Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

Constructing an Application with Flash Forms from the Ground Up

You can do much more with them than with simple forms

As you may know by now, ColdFusion 7 includes a new feature that lets us create forms in flash format. They work as a replacement for html forms, but give us some additional controls like the tree, grid, and calendar. Even if making a "form" doesn't sound very appealing to you, once you start using this feature you will find that you can do much more than simple forms.

But the best is that they can enhance the usability of your regular forms, even if they are simple, with built-in features such as validation, tooltips, and tabs. It doesn't take much to make a flash form; basically, we only have to specify that the form's format is flash in the cfform tag and proceed with the cfform elements.

In this article, we'll walk you through the process of creating a small application interface using only flash forms. There's a lot to discover about flash forms, although you don't need know every detail to start using them. Since going over every feature would be impossible, we'll cover some of the most commonly used features that will likely be present in your next application.

To take a look at the interface we'll construct, see Figure 1.

Step 1 - Setting the Layout
Every flash form starts with a cfform tag that encloses the whole form definition and has the format attribute defined as "flash."

<cfform format="flash">

But before we start coding our application, we must first define the layout. In our address book, we have a panel on the left for a list of contacts and three panels on the right, one for previewing the contact info, the second to edit it, and a very small panel to contain a checkbox.

Before the advent of flash forms, we would write html (tables, paragraphs, etc.) to position the form elements. We can't transfer that to flash forms; they require special layout containers. We must use the new tag cfformgroup to position and lay out all elements and controls in a flash form.

To layout our four panels, we use an enclosing <cfformgroup type="hbox"> container that lets us position its contents horizontally. In the hbox, we have a panel labeled "Contacts" and another container, a cfformgroup type="vbox." The vbox contains the other two panels "Preview" and "Edit" that are positioned one below the other. See Figure 2.


<cfformgroup type="hbox">
<cfformgroup type="panel" label="Contacts" width="350">
</cfformgroup>
<cfformgroup type="hbox">
<cfformgroup type="panel" label="Preview"></cfformgroup>
<cfformgroup type="panel" label="Edit"></cfformgroup>
</cfformgroup>
</cfformgroup>
Step 2 - Adding Controls
Now that we have our panels positioned, we can start adding controls.

We show the list of contacts in the left panel in a grid with three columns: first name, last name, and e-mail. The grid's data comes from a query, specified in the "query" attribute of the <cfgrid> tag. firstName, lastName, and e-mail are columns of the query. Later we will need additional columns for the other fields, but we'll just assume our query has all the necessary columns. Note that we also specify rowheaders="false" because we don't want an extra column with row numbers.


<cfgrid name="contactList" query="contactsQuery" rowheaders="false">
<cfgridcolumn name="firstName" header="First Name" />
<cfgridcolumn name="lastName" header="Last Name" />
<cfgridcolumn name="email" header="Email" />
</cfgrid>
We want to be able to add new contacts, so let's add a button at the bottom of the grid:

<cfinput type="button" name="addContact" value="Add Contact" />

The Edit panel is a little more involved because it includes 16 inputs: 14 text inputs, one text area, and one hidden input to contain the id of the contact.


<cfinput type="text" name="firstName" label="First Name:" />
...the rest of the inputs...
<cfinput type="hidden" name="contactId" />
<cftextarea name="comments" height="45" label="Comments:"></cftextarea>
Let's also add two buttons labeled "Delete" and "Add New." These buttons are contained in a <cfformgroup type="horizontal"> tag that lays them next to the one another.

<cfformgroup type="horizontal">
<cfinput type="submit" name="deleteContact" value="Delete" />
<cfinput type="submit" name="addContact" value="Add Contact" />
</cfformgroup>
You may have noticed that "hbox" and "vbox" types are used when we want to position containers horizontally or vertically respectively, and "horizontal" and "vertical" types when we want to position controls.

