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

Undocumented ColdFusion MX - 2

Undocumented ColdFusion MX - 2

Several months ago I wrote a column entitled "Undocumented ColdFusion MX - 1," (CFDJ, Vol. 4, issue 9). I appended a "1" to the title in anticipation of there being a "2" at some later date. Well, that time has come. That column (which apparently was highly controversial and upset quite a few readers, but fortunately made even more happy) exposed and explained the use of the ColdFusion factory object. This time we'll look at some of the configuration files used by ColdFusion MX - files that can be tweaked as needed (and no controversy this time, I think).

Caveat emptor: Undocumented means unsupported - you may access and tweak the files discussed here, but you do so at your own risk. Undocumented features and files may be changed or removed in future versions of products. That's what distinguishes the documented from the undocumented - vendors are under no obligation to support anything undocumented. Use at your own risk.

Introduction
Unlike previous versions of ColdFusion that stored all sorts of configuration options and settings in the Windows registry (or a registry emulator on Unix machines), most ColdFusion MX configuration options are stored in XML files. There are lots of benefits to storing configuration information in XML files, but for ColdFusion developers, two benefits stand out:

  • Tweaking the registry was painful (and rather scary); XML files are easily (maybe too easily) read and accessed (by both man and machine).
  • Unlike the registry, XML files are suitable for use on all operating systems.

    But before you even touch ColdFusion's configuration files, here are a few rules to keep in mind:

  • Always make backups.
  • Some of the ColdFusion

    XML files are well documented (in embedded comments), others are not. If you can't find the documentation you need, well, you probably won't. With one exception, the files that configure the integrated JRun server (and HTTP server) are documented in the JRun documentation (but not the ColdFusion documentation).

  • If you do make changes you'll usually need to restart ColdFusion for those changes to take effect.
  • Use a real editor; XML is picky, if you drop an ending tag or mess up nesting or lose a quote, well, things will break. So, be safe, and use an editor that is XML aware.

    One final note - the files and directories referred to here apply to ColdFusion MX. If you are using ColdFusion MX for J2EE, then paths and files will likely differ.

    XML Files, Mostly
    Ready to look at XML files? Great, but first, one non-XML file that you should be aware of. The lib directory under the ColdFusion root contains a file named password.properties. This file contains the ColdFusion Administrator and RDS passwords. You can't change the passwords in this file directly, but if you do forget your ColdFusion Administrator password, you can use this file to gain entrance. Here's how:

    1.   Open the password.properties file in a text editor.
    2.   Delete the password and rdspassword values (all text after the =).
    3.   Change the value of encrypted to false.
    4.   Save the file.
    5.   Restart ColdFusion. You'll now be able to access the ColdFusion Administrator to set a new password.

    There are other .properties files in the lib directory, but you'll find them to be of little interest.

    The web.xml File
    The web.xml file is an important one. It is found in the WEB-INF directory under the Web root. The top of the file contains several application parameters in <context-param> sections. One of the parameters is named coldfusion.compiler.saveJava and, as its name suggests, if set to true, will force the ColdFusion compiler to save the generated Java source code (instead of just the compiled bytecode). You'll not want to ever edit the .java files directly, but if you are curious as to what the ColdFusion-generated Java code looks like (or if you need help proving to some naysayer that ColdFusion really is a Java compiler) then set this parameter to true.

    This file also contains a series of servlet mappings, each in a section named <servlet-mapping>. These specify the file extensions that ColdFusion should process. You'll not want to change any of the default mappings, but if you want ColdFusion to process additional file extensions then you'll want to add those mappings here. The safest way to do this is to copy an entire section (from <servlet-mapping> to </servlet-mapping>) and then just edit the <url-pattern> as needed.

    You can also use web.xml to completely disable ColdFusion RDS if needed (many administrators opt to do this on production servers as a security precaution). Prior to ColdFusion MX, RDS could be disabled by simply not running the RDS service; in ColdFusion MX it's a little trickier. To disable RDS, locate the <servlet-mapping> for the servlet named RDSServlet, and comment out the entire section using <!-- and --> (from before <servlet-mapping> until after the matching </servlet-mapping>).

    web.xml also contains a list of default files (or welcome files). These are the files that will be used if a URL contains a directory name but not an explicit file name. The default file names are index.cfm, index.html, and index.htm, and are listed in a section entitled <welcome-file-list> (each file is specified as a <welcome-file>). You may add file names to this list if needed. Just remember that files are located and used in the order defined.

