I've blogged about Framework One (FW/1) a few times before. The more I look at it, the more I grow to like it and appreciate it's way of doing things. I don't prefer it over Model-Glue, but I think it's got a lot going for it, and I think it will appeal to people who may not like Model-Glue. One of the biggest differences between FW/1 and Model-Glue is that almost everything you do in FW/1 is implicit in nature. There is no XML. There is no set of declarations for each event. Instead, the framework will do almost everything for you and save you from writing a lot of code that - for the most part - isn't strictly necessary. This post isn't meant to teach you FW/1 - see the docs for that. Rather I thought I'd share my experiences (and code!) for my first "real" application. Before I go any further though - please keep in mind: This is my FIRST FW/1 application. Do you remember your first ColdFusion application? Yeah - this is worse. I'm sure Sean and others who have used FW/1 will be able to tear this apart. That being said - I enjoyed writing this, and I enjoyed using the framework. I hope this sample is useful to others in some way.

So what did I build? My application is called QBall. It's based on the recent rise of "Question/Answer" sites like Stack Overflow. Basic functionality includes:

  • User registration and login. Later on I plan on adding the ability to let you edit your information and see the content you have contributed.
  • Users can write questions. Questions are open ended blocks of text on any topic. Later on I'd like to add some basic tagging.
  • Users can write answers to questions.
  • Users can vote up and vote down answers to show their support.
  • The user who wrote the question can select an answer as the one they accept as best.

So as you can see, there really isn't a lot going on here. The home page shows the most recent questions along with their current status:

Here is a screen shot of a new question:

And finally a shot of a question with a few answers:

To use this application you will need the FW/1 framework (of course) which is all of one file. You will also need ColdFusion 9. I made use of script-based CFCs and ORM for all my data entry. Create a virgin database and setup a DSN called "qball" before running the application. After you've done that, it should "just work". If it doesn't, let me know. Actually - one thing that may not work for you is the mapping. I believe the docs typically show an "org" mapping for the FW/1 code. I created a mapping called fw1 instead. Whichever you chose, make note of it in line one in the Application.cfc file:

component extends="fw1.framework" {

Most likely you will need to tweak that.

Ok, so what did I like - and what caused me a bit of trouble? Well for the most part, the thing that took me the longest to wrap my head around was the start/end cycle of controller calls. When you run x.y, FW/1 will look for an execute a startY method in your x controller, then the Y method, then the Y method of the X service, and finally endY back in the X controller. Having just looked over what I wrote I don't think that makes much sense (again, check the docs). That's somewhat different than what I'm used too and it took a little bit to get used to the "flow". Once I did though I didn't have much trouble putting it to use. Another thing that was a bit difficult was handling cases where the implicit actions done by FW/1 weren't exactly what I want.

Anyway - download it and check it out.

Edited February 28, 7:37 AM: Please note that QBall requires ColdSpring to be installed. I've updated the code to not use x.y.z in the entity relationships. Thanks to Andreas for that. I also fixed the dbdefault for answer.cfc (and again, thank you Andreas).

Download attached file.