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, Adobe Flex

ColdFusion: Article

Multi-Threaded Application Development In ColdFusion 8

ColdFusion MX7 introduced the ability to asynchronously spawn ColdFusion requests using an event gateway

Ben Forta's Blog

ColdFusion MX7 introduced the ability to asynchronously spawn ColdFusion requests using an event gateway. While many take advantage of this capability, it has some significant limitations, the biggest of which is that threads can only be spawned, there is no way to monitor spawned threads or wait for them to finish. (The other limitation is that the functionality is only available in ColdFusion Enterprise).

ColdFusion Scorpio provides far more sophisticated multi-threading capabilities via the new <CFTHREAD> tag. This tag is used to perform several actions:

  • JOIN causes the current thread to wait until one or more specified threads have finished processing.
  • RUN creates a new thread which starts processing immediately.
  • SLEEP makes another thread pause for a specified number of milliseconds.
  • TERMINATE kills another thread.

There are lots of use cases for this new functionality, but at a minimum there are two primary usage scenarios:

  • Many requests process user submissions, for example, a user uploaded file. The way most ColdFusion applications work today is that the file is processed on the server (parsing it, converting it, saving it, etc.) while the user waits. But in truth, there is no reason users should have to wait for your application to finish its processing. A better user experience would be to receive the file in the action page, spawn a new thread to actually process it, and return control back to the user instantly. This creates a far more responsive user experience.
  • Applications often have to perform multiple operations (perhaps updating database rows, writing log entries, generating an e-mail, firing server-side HTTP requests, and more). Most ColdFusion applications perform these tasks sequentially, one after the other, and then returning to the user when complete. But if the various operations are not actually dependent on each other, you could spawn a thread for each, having them execute concurrently, and if necessary waiting until they are complete to continue processing. The result is a faster application, as multiple operations are being performed concurrently.

The code to spawn a thread is very simple:

<!--- Use a separate thread to perform file processing --->
<cfthread action="run" name="threadFile" file="#myFile#">
   <cffile file="#ATTRIBUTES.file#" ...>
</cfthread>

Here a thread named 'threadFile' is spawned. An argument (the file to be processed) is passed to <CFTHREAD>, and so that attribute is available within the thread in the ATTRIBUTES scope.

Within threads there are several important scopes. Any locally defined variables are implicitly thread local. THREAD is a special scope (a sub-scope of VARIABLES) that is available to all threads spawned by a single parent. ATTRIBUTES is used to access any variables passed as attributes to <CFTHREAD>.

The previous example spawns a thread that could continue processing long after the parent page terminates. If you needed to wait for a thread to complete you could use the following code:

<cfthread action="join" name="threadFile">

JOIN is used to wait for one or more threads to complete, and multiple thread names may be specified (as may a timeout value).

Once defined, the thread name can be accessed as a structure which exposes the following members:

  • ELPASEDTIME is the amount of time since the thread was spawned.
  • ERROR contains any error messages generated by the code in the spawned thread.
  • NAME is the thread name.
  • OUTPUT contains any generated output. This output will not be sent to the client, but parent page code can access the output which can then be used as needed.
  • PRIORITY is the thread priority level (HIGH, LOW, NORMAL).
  • STARTIME is the time the thread started.
  • STATUS is the thread status (NOT_STARTED, RUNNING, TERMINATED, COMPLETED, WAITING).

So, to check that threads executed properly without errors, you could JOIN the threads, and then check STATUS to see if they completed. A status of TERMINATED means an error occurred (or that threads were explicitly terminated) in which case ERROR would provide details as to what happened.

More Stories By Ben Forta

Ben Forta is Adobe's Senior Technical Evangelist. In that capacity he spends a considerable amount of time talking and writing about Adobe products (with an emphasis on ColdFusion and Flex), and providing feedback to help shape the future direction of the products. By the way, if you are not yet a ColdFusion user, you should be. It is an incredible product, and is truly deserving of all the praise it has been receiving. In a prior life he was a ColdFusion customer (he wrote one of the first large high visibility web sites using the product) and was so impressed he ended up working for the company that created it (Allaire). Ben is also the author of books on ColdFusion, SQL, Windows 2000, JSP, WAP, Regular Expressions, and more. Before joining Adobe (well, Allaire actually, and then Macromedia and Allaire merged, and then Adobe bought Macromedia) he helped found a company called Car.com which provides automotive services (buy a car, sell a car, etc) over the Web. Car.com (including Stoneage) is one of the largest automotive web sites out there, was written entirely in ColdFusion, and is now owned by Auto-By-Tel.

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
CFDJ News 05/21/07 05:36:49 PM EDT

ColdFusion MX7 introduced the ability to asynchronously spawn ColdFusion requests using an event gateway. While many take advantage of this capability, it has some significant limitations, the biggest of which is that threads can only be spawned, there is no way to monitor spawned threads or wait for them to finish. (The other limitation is that the functionality is only available in ColdFusion Enterprise).

CFDJ News 05/21/07 04:37:01 PM EDT

ColdFusion MX7 introduced the ability to asynchronously spawn ColdFusion requests using an event gateway. While many take advantage of this capability, it has some significant limitations, the biggest of which is that threads can only be spawned, there is no way to monitor spawned threads or wait for them to finish. (The other limitation is that the functionality is only available in ColdFusion Enterprise).

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, 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 buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...