• Lindsey Fair will be teaching 'eMarketing' at St. Lawrence College this spring. The course is part of the Web Production and Design Program. For more information go to:


What is ColdFusion and why do programmers use it?

article by: Lindsey Fair

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) originated as a simple word processor and found success on the web. HTML continues to evolve today and it is what nearly all web languages today are currently based on, however, HTML has one very large down side, it is not dynamic. HTML is known as a 'static' language. Because HTML is static, database interaction which is so heavily relied on today is not possible using HTML. [Source]

Determining the value of one dynamic development platform over another is a very heated debate. The most common deciding factor typically centers on the developer's familiarity, an extremely subjective measurement. If an expert developer from each platform was asked which is the easiest or best to use, each would say his or her own. In the end, however, there are really only two quantifiable factors that should be used when deciding on a platform: cost and performance. We generally work in ColdFusion because the performance level is high, while the costs to our clients is low. Here are some main points about ColdFusion that will help clarify some of the myths out there.

ColdFusion MX 7

ColdFusion offers several major benefits:

  • Rapid Application Development
    ColdFusion allows web developers to develop websites with less code. Thus reducing time to develop and support web applications.
  • Power This is an example of a high needs website that uses ColdFusion. ColdFusion recent developments have made it a more powerful platform as it is based on a Java Enterprise Level Application Server. This improves performance and allows for almost infinite functionality.
  • Scalability
    ColdFusion is now based on the J2EE platform therefore the web server and web applications can be scaled easily to accommodate server clustering (allows multiple servers to work in harmony to perform the same task). This means that even if youwere to see a 100% or 200% increase in website traffic the server can be improved to add more horse power.
  • Features
    In the latest release of ColdFusion there have been huge feature additions that would add a new level of sophistication to your website. Things like - on the fly PDF document creation would allow website content to be presented in multiple formats without having to constantly maintain multiple sources of content.
  • Defending the reputation of ColdFusion
    ColdFusion is often viewed by PHP developers and ASP developers as inadequate and insufficient. Although this was the case with the 4.5 and 5 versions of ColdFusion, it has changed significantly since the release of versions 6, 6.1, and now 7. When comparing ColdFusion to PHP or ASP it is important to compare not only performance but also development costs. After a site is all complete the same website may cost around $3000 in ColdFusion but with ASP we have seen it cost closer to $15,000.

Lindsey Fair is a project manager and partner with Inter Kingston Web Design, Founder of Market Me, Co-Founder of the Kingston Young Entrepreneurs Group, and Past President of the Kingston Junior Chamber.