Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Web Design & Development > Adobe ColdFusion

My Favorite Features in ColdFusion 10

Are you a ColdFusion user who hasn't upgraded to ColdFusion 10? Or perhaps you have, but still haven't really dug into what's new. In this article, Adobe evangelist Raymond Camden introduces you to some of his favorite new features in the latest version of ColdFusion.
Like this article? We recommend

With every new release of ColdFusion, developers find numerous new features added to the program. The ColdFusion team typically works with two to three main areas or themes when adding new features. This drives the “spirit” and direction of most of the high level features for the product. While the ColdFusion engineers certainly have their idea of what’s the most important updates in ColdFusion 10, I share what I think are the most important updates. While it’s certainly a personal list, I hope this list excites existing ColdFusion developers who haven’t made the leap to 10 yet, as well as others looking for a new way to build their back-end applications. Ready? Let’s go!

Security Enhancements

The unfortunate truth is that—for many—security is an afterthought of their web application. An average user will build his or her site and then look it over for possible security problems. If it isn’t obvious by now, this is an incredibly bad idea. Security is something that has to be in your mind before, during, and after the development of your application. ColdFusion has always tried its best to help developers build more secure applications. ColdFusion 10 is no exception to this.

One of the first things you will notice about ColdFusion 10 is that the installer itself prompts you to lock down your server. The new “Secure Profile” option available during installation will preset multiple settings in your server to help lock down and prevent common problems (see Figure 1).

To be clear, this isn’t a replacement for properly locking down your server, but it goes a long way in preparing your server to be more secure immediately after installation. Many options are configured when this setting is enabled, but some of the more important ones are:

  • Custom templates appear for both missing CFM files as well as a site-wide error handler.
  • Datasource connections are set so that Create, Drop, Alter, Grant, Revoke, and Stored Procedures are disabled.
  • Robust exceptions are disabled.

That last item in particular is one that many users forget about when setting up a production server. Robust exceptions are great for debugging, but on a live website, they can be disastrous due to the amount of information they reveal publicly.

Currently there is no way to re-run the secure profile after installation, but you have a few options. First, I’ve released an open-source ColdFusion Administrator extension that reports on the same settings used by the secure profile. This extension gives you a one-page report on these settings and if they are in a secure state or not. You can download that extension. Another option is the incredibly detailed ColdFusion 10 Lockdown Guide (PDF), written by Pete Freitag.

Another area where ColdFusion 10 improves security is in enhanced XSS protection. XSS, or cross-site scripting, is one of the most common vectors for attack on a website. For a long time now, ColdFusion has provided the htmlEditFormat and htmlCodeFormat functions as a simple way to prevent XSS. Both of these functions would escape < and > characters, and were (typically) enough to get the job done.

ColdFusion 10 expands upon this by adding six new functions:

  • encodeForCSS
  • encodeForHTML
  • encodeForHTMLAttribute
  • encodeForJavaScript
  • encodeforURL
  • encodeForXML

As you can guess, each of these functions helps prevent XSS attacks, but they are specifically tailored to how you intend to use the result. Let’s say you have a bit of user-provided input that will be used inside an HTML tag’s attribute. You would use the encodeForHTMLAttribute function. Now let’s say you have another bit of input that will help drive some dynamic CSS. As you can guess, you would use encodeForCSS. Here is a simple example:

<cfparam name=”url.class” default=””>
<div id=”content” class=”#encodeForHTMLAttribute(url.class)#”>
Some content with a dynamic class applied to it.

That’s a pretty trivial example, but you get the idea. Instead of one global function that may not properly handle where the output is being used, you now have six very specific handlers for your dynamic web pages.

Syntax Sugar

Syntax Sugar

Syntax Sugar, or language enhancements, is one of these things that don’t often get a lot of attention, but can make the life of a developer a heck of a lot easier. Some of my favorite aspects of ColdFusion 10 are the small little changes made to the syntax.

