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

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ColdFusion: Article

ColdFusion Feature: Introducing objectBreeze

The next generation of ORM

One complaint I have heard from many developers being introduced to object-oriented programming (OOP, OO) is that it is more work than it's worth. Setting up your objects, DAOs, gateways, etc., is a lot of coding that, until you have realized the power of OO, probably does seem like quite a bit of work. Here is where an ORM tool, such as objectBreeze, steps up to the plate. In the ColdFusion community we have recently seen a few object-relational mapping (ORM) tools hit the scene. These powerful APIs allow a developer to easily interact with their data persistence layer in an object-oriented pattern with a little setup involved (or none in the case of objectBreeze).

Introduction to objectBreeze
The concept behind objectBreeze is very straightforward. By simply installing an instance of the objectBreeze controller on your Web server, any application on the server can instantly access the API with absolutely no setup or configuration. There is no need to create an object class, data access object (DAO), or gateway. Instead of concentrating on data persistence, you can concentrate on creating your application.

Since objectBreeze instantiates your object from a MasterObject class, there is absolutely no file read/write that occurs when your application accesses the object. objectBreeze is very fast, and since there is no setup involved when using objectBreeze, the learning curve is virtually nonexistent.

To introduce you to objectBreeze, I would like to walk you through creating a sample application. Let's pretend our client, Acme Algorithms, wants to create a search module for their company intranet. Simply put, they want to be able to select a department from a dropdown and/or enter some or all of an employee's name and retrieve a list of employees matching the search criteria. Their database is already designed and we pick out the tables we need for our task (see Figure 1). Seeing these tables makes us instantly think: "We can easily accomplish this with an OO approach." Using OO in this case will allow us to let our search module grow as requirements grow without rewriting large chunks of code.

Step 1: Instantiating the objectBreeze Controller
Since objectBreeze is accessible from any application on your server, you can create several instances of the objectBreeze controller for several database types/datasources in the same application. In this case, we only need one instance of the controller pointing to the client's one datasource. To keep this example simple, we'll instantiate the controller into the application scope in our Application.cfc file (see Listing 1). Then, in the Application.cfc onRequest() method we can set the controller into the variables scope. This will allow us to access objectBreeze from any template's local scope. Outside of this simple example, I would strongly recommend using an MVC pattern and a framework such as Model-Glue to facilitate this process, but this is outside the scope of this article.

In Listing 1, we first define our database type (current values are MSSQL for Microsoft SQL and MySQL) and our datasource name. We then instantiate the controller and initialize it with the defaults we set above. We now have an instantiated controller object that will allow us to access the powerful features of objectBreeze.

Step 2: Understanding the objectBreeze Controller
There are several helpful methods in the objectBreeze controller. First, objectBreeze provides you with two getters so you can access the database type and datasource name of the current instance of the controller. There are then five methods that allow interaction with objects and controllers, four of which are mentioned below:

objectBreeze.objectCreate("tableName")

  • objectCreate() will return an empty object that contains all the properties of the database table. Remember, objectBreeze requires that the table contain a primary key.

    objectBreeze.list(table_name, order_by_list)

  • list() returns all records in the table as a queryObject. You may send an optional order by statement, which is a list of properties to order by (ASC/DESC permitted).

    objectBreeze.getByProperty(table_name, property_name, property_value,
    order_by_list (optional))

  • getByProperty() allows you to specify a single property to query by and returns a query object.

    objectBreeze.getByWhere(table_name, SQL_where_clause, order_by_list (optional)

  • getByWhere() allows you to send a where statement to the query. This statement should not contain 'WHERE'. You may also specify a list to order by.
objectCreate() allows us to create a new object. List(), getByProperty(), and getByWhere() act as an interface to the objectBreeze gateways methods. In this article, we won't be dealing with collectionCreate(), but please feel free to read the documentation at www.objectBreeze.com for more information on using collections in objectBreeze.

Step 3: Understanding the queryObject
The objectBreeze gateway methods return values as a queryObject. This object encapsulates the query and allows easy retrieval of the recordset as objects:

queryObject.getQuery()

  • getQuery() returns the query as type query.

    queryObject.getRecordCount()

  • getRecordCount() returns the number of records in the query object.

    queryObject.hasPrevious()

  • hasPrevious() returns boolean result as to whether or not there is a previous record in the query.

    queryObject.hasNext()

  • hasNext() returns boolean result as to whether or not there is a next record in the query.

    queryObject.getPrevious()

  • getPrevious() returns the previous record in the query as an object.

    queryObject.getNext()

  • getNext() returns the previous record in the query as an object.
As you can see, you may still access the query recordset directly by invoking getQuery(). By checking your current position in the query with hasPrevious() and hasNext(), you can easily loop over the queryObject, returning each individual record as an object. This then allows you to compound each object as necessary and output, commit, etc.

More Stories By Nic Tunney

Nicholas Tunney is a Macromedia Certified ColdFusion developer, and has been programming ColdFusion for over 7 years. He is currently Senior Software Architect for AboutWeb, a consulting firm located in Rockville, Maryland. To learn more about using objects in ColdFusion, visit Nic's Blog at http://www.nictunney.com.

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Most Recent Comments
SYS-CON Italy News Desk 03/12/06 06:12:43 PM EST

One complaint I have heard from many developers being introduced to object-oriented programming (OOP, OO) is that it is more work than it's worth. Setting up your objects, DAOs, gateways, etc., is a lot of coding that, until you have realized the power of OO, probably does seem like quite a bit of work. Here is where an ORM tool, such as objectBreeze, steps up to the plate. In the ColdFusion community we have recently seen a few object-relational mapping (ORM) tools hit the scene. These powerful APIs allow a developer to easily interact with their data persistence layer in an object-oriented pattern with a little setup involved (or none in the case of objectBreeze).

SYS-CON India News Desk 03/12/06 04:34:28 PM EST

One complaint I have heard from many developers being introduced to object-oriented programming (OOP, OO) is that it is more work than it's worth. Setting up your objects, DAOs, gateways, etc., is a lot of coding that, until you have realized the power of OO, probably does seem like quite a bit of work. Here is where an ORM tool, such as objectBreeze, steps up to the plate. In the ColdFusion community we have recently seen a few object-relational mapping (ORM) tools hit the scene. These powerful APIs allow a developer to easily interact with their data persistence layer in an object-oriented pattern with a little setup involved (or none in the case of objectBreeze).

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