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

ColdFusion Developer's Journal Special "Frameworks" Focus Issue: onTap

Using the onTap framework to reinvent the Pet Market application

I must admit to having been excited at the prospect of the Pet Market frameworks project when Simon proposed it to us at the Fusebox & Frameworks Conference in September. I once tried to do something similar by creating a small blog application using the three popular frameworks that I was aware of at the time (Fusebox 3-4 and Mach-II) and the onTap framework.

Unfortunately I did all the work myself and didn't have a great venue like the ColdFusion Developer's Journal to publish the results. In the end I think my efforts at a useful comparison of frameworks fell short of what I'd hoped. Naturally I'm excited to see Simon take the initiative to enlist the aid of various framework authors and publish the results in the journal. Although I personally lament the fact that the Pet Market application isn't perhaps an ideal medium to demonstrate the unique strengths or advantages of some frameworks (not only the onTap framework, although in my case display tools in particular spring to mind), I do believe the Pet Market application provides probably the best neutral ground for comparison.

My own conversion of the Pet Market application took a bit longer than I expected. At first I thought it was good that the Pet Market application was designed purely for demonstration purposes and wouldn't be used in a production environment.

On further reflection I wonder if perhaps the opposite is true - that the original application is worse for its attempts to educate programmers new to ColdFusion because anyone using it as a learning tool is apt to learn some bad habits. Here are a few examples of what I mean: no primary keys or foreign key constraints in the database containing many related tables (no enforcement of referential integrity); display code executed in a domain-model CFC; and serpentine multi-step form templates containing both form display and post logic in the same file. I'll omit my complaints about the way in which multiple historical postal addresses are stored. Having said all that, here's an application ripe for the kind of structure any good framework will provide.

A Statement of Benefits
Here's a brief list of the benefits I've found using the onTap framework to reinvent the Pet Market application in no particular order.

  • Eliminated code while simultaneously adding functionality
  • Replaced ad hoc queries with Object Relational Mapping (ORM) and vendor-agnostic SQL abstraction
  • Convenient caching of domain-model objects (products, categories, etc.)
  • Products in the shopping cart are locale-specific, dictionary-order sorted (i18n)
  • All files located in a single parent directory (no CustomTags directory or other external resources)
  • Elimination of the custom tag for the application's layout (individual content templates don't reference the layout tag/template - decreases coupling of the content and format)
  • Automated branding of images (home page graphics differ from the remaining site)
Due to time constraints and project requests from Simon, I was unable to implement any of the XHTML or form-management and validation features of the framework and as a result can't list them as benefits in using the framework in this instance although under normal circumstances I would have. The onTap framework's form tools would have replaced a fair amount of custom form validation code in this application in a manner that provides identical client-side and server-side validation with very little coding on my part. The XHTML features would have also provided a more modular method of generating the display, allowing anyone who might license my application to easily modify the display without editing any of my code, eliminating headaches related to later upgrades of my original software.

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place
Because the onTap framework is designed to take advantage of directory structures, getting started with the migration of Pet Market to this framework is easy. First I created a /petmarket/ directory under my framework application root directory in which the Pet Market sub-application would execute. In this directory I put a copy of all the ColdFusion templates in the original application's /wwwroot/ directory. I could have put these templates in the framework root directory, although I didn't want to create a separate copy of the onTap framework core (3MB) for only the Pet Market application, so I created the subdirectory so it could execute as a sub-application under my existing framework installation. Then I copied the new /petmarket/ directory also into the framework /_components/ directory to mirror the root directory. Files in the root directory will be directly accessible to browsers, while files in the /_components/ directory won't (they're protected by an Application.cfm template). Once these files are copied, I replace the contents of each of the templates in the root /petmarket/ directory with a one-line cfinclude tag to drive the framework content:

<cfinclude template="#request.tapi.process()#">

This sort of minimalist index template should be familiar to anyone using Fusebox, Mach-II, Model-Glue, or the Hub. What's different in this case is that we have many Web-accessible templates instead of having all page requests routed through index.cfm.