As an example, for a few versions now ColdFusion has support implicit notation for arrays and structs. So instead of doing:

<cfset arr = arrayNew(1)>
<cfset arr[1] = “Stroz”>
<cfset arr[2] = “Sharp”>
<cfset arr[3] = “Ferguson”>
<cfset beer = structNew()>
<cfset beer.isGood = “heck yes”>

you can do this:

<cfset arr = [“Stroz”, “Sharp”, “Ferguson”]>
<cfset beer = {isGood = “heck yes”}

While this was really nice, you may notice that the implicit struct notation doesn’t follow the typical JSON-like format that the array example did. Instead of key:value, we have key=value. Now you can use either format in ColdFusion 10:

<cfset beer = {isGood:”heck yes”}>

And obviously this works in script-notation as well:

beer = {isGood:”heck yes”};

If you find yourself writing a lot of JavaScript, then you’ve probably used the colon by mistake before. Now you don’t need to worry about it.

Speaking of script notation, you can now use the cfsetting and cfinclude tags directly in your script-based code. For example:

component {
  setting showdebugoutput=”false”;
  include “”;

While we’re talking about cfinclude, you can also use the new runonce attribute to ensure a particular file is only included one time:

<cfinclude template=”something.cfm” runonce=”true”>

Another simple addition may have limited used in production, but is extremely helpful during testing and experimenting. For years now, developers have been able to create a query object by hand, rather than by SQL, by using queryNew and queryAddRow. This could be useful for times when you need to make a database query to a server you do not have access to yet. While powerful, it was very verbose. Here is a simple example:

<cfset teams = queryNew(“id,name”,”integer,varchar”)>
<cfset queryAddRow(teams, 1)>
<cfset querySetCell(teams, “id”, 1, 1)>
<cfset querySetCell(teams, “name”, “Saints”, 1)>
<cfset queryAddRow(teams, 1)>
<cfset querySetCell(teams, “id”, 1, 2)>
<cfset querySetCell(teams, “name”, “Giants”, 2)>

In ColdFusion 10, both queryNew and queryAddRow have been modified to let you specify data immediately, using implicit array and struct notation. Here’s the same code using the new feature:

<cfset teams = queryNew(“id,name”,”integer,varchar”,[{id:1,name:”Saints”}, {id:2,name:”Giants”}]>

Appending another row is also easier:

<cfset queryAddRow(teams, {id:3, name:”Texans”})>

While it’s not something you may use every day, it’s still an incredibly helpful addition.

The final language enhancements I’ll mention are closures and inline functions. For folks used to writing JavaScript code, this will be intimately familiar. Your ColdFusion code can now create closures and return functions as proper first-class citizens in the language. Multiple existing functions have also been updated to allow for inline functions as well. Because this is where most folks will make use of this feature, let’s look at an example now. Imagine you need to iterate over an array. This is how you would typically do it:

for(var i=1; i<arrayLen(someArray); i++) {
  writeoutput(“lets do something with “ & someArray[i] & “<br/>”);

Not too hard, but ColdFusion 10 adds a new arrayEach function that simplifies this a bit:

arrayEach(someArray, function(i) {
    writeoutput(“lets do something with “ & i & “<br/>”);

The end result is the same, but depending on your personal preference, you may find the inline version much easier to use. Obviously, you could also define those functions ahead of time and pass them in as well:

function printer(x) {
  writeoutput(“lets do something with “ & i & “<br/>”);
arrayEach(someArray, printer);

Another useful version of this is the ability to filter arrays. Imagine an array of teams:

<cfset teams = [{name:”Saints”,wins:9}, {name:”Giants”,wins:12}, {name:”Cowboys”,wins:3}]>

I want to filter this array using business logic to determine who is going to the playoffs. The logic is simple: You must have had at least 10 wins or your name must be the Saints. (Sorry, I may be a bit biased.) Here is how you could do this using the new arrayFilter function:

goingToFinals = arrayFilter(teams, function(t) {
  return t.wins >= 10 || eq “Saints”;

This would return an array consisting of the Saints and the Giants (see Figure 2).

