This article, the first of two parts, explains how to use ColdFusion 6.1 in conjunction with Dreamweaver MX 2004 to build dynamic web sites. It is excerpted from chapter one of the book ColdFusion Web Development with Dreamweaver MX 2004, written by Jen and Peter deHaan et al. (Apress, 2004; ISBN: 1590592379).
Welcome to Coldfusion MX 6.1 - The ColdFusion MX 6.1 Server and CFML (Page 4 of 5 )
The ColdFusion MX 6.1 Server and CFML have a good deal of competition in the world of server-side languages and web application servers. Before working with ColdFusion MX 6.1 (or any language, for that matter), it is always wise to weigh the pros and cons.
Advantages of ColdFusion MX 6.1
ColdFusion MX 6.1 provides several advantages. Foremost is its simplicity and ease of use. This means that it is easy to learn (as you will find out soon) and fast to develop in, which can—and almost always does—make it cheaper for your clients in the long run. ColdFusion MX 6.1 makes it easy to perform queries, send e-mails, search your site or collect documents, grab remote web pages or files, or force users to log in to an application, all by providing standard tags to perform these actions instead of requiring you to write custom code.
Despite its simplicity, CFML is a powerful server-side language. You can use custom tags, use a number of network protocols, have full database access, and integrate with enterprise-level solutions (such as Enterprise JavaBeans [EJB], Component Object Model [COM], and Common Object Request Broker Architecture [CORBA]). The ColdFusion Component Architecture, introduced to CFML in ColdFusion MX and refined in MX 6.1, allows developers to take advantage of many of the powerful Object Oriented Language benefits such as inheritance, instance-based development, and encapsulation.
ColdFusion MX 6.1 almost always pays for itself tenfold because of the amount of development time it saves compared to its competitors.
Disadvantages of ColdFusion MX 6.1
Many server-side programming language alternatives to ColdFusion, such as ASP, PHP, JSP, and Perl, are free to use. However, none comes with the technical and community support, variety of supported OS platforms, and out-of-the-box features ColdFusion MX 6.1 has. Sure, ColdFusion MX 6.1 does cost a little bit of money initially, but this is compensated by other savings as we already mentioned, and it is free for development purposes. You can run a fully featured copy of ColdFusion MX 6.1 Enterprise Edition for free to develop your applications—the only catch is that it will not allow other browsers to visit your applications (obviously—it’s only for development until you purchase a license or arrange for a host).