|By Brandon Harper||
|January 3, 2007 04:30 PM EST||
One of the many hotly contested items about ColdFusion in recent times that some developers have been clamoring for are the addition of interfaces to ColdFusion Components as part of the standard CFML language. At one time I was definitely in this camp myself - interfaces would indeed be a good way to make sure that components follow a given contract.
However, after much thought about the underlying implementation of them at a compile time and runtime level, I find them to be only a semantic difference to what you can already do with CFCs. While something akin to a <cfinterface> tag would make the implementation of a pseudo interface a slightly cleaner affair, the underlying implementation of interfaces in a dynamically typed language such as ColdFusion does not add much to the existing capabilities. In particular, the main purpose of an interface is to ensure that an object follows a contract, and this is technically infeasible in a dynamically typed language like ColdFusion.
A reasonable high-level comparison of dynamic languages to static languages could be summed up as a pair of safety scissors versus a razor blade. Static languages are the safety scissors - they help protect you from cutting yourself and will probably last longer, but it might take a long time to cut something. Dynamic languages are a razor blade - they are very sharp and nimble and cut through most things very quickly, but they are easy to cut yourself with if you're not careful and may have a shorter shelf-life depending on how they are used. This comparison is not valid for all languages, but works well for comparing a dynamically typed language such as ColdFusion and Python to a statically typed language like Java.
ColdFusion is dynamically typed because you don't have to specify the primitive data type of variables when they are created, as the CFML runtime examines a given variable and takes care of that for you. In general, this allows you, the developer, to concentrate on getting things done rather than managing each variable you create. Statically typed languages such as Java typically require the developer to declare the data type for all variables, and provide compile-time checking to make sure all variables and method signatures are typed correctly.
While it is generally more time-consuming to program in statically typed languages, it does provide more type safety and at a micro level has greater performance. One of the performance advantages would be that because the runtime can already be assured of which data type each variable contains, fewer CPU cycles are used introspecting data and turning it into code that a CPU can understand. There are plenty of other advantages and disadvantages between the two types of languages as well that are beyond the scope of this article.
When I find a need for an interface in ColdFusion, I essentially create my own pseudo interfaces that at least provide runtime checking in case an inheriting object's method is called. It's not necessarily the best solution, but it does at least offer some sort of contract that an inheriting object can be tied to, mostly for documentation purposes. I've seen several other people do it as well, but it looks something like this:
<cfcomponent hint="Interface for foo">
<cffunction name="init" returntype="any">
<return this />
<cffunction name="implementThis" returntype="any">
<cfthrow message="foobar.Foo: implementThis() must be implemented">
<cfcomponent hint="Provides foobar functionality">
<cffunction name="init" returntype="any">
<return this />
<cffunction name="implementThis" returntype="any">
<cfreturn true />
These are just some quick pseudo-code examples coded for brevity, but you get the idea.
As I started to question the usefulness of interfaces in ColdFusion in light of the way a lot of people are already doing them, I began to realize that the implementation of an interface tag or attribute to CFCs would not really offer any technical advantages at a runtime level, so largely their implementation is only a semantic difference.
In Java, one of the main advantages to using an interface is that it does compile-time checking to make sure that classes implementing interfaces follow the contract dictated by the interface as well as the full method signature of required arguments. As ColdFusion is a dynamically typed language, there really isn't a good way to do compile-time checking of interfaces. It is also impossible to do a full method signature of an object at compile time because of the nature of dynamically typing - the full signature of an object can change at runtime because of the flexibility inherent in dynamically typed languages.
One of the reasons I decided to write about this is that it's a subject that has been debated heavily in the community as a needed feature for the upcoming ColdFusion 8, currently code-named Scorpio. BlueDragon 7, currently in beta, does include an implementation of interfaces. I wrote a shortened preview version of this article on my blog, which drew some valuable dialog, in particular from Vince Bonfanti, the CEO of New Atlanta.
Vince discussed the nature in which interfaces are implemented in BlueDragon, which I think are technically sound and the way I would personally attempt to add interfaces into a dynamically typed language. However, any sort of interface implementation in a dynamic language such as ColdFusion are only semantics because you can't check the full method signature of an object until runtime, rather than at compile time as you can with static languages. While I do concur that the syntax is cleaner than in the example I provided earlier, I disagree in principle that it's a true interface. A counter-example I provided is how many developers using the open language Python have proposed interfaces over the years, but it's never been implemented for the reasons I've cited as well as due to disagreements in the syntax of its proposed implementation, among other reasons.
Due to the nature of dynamically typed languages, the implementation of interfaces in ColdFusion would not prevent someone from breaking the contract of an interface at runtime. Any implementation of interfaces in the CFML language would essentially only represent a difference in semantics to other ways already available to implement interface-like objects without providing the safety that interfaces should provide. There are bigger problems to solve and better features to implement in the next version of ColdFusion than interfaces.
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
Mar. 25, 2017 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,537
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Mar. 25, 2017 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,894
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), will provide an overview of various initiatives to certifiy 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 worldw...
Mar. 25, 2017 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 454
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
Mar. 25, 2017 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,268
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 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 ...
Mar. 25, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,670
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
Mar. 25, 2017 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,027
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,857
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,650
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,155
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 5,051
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 900
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Mar. 25, 2017 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,518
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
Mar. 25, 2017 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,539
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
Mar. 25, 2017 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,070
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
Mar. 25, 2017 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,911
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
Mar. 25, 2017 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 4,220
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Mar. 25, 2017 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,031
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Mar. 25, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,077
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Mar. 25, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 14,014
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Mar. 25, 2017 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,794