You can find similar enhancements for ColdFusion structs and lists as well!



I’ve spent the last few years working hard to improve my client-side chops. While I’ve mainly been focused on getting better at JavaScript in general, I’ve also been interested in data handling in the abstract—both the storage of data on the client side as well as the ways in which we can send data back and forth. One of the things I learned early on is that AJAX is not a silver bullet for applications. (I learned that the hard way when I thought it would be ok to send 700KB of XML data back and forth on every request. Spoiler alert—it wasn’t.)

As one of the most interesting features that fall under the HTML5 umbrella, WebSockets provide a way for your applications to share data in a much more real-time format then traditional “polling” style AJAX-applications.

In the past, if you wanted to inform the user that something has happened of importance on the server, your code needed to ping the server constantly, asking it if it had new data. With WebSockets, you can now create an “open channel” between the client and the server, allowing for instantaneous updates.

Of course, not all browsers support this hip new technology. The good news is that the WebSocket implementation in ColdFusion 10 is backwards-compatible with Flash. If you hit a ColdFusion 10 web application making use of WebSockets with an incompatible browser, then you will be served up a version with Flash. What’s nice is that your code doesn’t have to change at all. You can also gracefully handle people who don’t support WebSockets or Flash by at least providing them with a message.

In general, WebSockets in ColdFusion is added to a page by making use of the <cfwebsocket> tag. This handles setting up some initial JavaScript libraries and (possibly) initializing a connection for you. To begin, though, you first enable a WebSocket channel in your Application.cfc file:

component { = “somedemo”;
  this.wschannels = [{name:”chat”}];

You can name your WebSocket channels as you wish, and obviously have as many as you would like as well. Now that you’ve enabled WebSockets, let’s look at a simple example of a chat application. There’s a bit of code here, so just try to take it slow and I’ll explain it in parts.

<cfwebsocket name="mywebsocket" onMessage="msgHandler" subScribeTo="chat">
<script src=""></script>
var chatblock;
$(document).ready(function() {
	chatblock = $("#chatblock");
	$("#sendBtn").on("click", function(e) {
		var msg = $("#message").val();
		mywebsocket.publish("chat", msg);
function msgHandler(msg){
	if(msg.type === "data") {
		chatblock.append( + "<br/>");
<input type="text" id="message"> 
<input type="button" value="Send Msg" id="sendBtn">
<div id="chatblock"></div>

Starting at the top, the <cfwebsocket> tag does a few things. First, it flags ColdFusion to automatically include WebSocket-related JavaScript files in the response. Secondly, it creates a top-level JavaScript variable I can use to interact with the WebSocket. Next, it defines the name of a handler that will receive messages. Finally, it automatically subscribes to a channel. All of this can be tweaked, and there are more options available to the tag.

In essence, the tag is simply handling the initial JavaScript setup. The rest of the code is entirely client-side. I’ve built an incredibly simple, and ugly, chat demo. You’ve got a text field and a button. Entering text into the field and clicking the button will send the message. You can see this in the following API call:

mywebsocket.publish(“chat”, msg);

In case you’re curious, your messages are not limited to simple strings. Anything that JavaScript can encode with JSON can be sent.

The message handler is used to report chats from other users. Now, one thing you discover right away with ColdFusion WebSockets is that many messages are sent. For example, you get a message when you successfully subscribe to a channel. So I’ve got a bit of code there that inspects the object and only considers some messages as, well, messages I want to display.

The result is that you, and any other user of the app, can enter messages and they will appear in all browsers, instantaneously! While it’s clearly a simple demo, I hope you can see the power that this provides for client-side applications. You can also use server-side handlers to help with security and message formatting as well.



I hope that this short list of ColdFusion 10 features has gotten you excited about the update. There is a heck of a lot more to ColdFusion 10. I encourage you to download the server today (it costs nothing to run in development) at

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020