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Setting Up Your Development Server with ColdFusion 5, MX, and BlueDragon

Setting Up Your Development Server with ColdFusion 5, MX, and BlueDragon

The world of ColdFusion application servers is quite interesting at the moment. Macromedia's recent update to CFMX 6.1 promises to add a lot of stability and speed to the product. BlueDragon, New Atlanta's alternate CFML runtime engine continues to gain momentum. Yet despite these two great products, much of the development out there is still based on ColdFusion 5 (or earlier).

What if you're interested in running one or more of these at once? Perhaps you're going to upgrade an app from one server to another? How do you test your current applications for compatibility among the other servers without reconfiguring your development machine? If you're a consultant, or work for a consulting firm, there's a good chance you'll have multiple clients, each with different server requirements. How do you handle the changing requirements without reconfiguring your server every time?

The good news is that you can install all three products at once to test them, but they each support slightly different versions of CFML. How do you set things up so that you can test a set of CFML templates against each server, while keeping the CFML code in one place?

This article answers those questions by showing you how to run all the application servers off of a single instance of Microsoft IIS 5 on Windows 2000, and will make it easy to test for cross-compatibility in your code. Normally, if you set up a ColdFusion (or BlueDragon) server to use IIS, it will replace any prior IIS settings for running CFML templates. We'll show you how to resolve that.

Even if you use Apache, iPlanet, IIS on a Windows Server edition, or some other external Web server, the concepts here will generally apply (though they may be even more flexible). If you already have CF5, CFMX, or BlueDragon installed, just follow along to learn a couple of interesting points to enable setup of IIS to run all three servers at once, pointing to the same directory of CFML code. It's a great way to do testing against all three servers.

Installing/Configuring ColdFusion 5
The first step is to install and configure ColdFusion 5 on your machine. If you already have it installed and configured to use IIS, you can skip to the next paragraph. ColdFusion 5 can currently be downloaded from the Macromedia Web site, at Click Here!. It can also be found on your ColdFusion Studio 5 CD or included in Ben Forta's CF5 Web Application Construction Kit book and others. Install it to the default directory, C:\Cfusion. During the install process you should let the installer set itself up for IIS.

You can test the success of your installation by running the ColdFusion Administrator (such as http://localhost/cfide/administrator/index.cfm) or by creating and running a page using the code below:

<cfoutput>
Level: #Server.ColdFusion.ProductLevel#
Name #Server.ColdFusion.ProductName#
Version #Server.ColdFusion.ProductVersion#
</cfoutput>

Save the page in your IIS webroot (\inetpub\wwwroot\), perhaps as cfversion.cfm, and load the page in your browser with http://localhost/cfversion.cfm. You'll see that the product version is 5,0,0,0, the name is ColdFusion Server, and the level is either Professional or Enterprise.

The install process will create two mappings in IIS, one for cfm pages and one for dbm pages. To see these, open up your Internet Services Manager (found at Start-->Settings-->Control Panel-->Administrative Tools), right-click on the Default Web Site, and choose Properties. Click on Home Directory and Configuration. (If the Configuration button is not selectable, close that window and right-click on the computer name above the Default Web Site, choose Properties, choose Edit for the Master Properties of the WWW Service, then choose Home Directory and Configuration.) You should see a cfm extension mapping listed on the app mappings tab, like that shown in Figure 1.

 

The mapping should point to "C:\Cfusion\BIN\ISCF.DLL". That's the name of CF5's IIS adapter. We're next going to install CFMX and eventually cause it to overwrite this IIS configuration for CF 5, so you should write down the mapping information as you'll need it later.

You'll also want to make backup copies of the ColdFusion 5 Administrator (cfide) and documentation (cfdocs) directories that were installed by default in the IIS webroot (\inetpub\wwwroot), as they will also be overwritten in a later step. A simple way to do this is by renaming them to cfide5 and cfdocs5. We'll show you how to make them accessible again later.

