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
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
"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.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.