Step 3 - Binding Controls
In the Edit panel, we have what looks like a typical form: several text inputs, a textarea, and submit buttons. We added them in the last step. However, while you weren't looking, we made a little change to them. Now, every text input looks like this:

<cfinput type="text" name="firstName" label="First Name:"
bind="{contactList.selectedItem.firstName}" />

Everything looks pretty normal, except for one part - bind, a strange-looking attribute with braces around its value. The bind attribute is used to set the value of the control at the evaluation of the expression between the braces. That means that we can put any ActionScript expression that can be evaluated inside the braces and the result will become the value of the control. In our form, we're populating the text inputs with data from the contactList grid, which contains all the columns and rows of the source query. To get the data corresponding to the selected row in the contact list, we access the cfgrid by its name, "contactList" and the special property "selectedItem," which points to the row that's been selected by the user. Then, by using dot notation, we get to the specific column we need, which is different for every input. The complete path would be "contactList.selectedItem.columnName."

More Stories By Nahuel Foronda

Nahuel Foronda is one of the founders of Blue Instant (http://www.blueinstant.com), a web development firm specializing in Rich Internet Applications where he has been creating award-winning applications and offering training for the last five years. He also maintains a blog, called AS Fusion (http://www.asfusion.com), where he writes about Flash, ColdFusion and other web technologies.

More Stories By Laura Arguello

Laura Arguello is one of the founders of Blue Instant (http://www.blueinstant.com), a web development firm specializing in Rich Internet Applications where she has been creating award-winning applications and offering training for the last five years. She also maintains a blog, called AS Fusion (http://www.asfusion.com), where she writes about Flash, ColdFusion and other web technologies.

Comments (11) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
RockDad 11/06/08 01:39:48 PM EST

How would one modify this app to only allow employees to edit their own information assuming there is a cookie identifier already setup?

RockDad 11/03/08 02:08:32 PM EST

GREAT tutorial but how does one bind a cfselect object with the grid? Tried it and it doesn't work. Any ideas?

Mike 01/23/08 12:19:45 PM EST

where can I get the source code for this article - "Constructing an Application with Flash Forms from the Ground Up"

wholesale ipod 10/30/07 01:18:03 AM EDT

I think so!

Garfield 07/24/05 07:47:15 PM EDT

Great article by great developers. I have just starting using CF7 and thanks to many writers out there, I have developed some impressive forms. Please visit the www.asfusion.com site for more helpful info.

Michael, visit http://www.cfform.com/flashforms/invoke.cfm?objectid=0204C17F-4E22-1671-... for a tutorial on binding grids to selects. Be mindful that when binding to a grid, the bind is both case and type sensitive to the DB columns.

Michael White 07/17/05 07:39:37 PM EDT

Your article was a good introduction to flash forms with multiple panels. I have a question on the Edit panel... what if some of your fields are CFSELECT dropdowns or date fields... having trouble finding working syntax for binding them to the grid.

Andrew 07/06/05 11:40:46 PM EDT

Loved the article! It has taught me alot. Maybe I am at fault here but I am not able to get any of this to save or edit in a db anyone else having same problem

Laura Arguello 06/27/05 08:30:39 PM EDT

Thank you for the comments.
While the link gets fixed, you can download the source code from http://www.asfusion.com/blog/files/cfforms/cfdj_source.zip

Anthony 06/25/05 05:40:50 PM EDT

How do I download the source files for this article?

[email protected]

Stiles 06/25/05 11:53:31 AM EDT

I'm having a similar problem with getting the source code for this article. The printed version states that the source code can be downloaded at www.cfdj.com. This URL is invalid and not a site maintained by Sys-Con. Any chance the link can be updated so we can view the source code?

Much appreciative.

André 06/24/05 09:48:25 AM EDT

Hi,

Thank you for the article, I found it very informative, well written and helpfull. I am having difficulties with the save content section. How could one download the source code ?Could it be possible to modify the link to open on the file rather to to another site that does not seem to be CF Dev. Journal ?

Again that you for sharing.

@ThingsExpo Stories
In this presentation, Striim CTO and founder Steve Wilkes will discuss practical strategies for counteracting fraud and cyberattacks by leveraging real-time streaming analytics. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Striim, will provide a detailed look into leveraging streaming data management to correlate events in real time, and identify potential breaches across IoT and non-IoT systems throughout the enterprise. Strategies for processing massive ...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...