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Overview of Using Adobe ColdFusion

by Ron Kurtus (revised 21 Janaury 2022)

Adobe ColdFusion is a rapid web application development platform used for creating dynamic Internet applications. It uses the ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML), which is a tag-based scripting language that is easy to learn and is similar to HTML.

ColdFusion enables developers to readily build and deploy dynamic websites, content publishing systems, self-service applications, commerce sites, and more.

ColdFusion pages are plain text files that you use to create web applications. You can create your ColdFusion applications by writing all the code manually or by using wizards (provided with some editors) to generate most of the code for you.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Markup language

The ColdFusion markup language (CFML) encompasses the Web's hypertext markup language (HTML) and extensible markup language (XML). It primarily consists of pairs of tags that define commands and different activities. The tags all start with CF, to differentiate them from HTML tags, which can also be used in a ColdFusion page.

Whereas an HTML page ends in .HTM or .HTML, ColdFusion pages end in .CFM.

A commonly used tag is <CFQUERY>, which commands a query from a designated database and uses standard SQL search comments. The output of a query is defined by the <CFOUTPUT> pair of tags.

ColdFusion server

A ColdFusion Server application must be installed on a server in order for its just-in-time (JIT) compiler to turn the CFML into the pages that get served. This is the major disadvantage of the program, since Web providers must purchase and install the expensive server software. To use ColdFusion, you must be sure the Internet Service Provider (ISP) or host has a ColdFusion server.

Macomedia provides a Personal ColdFusion Web Server with Studio and Dreamweaver that allows testing of applications on a PC. With quick connections, it is sometimes easier to simply upload a file to the server than to try to test it on the PC.


Applications developed in ColdFusion can access databases using Microsoft's OLE DB, ODBC, or drivers that access Oracle and Sybase databases. ColdFusion can be coordinated with distributed applications that use CORBA or Microsoft's DCOM to interact with other network applications.

ColdFusion is also scalable, such that it allows both the size of a database and the number of users that can be served to grow.

Writing code

ColdFusion code can be written in any text editor, but it is much easier in an application such as ColdFusion Builder or Dreamweaver, since there is a listing of tags and code-checking capabilities.


Its advantage over other languages that do the same thing, such as Active Server Pages (ASP) lies in the simplicity and compactness of the markup language. This allows programmers to develop applications quicker and maintain the code more effectively. ColdFusion is used in cataloging, e-commerce and areas where information needs to be changed on the fly.

Any company that has a large database of employees, products or content can use the data-driven metaphor to better manager their web sites. This includes uses for human resources in a company Intranet, e-commerce, and education.


ColdFusion is a possible program to use for data-driven, dynamic web sites.

Excel in what you do

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


About ColdFusion - Adobe Help

ColdFusion Resources


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Top-rated books on ColdFusion

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