,” demonstrates the use of some key technologies to enhance the power and functionality of a ColdFusion application and to get the most out of your code.

Chapter 17, “Common Application Development Requirements,” covers development requirements that come up repeatedly with most every new project. These requirements include application security, content management, e-commerce, and personalization.

Chapter 18, “Enhancing Application Performance with Caching,” examines some common caching strategies and discusses the performance improvements you can expect to see when implementing such strategies.

In Chapter 19, “Introduction to XML and ColdFusion MX,” and Chapter 20, “Advanced XML,” coverage includes the tighter integration of ColdFusion MX with eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and how XML and WDDX tie into the grand scheme of web services initiatives, such as .NET and Sun ONE.

Chapter 21, “Web Services and ColdFusion,” introduces you to the ease with which you can establish web services by using ColdFusion components. While the web services established through ColdFusion have some limitations, ColdFusion offers the easiest implementation of web services available.

Chapter 22, “Leveraging J2EE,” addresses the shift to the J2EE platform taken with ColdFusion MX. We show you how you can work with Java Server Pages (JSP), Java Server tag libraries, Java Servlets, and various Java objects, including generic classes and Enterprise Java Beans.

Chapter 23, “Working with Databases,” and Chapter 24, “Advanced Database Interaction,” discuss the basic concepts of relational databases, covering terminology and key concepts related to performance and infrastructure.

Chapter 25, “Administering the ColdFusion Server,” covers lots of tips and tricks on how developers, database administrators, and server administrators can enhance performance of their respective parts of the puzzle to get the most out of ColdFusion MX and application code.

Chapter 26, “Performance Optimization and Scalability Planning,” discusses some of the techniques that were a mainstay for the Allaire consulting group. The methodology that we developed has not been published outside that small group of people, and here we explain it so that any developer can take advantage of the secrets.

Chapter 27, “Migration to ColdFusion MX,” discusses migration of older applications to your ColdFusion MX Server and testing methodologies. Included are instructions on common syntax changes to look for when updating code to ColdFusion MX specifications and how to streamline that code to work on the infrastructure.

Chapter 28, “ColdFusion Tips and Tricks,” is a goodie basket filled with tips the authors and their colleagues have compiled.

In addition, you’ll find full tag and function references in Appendix A, “Tag Reference,” and Appendix B, “Function Reference. “


This book follows a few typographical conventions:

  • Program text, tags, functions, variables, and other “computer language” examples are set in a monospace font—for example, alert tcp. Placeholders in syntax descriptions are set in an italic monospace font—for example, name of your server .

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