I got off to a late start getting ColdFusion 8 installed across our shared web servers, but now that it’s here- I have to say that I am really excited about some of the new features. Most especially there are a handful of new/upgraded tags, .NET integration, and built in MySQL compatibility.
Some of the new tags can be found using this link. Personally, I am excited about the AJAX features of cfajaximport, cflayout, cfwindow and others. This opens-up a wide variety of new CRUD interfaces to be built for slick user GUI’s and no-refresh page interaction. It would have been nice if Flash Forms wasn’t so slow and that Flex wasn’t a whole new thing to learn. Some upgraded tags include “cfform type=HTML” which turns the whole thing into an AJAX interface and “cftextarea richtext=yes” which adds a VERY slick WYSIWYG text editor. The editor is probably one of the best I’ve seen– clean code, templates, image insertion and the ability to show your paragraph blocks. Cflayout now includes a tab navigator to create tabbed pages. Interestingly, it can also dynamically pull in another page from a remote source to fill the contents of the tab’s page.
Other tags include cfpdf, cfpresentation, and cfimage. Cfpdf makes it possible for fillable PDF form data to be pulled or stored in a database. I can think of dozens of uses for this. Cfpresentation can be used to create dynamic Flash-Based presentations from database data. In fact, cfpresentations can be saved and reused in Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro webinars. Cfimage enables users to perform dynamic image manipulation- including the creation of CAPTCHA images. Previously we had to make use of CFX tags to accomplish this task.
ColdFusion 8 can now be integrated with ASP.NET. Admittedly, I know little of this but apparently you can now make use of ASP.NET objects from within your ColdFusion code. I would think this would be very useful if you need to marry two applications (.NET and CF) together.
While MySQL ColdFusion ODBC DSNs could be manually added before with some work, it’s now just a normal feature of the software and can be added through our Helm control panel system. This opens up enterprise database features previously unavailable to those without MS SQL. It also adds extended functionality for Windows ColdFusion programmers to make use of data stored in popular PHP applications (like WordPress). I can’t tell you how many times I would like to modify or extend a PHP application with some new feature but, since I am not a PHP guy, there was nothing I could do. Now, I can use CF to enhance a PHP application even if it’s not directly integrated into the application.
There are many more performance and security related upgrades to ColdFusion 8 but I am afraid that’s a topic for another day.
I hope that you plan to make use of these new technologies – I know I will!