What is ColdFusion?

by Michael Smith, Contributing Editor

ColdFusion is the hot way to create dynamic webpages that link to just about any database.

ColdFusion is a programming language based on standard HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) that is used to write dynamic webpages. It lets you create pages on the fly that differ depending on user input, database lookups, time of day or whatever other criteria you dream up! ColdFusion pages consist of standard HTML tags such as <FONT SIZE=.+2.>, together with CFML (ColdFusion Markup Language) tags such as <CFQUERY>, <CFIF> and <CFLOOP>. ColdFusion was introduced by Allaire in 1996, acquired by Macromedia in a merger in April 2001, and acquired by Adobe in December 2005. It is currently in version 7.0.1, but the next version of the product (codenamed Scorpio) is already in development.

Creating an application with ColdFusion is as straightforward as creating a static Web site. However, in a ColdFusion application you can introduce an incredible range of functionality that is not available either in static Web sites or in traditional client/server applications. A ColdFusion application is very simply a collection of pages, similar to a static Web site. But unlike the pages in a static Web site, the pages in a ColdFusion application include the server-side ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) in addition to HTML. CFML gives you the ability to control the behavior of your applications, integrate a wide range of server technologies, and dynamically generate the content that is returned to the Web browser.

When a page in a ColdFusion application is requested by a browser, it is automatically pre-processed by the ColdFusion Application Server. Based on the CFML in the page, the Application Server executes the application logic, interacts with other server technologies, and then dynamically generates an HTML page which is returned to the browser.

Here are more ColdFusion tips for new users:

Good luck in checking out ColdFusion, and welcome to the ColdFusion community, a great place to be!

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