Before you develop a ColdFusion application, you must determine how to structure the application and how to handle application-wide needs and issues. In particular, you must consider all of the following:

  • The overall application framework
  • Reusable application elements
  • Shared variables
  • Application events and the Application.cfc file
  • Application-level settings and functions
  • Application security and user identification

The application framework

The application framework is the overall structure of the application and how your directory structure and application pages reflect that structure. You can use a single application framework to structure multiple ColdFusion applications into a single website or Internet application. You can structure a ColdFusion application by using many methodologies. For example, the Fusebox application development methodology is one popular framework for developing ColdFusion web applications. (For more information on Fusebox, see

This chapter does not provide information on how to use or develop a specific application framework. However, it does discuss the tools that ColdFusion provides for building your framework, including the Application.cfc file, how an application's directory structure affects the application, and how you can map the directory structure. For more information on mapping the application framework, see Structuring an application.

Note: For one example of an application framework, see "ColdFusion Methodologies for Content Management," available at

Reusable application elements

ColdFusion provides a variety of reusable elements that you can use to provide commonly used functionality and extend CFML. These elements include the following:

  • User-defined functions (UDFs)
  • CFML custom tags
  • ColdFusion components (CFCs)
  • CFX (ColdFusion Extension) tags
  • Pages that you include using the cfinclude tag
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