Sams’ Teach Yourself Allaire ColdFusion in 21 Days
Chapter 1: Introducing ColdFusion
Let’s begin with a basic fact that will put your upcoming 21-day journey
into perspective, and maybe even make it less wearing on your psyche:
ColdFusion is all about saving time.
Like other Web development and application-server tools, it was developed by
people like you and me who grew tired of living in their computer chairs, folks
who wanted to get their projects finished and get out to see the world.
The 21 days you now begin to invest will pay off later in the form of time spent doing things other than hard-coding HTML documents and formatting boring text passages. How you spend that free time is entirely up to you, and way beyond the scope of this book.
In Day 1, you’ll:
Get your first look at Allaire’s ColdFusion.
Learn how it can make you the talk of your computing buddies and find
out whether it’s the right tool for your project.
Cover the basic theory behind creating dynamic pages.
Look briefly at the client/server relationship that makes all this
high-tech wizardry possible.
What Is ColdFusion?
A couple computer types, brothers Jeremy and J.J. Allaire, created ColdFusion
in 1995. Jeremy, the business-minded one, had a print publication he needed to
regularly post to the Web, so he approached the coding brother, J.J, and asked
him to help build a simple application that would speed the task. When the
project was complete, both realized they had a hot property on their hands and
Allaire Corporation was born. Today, ColdFusion is in its fourth major release
and both brothers wear fine suits and drive fancy cars.
The official description of ColdFusion calls it a Web application
server, but depending on how you choose to use it, it can also be considered
a page-development tool, a database server, or your ticket to the high life. At
the heart of the program is a database-to-Web gateway. It allows you to
take an existing database file and serve it up via the Web, record-by-record,
without having to create new HTML files for each record.
Exploring a Sample ColdFusion Application
To clarify this concept, let’s use an example. Using a common database program, Microsoft Access, I’ve been maintaining a database of Elizabeth Taylor’s husbands, as illustrated in Figure 1.1.
Figure 1.1. A sample database table in Microsoft Access containing data on the men in Liz Taylor’s life.