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).

@ThingsExpo Stories
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.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
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...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
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.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"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...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
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 ...
"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...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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 ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller 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, 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.