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Adobe ColdFusion 8 Tips

A compilation of Ben Forta's blog entries from his ColdFusion 8 user group tour

The following article is a compilation of Ben Forta's blog entries from his ColdFusion 8 usergroup tour.

ColdFusion 8-Supported Image Formats
Lots of you have been asking about ColdFusion 8's planned <CFIMAGE> tag, wanting to know what image formats will be supported (many of you are asking about GIF and PNG specifically). As long as you keep in mind that ColdFusion 8 is a work-in-progress and that features and specs can change...

ColdFusion 8 has two new functions: GetReadableImageFormats() returns a list of the supported readable image formats, and GetWriteableImageFormats() returns a list of supported writable formats. The following code snippet shows all supported formats:

<cfset r=GetReadableImageFormats()>
<cfset w=GetWriteableImageFormats()>

<cfoutput>
Readable (#ListLen(r)#): #r#<br>
Writeable (#ListLen(w)#): #w#<br>
</cfoutput>

Running this code (in Beta 2, remember, this can/may still change) displays the following:

Readable (15): BMP,GIF,JFIF,JPEG,JPEG 2000,JPEG-LOSSLESS,JPEG-LS,JPEG2000,JPG,PNG,PNM,RAW,TIF,TIFF,WBMP
Writeable (15): BMP,GIF,JFIF,JPEG,JPEG 2000,JPEG-LOSSLESS,JPEG-LS,JPEG2000,JPG,PNG,PNM,RAW,TIF,TIFF,WBMP

And, yes, GIF and PNG are both supported (both read and write).

Getting Started with the ColdFusion Debugger
After a seven-year hiatus, ColdFusion once again has an interactive debugger, and this time it's built on top of Eclipse (and uses the same debugging interface as Flex Builder and other Eclipse plug-ins). If you are interested in taking the debugger for a spin, here's what you need to know to get started:

First of all, you need ColdFusion 8. If you don't have it yet, get it here: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/coldfusion8/.

You'll also need the ColdFusion 8 Eclipse extensions, and these must be installed (here is some installation help: www.forta.com/blog/index.cfm/2007/5/30/ Installing-ColdFusion-8-Eclipse-Extensions).

Before you can use the interactive debugger, enable debugging support in ColdFusion. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Open the ColdFusion Administrator.
  2. Select "Debugger Settings" in the "Debugging & Logging" section.
  3. Check "Allow Line Debugging".
  4. The debugger needs a port to communicate over. If you can't use the default, change it (just be sure to use an unused port, and you can't use the port that ColdFusion itself is on).
  5. By default, ColdFusion allows up to five concurrent debugging sessions; you can raise or lower this value as needed.
  6. Click "Submit Changes" and restart ColdFusion as you are instructed to do.
Once you enable line debugging, it will remain enabled even if ColdFusion is restarted. As a rule, don't enable line debugging on production servers, and you may want to always leave it enabled on development boxes.

Now that debugging is enabled, configure Eclipse to tell it which ColdFusion server to debug against. Servers need only be defined once, and once defined you may debug against them as needed. You can define as many servers as you need, local and remote, as long as the server has RDS enabled (and you have an RDS login).

The first thing you need to do in Eclipse is define the RDS settings for your ColdFusion server. These settings are used by the debugger, as well as the wizards, RDS panels, and more. To define your RDS connection, do the following:

  1. In Eclipse, select Window->Preferences to display the Preferences dialog.
  2. Select ColdFusion in the tree, expand the selection, and select RDS Configuration.
  3. Click New to add a new server, or just select any server to edit it.
  4. Provide a description, host name, port, and login details, and then save. To use your local ColdFusion server, specify 127.0.0.1 as the Host Name, 8500 as the Port (if using the integrated HTTP server), leave the Context Root blank, and provide the login information.
  5. Click "Test Connection" to make sure the RDS connection is working, and then click OK.
Once the RDS connection is defined, you'll be able to browse data sources in the RDS Dataview tab, view available CFCs in the Services Browser tab, use the wizards, and more. And you'll be able to debug applications, but first...

Now that your RDS connection is defined, define the ColdFusion servers you wish to debug against. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Locate the Debug button in the toolbar; it's the one with the little green bug on it.
  2. Don't click the button. Instead, click the down arrow to the right of it and select "Debug..." to display the Debug dialog, which is used to manage debugging configurations.
  3. The Eclipse debugger is used to debug all sorts of applications created in all sorts of languages, and along the left of the dialog you'll see a list of application types that can be debugged. Select "ColdFusion Application".
  4. You'll see any defined ColdFusion debugging servers under the "ColdFusion Application" branch. To add a ColdFusion server, click the New button (the leftmost one above the list) while you have "ColdFusion Application" selected.
  5. Name this server and then select the RDS server to use from the dropdown list.
  6. If you are debugging against a local server (running on the same machine as Eclipse), you can ignore the mappings section. If ColdFusion is on a remote server, you'll need to define mappings here.
  7. Click "Apply" to save your changes.
Again, servers need to be defined once, and they'll be saved for future use.

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.

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