A behind the scenes look at Adobe's ColdFusion.

Adobe's ColdFusion is a very elegant web technology that allows for quick, powerful and dynamic web development. Although not as popular as Microsoft's ASP technology or PHP, ColdFusion has solved many of the technical issues with dynamic site development and has significant advantages in many areas.

Adobe has solved many of the technical issues creating dynamic sites; your employees will not have to learn complicated programming or solve the many technical complications found in other web technologies. You may find that you don't have to hire a separate back end web specialist/programmer to deploy your sites. A good HTML/Javascript student should be able to come up to speed with ColdFusion relatively quickly. Even if your skill sets rely upon VisualBasic/ASP, you may still want to take a good look at ColdFusion. ColdFusion can be used with other technologies such as ASP and Visual Basic to leverage your existing skills.

ColdFusion uses a tag based metaphor to create dynamic database driven sites. You can mix the ColdFusion language within your HTML code to visually understand the underlying code. One advantage of being a tag based "visual" language is that you can open and edit your files with popular GUI HTML editors such as Macromedia Dreamweaver, (Macromedia has partnered with Allaire and has incorporated many Allaire technologies seamlessly with their flagship HTML editor). The other high end technologies in dynamic web development require embedding HTML within scripted programming that is not easy on the eye. With ColdFusion, your code logic can be easily understood making for easy readability and maintenance.

The coding environment of ColdFusion is basically an advanced version of the popular Allaire Homesite product. ColdFusion studio offers many timesaving features that ease the burden on the developer. It offers online help and a tag editor that can assist the developer in building complex tags. One of the most compelling features that I have found is that it offers a built in SQL editor to easily build complex SQL statements for data retrieval. ColdFusion also offers sophisticated debugging features to quickly identify problems with your code. ColdFusion studio supports other technologies such as Microsoft's ASP as well as many other coding languages.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of ColdFusion lies in its rapid application development. I have found ColdFusion to be the quickest way to develop powerful dynamic sites with little development time. Generally speaking, a ColdFusion site can be deployed in roughly 25 - 40% of the time than developing a comparable ASP site*. You can develop a scalable, dynamic and robust site with ColdFusion; quickly, and without much pain. ColdFusion also is also available for most flavors of UNIX platform as well as Windows NT.

*ASP requires 30-40 lines of code to do the same thing with only 5-7 lines of code with ColdFusion. Also, ColdFusion has eliminated some of the technical headaches found with ASP. For an example, ASP requires complicated concatenations in the code sometimes requiring exhaustive debugging- (an example of concatenated ASP code is: "" & '"variable"' & vbcrlf & vbcrlf & _ ." ). The ASP concatenation can be quite a headache for the developer!

Thankfully, ColdFusion takes care of most of the concatenations for us allowing us to focus on the logic of the code itself.

Updated on October 7 2018