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Monday, June 17, 2024

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What is ColdFusion?
No, it is not a nuclear substance...

A couple computer types, brothers Jeremy and J.J. Allaire, created ColdFusion in 1995. Jeremy, the business-minded one, had a print publication he needed to regularly post to the Web, so he approached the coding brother, J.J, and asked him to help build a simple application that would speed the task.

When the project was complete, both realized they had a hot property on their hands and Allaire Corporation was born. However the Allaire Corporation was merged with Macromedia Corporation in 2001, to become simple to use yet powerful alternative to Perl and other CGI technologies. With an estimated 250,000+ developers world-wide now using ColdFusion, it is safe to say they have succeeded!

Today, ColdFusion is in its seventh major release and both brothers wear fine suits and drive fancy cars. The official description of ColdFusion calls it a Web application server, but depending on how you choose to use it, it can also be considered a page-development tool, a database server, or your ticket to the high life. At the heart of the program is a database-to-Web gateway. It allows you to take an existing database file and serve it up via the Web, record-by-record, without having to create new HTML files for each record.

So what, exactly is ColdFusion?

It is a Web Application Server:
ColdFusion is an application that runs on a web server. Currently, it runs on Linux, Solaris, and Windows Servers. (yes, even personal web server on win98) The ColdFusion Web Application Server works with the HTTP server to process requests for web pages. Whenever a ColdFusion page is requested, the ColdFusion Application Server executes the script or program the page contains.

It is a programming Language:
ColdFusion is a language. It can create and modify variables just like other languages you may be familiar with. It has program flow controls like "IF, Switch Case, Loop, etc". It has many built in functions for performing more complicated tasks (like finding what day the 3rd of august will be in 2007 "DayOfWeekAsString(DayOfWeek('2007/08/03'))"

It is a Database Language:
OK, not a Database Language, but ColdFusion makes interacting with your database (Sybase, Oracle, MySQL, SQL, or Access) simple. Using standard SQL (Structured Query Language) your web pages and web applications can easily retrieve, store, format, and present information dynamically.

It is Tag Based:
If you are comfortable with HTML you will love CFML (ColdFusion Markup Language). Many of ColdFusions powerful features (Like reading from and writing to the servers hard drive) are tag based. Just like a <Table> tag can take "arguments" like 'width' or 'align', the <CFFILE> tag takes "arguments" specifying 'action=read/write/copy/delete', 'path=' etc.

It Integrates Technologies:
Wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to write all the JavaScript for your pages? The CF tag <CFFORM> will automatically build all the JavaScript code to verify required fields before the form submits. ColdFusion also has tags to embed COM, Corba, and Java Applets/Servlets.

It is Scalable:
ColdFusion was designed to build complex, high traffic websites. Sometimes a web designers biggest problem is that a site becomes popular. ColdFusion is designed to run on multi-processor machines, and allows you to build a site that can be run on a "cluster" of servers.

It is a "Server Side" Language:
Unlike JavaScript, and Java Applets, which run on the "client", or "web browser", ColdFusion runs on the Web Server. This means that scripts you write in ColdFusion will run the same way on Every Browser.

Why would you use ColdFusion?:
ColdFusions' "ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML)" makes web programming easy for new developers. With 70+ CFML tags and over 200 custom functions practically any web application can be built quickly. Tools like the server side includes "<CFINCLUDE>" help speed the development and improve the readability of any website.

ColdFusion can be used on your website whenever you need customer interaction. Use it to process forms, make parts of your website "secure", and gather or publish data. You can use it to build web applications like bulletin boards, pop mail clients, online-calendars, and chat rooms. ColdFusion scripts can be written to track hits, clicks, return visits and other valuable traffic statistics.
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