Hidden Gems in ColdFusion 2018, Part 1: Series Overview
In every release of Adobe ColdFusion, there are the few major features which receive a lot of attention from Adobe and from CF users, but there are often dozens of lesser-known features that may help you, whether regarding coding or such things as security, administration, installation, configuration, tuning, monitoring, and so on. And of course, there can be important compatibility/migrations to be aware of, and still more.
As some readers will know, I’ve done a “hidden gems” talk for most of the past several versions, offered at CF conferences and user groups over the years. I would like to now present these hidden gems for CF2018 as a series of blog posts, here on the portal. Because there are always so many, I will break it into many posts over the coming days and weeks.
In this first one, I want to set the stage for the series with some overview topics.
As I post the parts, I will update this list to point to them:
- Hidden Gems in CF2018, part 2: Installation, Administration, and Configuration
- Hidden Gems in CF2018, part 3 – Security, Performance, and the PMT
- Hidden Gems in CF2018, part 4 – Dev features: CFML REPL, CFFiddle, and REST Playground
- Hidden Gems in CF2018, Part 5 – Language Changes
- Part 6 and beyond, to come
What makes a feature a “hidden gem”?
Of course, there’s a fine line between what is a “major feature” and what is a “hidden gem”. Indeed, it’s an arbitrary decision I make.
First, I figure I don’t need (in my hidden gems talks–or this series) to go into those features that are listed on the front page of the Adobe CF web site, or that would be highlighted by Adobe on their first slides of keynote talks at conferences. I will at least mention them in passing, with pointers to where you can learn more, if you’re new to those also.
As for what I do regard as hidden gems, I include those features which don’t get much attention, or get only a mere mention in the Adobe keynotes. And I add more than just new/changed features (though I try to at least track all those), but I go beyond that with other topics about the new release which may be important for those considering a move to the release, as you’ll see below.
And I find things by scouring the docs, or blogs posts from Adobe and others, or community discussions such as here in the portal, or in the CF forums, Facebook CF Programmers group, the CFML slack channel, and more. Finally, I add things that I learn in my own research, or in working with clients in my CF server troubleshooting consulting. And of course I’m always open to learning more, and adding them to my talk and this blog series, so your comments and suggestions are most welcome.
So, before we proceed with the hidden gems that I have found so far, let’s take a quick look at the major new features of CF2018.
The major new features of CF2018, covered elsewhere
Again, this is an arbitrary listing, but here are the things which I feel that if you asked most people, “what’s new in CF2018?”, they might come up with, based on their exposure to the primary Adobe CF resources and keynote talks:
- The performance monitoring toolset (PMT)
- The auto lockdown tool
- Asynchronous programming
- Command-line REPL
- REST playground
- New caching engines
- Changed CF Admin UI
- Various language, performance, and security enhancements
There is OF COURSE much more that’s new in CF2018, as we will see.
And there is certainly much that can be said about each of these, but I will leave it at pointing out that not only is there documentation on each of these features in various parts of the CF docs, but some great news is that Adobe had created blog posts (sometimes more than one) on each of these main new features. While there’s no single Adobe resource I could point to that links to the docs and blog posts for each feature, I did create a blog post that does just that, back in July when CF2018 came out: CF2018 released: what are the key new features, and where to find more?
With all that as preface, we can now move on to the hidden gems.
What areas of hidden gems will we cover?
We will see in future posts of this series that I have broken the hidden gems into the following categories:
- Installation, configuration, and administration
- Security (auto-lockdown tool), performance, and monitoring (PMT)
- Developer-oriented features and language changes
- Deprecated/obsoleted features
- Compatibility/migration issues
- Updates to underlying libraries’ version numbers
- What’s new in Standard vs Enterprise
- Pricing, end of life/support, licensing, updates
- and still more
Note that sometimes the gems may be about some minor (but perhaps important) aspect one of those “major features” above, where I that feel folks may “know about the feature” but may not realize it has some potentially important aspect to consider.
Don’t miss hidden gems in other releases you may be skipping
Before we move on to the gems, I will say finally that if you may be skipping to CF2018 from CF11 (skipping over CF2016), then you would of course want to know about what hidden gems there were in that release. Or maybe you are coming from CF2016, but you were never aware of its various hidden gems. Or maybe you’re skipping from CF 10, 9, or even 8 (I have helped people do just that in recent months).
Well good news: here are links to my past presentations for each of those releases.
Note that I start with listing my CF2018 talk (as given recently at the past Adobe CF Summit in Vegas and the CFCamp conference in Munich), as I realize some may be anxious to “jump ahead” and see what I may have to say without waiting for the blog posts. Of course, the PDFs have just the bullet points, not any elaboration I may have added. I will do that where appropriate in this series. But sometimes I may well offer only a small amount of info on each gem, point you to docs or blog posts or videos with more info, as obviously I don’t want to simply regurgitate the docs here!
For each of the following, I point to my site’s page about the talk, which includes the description (and where/when it was offered) as well as a PDF link of the slides (and possibly a video recording, when available):
- “Hidden Gems in CF2018”
- “Hidden Gems in CF2016”
- “Hidden Gems in CF11”
- “Hidden Gems in CF10”
- “Hidden Gems in CF8” (I missed doing one for CF9!)
- “Hidden Gems in CF6” (missed doing one for 7!)
- “Hidden Gems in CF5”
- “Hidden Gems in CF4.0.1”
You should check them out as you may have time. You never know just what you may find that you missed and which could still be a feature in CF, waiting as a hidden gem for you!
Finally, speaking of waiting for the next posts in this series, if you wanted to get a head start on the major new things in CF2018, again check out that previous blog post I did on CF2018 released: what are the key new features, and where to find more?.
And see you in part 2, where we’ll start in on gems related to CF installation, configuration, and administration. (Again, as new parts in the series are added, I will update the list of the parts as shown at the top of this article.)