This post is geared towards those who develop or are thinking about developing in Coldfusion (as made obvious by the title). For those of you who say “People still use Coldfusion??”, the answer is YES!. Truth be told, it’s about the same age as PHP.. you know the language all the cool kids are using.
Coldfusion is an awesome language really, with all the built in support for PDF generation, Office integration, LDAP integration, etc. Combine that with how much you can get done with so few lines of code it really is a joy to use. Skip the built in ExtJS pieces and substitute some Jquery goodness and it gets even better, although I have done quite a bit with those much maligned ExtJS components.
Okay, enough of the love fest. On to the point of the post.
Running the code
Typically when I do development I have a few different ways to accomplish development and testing:
- Development Server local
- Development Server VM
- Local Server on my MacBook
- Paid Hosted CF development environment
- Free Hosted CF development environment
So, let me go over those ‘ways’ I listed above:
- This is an actual physical server running Coldfusion/Railo on either IIS or Apache. It could be a racked server or just a spare workstation. Even an older desktop or laptop can be used for this if you happen to have one.
- If you are in an environment with something like a VMware Vsphere, you are living the good life. Just create a VM with CF/Railo on IIS or Apache and the you can have multiple development or testing servers to use that are identical. Some of this can also be accomplished on your local development machine (Mac or PC) if you have VMwareFusion or Parallels installed. It’s just a bit more taxing on your dev box to run the VM and your IDE at the same time.
- Local on my Macbook Pro (or on a Windows PC if you are using one) by simply using Adobe Coldfusion in the Developer Edition. This used to be locked down to the local machine and one external IP address, but now it can be accessed by two remote IP addresses. Not a huge change, but it helps. Otherwise I would have to restart the CFApplication service to clear the server after a remote connection if I wanted to have someone else connect to a project I was developing.
- Paid CF/Railo Hosting, might sound daunting.. but it’s not really. There are actually a good number of quality Web Hosts who offer Coldfusion hosting for a good price. I personally use Hostek for $7.99/month. They offer great support and a good solid service.This allows you to develop with Coldfusion from basically anywhere, of course also is good for clients who want Coldfusion sites. Good for hosting Mura CMS sites too.
- Free CF/Railo Hosting, yes even that exists if you perhaps can’t run it locally and don’t have the money to pay for any of the above options. CFMLdeveloper.com is a free Coldfusion hosting site that is geared towards, yep.. Coldfusion developers. I have used this in the past when I wanted to demonstrate to an employer that we should use Coldfusion on a project instead of PHP or .NET. I could show the same functionality for a web app in CF and how short a time it took to accomplish and how few lines of code were required as opposed to the other languages. Since they were on a budget it really sealed the deal.
One more thing, occasionally you might want to test out a snippet of CF code that pops into your mind. However, you may not want to fire up your development IDE or even have access to it. For just that situation there is CFLive. It even will work on your iPhone, Android Phone or Tablet.
That’s it for now, just a helpful post about development environments big and small.