Upgrading to ColdFusion 10: Feature Review- Part 3

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This is the final post in a three-part series on the features of ColdFusion 10. In part one, I discussed the need for security updates and new features like WebSockets and the scheduler enhancements. In part two, I discussed Apache Tomcat, HTML5, and web services. Today, I’ll round out the discussion by briefly discussing geolocation, some of the language enhancements in ColdFusion 10, and the future of ColdFusion.

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Maps and Geolocation Data

In the world of mobile, mapping and geolocation data have become essential tools for the mobile developer to show a user where their product or store is located in proximity to the user’s current location. ColdFusion 10 now allows easy integration of a user’s current location on that map. Of course, for the user to see their current GPS location, they will need to use a modern browser capable of HTML5. While ColdFusion 9 gave you the ability to show maps in your applications, ColdFusion 10 allows your users to see their own location on those maps. This is perfect if you want to have a user see where they are in relation to your store or product. It also makes it easier to provide directions from their current location.

Language Enhancements

  • New Tags and Functions: While I’ve discussed all of the new technology in ColdFusion 10, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention that there are three new tags and about 60 new functions. The new tags support some new exchange functionality and the new HTML5 WebSocket feature. The functions include being able to format both date and time in one function, getting disk space information, new array functions, and new ORM based functions. For a complete list of new functions, click here.
  • CFSCRIPT: One of the great things about ColdFusion is that for a non-developer it is a      relatively easy language to learn. This was due in large part to its similarity to another tag-based language, HTML. While ColdFusion has had a method for writing the language in script-based style since ColdFusion 4, the truth is there was no real advantage to doing so until the enhancement of the CFSCRIPT tag in ColdFusion 8. Even with the introduction of those      enhancements, CFSCRIPT was not on par with its TAG counterparts. There were many things you just could not do with CFSCRIPT. While we have not reached 100% parity yet, the fact is that you can be at near parity with ColdFusion 10. Why does this even matter? Why is CFSCRIPT so important? CFSCRIPT can make your code cleaner and you can write less of it. In addition, for those rare occasions when you are missing a CFSCRIPT equivalent, you can always make your own with a custom TAG-based function that can then be called in the script style. Many community-based versions of these actually made it into ColdFusion 10.

Besides having parity within its own TAG-based language, CFSCRIPT has been striving for parity with other script based languages providing similar operators, conditionals, etc. and similar techniques such as closures (introduced in CF 10). This makes it much easier for a JavaScript, PHP, or other developers to move over to a development environment using CFSCRIPT.

What’s Next for ColdFusion?

The next version of ColdFusion, codenamed “Splendor,” is currently in private pre-release testing by Adobe. If you did not request to participate in that release, you will now have to wait for a public beta to be released.We believe they will name the next version ColdFusion 11, but like everything in life, that may change. What is clear from Adobe is their commitment to ColdFusion and the ColdFusion community. There has not been much public comment about what is in the next version. However, I am hopeful that they will disclose some of the new features at their official conference, dubbed the Adobe ColdFusion Summit, held in Las Vegas on October 24-25, 2013.

Obviously, this review series was not meant to be technical in nature, however it should give you a good understanding of what kinds of technical accomplishments can be made with ColdFusion 10. Even if your company or existing infrastructure does not yet support ColdFusion 10, it is important that you download and evaluate the free Developer Edition to keep your knowledge up-to-date and skills fresh.

References / Useful Reading

  • BOOK: Adobe ColdFusion Web Application Construction Kit: ColdFusion 10 Enhancements and Improvements by Ben Forta, et al. (amazon)