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Feedback Q&A on ColdFusion

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 38 comments and questions on ColdFusion issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of next 10 letters




PDF Gets an error message
PDF Wants to dynamically add text fields
PDF What do PDF symbols mean?
PDF Trying to make it work
Sorting Table Sorting
One Page May not be the best
Resources Exchange links
Email Flash Worried about Active-X errors USA

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First 10 letters

Gets an error message

Topic: PDF


February 12, 2004

I am trying to do the Populate PDF with Coldfusion as posted on your web site.
I keep getting and error

"File does not begin with "%PDF-"

Any knowledge as to what would be causing this??


Jeff -



It is a really sensitive process. Does your PDF form have the correct text fields? Otherwise, I'm not really sure what caused the error. Sorry.

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Wants to dynamically add text fields

Topic: PDF


February 5, 2004

I have to output a list of books tp pdf file. The list is dynamic and is coming from the database. I need to have header and footer on every page, and insert book list items in between.
I was wondering if I can accomplish this, using PDF and FDF. I am using Cold Fusion and MS SQL database. I am able to create PDF form, and dynamically created FDF file, but I am not sure how to insert data. I cannot create text box for each entry, beacuse I don't know how many items will book list contain. Is there any way to have some kind of anchor as a pointer where to insert a table of data. I would need to display a footer and header on every page, and number of pages would vary depending on a size of a list.
Any help would be appreciated.

Sanja -



That might be difficult to do. Perhaps you could limit your query to say 10 items at a time and put them all in a single text box, separating each iten with a
. Loop through the pages until there are no more items in the query.

That is the best I can think of as a solution. You might also look into the activePDF product. I believe they also have a forum on the subject.

Best wishes in your project. It sounds like a tough one.

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What do PDF symbols mean?

Topic: PDF


January 30, 2004

I am working on a project where the data needs to be in an PDF form. And they want to store it also. So I code everything by hand. So I was pretty impressed by your pdf generator code. I need to know what those symbols represent. Is there a site I can got to or learn from. It would be greatly appreciated if you could reply me. Thanks




Of course, you must be using the ColdFusion language and on a CF cerver for this to work.

The material submitted by a form from the input can be changed to what you need, as well as any variables you define. The PDF code, like %%FDF-1.2 and %%EOF must be written as is. It is part of the PDF language from Adobe. EOF is end of file, but I don't know what FDF and the others mean.

You may have to do some experimenting to make this work. I hope that helps you.

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Trying to make it work

Topic: PDF


December 22, 2003

I tried to duplicate your code but it won't work on my local webserver. I keep getting a message says there was an error opening this document. The file does not exist. Please advise. Thanks

Brandon -



Note that you must create a PDF file and place it in a folder, such as You create the PDF file in Acrobat and use the Form Tool to create the text fields.

Also, make sure the code is exactly the same, except for the names of files and such.

In the output, %FDF-1.2
1 0 obj << there is a space between the 1 and 0.

Let me know if this helps. It is tricky, and that is why people end up buying programs to do the job.

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Topic: Sorting Table


November 27, 2003

Hi, i have one question. How do i sort multi-column data on my website. For instance i have linked a DB to my webstie, N DB has 4 columns which i want to sort in different order, e.g. two in ascending order and other two in descending order, so how do i go about doing that? pls get back to me, i really need help on that.


Dave -



Suppose you enter ACTION.CFM by submitting a form from FORM.CFM. You set up your query in the action page as follows:

FROM invoices
WHERE company = '#url.company_sort#'
ORDER BY '#url.sortby#'

FROM invoices
WHERE company = ''
ORDER BY company

Then in the title row of your table:



The content of your table is as you have it.

Clicking on a title will re-do the query, ordering by the item listed.

I hope that works out for you.

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May not be the best

Topic: One Page


November 10, 2003


With new CFC's i don't think combining form and actionpage is the best way to go about this. Currently i'm trying to use CFC's for all database access. For clean coding i've learned from various sources that you shouln't mix the three layers: the front end, which consists of the user interface and application controls; the middle tier, which consists of the code; and the back end, which consists of the database, data structures and other assorted gremlins.

Just some thoughts on this subject.

marc -



Thanks for your thoughts. On some highly formatted pages, combining form and action can become a mess. That is mixing the user interface and the code. In a page that has a simple interface, it can be convenient to combine form and action.

But in general, I agree that a more disciplined structure is better.

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Exchange links

Topic: Resources


August 16, 2003

Hi, I was wondering if you would consider exchanging links? My site is I think our users would find both links useful.

Donna -



I've included a link to your site on our Resources page.

You can link to our site at:

Best wishes with your site.

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Worried about Active-X errors

Topic: Email Flash


March 13, 2002

I just read your article related to Sending a Flash Movie with ColdFusion Email and I also checked the code provided using tag. I m getting a problem. As I received mail in Outlook express then I get an Active-X error prompting for security settings. I can remove this by disabling security settings of Outlook express. But I can't perform this settings on all of my client's machine.

Question is that can I send embedded Flash movie as you are doing but I don't want this Active-X error to occur and also the sample code you provided does not seem to be work for Hotmail and Yahoo accounts.




I have seen some companies that are worried about viruses block out any ActiveX code, which also includes regular Flash. But I think they are rare. That may be what you ran into with your Outlook Express.

I wasn't aware there were problems with other email accounts, but that may be why Macromedia does not sent Flash in their promotional emails. They usually have a link to go to a site, where Flash is displayed. The HTML used in email browsers is not the same as the standard HTML.

I haven't had heard of any problems from people that I have sent Flash emails, but that doesn't mean that it works in all cases.

If there is concern about clients in a business situation, it might be good to play it safe and avoid Flash in the email. If the Flash movie is simple, you could change it to an animated GIF.

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