Cold Fusion -> PHP

Kearns, Terry terry.kearns at
Mon Sep 10 11:04:53 EST 2001

Hi Simon,

Unfortunately the change would _not_ be easy. As you know, Cold Fusion takes
a less traditional approach to application building (which gives it it's
strength - speed). PHP is more like a traditional procedural language
relying strongly on functions. More recently (couple of years ago) it
acquired OO capabilities so it can also be adopted by OO shops.

I have found that the only way I can really modulise CF code (apart from
includes) is to make custom tags, but you can only take things so far before
things start getting ugly or I have to use another language anyway. I would
still recommend CF for people who want to build small applications, but for
medium to large apps, more traditional languages afford tried ant tested
methodologies. It is important to note that PHP is purpose built for the web
when comparing it to JAVA or PERL or VBScript. Even though JSP and ASP are
an adoptions for the web, the languages behind them were never web service
(I don't mean client) languages to begin with.

PHP tackles http issues better than any other language out there today. It's
session management capabilities are unparalleled i.e.. you can instantiate
an object, register it with a session (maybe one of many), then access that
same object instance on another page. You can freeze any given session (with
all it's variables) and dump the content to a file or DB and then thaw it
out by simply resuming it at a later date. There are several ways to achieve
persistence (sessions) without cookies too (some of which rely on Apache).
Output buffering is another example of how PHP is purpose built for the web.
No other language allows you to trap content (normally being written out in
the http stream) into local space where it can be accessed as a variable and
optionally released after done some other processing. I've used this
technique to effect funky caching techniques (see conference notes).

Compared to CF, PHP has a longer development cycle for very small projects,
but due to it's modular way of working, it is actually quicker for larger
applications - and _much_ easier to maintain in my experience. Documentation
is also easier. I am working on a small/medium size CF app at work and it is
painful :(

In short, there is no easy conversion process from CF to PHP, but it is most
_definately_ worth the effort. You'll never look back.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Simon Haddon [mailto:simon at]
> Sent: Monday, 10 September 2001 7:13
> To: Kearns, Terry
> Subject: Re: PHP (and potentially C) developers
> How different is PHP to Coldfusion?  I have good experience C 
> Coldfusion 
> could I make the transfer easily?
> -- 
> Simon Haddon, E-mail: simon at
> Sibern Solutions Pty Ltd, 38 Beasley St, Pearce, ACT 2607
> Tel: 02, 62864500, Fax: 02, 62864526
> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Original Message <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
> On 7/09/01, 11:54:43 AM, "Kearns, Terry" 
> <terry.kearns at> wrote 
> regarding PHP (and potentially C) developers:
> > Our organisation is in the process of determining the 
> technology we will 
> use
> > to implement server-side for our web based applications. 
> For a number of
> > reasons, I have recommended PHP (over Cold Fusion, ASP, and 
> Java) on a 
> Unix
> > platform.
> > We are trying to determine the availability of programmers 
> who would be 
> able
> > to join our team if we were to use PHP.
> > In my opinion, anyone who is experienced in C or perl would 
> be able to 
> pick
> > up PHP very very quickly. If there is anyone out there who would be
> > interested in developing PHP based applications, please let 
> me know. I 
> need
> > this information to make it happen.
> > Cheers.
> > [TK]

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