The Week in ColdFusion: 12-18 March: Beyond the New Atlanta announcement

Kay Smoljak

More fallout from the BlueDragon open source announcement of last week: New Atlanta President Vince Bonfanti attempts to clear up some misconceptions; Allan Williamson gives an example of how the new open source version can be used by developers in conjuction with Amazon Web Services, and calls for community involvement in BlueDragon’s future; Michael Sharman covers a little about the other CFML engines available; and the ColdFusion Weekly podcast hosts a roundtable to discuss the move.

Fortunately, there is other news this week as well: in the tools category, Nathan Mische announced that ColdFire, the Firebug extension to allow ColdFusion debugging with Firefox, is now compatible with the soon-to-be-released Firefox 3; and CFEclipse, the IDE of choice for many CF developers, has a spiffy new web site.

One of the new features in ColdFusion 8 that doesn’t get a lot of press is the .NET integration. Anuj Gakhar demonstrates a potential use for the feature in his Coldfusion 8, .NET and Excel Example. When playing around with new features, you’ll want to be able to access the documentation – so Michael Sharman runs through some of the options available. Steve Bryant shows how to copy a directory using CFZIP; Ben Forta highlights two new security fixes that have been released (one for ColdFusion MX7 and one for ColdFusion 8), then asks the community what they would like to see in the way of ColdFusion/Sharepoint integration; and Raymond Camden explores in detail what can go wrong when the var scope is not used correctly in CFCs.

Ajax and ExtJS integration is still insanely popular – Dan Vega talks about basic in-place grid editing, and then shows a slightly more advanced custom grid editor. Inspired by Dan’s efforts, Anuj Gakhar shows off a complete CFGrid editing solution which is very tidy indeed. ColdExt, the ExtJS library for ColdFusion (including CF7 as well as CF8) has been released as Beta 1, and now includes a CFEclipse plugin for the CFEclipse users among us. Also on the topic of Ajax, Todd Sharp shares his explorations into the idea of progressive enhancement – where applications are built for the most basic user agents, with extra layers of complexity enhancing the experience for more advanced user agents – and shows that for at least some components, it is possible for CF8’s built in Ajax widgets to degrade gracefully. Accessibility is an important topic that is often ignored in the ColdFusion community, so I applaud Todd’s efforts.

Finally, a bit of cheerleading for ColdFusion: Alistair Davidson compares CF to Ruby on Rails in I still miss CFOUTPUT. Ruby and the Rails framework may have a lot going for them, but I agree with Alistair: the time saving features of CF – even things as simple as grouped output – are what make coding in ColdFusion such an absolute joy. What’s your take?

As usual, send me your must-read CF tips by leaving a comment for tagging links in delicious for:kay.smoljak.