Challenges Faced By A ColdFusion Developer

As a commercial web application development framework, Adobe ColdFusion comes with features to simplify and speed up web application development and maintenance. It allows programmers to write websites in a tag-based web scripting language – ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML), and accomplish common web development tasks with simple HTML style tags. The users can further curtail development time significantly by using the integrated development environment (IDE) and debugging, testing and troubleshooting tools provided by ColdFusion.

Each new version of ColdFusion also comes with several new language features and enhancements to meet the emerging trend in web application development. For instance, ColdFusion (2016 release) enables programmers to develop, publish, monitor, and manage APIs more efficiently through an API Manager. It further provides a command line interface, and comes with features to enhance PDF generation and security. But the ColdFusion developers still have to address a number of issues to accelerate web application development and testing.

Understanding 5 Common Challenges in ColdFusion Development

1) Accomplishing Tasks with CFScript

While developing web applications with ColdFusion, programmers often write code in an extended version of CFML – CFScript. But CFScript lacks some of the advanced features provided by CFML. Hence, the scripting version of CFML requires developers to accomplish common programming tasks by writing additional code. Also, many programmers consider CFScript to be less efficient than JavaScript. They even find it easier to accomplish common tasks by using JavaScript instead of CFScript. Hence, ColdFusion developers have to explore ways to enhance the performance of CFScript.

2) Avoid Writing Lengthy and Complex Code

The open source web application development frameworks and tools are supported by large and active communities. The members of the community release new tools and share code snippets to make it easier for others to use the web framework. The smart web developers always take advantage of the code snippets and prewritten scripts shared by other members of the community to avoid writing longer lines of code. But ColdFusion lacks the support of a large community as it is an open source web application development frameworks. Hence, the developers have to write lengthy and complex code while building custom web applications with ColdFusion. They even have to explore ways to reduce coding time on a regular basis.

3) Choosing the Right Debugging Tool

Nowadays, the user experience delivered by a web application impacts its popularity and profitability directly. Hence, the web developers need to debug their code consistently and repair the bugs or defects in the code immediately. Most web frameworks come with built-in debugging tools to help programmers debug their code efficiently and consistently. But ColdFusion is not designed with any built-in debugging tools. It requires developers to debug their programs by using ColdFusion debugging tools like Quackit and Fusion Debug. But the developers have to incur additional expenses to avail these debugging tools. The even find it challenging to pick the right ColdFusion debugging tool for each project.

4) Keeping Code Base Clean and Organized

Nowadays, most enterprises require web developers to keep the source code of the web application clean and organized. The clean and structured code base makes it easier for programmers to maintain and update the website without putting extra time and effort. Many developers opt for web frameworks that support model-view-controller (MVC) architecture to keep the application code maintainable and structured by keeping the business logic and user interface layers separated. At present, ColdFusion does not support MVC architecture. The developers have to use specific MVC frameworks – FuseBox, ColdBox, Mach-II and Model-Glue – for ColdFusion to keep the application code base clean and organized. Often ColdFusion developers find it challenging to pick the right MVC framework according to specific needs of the project.

5) Simplifying Code Installation Process

The ColdFusion developers use a variety of third-party APIs and tools to make the ColdFusion application deliver richer user experience. Hence, the developers explore ways to install, update, configure and remove the application and all its dependencies smoothly. The package manager tools provided by other web frameworks make it easier for programmers to automate the code installation process. Unlike other modern web frameworks, ColdFusion does not come with a built-in package manager. Hence, the users have to put additional time and effort to install the code base perfectly. They also need to fix a number of issues and errors associated with manual code installation. Many developers even use third-party command line tools and package managers to deploy the web application quickly and smoothly.

The developers have option to choose from three distinct editions of ColdFusion – standard, developer and enterprises. The features included in various editions of ColdFusion differ. The users have to incur additional expenses to avail all new features and enhancements provided by the latest version of ColdFusion. Hence, many web developers find it challenging to curtail project overheads while developing web applications with ColdFusion.

Top Tips on Choosing the Perfect Web Designer for Your Project

There are many website design companies and people professing to be an expert website developer. So it can be a difficult task finding a web development company who can make a real difference to your top and bottom lines.

So to get the perfect website developed for your business what should you be looking for? This guide will point you in the right direction – but also give you the questions you should be asking your web developer.

What experience does your web design agency have?

You wouldn’t have an operation by someone who didn’t have the relevant experience, so why would you risk your online business?

There are many companies and individuals who say they are experts in the field, so it can be difficult to identify the experts. Any expert web development company will be able to provide you with recent examples of their work, along with relevant outcomes and references that you can obtain. Don’t be afraid to ask how the customer has benefited since the launch of the website. If it’s an ecommerce website, find out sales value and increases in sales, if a brochure website ask about visitor numbers and positions in the search engines.

Only by asking these questions will you be able to identify who is best suited to the development of your new website and who can deliver the greatest return on investment.

What skills does your web design company have?

OK, you are looking to get your website developed, so you need a web designer. Right?

Well yes, but you also need other skill sets. You need expert designers who can translate your offline brand for the web, you need HTML and CSS coders who can translate this design, you need web developers who can create more complex functionality and you need online marketers who can help you deliver the best results for your website.