    Another interesting configuration option in this file is the <error-page> section, which is used to map specific HTTP errors to CFM files that are used when the error occurs. By default, only HTTP error code 500 is mapped, but you can add your own mappings if you so wish.

    The jrun-web.xml File
    The jrun-web.xml file is in the same directory as web.xml. You'll only want to edit this file if you change the location of the ColdFusion document root after installation. jrun-web.xml contains a series of <virtual-mapping> sections, and to change the document root, edit the /* mapping as needed.

    If you do move the document root, be sure to move the CFIDE directory to the new document root or you'll not have access to the ColdFusion Administrator, the CFC viewer, <CFFORM> .js files, and more.

    The jrun.xml File
    Another extremely important file is the jrun.xml file, which is under the ColdFusion root in the \runtime\servers\default\SERVER-INF directory. As its name suggests, jrun.xml is used to configure ColdFusion's integrated JRun server. Be extremely careful in this file, you'll not want to make changes without really knowing what you're doing.

    But there is one section that you should be aware of. The file contains <service> sections used to configure the various services used by JRun (even if you are not using JRun directly). One of those services is the integrated HTTP server that's configured in the section named jrun.servlet.http.WebService. If you want to change the port that the integrated HTTP server runs on (the default is 8500) or want to disable it altogether (deactivate it), this is where you can do that.

    Another extremely important setting in jrun.xml is the cacheRealPath parameter for the proxy service. If you have multiple Web sites on a single host, you must turn this option off (or you will end up with the wrong files being served when file names conflict). Unfortunately, by default, cacheRealPath is true, so if you do have multiple Web sites (as most of us do), edit this file, locate the <service> named ProxyService, find the attribute named cacheRealPath, and set it to false.

    The default-web.xml File
    default-web.xml is in the same SERVER-INF directory as jrun.xml. This file defines servlets used by JRun, one of which is the FileServlet. This servlet has a configuration parameter named browseDirs that controls file browsing (the behavior whereby if a URL is requested without an explicit file name specified, then a directory of files can be displayed for selection). The default is true (display file list for browsing and selection); set it to false to prevent file browsing.

    What Next
    As you can see, ColdFusion's configuration files are extremely important, and whether you need to tweak them or not, you should be aware of what they are and what they do. Of course, most of what they do is not for us mere mortals to know, but here's a hint - scan the Macromedia Support TechNotes for articles on JRun's configuration files. Much of what you'll find there applies to ColdFusion MX as well.

    Summary
    ColdFusion MX made the move from proprietary to standards based, and with that move came XML configuration files that control just about every aspect of ColdFusion (and its underlying JRun server). As long as you proceed with caution, being able to tweak these files can be a lifesaver.

  • 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 (3) 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
    Fabrice Billiotel 02/10/06 03:07:38 PM EST

    Hi Ben,

    Well i've modified web.xml file to ask ColdFusion to process pdf file extensions.
    It works fine but i have a problem :
    if pdf file contains something like

    Leif 05/07/03 09:20:00 PM EDT

    Jeff,

    In order to access the file, you'd need admin rights on the server it runs on - and if you had that, you could do lots more than just change CF Admin settings. Keep the server secure and you're OK.

    Jeff 04/10/03 09:41:00 PM EDT

    Ben-
    Doesn't the info you gave on page 2, about password.properties, allow anyone to change the admin password and thus circumvent the reason there is a password in the first place?

    If I read this correctly, you just gave hackers a backdoor into the CF admin controls, which is pretty scary.

    Please tell me I misread this and that I just don't understand some part of it.

    Jeff

    @ThingsExpo Stories
    "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.
    Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
    Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
    Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
    IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
    No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
    Announcing Poland #DigitalTransformation Pavilion
    Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
    CloudEXPO | 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.
    DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
    The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
    @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
    Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
    DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO 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.
    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 ...
    In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
    JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
    Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
    Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
    In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, added the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor analytic...