Installing/Configuring ColdFusion MX
Our next step will be to install/configure ColdFusion MX. If you already have it installed and configured to use its built-in Web server, you can skip the next two paragraphs. If you are already configured to use IIS, skip to the next subsection, "you are checking the IIS Configuration for CFMX".

You can download the latest version of ColdFusion MX from the Macromedia Web site, at www.macromedia.com/software/coldfusion/trial. ColdFusion MX will install into the CFusionMX directory by default. Just be sure not to install into the same directory as your ColdFusion 5 installation.

In fact, the installer will detect that ColdFusion 5 is already installed. Tell it you want it to coexist and install ColdFusion MX using its built-in Web server. You could tell it during the install to implement its IIS connection, but we want the article to help those who may have already installed CFMX with its built-in Web server, who will want to follow the next steps.

Once the installation is done, you can confirm that the installation was successful by running the CFMX Administrator. By default, CFMX will set up its built-in Web server at port 8500, so the URL would be http://localhost:8500/cfide/administrator/index.cfm.

Next, or if you had previously installed CFMX using its built-in Web server, we will want to manually set up CFMX to work via IIS. Using Windows Explorer or My Computer, look in the C:\CfusionMX\runtime\lib directory and double click on wsconfig.jar. (In CFMX 6.1, there is also a new menu option, Start-->Programs-->Macromedia-->Macromedia ColdFusion MX-->Web Server Configuration Tool.) The screen shown in Figure 2 will come up.

 

Click the add button and you'll see the screen shown in Figure 3.

 

If you find that you can't launch the JAR file (such as if it tries to open it like a ZIP file), or if it doesn't work for any other reason, look at the CFMX documentation, Installing ColdFusion MX and its section, "Configuring Web Servers" in Chapter 2.

Assuming things are working for you as shown in the figures, select your IIS Web site, click the Configure Web Server for ColdFusion MX Applications button and then click OK. You will be asked to restart the Web server.

Checking the IIS Configuration for CFMX
The ColdFusion MX mappings are now created on IIS. As was described in the CF5 step, open up your Internet Services Manager and bring up properties on the Default Web Site (or the Master Properties, if necessary). Click on Home Directory and Configuration. You should see a bunch of mappings, including cfm and cfc, listed on the app mappings tab, similar to the one shown in Figure 4.

 

You'll also see jsp, jws, and cfml mappings listed. The mappings probably point to "C:\CFusionMX\runtime\lib\wsconfig\1\jrun.dll". Write down this value to use in a later step. Take note, as well, that CFMX's installation of the IIS adapter actually builds the file named in that mapping. It's not enough to skip this step and just use the aforementioned DLL name in the later step.

You can run the CF Admin or our test code from above to verify that IIS is now sending pages to ColdFusion MX. In either case, you'd no longer want to use the port 8500 on the URL to test against CFMX. Instead, use the same URL you used above to test CF5. The Product Name is still ColdFusion Server, the Product Level should still be Enterprise or Professional (or may now be Standard, in CFMX 6.1). The version should start with "6" and be something like 6,1,0,63239. Again, installing ColdFusion MX has removed your ColdFusion 5 mappings from IIS, but don't worry about that for now. We'll show you shortly how to reactivate ColdFusion 5 via IIS.

Note that the earlier installation of CFMX (using the built-in Web server) installed the CFMX documentation and Administrator in the "C:\CFusionMX\wwwroot". If you want to be able to easily access these by way of IIS, you will need to copy the ColdFusion MX Administrator (cfide) and documentation (cfdocs) directories into the IIS Web root "C:\inetput\wwwroot". This is why we had you rename those directories when they had been installed with CF5.

Installing/Configuring BlueDragon
Finally, we want to install BlueDragon Server. Even if you don't know about it, there's no harm in installing it. It can run alongside both CF5 and CFMX. In simplest terms it's just another server for running your CFML, as you will see. You can learn more about it, including other benefits and features, at www.newatlanta.com/bluedragon/.

