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Part IV: Advanced Application Developmen... > Intelligent Agents and Distributed P...

Chapter 21. Intelligent Agents and Distributed Processing

In this chapter


Using the <CFHTTPPARAM> Tag

Putting the <CFHTTP> Tag to Use

Using the <CFFTP> Tag

Intelligent Agents

This chapter deals with two general topics that go hand in hand: transfer protocols, distributed objects, and intelligent agents. These are considered two topics here because the transfer protocols move information, whereas the second two terms are used for operations performed on that information.

Transfer protocols are any standard means used to move data from one place to another. These means include Internet protocols such as HTTP, FTP, LDAP, and others that you have learned about in previous chapters. Transfer protocols are not limited to these techniques, though. Any sort of communications such as ODBC, OLE-DB, and even calls to COM and CORBA objects can fall under this heading. Rather than write a whole book on transfer protocols in ColdFusion, this chapter is limited to the two most common Internet protocols used by ColdFusion: CFHTTP and CFFTP. You can find details on other protocols and other means of transferring information in various chapters of both this and ColdFusion Web Application Construction Kit.

Descriptions of distributed objects and intelligent agents make up the other part of this chapter. They are basically ways and means of using information that is transferred using the transfer protocols.

Distributed objects encompass all operations in which you're asking some outside process to perform some calculation and return some data. These operations can be as simple as calling a COM object, calling a stored procedure from a database, or having CFHTTP call another ColdFusion machine to do work for you. The entire focus here is that ColdFusion sends some information or some request to some other machine or process and gets back a final result that can be used without being modified at all.

Intelligent agents, on the other hand, deal more with getting information from somewhere and then parsing through it to get the piece or pieces you want. The most common example is using CFHTTP to retrieve a page with stock values on it and then parsing out only the stock values, leaving the rest of the page unused. In contrast to distributed objects, intelligent agents do most—if not all—of their work locally.

As you go on, you might see a number of overlaps between distributed objects and intelligent agents, and of course, any transfer protocol described in this and other chapters.



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