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ColdFusion: Article

ColdFusion Everywhere PART 2

Run any application on the desktop

When we last left our two intrepid heroes they had just shown us how to create and run our first CFEverywhere application (including installing and configuring its requisite CFML server, application server, and Web server).

Once installed, we were able to move our "package" (application and accompanying servers) to any hard drive and run it without change (we will exploit this capability later). In Part 1 we:

  1. Discussed the reasons and advantages of deploying applications as CFEverywhere packages
  2. Examined some applications that would benefit from this approach
  3. Installed the Jetty J2EE server
  4. Deployed the BlueDragon/J2EE CFML engine
  5. Wrote and installed our first CFEverywhere application
As with most example applications, ours was not much to brag about. However, we did validate that CFML programs can be made to run in a small footprint on the desktop - a noteworthy accomplishment.

In this article, we will add a relational database server to our CFEverywhere package. This will allow us to run most any CFML application we desire on the desktop. A simple database-driven CFML application and sample data is provided so that we can validate the package and demonstrate it in action. Let's get started!

The first step is choosing the database server component. When selecting a database we had these requirements:

  • Free for commercial use and distribution
  • Cross-platform
  • Embeddable, small footprint
  • Easy to install/configure/administer
  • Strong developer community
Based on these criteria we selected Derby. You may not have heard of Derby but you may have heard of Cloudscape. Cloudscape was one of the earlier Java-based database servers released in 1997. IBM acquired the technology in 2001, and in August 2004 they contributed the source code to the Apache Software Foundation as the Derby project. As an Apache project, you can feel comfortable that Derby will have strong developer support and continue to be a robust database platform.

Derby is not the only database that is suitable for CFEverywhere. You are free to choose any database that meets your requirements. If you are targeting only the Windows platform you may choose to use an Access database. Daffodil One$DB (www.daffodildb.com/one-dollar-db.html) is another Java-based database that looks suitable.

The Derby project Web site is located at http://incubator.apache.org/derby/. There's a lot of good documentation about the database on the Web site. We recommend reading it to become more familiar with the product. Follow the links on the site and download the Derby package from http://cvs.apache.org/dist/incubator/derby/ Extract the zip file into your CFEverywhere folder and rename the folder to Derby. IBM hosts the Derby JDBC drivers. Go to www.ibm.com/developerworks/db2/downloads/jcc/ to download the drivers. You will have to follow several links and complete a free registration. The download package is called "Released product: IBM Cloudscape (IBM DB2 JDBC Universal Driver, for Cloudscape/Derby)" and the filename is db2jcc_for_derby.zip.

After you have downloaded the file, extract the contents and copy db2jcc_license_c.jar and db2jcc.jar to cfeverywhere\server\wwwroot\WEB-INF\lib. The lib directory is on BlueDragon's classpath so you won't have to add the driver files to the classpath.

To see if Derby is working let's try to invoke the sysinfo utility. At the command line, create an environment variable pointing to the Derby directory:

On Windows

	set DERBY_INSTALL=c:\cfeverywhere\derby

Note: Be careful not to put any spaces around the equal sign. Then add the Derby JARs to the classpath:

	set CLASSPATH=%DERBY_INSTALL%\lib\derby.jar;

Note: That should all be entered as one line.

On Mac OS X and Linux

export DERBY_INSTALL=/Applications/cfevery

export CLASSPATH=$DERBY_INSTALL/lib/derby.jar:

Note: That should all be entered as one line.

Invoke sysinfo with:

java org.apache.derby.tools.sysinfo

If you did everything correctly, you should see information about Java and Derby. In addition to sysinfo, Derby comes with a command-line utility called "ij" for interacting with the database. We'll use ij to create an empty database. At a command line type:

On Windows

	cd \cfeverywhere\derby
	java org.apache.derby.tools.ij

On Mac OS X and Linux

cd /Applications/cfeverywhere/derby
java -Dderby.storage.fileSyncTransactionLog=true\ org.apache.derby.tools.ij

Note: The extra system parameter for the transaction log on the command line is actually only required for OS X due to a JVM issue with Derby on that platform. Then at the ij> prompt type:

	ij>connect 'jdbc:derby:test;create=true';

(Don't forget the semicolons at the end of the command line.) If you go to the Derby directory you will notice a test subdirectory was created. This directory contains all the files that represent the test database. Ij is just a command-line utility but it doesn't actually start Derby in network mode. To do that we need to call the NetworkServerControl class; we'll create a batch file (or a shell script) to simply the process.