Installing BlueDragon Server is easy. It's downloadable from the New Atlanta Web site. Get the Server JX version, which like CF is available as a 30-day, full-featured trial that reverts to a single-IP developer edition after that. There is also a Server version, which is free for both development and deployment, without a time limit (though not free for redistribution). It lacks a few features available in the BlueDragon Server JX (and BlueDragon/J2EE) edition, but is much more full-featured than was the previous free edition of ColdFusion from Allaire in the 4.5 timeframe, called CF Express.

While you can install BlueDragon into its default directory (C:\Program Files\New Atlanta\BlueDragon_Server), for the purposes of this article it may be preferable to install it instead to a C:\Bdragon directory, for reasons explained later. And again, let's install BlueDragon using its built-in Web server, just as you did for ColdFusion MX. If you already installed it in its default directory, don't worry. We'll explain this issue later.

It's worth noting that like CF, you could instead have installed BlueDragon to integrate with IIS (or other Web servers like Apache and IPlanet). You could also easily add IIS integration after installing it using the BlueDragon Administrator. For the purposes of this article, we'll instead be manually setting up IIS to connect to BlueDragon. Indeed, we'll create a special virtual directory for each server in the next section.

You can confirm that BlueDragon is working by running its Administrator. It's accessible only by using the BlueDragon built-in Web server, which by default would be available at http://localhost:8080/bluedragon/admin.cfm. (Unlike CF, for security reasons the BlueDragon Administrator is accessible only from the localhost, from the machine on which it was installed. Therefore, even if you had installed it with IIS, or later configured it to use IIS, there's no point in trying to copy the admin to the IIS webroot as we did with CFMX.)

You are now ready to start configuring IIS.

Configure IIS
Let's take stock of what you've done to your machine thus far. ColdFusion 5, ColdFusion MX, and BlueDragon are installed. Only ColdFusion MX is set up to run using IIS. All CFML templates in all directories run though IIS will execute by way of CFMX. BlueDragon will run only in stand-alone mode using its built-in Web server. ColdFusion 5 won't work at all because its mappings were replaced by ColdFusion MX. We now want to accomplish our goal of having everything run off of our single instance of IIS, pointing to the inetpub/webroot.

The solution is to create virtual directories for each server that point to the webroot, but run the templates through the desired CFML server. The key is in those extension mappings that we referred to before. In fact, we can create different virtual directories that each use a different mapping for CFML templates. You can do this from the Internet Services Manager. Follow these instructions:
1.  Right-click on the Default Web Site and select Virtual Directory from the New menu.
2.  Name the first virtual directory something like CF5. When asked to enter the path containing the Web content, use the available Browse button to point to inetpub\wwwroot. Now the virtual directory is created.
3.  Bring up that new virtual directory's properties by right-clicking it and selecting Properties. Click on the Configuration button on the virtual directory tab. It will probably have inherited mappings (for the .cfm and .cfml extensions) that point to the ColdFusion MX IIS DLL, because CFMX was configured to use IIS integration in that previous CFMX install step. We will want to override this mapping. Change the cfm and cfml mappings to point to C:\Cfusion\BIN\ISCF.DLL, the value you wrote down earlier in this article during the CF5 setup.
4.  Now, templates executed with the new /CF5 URL will execute via CF5 instead. You can confirm that your new setup is working by using the URL http://localhost/CF5/ to run some CFML templates in the inetpub\wwwroot. If you followed the recommendation of renaming the CFDOCS directory that had been installed with CF5, the URL would now be http://localhost/cf5/cfdocs5/dochome.htm. The CF5 Administrator would be http://localhost/cf5/cfide5/administrator/index.cfm. Admittedly, not all the images will work correctly and some links may not work as expected, but at least it's better than having lost the CF 5 Admin and docs if we'd installed CFMX directly to the IIS webroot and had overwritten them entirely.

Now, what about CFMX? Though it's already set up to serve docs in the webroot, you may want to create another virtual directory, named CFMX, to parallel what you did for CF5. You can follow steps similar to those above to create a virtual directory named CFMX, using the CFMX version of the IIS DLL mappings we had taken note of earlier.

