With the introduction of ColdFusion MX, the ColdFusion community is maturing. Most CF developers have moved beyond spaghetti code and the mixing of business logic with presentation code. But it can be difficult and wasteful to “re-invent the wheel” for every application you write.
Frameworks can help promote good development practices, standards, and a sound foundation for creating an application.
In this article I list a number of these frameworks, but I will leave you to compare them, and decide which you may want to adopt.
An Historically Strong Framework
Fusebox is a popular framework for building ColdFusion and PHP web applications. “Fuseboxers” find that the framework releases them from much of the drudgery of writing applications and enables them to focus their efforts on creating great, customer-focused software.
Fusebox provides a small set of ‘core’ files and large amount of structure which is helpful to developers. It emphasizes separation of presentation from logic and uses a readily understandable vocabulary for modeling websites, namely circuits, fuses and switches.
Mach II is a web-application framework developed by Hal Helms and Ben Edwards that evolved out of a desire to create a framework that specifically addressed maintenance issues using an OO style. Mach II is based on an Implicit Invocation Architecture and directly supports the MVC design pattern.
Model-Glue helps you build Object-Oriented ColdFusion applications based on the Model View Controller pattern. It’s designed to be easy to use and play well with others, like Tartan.
The onTap framework is an Open Source Framework for quickly developing powerful web applications using Adobe’s ColdFusion application server. The framework itself bears a marked resemblance to the recently buzzy Ruby on Rails.
TheHUB, like other application development frameworks, utilizes the notion of a central hub template that all requests for the application pass through. That cental hub is the point or place within the application that the processing of all code hinges upon. The code simply checks for a query string and then reads the parameters passed to handle template loading and screen rendering.
Tartan is a command-driven service framework for ColdFusion. It was built to help produce the service layer within a larger application architecture which relies on strict separation or layering of functionality.
All access to the underlying business logic is controlled by public services which are available locally as CFCs and remotly via Flash Remoting and SOAP web services. A service can be composed of any number of commands, each of which implements a discreet operation within the application. These contain the core logic for the application. Commands can communicate with databases via DAOs, manipulate values received from the client, execute other commands and even communicate with services available on other remote servers.
At the center of Tartan are 6 Core classes : LocalServiceProxy, LocalService, Command, DAO, ValueObject and ExceptionHandler. They provide most of the functionality of the framework, and must be extended by the application developer.
ColdSpring is a framework for CFCs (ColdFusion Components).
ColdSpring’s core focus is to make the configuration and dependencies of your CFCs easier to manage. ColdSpring uses the “inversion-of-control” pattern to “wire” your CFCs together. Inversion-of-control provides many advantages over traditional approaches to assembling your application’s model. Also part of ColdSpring is the first Aspect-Oriented-Programming (AOP) framework for CFCs.
UPDATE: Since creating this blog post many years ago, two more frameworks have been released that require an honourable mention.
My New Framework of Choice
ColdBox is an event-driven conventions based ColdFusion Framework. It provides you with a set of reusable code and tools that you can use to increase your productivity, and it provides you with a development standard when working in a team environment. It makes use of an MVC (Model View Controller) design pattern and an extensive array of patterns for its operations such as Factories, Helpers, Workers, etc. And since it is based on CFCs it does not rely on an XML dialect.
NB. ColdBox also takes advantage of ColdSpring or Lightwire.
Lightwire is a very lightweight Direct Injection (DI)/Inversion of Control (IoC) engine for directly injecting dependencies into singletons and transient business object. The framework is optimised to create transient objects as well as singletons and allows for programmatic as well as XML configuration. It is the lightweight framework for people who’d like to put more logic in their beans and less in their service layer.