ColdFusion is one of the premiere rapid application development (RAD) tools for creating Internet and web-based programs. The software was initially created to provide an easy mechanism for linking a database to a simple website designed with little more than hypertext markup language (HTML) tags. This simple concept was soon expanded to include a proprietary scripting language and extra tools that made it possible to create more interactive websites. The latest version of the ColdFusion development software suite includes advanced functionality that allows full applications to be developed along with client and server modules. It is even possible to integrate other well-known scripts and languages to provide extensive enterprise-level programming options.
One of the reasons that ColdFusion has become a standard within the industry is because it is a single application that can be used for nearly all of the programming aspects of web development. It provides a clean and visual development environment that includes templates, modules and server components that make it possible to create complex websites with very little custom code. One complication that many programmers face when first learning ColdFusion is the size and depth of the program. The number of supported features can make digging through all of the various menus, options and dialogs very time-consuming for individuals who are new to the program.
An area where the ColdFusion development software is especially effective is when it is used for RAD on the backend of a network. ColdFusion provides a very easy to implement infrastructure that can be customized and expanded. This makes creating searchable databases, managed user accounts and even an e-commerce shopping cart much simpler than some other systems. It can be used to quickly put together an internal system for data entry, a dynamic intranet that provides a business with distributed access to applications or even a company-wide mailing list server.
ColdFusion development software is based around the ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML). This is a markup language that has many elements in common with the extensible markup language (XML). It includes a number of design and layout features. It is also flexible enough to include external executable files and perform many of the functions that are available in compiled programming languages. Some structured functionality is available through the use of ColdFusion components (CFCs). Components are similar to objects in an object-oriented programming language. They can also be treated like functions or procedures in lower-level languages. The combination of CFCs, external modules and CFML make ColdFusion a powerful and unique development tool.
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