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

A New Year's Resolution: Get to Know ColdFusion

CFDJ Editorial — A New Year's Resolution: Get to Know ColdFusion

Keeping up to date with the most recent versions of software and programming languages is the toughest challenge for me as a developer.

With each passing year it seems that the demands of being a top Web developer require proficiency in more and more tools and languages. Gone are the days of just knowing HTML and JavaScript Validation.

A Web developer today has to be competent not only with HTML and simple JavaScript, but also with CSS, XHTML, object-oriented JavaScript, DHTML, and AJAX to name a few...and that doesn't include server-side development or use of Flash/Flex (another industry standard). Many of us are also expected to keep up to date with the newest version of ColdFusion the minute it's out, and it's becoming more common to be expected to master ActionScript and Flex as well. I'm going to ignore all of the Web standards and Flex 2/ Flash and focus on the importance of being more familiar with ColdFusion in this month's editorial.

In the course of three years, from the release of ColdFusion MX to the release of ColdFusion MX 7.02, the landscape has completely changed for CF developers. For the first time we had native XML parsing, a report building tool, a new charting tag suite, a more feature-rich version of Verity, the native ability to cluster ColdFusion server instances, SOAP (Web services) support, the ability to do Flash Remoting, access to server-side events, an Event Gateway framework, and object-oriented CFML (in the form of ColdFusion Components). We also had dozens of other minor new features and changes added to the language and to the CF Administrator, and an entirely new underlying platform to learn to optimize, configure, and troubleshoot. Not one thing in that list existed prior to the release of CFMX.

These are a lot of features to learn how to implement and how best to use on our applications, and many CF developers have barely scratched the surface of several of them. For example, I wonder how many of you have written an event gateway? How about even using an event gateway in an application? What about the report builder...are you able to create reports and sub-reports quickly or easily or have you managed to avoid learning that tool? Hopefully by now you are aware of the benefits of using ColdFusion Components to represent business logic, but are you doing it in your applications on a daily basis? Have you become comfortable with the idea of object-oriented CF yet? It's a lot to learn and a hell of a lot to master, and I've got news for you: ColdFusion 8, currently code-named Scorpio, is going to be another big feature release, with many, many new features being introduced.

ColdFusion MX 7, a robust feature-rich release, was very quickly and widely adopted by companies already using and new to ColdFusion. It's easy for the owner of a company to see marketing materials about the new features and say "neat - let's get it," but for many developers the implications of this aren't quite as easy because of the large new feature set to master. With another feature-rich release looming in the future, what can you do to prepare?

First and foremost, try to get as up to speed with the current features as you can. In ColdFusion MX 7.0.2, there are 291 CFML functions and approximately 106 CFML tags. It's not reasonable to expect that you would have complete mastery of the skills required to properly use them all, but it's certainly feasible that a developer can learn enough about their syntax and purpose in order to have a better understanding of how to solve any problem they face in code and to quickly know where to turn for the answers. The first thing every developer should do when sitting down to a new development environment is download the free CF Documentation from Adobe (available at www.adobe.com/support/documentation/en/coldfusion/). These documents (available as pdfs for off-line use) are an invaluable source of information for any developer using ColdFusion so always keep them handy.

I guarantee that being more familiar with all of the current features will aid you tremendously in getting up to speed with the next batch of enhancements. In addition, I recommend starting small - pick focused areas to master. Rather than learning everything at once, pick a specific feature set (charting, reporting, CFCs, etc.) and spend anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks just learning and practicing using that feature set. In no time, you'll find that you've learned a huge amount about what the server can do and about how the features are implemented.

I also recommend being ready. You know CF 8 is coming. You may not know when and you may not know exactly what it will contain, but you know it's going to have a lot of great new features and you know it's coming, so put together a game plan now about how you're going to make the time to learn it whenever it does come out. Talk to your boss about it - letting him or her know now that you want a week or more (if possible) to study the new version when it is released can't hurt (and shows a lot of initiative). If you or your department has a training budget, make sure that you've kept some of that budget stashed away for training in the form of classes and/or conferences after the new version is released. There's a lot you can do to be ready.

It's often said that most CF developers use 10 particular tags for 90% of what they do. While this is true, it also accounts for the fact that most CF developers aren't getting their money's worth from the server or from their own code; when a new feature is released that they want to use, implementing the new feature will take longer, possibly resulting in the feature not being implemented efficiently or effectively, and in any case could make implementing the new feature a daunting task. This is why, though you may not necessarily need to implement every feature or even more than 10 tags in your applications, it is essential for ColdFusion developers to be studious and passionate when it comes to the onslaught of features that Adobe's server team has hurled at us. They won't relent and neither should we. A very senior member of the CF server team once said to me, "We just make the tools - it's up to you developers to figure out the best way to use them." Brilliantly put. It's not just our livelihood but our responsibility to explore every capability the server has to offer. This is a New Year's resolution we should all be making to ourselves and our employers for 2007 and so long as Adobe and the ColdFusion Server Team continues delivering the kind of feature-rich versions we're fast becoming used to for many more years to come.

More Stories By Simon Horwith

Simon Horwith is the CIO at AboutWeb, LLC, a Washington, DC based company specializing in staff augmentation, consulting, and training. Simon is a Macromedia Certified Master Instructor and is a member of Team Macromedia. He has been using ColdFusion since version 1.5 and specializes in ColdFusion application architecture, including architecting applications that integrate with Java, Flash, Flex, and a myriad of other technologies. In addition to presenting at CFUGs and conferences around the world, he has also been a contributing author of several books and technical papers.

Comments (0)

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
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...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo 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 ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.