An Overview Of The ColdFusion Development Software Package

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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Intro To ColdFusion Development Tools

ColdFusion is a unique programming language that has an enthusiastic following within the developer community. Those who have taken the time to truly understand the ins and outs of the ColdFusion language will usually be found praising the feature set for its lean towards rapid application development. This is the case inherently in the language, but there are a good many ColdFusion development tools that can make the programming process even quicker.

Adobe is the company that brought ColdFusion to fruition, and so it is only fitting that their IDE is one of the better ones on the market. The various versions of Adobe ColdFusion Builder provide a robust platform to get code written in a timely fashion. The integration into their other products in the suite makes for a clean and straightforward workflow. ColdFusion Builder should be a standard in any web shop that offers CF development work. There are too many features to name without writing a complete resource guide to CFBuilder. However, some of the newer and more exotic features include advanced tab management, quick fix and intelligent code assist. When the quality of modern code is often based on the quality of the underlying software used, CFBuilder delivers wonderfully.

Adobe also produces another product that is used by many as a ColdFusion development tool. That product is Adobe Dreamweaver. Inevitably, when one brings up Dreamweaver as a full-fledged programming IDE there will be many who chime in to disagree. But, the fact is that Dreamweaver can do just about everything necessary to create even enterprise level software in the CF language. The long history of iterative improvements in Dreamweaver means that coders will be working with an IDE that has been tried and tested over a long period of time.

The open source community is not immune to ColdFusion development tools. Eclipse is one of the more famous of these. The Eclipse IDE can be used to create quality software and there is a great community constantly developing and improving plugins for this specific purpose. There is probably no better program to use if one wants to stay on top of trends and current advances. If a new feature or bugfix is required, then open source can deliver it the same day or even within the hour. Standard software must be tested and then pushed out in iterative releases. Try them all and decide for yourself what ColdFusion development tools fit your needs.

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The History of ColdFusion and Why it Matters

First developed in 1995, ColdFusion has already had a long life compared to most software. Its history is marked by continuous upgrades and features that have allowed ColdFusion to remain a major player in Internet development to this day. Its history is still relevant to ColdFusion developers today; older versions of ColdFusion are still running on web servers, and developers may, at some point, need to work with these systems.

Version 1.0 of ColdFusion was little more than a web platform that allowed database access. These systems are exceedingly rare these days, but ColdFusion developers with knowledge of basic database operations will not have much trouble adapting. With the release of version 1.5, ColdFusion was slowing morphing into the program it is today. Featuring server integration features and email support, ColdFusion became one of the more sophisticated web platforms available.

With 2.0, the developers of ColdFusion released a prolific upgrade. Introducing over 150 new features, ColdFusion established itself as one of the major players on the increasingly popular World Wide Web. With email support, server tags and custom tags, ColdFusion made maintaining a large, complex site manageable. And with support for variables, loops and other programmatic constructs, ColdFusion was becoming a truly programmable platform. This version introduced ColdFusion Studio.

Version 3.1 introduced tag completion, page preview functionality and better operating system integration. Versions 4.0, 5.0 and 5.5 introduced a debugger and support for cfgraph functionality. During this time period, ColdFusion was purchased by Adobe, who continues to develop and support ColdFusion to this day.

Coldfusion MX version 6.0 was a complete rewrite. Instead of running as compiled C++ code, ColdFusion now ran on top of the Java platform. It was a risky decision; Java was still a new language and platform and its success was by no means guaranteed. The move paid off, and ColdFusion’s now inherent portability would ensure its support for new platforms.

ColdFusion MX 6.1 added JRUN support, and version 7 supported Rich Internet Applications, which offered new, interactive features to keep the platform competitive. Version 8 and 9 have focused primarily on performance upgrades, as ColdFusion’s widespread use and existing set of features make stability and consistency a higher priority than radical changes.

Still growing, adding new features and maturing, ColdFusion is a dominant platform that will maintain its position for the foreseeable future. But developers can rest assured that their existing knowledge will not become obsolete each time a new version hits the market.

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