Although many web designers profess to deliver all of these skills, many are a ‘jack of all trades’, so be sure to ask your web agency whether they have specialists in each of these areas, but also ask what their background is, for example has the ‘marketing expert’ got the relevant experience and qualifications and has the developer got the development expertise to deliver your custom requirements, now and in the future.

Does the web agency provide value for money?

When looking for an agency you need to assess what exactly are you getting for your money. You may have two agencies and they may both say they are providing a CMS and ecommerce, however content management systems and ecommerce functionality can vary significantly from one web development company to another. So make sure you ask exactly what features will they provide. For example if you have a content management system, will you be able to update ‘all’ aspects of your website, or will you be limited to editing page text only? If you have an ecommerce solution will you have features such as coupon codes, trade logins or cater for sub-categories?

Not only think about what features you need now, you need to consider what features you’ll need in the future. So for example if you have an ecommerce website and there is a chance you would want to sell internationally, don’t forget to find out how easy this would be to add and how much this would cost. Only by gathering this information upfront can you be sure of avoiding any expensive surprises later on.

What support will your web developer be able to provide?

Having your website developed is just one part of the equation. To ensure maximum success and return on investment you’ll need a developer who can provide ongoing support and assistance when you need it. After all what will happen when you run into a problem? Or forget to update a page?

Always find out what support your web company will provide you. For example what training do they provide? Do they have documentation and support site’s that can help when they are closed? Can you get hold of their team via email or phone?

By following these tips, you’ll be able to identify a suitable web agency who will be able to help you with your website design project.

Advantages and Features of Mobile Web Design – What You Need to Know

2011 is being touted as the year when mobile technology really comes to the fore. So what are the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of mobile we design? Which web development features re mobile friendly and which are not? Lastly and mostly importantly, how do you find out how mobile web design could work for your business?

Advantages of mobile web design

  • A well developed mobile website can mean an increased range of web visitors to your web site, happy to be able to use your site to full effect and that it functions in the right way.
  • If your business targets people on the move (e.g. a restaurant or hotel), you’ll most likely pick up business with good mobile web development.
  • Even if your business isn’t a natural fit with mobile technology, giving thought to good mobile web design can present your company as a professional, cutting edge outfit which embraces new technology.
  • Developing for mobiles can expand your brand and product beyond your website into apps and software programs. The possibilities with mobile technology are growing by the day.

Disadvantages of mobile web design

  • You have to know what you’re doing. If done properly, there shouldn’t be any disadvantages to having a mobile web designed site. However, there are a few potential pitfalls which might annoy your mobile customers and have a detrimental effect on your search engine rankings for your web site as a whole.
  • Things are always changing. You can’t expect to invest in your mobile web design and leave it there. Mobile web technology is growing and expanding. When a new smartphone comes on the market, you need to be prepared to grow and change to meet the new demands.
  • It may not be appropriate for your business. As with any investment of time or money, you need to decide whether the ROI merits the effort you will put in. Businesses don’t all fit one mold, so you need to do your research before embarking on developing a mobile site to ensure that your expectations of the returns are met.

How to go about developing your mobile site – some of the characteristics of mobile web design and development

1) Check your stats

Before developing a mobile site, your first port of call is Google Analytics or similar, where you can identify sources of traffic to your website. Google Analytics lets you know what proportion of your visitors are using mobiles to access your website and which specific devices people are using. This will help you decide whether it is worth allocating resources to building a mobile web site for your business and which devices to use when testing your website design.

2) Create a mobile stylesheet

The best way to manage a mobile site is to use a different CSS stylesheet to the one you use for your browser pages. This technique is preferable to any other because it avoids duplicating content within your site (which can damage your search engine rankings) and makes it easier to update your site in one fell swoop.

3) Avoid duplicating content

Google can penalize your website for having lots of pages with the same content, so if you do decide to develop a different set of webpages for mobile phones, make sure that the content is specifically different from that for your browser website. If you need a full reference of dos and don’ts from Google, Webmaster Tools is a good place to start:

4) Keep images to a minimum

You need to work to your lowest common denominator and you don’t know what connection speeds you are dealing with on smart phones. If you can do so, keeping to a few small images will provide a more enjoyable experience for your customers visiting by phone.

5) No Flash… end of

Flash is not a feature of web development which is considered mobile friendly. It doesn’t work on iPhones and because of security constraints, may be phased out of many web browsers in the future, so it’s best avoided in any case. Additionally, Flash can’t be read by search engines so you won’t be scoring points on Google or Bing. If you want a phone- and search-engine-friendly Flash look-alike, why not try jQuery? It works using JavaScript, which is available on the vast majority of browsers and phones and your text can be read by search engines.

6) Apps

Depending on the nature of your business, you may wish to develop an app. An app is a small program which is either free or can be purchased (the usual price for an iPhone app is £0.80). Apps sit as icons on the iPhone or other smartphone, so as well as providing a useful service to your web visitor, they are a great ongoing advertisement for your website and business.

6) Test it out

Don’t have a smartphone? Opera has a great mobile emulator which allows you to see how your mobile site will look to your visitors. With the Opera mobile emulator, you can try out different phones, vary screen sizes and resolutions and test out touch and keypad phones.

Happy mobile web development!