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

Reviving Super

Reviving Super

Components bring to ColdFusion MX developers much of the power and practices of object-oriented programming. The component implementation in ColdFusion MX introduces us to many of the principles of OOP, including encapsulation and inheritance. One aspect of these features is the ability to create new components that inherit or extend the functionality of other components.

In order to effectively extend functionality, developers often require the ability to override existing component functions as well as still call the original functions to incorporate their programming logic. Since ColdFusion MX doesn't currently provide this ability, we'll explore a technique to work around this limitation that enables us to call a parent component's overridden method.

Component-Based Development
With component-based development, related code can easily be grouped together in a consolidated entity, giving us the ability to encapsulate data and functionality. This consolidation can be further expanded with the ability to inherit functionality from a parent component, also called extension. When one component extends another, it can both reuse the functionality of the original component and add its own functionality.

Often, the new functionality added to a component will replace its original functionality. This is an advantage to developers who utilize the component in their code since the parent and child components will each have a similar call interface, or function names. By maintaining a consistent interface, developers can write code that can use either the parent or child component interchangeably without modifying the calling code.

For an example of this, see Listing 1, which sets up two components, GreetingBase.cfc and GreetingChild.cfc. GreetingChild extends the functionality of GreetingBase, and both provide a single function, sayGreeting, which returns a greeting to the caller. The caller can use either component and call the same function to retrieve the result appropriate for the component being used, a feature known in OOP as polymorphism.

Calling Overridden Parent Component Functions
We run into a limitation when we try to utilize the parent component functionality for a function that we've overridden, in this case sayGreeting. We want to add a function sayAllGreetings, which returns the results of both the parent and the child components' sayGreeting functions. While you can create an instance of the parent component and call the new instance's sayGreeting method, this would not return accurate results in cases where the call depends on data in the component instance. Unfortunately, there is no mechanism in ColdFusion MX to call an overridden parent method and have it run in the context of the calling component instance.

Many other OOP languages, such as Java and even ActionScript, allow calling a parent class's methods through the keyword Super. While ColdFusion MX does not provide this ability, there is an often-overlooked feature that we can use to achieve the desired effect.

ColdFusion stores function references and variables equally. A function can be called by referring to the function name followed by parentheses, as you are accustomed. Additionally, the function reference can also be utilized by simply referring to the function name. The most common utilization of this feature is to copy a function to another scope, and here we'll use this ability to make a parent component's functions available to its children.

Any code that exists within the cfcomponent tags and outside of any cffunction tags is executed when the component is instantiated. This code is most often used to set up or initialize the component and is called the Constructor in OOP terms.

<cfcomponent>
<!--- constructor code goes here --->
<cffunction name="...">
</cffunction>
</cfcomponent>

In Listing 2 we added some code to our original components. GreetingBase.cfc now has two lines of code in the constructor.

<cfset super = structNew()>
<cfset super.sayGreeting = sayGreeting>

What we've done here is set up a structure called "super", which we'll use as a holder for our parent component methods. After creating the structure we use cfset to copy a reference to the function to our structure. It's important to note here that when this code is run, the component will exist only as the parent component, so any functionality that is overridden in the child component has not yet been incorporated.

With this structure created and our parent functions safely stored, we can utilize them in the child, GreetingChild.cfc, as follows:

<cfset var greetings="Parent says '" &
super.sayGreeting() &
"', Child says '" &
sayGreeting() & "'">

In this code we put together a string in which we call our parent component's sayGreeting function, through our super structure, and also call the current sayGreeting function as we normally would.

Super Structure Limitations
Through a little creative utilization of obscure features, we've been able to implement a very important feature common to OOP. However, our implementation is not comprehensive and does have limitations.

This technique can only be used to implement one level of parent-component calls. Since each component in the inheritance chain does not have its own data location where we can store the parent component's methods, we can only store the methods from a single parent component.

Additionally, we must recognize that this is a workaround to provide for functionality missing from ColdFusion MX. Since this feature is standard for OOP and commonly requested from developers, Macromedia will probably implement this functionality natively in a future version of ColdFusion.

When adding support for parent-component calls, Macromedia is likely to use the keyword "super" in their own implementation since this is used in both Java and ActionScript. With this change, our code will stop working since "super" will become a keyword. While this may seem like a problem, it is actually an advantage.

Since we no longer need our workaround once parent component calls are implemented in ColdFusion, we want to ensure that we can easily remove this workaround when it becomes obsolete. To accomplish this, wrap all of the super workaround code, the parent-component constructor, inside consistent comments as shown in Listing 3.

With these comments, we can utilize the Regular Expression replace in either ColdFusion Studio or Dreamweaver to remove all of the super structures from our code. As long as the keyword super is used for this functionality natively, the rest of our code will continue to work.

Conclusion
Component-based development brings to ColdFusion MX many of the features of OOP. By using a structure and function references, we were able to bring a common feature of OOP to ColdFusion, albeit with limitations. In recognizing these limitations, we can write our code in a forward-thinking manner and facilitate future changes to the code when they come in conflict with possible new functionality.

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
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, 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 strategy.
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
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 business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, 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 strategy.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...