On Windows
Create a file startdb.bat that looks like this:

@echo off
FOR /F "eol=; tokens=1-17 delims=#" %%a in (~.tmp) do set dirnow=%%a
del ~.tmp
SET DERBY_INSTALL=%dirnow%\derby
SET DERBY_SYSTEM_HOME=%dirnow%\derby


set CLASSPATH=%DERBY_INSTALL%\lib\derby.jar;%DERBY_INSTALL%\lib\derbytools.jar;

cd derby
java org.apache.derby.drda.NetworkServerControl start

Note: Each command is on a separate line.

On Mac OS X and Linux
Create a file startdb.sh that looks like this:


export DERBY_INSTALL=$dirnow/derby


export CLASSPATH=$DERBY_INSTALL/lib/derbytools

export CLASSPATH=$DERBY_INSTALL/lib/derbynet
cd derby

java org.apache.derby.drda.NetworkServerControl 

Note: Each command is on a separate line.

Make sure the file has proper permissions. Execute the bat file (or run the shell script) and you should see:

	Server is ready to accept connections on port 1527.

Derby is up and running!

In Part 1 of this series we ran a simple "Hello CFEverywhere" CF application to demonstrate that CF was installed and working. Now that we have the Derby database system installed, we need a simple application that will utilize this capability and demonstrate a database-enabled CFEverywhere environment. Download the following three files from the URL at the end of this article and copy them to your wwwroot directory:

  • derbyprimeemployees.cfm
  • employees.txt
  • derbyemployeesdrilldown.cfm
Next, we must define a datasource. To get to the BlueDragon Administrator we need to start Jetty. Go to a command line, change to the cfeverywhere\server directory and issue the start command, i.e.,

	cd \cfeverywhere\server
java -jar start.jar etc/cfeverywhere.xml

Point your browser to the BlueDragon administrator at http://localhost:8080/bluedragon/admin.cfm.

Click the datasources link and set up a datasource with the following parameters (see Figure 1):

Datasource Name:  DerbyTest
         Driver:  com.ibm.db2.jcc.DB2Driver
            URL:  jdbc:derby:net://localhost:1527/test;
      User Name:  myusername
       Password:  mypassword

After you create the datasource make sure to verify the connection. With our datasource defined, we can use CF to create and populate the database tables (see Figure 2).

Point your browser to: http://localhost:8080/derbyprimeemployees.cfm.

This template:

  1. Drops any existing Employees Table
  2. Creates a new Employees Table
  3. Reads the employees.txt CSV file
  4. Iterates over the CSV file inserting records into the database
  5. Reads all the records from the database and dumps them into the browser
The program is set up so you can run it at any time to refresh the Employees Table, regardless of its current status.

Next, point your browser to (see Figure 3): http://localhost:8080/derbyemployeesdrilldown.cfm.

This is a simple program that allows you to page-through the records in the database.

Ta-dah! We've met the objective of this article - we have a database-driven CFEverywhere application running locally, giving the appearance of a traditional desktop application.

Experiment! Add your own applications and databases. As before, move the cfeverywhere directory around - even to a different platform. It's also worth noting that although the sample applications we've demonstrated have been very simple, it is only due to the scope of this article. CFEverywhere applications can utilize all CFML tags/functions including ColdFusion components and Web services. They can also use popular application frameworks such as Mach-II and Fusebox.

And, as if what we've shown so far isn't enough, come back next month for Part 3. We'll show you how to package your CFEverywhere application to deliver the ultimate user-experience.

To access your application, the user will be able to:

  1. Download the application (or insert a CD).
  2. Double-click an icon.
  3. That's it! There is no Step 3.

To download the files used in this article go to http://philcruz.com/cfeverywhere/downloads/cfeverywhere_files_part2.zip.

More Stories By Phil Cruz

Phil Cruz is a Macromedia Certified Advanced ColdFusion developer and has over 12 years of experience in the computing industry. He is responsible for www.mach-ii.info, a community site for the Mach-II framework. As a micro-ISV, he created Tracking Tools, an easy-to-use bug tracking application built with Mach-II (www.tracking-tools.com).

More Stories By Dick Applebaum

Dick Applebaum has been involved with computers (and their predecessors) since 1956, including 16 years with IBM. Dick and two partners opened the fifth retail computer store in Silicon Valley in 1978. Eleven years later, he sold the stores and didn?t touch a computer for seven years (when he discovered the Web). Since 1997, Dick has been developing applications using ColdFusion.

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