ColdFusion Development Steps
by Ron Kurtus (revised 6 May 2012)
In developing any software project, you should follow good project management methods and do sufficient up-front planning. This will make the programming easier and will help to minimize problems later on. This is also true for developing a project in ColdFusion.
Questions you may have include:
- What are the major steps you should follow?
- What are the details of these steps?
- What are the benefits of following such a scheme?
This lesson will answer those questions.
The major steps to follow in developing a ColdFusion project are:
- Thoroughly define the requirements
- Set up your database
- Flowchart your screens
- State actions for each page and input code
- Test and troubleshoot
- Format the pages to look nice
- Deliver on the Web
Details of steps
The following details each step.
1. Thoroughly define the requirements
Your goal is to satisfy the need of your customer or the user. Some projects consist of only one requirement, such as when the company needs a listing of employee records for human resources to administer. That is pretty straightforward.
In other cases, the desire is complex-like in the case of e-commerce. In such a situation, you need to outline that objective and its requirements into smaller pieces. For example in e-commerce, steps may be listing the products, using a shopping cart, and purchasing the product. You should then define each as a mini-project with separate specifications.
2. Set up your database
ColdFusion usually accesses a server database for information used in populating a page. The database may already be in existence or you will set up your database as part of the coding process.
You need to know the names of the tables you will use in your database, as well as the field names. You also need to note the type of fields, because that influences some of the ColdFusion coding punctuation.
Often, it is necessary to break a table into several relational tables. You must also know the primary and foreign keys of relational tables. It is essential to document the names and types of your database tables and fields as an aid for writing your ColdFusion code and SQL instructions.
3. Flowchart your screens
Make a flowchart of your screens and state what each function does.
For example, if the goal of the project was to provide a way for people to find company employee information online, the screens would be:
- Welcome screen with choices of finding employee by name or department.
- Department screen with list of employees, with option of selecting one for details.
- Employee screen, with option to check for details.
- Detail screen for employee.
4. Tell what actions are taken in each page
From the flowchart, take each page and tell what actions are taken. For example, the Department screen queries the database for a list of employees in the designated department. Each employee name provides a link to a Details page.
You can then add the code for these specific actions. Doing it in this manner gives you a better picture of what you are to code and minimizes coding errors.
5. Test and troubleshoot
Although you can try to test the whole project, it is often easier to check out each snippet of code, one at a time, to make sure the coding and database access is correct.
6. Format the pages to look nice
You can format the pages to make them pleasing to use, as well as to conform to the company look. You can add color, images and such.
7. Deliver on the Web
Finally, you must put your database and files on the Web and try them out in the real world. You need to have your Web administrator set up your database for use with a ColdFusion server.
Following a systematic approach helps you avoid the pitfalls of spending excess time on trouble-shooting. In a complex project, it is essential to maintain a good overview so that you do not lose control of the coding process.
It is important to plan things out before you start coding. You should establish the project requirements, flowchart the screens, set up your database, and then add coding. Finally, you test and format the page. You will benefit by shortening the time required to develop the project, as well as maintaining better control over the process.
Be methodical in your approach
Resources and references
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ColdFusion Development Steps