To be fair the same can be done also with any of these other frameworks, although the other frameworks are rarely implemented this way because they don't inherently gain any noticeable benefit from using this structure and as such it's generally easier to simply route all requests through the index.cfm template. However, with the onTap framework the name of the base template is used as a part of the execution path to determine which templates are executed by the framework. So using cart.cfm has an inherently different result than using index.cfm as the base template. Of course there's nothing preventing you from routing all requests through index.cfm, although using this multi-template strategy let me migrate the application more quickly thanks to not needing to edit any of the links, form targets, or cflocation tags in the application. Had I used any of these other frameworks, which use form/url parameters and XML configuration files to direct their execution, they would have required that I edit every URL in the application to add the appropriate event parameter (FuseAction, event, etc.).

Although I chose a directory structure that let me ignore URLs in the application, I chose not to take the same approach with images. Although I could have simply left the Pet Market images in the /ontap/petmarket/images/ directory and ignored any image tags in the application HTML, the framework provides some added features with regard to images and for this reason I decided to put the images in the framework's designated image directories.

Yup, multiple image directories.

Although most HTML applications put all images in a single directory, the onTap framework provides a method of easily targeting methods contextually to provide simple branding and replacement of images by context. Interestingly enough, the Pet Market application provides a perfect example of why I included this feature in the framework in spite of the fact that the original Pet Market authors never imagined that I would write this framework revision: more evidence that this is a good feature to have.

When you view the Pet Market application in a browser, you'll notice that the layout presents several images of different animals at the top, linked to category pages for the various categories of pets, such as dogs, cats, and reptiles. As you browse through the application, however, you might notice that a different set of images is presented on the home page than on any other page in the application. In the original application, the location of this image was tightly coupled with the layout custom tag: the layout tag contained logic to determine if the current page was the home page and displayed a different set of images (including the size of the image as part of the name of the graphic file). I put copies of each of these smaller five images in the directory /ontap/_components/petmarket/_images/category/ for most pages in the application to use, renaming them to remove the image size from its file name. This makes the image name succinct and canonical and the name of the image file accurate, even if the size of the image changes later. Then I copied the five larger images to the directory /ontap/_components/petmarket/index/_images/category/ for the home page to use with the same succinct file names.

Throughout the HTML for the application I then replaced all image tag SRC attributes with the function request.tapi.getIMG() containing the name of the target image. This function checks a series of nested image directories and returns the URL to the first image it finds. So when the layout requests request.tapi.getIMG("category/dogs.gif") it will use the image located in /petmarket/index/_images/category/ on the home page and on every other page it will use the image located in /petmarket/_images/category/.

More Stories By Isaac Dealey

Isaac Dealey has worked with ColdFusion since 1997 (version 3) for clients from small businesses to large enterprises, including MCI and AT&T Wireless. He evangelizes ColdFusion as a volunteer member of Team Macromedia, is working toward becoming a technical instructor, and is available for speaking engagements.

Comments (2) 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
SYS-CON Brazil News Desk 02/01/06 03:38:19 PM EST

I must admit to having been excited at the prospect of the Pet Market frameworks project when Simon proposed it to us at the Fusebox & Frameworks Conference in September. I once tried to do something similar by creating a small blog application using the three popular frameworks that I was aware of at the time (Fusebox 3-4 and Mach-II) and the onTap framework.

SYS-CON India News Desk 02/01/06 02:49:28 PM EST

I must admit to having been excited at the prospect of the Pet Market frameworks project when Simon proposed it to us at the Fusebox & Frameworks Conference in September. I once tried to do something similar by creating a small blog application using the three popular frameworks that I was aware of at the time (Fusebox 3-4 and Mach-II) and the onTap framework.

@ThingsExpo Stories
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
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 settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. 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, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...