The final step is to create a BD virtual directory. Again, use the same steps above, but in this case the DLL file we want to point the cfm mappings to is located in that BDragon directory we installed it to, at C:\BDragon\bin\isapi\BlueDragon_Adapter.dll, as shown in Figure 5.

 

Now we can explain why we chose to install BlueDragon to a BDragon directory rather than Program Files\New Atlanta. It's due to a limitation in the IIS Internet Services Manager dialogue we've been using for associating a DLL to an extension mapping. The problem is that it will not accept a directory path containing spaces.

This wouldn't be an issue if we were to choose IIS integration at installation of BlueDragon, or if we selected it afterward using the BlueDragon Administrator. In those cases, BlueDragon uses a programmatic API to set the extension mapping and the path to its DLL, where the spaces don't matter.

If you've already installed BlueDragon and want to try this manual approach to setting up a new virtual directory, and you don't want to reinstall BlueDragon, you can still point to your existing directory here. You'll just have to convert the path to the Windows 8.3 format. On our test machine, that path name would be C:\Progra~1\NewAtl~1\BlueDr~1\bin\isapi\BlueDragon_Adapter.dll. This will vary on your machine depending on other directories you may have in the Program Files or New Atlanta directories. If you're comfortable using the DOS command line, you can determine the 8.3 name for a given path using the DIR command's /X switch.

Finally, note that unlike CFMX, we did not need to install the IIS adapter in order to use that BlueDragon_Adapter.dll. As in CF5, it's simply placed there automatically during the install process along with all the other external Web server adapters.

Conclusion
Now you can browse code in your webroot and serve it via all three application servers just by changing the virtual directory in your URL.

  • Localhost/cf5 will send code to the ColdFusion 5 server.
  • localhost/cfmx will send code to the ColdFusion MX server.
  • localhost/bd will send code to the BlueDragon server.

    And notice that while we've created the virtual directories to point to the IIS webroot, you could just as easily create three sets of virtual directories to point to another content directory outside the webroot.

    Maybe someone out there would like to take this concept and extend it to offer similar instructions for doing this in Apache, iPlanet, or IIS 6 on Windows Server 2003. Again, the concepts are similar, and sometimes even easier on those Web servers.

    In any case, for those on IIS, jumping between projects, clients, and application servers just became much easier.

  • More Stories By Charlie Arehart

    A veteran ColdFusion developer since 1997, Charlie Arehart is a long-time contributor to the community and a recognized Adobe Community Expert. He's a certified Advanced CF Developer and Instructor for CF 4/5/6/7 and served as tech editor of CFDJ until 2003. Now an independent contractor (carehart.org) living in Alpharetta, GA, Charlie provides high-level troubleshooting/tuning assistance and training/mentoring for CF teams. He helps run the Online ColdFusion Meetup (coldfusionmeetup.com, an online CF user group), is a contributor to the CF8 WACK books by Ben Forta, and is frequently invited to speak at developer conferences and user groups worldwide.

    More Stories By Jeffry Houser

    Jeffry is a technical entrepreneur with over 10 years of making the web work for you. Lately Jeffry has been cooped up in his cave building the first in a line of easy to use interface components for Flex Developers at www.flextras.com . He has a Computer Science degree from the days before business met the Internet and owns DotComIt, an Adobe Solutions Partner specializing in Rich Internet Applications. Jeffry is an Adobe Community Expert and produces The Flex Show, a podcast that includes expert interviews and screencast tutorials. Jeffry is also co-manager of the Hartford CT Adobe User Group, author of three ColdFusion books and over 30 articles, and has spoken at various events all over the US. In his spare time he is a musician, old school adventure game aficionado, and recording engineer. He also owns a Wii. You can read his blog at www.jeffryhouser.com, check out his podcast at www.theflexshow.com or check out his company at www.dot-com-it.com.

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