According to the dictionary and Google:
So…I am going to be teaching you about nuclear fusion. Ya right!
That may be one definition of ColdFusion but the one we’re interested in is a rapid web application development platform. What does that mean? ColdFusion was designed to make connecting regular HTML pages to databases easy and fast. It certainly accomplished that, but since ColdFusion 2.0 it has become a full-fledged scripting language capable of many other powerful functions for developing web applications.
ColdFusion is easy to learn and can be used to create any number of server-side web applications, quickly and typically with less code than you might see in ASP (Active Server Pages) or PHP. Before I learned ColdFusion I developed primarily in ASP and couldn’t believe how few lines of code I would use in ColdFusion when compared to doing the same task in ASP.
That code I’m talking about is called CFML, ColdFusion Markup language. Because CFML is a tag based language, it is very easy for someone who knows HTML to make the transition to CFML. But that’s just the starting point!
Since ColdFusion MX was released, the language has evolved to accept a more object oriented scripting syntax, similar to that of Java. If you’ve dealt with any programming language before, including Java, or want to do more advanced things in ColdFusion, you now have access to this more standardized way of coding through the <cfscript> tag. I will be showing examples of both tag based and cfscript syntax in many of the tutorials on How to Program with ColdFusion.
Whichever method of scripting you choose to use, the ColdFusion server will process it server-side and display the output via HTML to the browser. Your users will never see the actual CFML or script in the “view source” option in their browser. They will only see regular HTML syntax.
What Can You Do With ColdFusion?
Anything your heart desires! Well, almost anything. ColdFusion can be used to build dynamic websites and applications that are efficient and easy to maintain. With the scripting capabilities of ColdFusion you can create almost any function a web application could need including:
- File and directory manipulation to add, edit and delete files and folders
- Connect to a database to manage data
- Utilize FTP services through a web interface
- Create a security infrastructure that will allow for a “member only” area requiring a log in.
- Send email and even check email from a web interface
- Create an entire e-commerce system with shopping cart capabilities
- Customize a user’s interface based on their preferences
- Schedule tasks to happen on a regular basis
- Create a message board to engage social interaction
- Plus tons more!
There really is no limit to what you can create with ColdFusion once you learn the language. So be creative, solve a problem and start coding.