ColdFusion Ad Server updated

This post is more than 2 years old.

Harlan, my very old open source ColdFusion ad service, has been updated to remove Flash Forms. For some reason they didn't show any data in ColdFusion 9, and frankly, no one should be using Flash Forms anyway. I changed them to simple HTML tabs. While not as pretty, the application at least works now. The whole thing really needs to be overhauled, but as I have no idea how useful it is to people, it isn't really high on my priority list. As it stands - it works - it's open source - enjoy. ;)

You can download Harlan here:

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Rick H posted on 10/25/2011 at 9:41 PM

Shameless promotion: I wrote a similar ad display program in PHP called "CellarWebAds", because I had a need for a PHP-based solution (and couldn't use CF). Also open-source and free. Can be found at .

I still do some ColdFusion work at the office (and prefer CF over PHP), but CF hosting for my personal sites is a bit too expensive (and GoDaddy is stopping CF hosting next month; that required rewriting my site -- free file transfer that bypasses email limitations -- in PHP). Enjoy your blog; hoping to approach your knowlege level in my lifetime.

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 10/25/2011 at 10:17 PM

I'm sorry - I'll have to delete your comment since you invoked the name of the Beast. ;)

Seriously though - and this is OT - but it's my blog and I doubt this entry will get many comments - how did you feel about PHP as you learned it? It seems good enough to me. If I had to stop using CF I think I could make do with it.

Comment 3 by Rick posted on 10/25/2011 at 11:14 PM

I first used PHP with DW 4, and DW4 had some limitations (associated files weren't in tabs like in CF, syntax checking wasn't complete, formatting code didn't work well with a mix of HTML and PHP). I started using a PHP editor called "Rapid PHP 2011", which had better features/usability for PHP over DW4. Since then, I've just gotten DW5.5 a couple of weeks ago, which is better than DW4 for PHP editing.

As for the language, CF code is better integrated with HTML code; the resultant code is less 'visually messy'. The transition to PHP 'code-think' was fairly easy, especially with a PHP reference book nearby for syntax (although the Rapid PHP editor does have good PHP code hinting, as does DW5.5 now). Functionally, the languages are similar enough that it's not too hard to transition between the two of them (I use CF at the office, and PHP on home porjects).

Since GoDaddy is stopping CF support, I needed to rewrite the FileHurl site from CF to PHP. (I couldn't justify finding a host that supported CF; my existing host --, although I also use -- allows unlimited domains and file transfer and MySQL databases). It wasn't difficult to change the CF code to PHP equivalents. I think I spent about a month (after hours/weekend) of time with the CF to PHP rewrite.

I've been using CF for 10+ years, although I am not at your level, and use minimal object-oriented programming techniques. Not sure which I prefer using, but the hosting cost considerations, plus the WordPress and custom-php sites that I have built and maintain, are pushing me more towards PHP. I have no doubt that you (and most CF programmers) could easily transition to PHP if needed.

Enjoy your blog....I usually find a worthwhile nugget to use in CF and PHP programming.

Comment 4 by Raymond Camden posted on 10/26/2011 at 12:56 AM

Interesting. Thanks for your perspective Rick!

Comment 5 by Simon posted on 10/26/2011 at 12:45 PM

Rick does echo some of my thoughts when it comes down to CF hosting. Luckily my clients pick up the tab for hosting but its always an area that comes up in the negotiations :0)

Comment 6 by Mike posted on 10/26/2011 at 7:14 PM

I don't understand the hosting cost, I mean I have a place where for 14 bucks I get unlimited domain hookup and mysql etc. And Hostek has a shared cf hosting for like 25 bucks a month I think.

Then again you could be talking vps, if thats the case then yes CF is a little more from what i have seen but that would be true with any VPS. I have noticed that CF hosting is not that much more then any other package ATM.

Comment 7 by Raymond Camden posted on 10/26/2011 at 7:20 PM

I'm a firm believer in that you should be willing to _pay_ for hosting. I'm not saying it is better to spend a lot of money. But if your business is on the web, paying 20-50 bucks per month should not be a big deal. Some folks go for 5 dollar a month deals which seems insane. I spend more on beers. Shoot, I sometimes spend more on -one- beer.

Comment 8 by Mikel posted on 10/26/2011 at 7:22 PM

I usually point my clients to Host My Site (now part of as they're reasonably priced but have always provided GREAT support and that is what I find most valuable with them.

Comment 9 by Rick posted on 10/26/2011 at 7:53 PM

I will agree that the hosting choice should be appropriate for the application and business needs. In my case, however, those business needs were minimal. I created the site as a way to allow transfer of files between people without the limitations of email size limits. At that time, I was just using ColdFusion. I had other personal sites running on a small hosting company, but they didn't support CF. So I let GoDaddy host the site, since they supported (at the time) CF.

Since writing the FileHurl application, I started a slow move to another hosting company (JustHost). Their advantage was the unlimited domains/databases/file-transfer at a low monthly cost. Remember that these sites were personal sites (non-income-producing). And I started learning PHP/MySQL. Additional domains followed, all hosted on JustHost.

When GoDaddy announced the end of CF support, I decided to move FileHurl to PHP. Again, that was related to "business" need. There wasn't enough traffic (and income) to justify moving to a CF host.

So, hosting costs, in my case, were a factor in the decision to move the FileHurl CF app to PHP. If I had a business need for CF (one that provided income), then the hosting decision might be different.

Comment 10 by Mike posted on 10/26/2011 at 9:00 PM

Totally understand the business needs and price point etc. I normally would point customers to because of the really good support even though they can be a little on the highend but you get what you pay for.

I have been using a company called for many years now, its basically my testing server for things but the reseller account is like 15 bucks, its cheap and reliable so for like testing to see if a site is going to be worth moving to its own server or just for demoing sites for customers it works out very well.

Comment 11 by John Sieber posted on 10/26/2011 at 10:51 PM

I had to work on an old piece of code this week that used Flash forms and also found that I was unable to display any data within my form with CF9. I did not think much of it and converted the form over to html, but I imagine this could be a total PITA for some people. CF has typically been good at being backwards compatible, I wonder if this was a documented decision, or if so few people use flash forms that it was not even noticed?

Comment 12 by Raymond Camden posted on 10/27/2011 at 4:33 AM

@John: Personally I think it is a bug - and while I normally always tell people to file bugs - I just can't be bothered for Flash Forms.

Comment 13 by Pete posted on 11/8/2011 at 10:35 PM

I know this is reviving an off topic thread... but I pay £15 (yes pounds, not dollars) a month, to host a VPS from 1and1 (they're technical support is awful, but it is only for my blog) and I got Railo up and running on there, and BlogCFC running on Railo.

Not sure if I'm allowed to say Railo here... but it's better than PHP! And it's very free.

I use Coldfusion at work, which I love so much, and Railo at home, which is a suitable replacement till I can justify buying a CF9 licence for my own personal satisfaction.

I use PHP if someone pays me enough. And I hate wordpress.

So you can get cheap solutions for playing with Coldfusion, and then expand your server/CFML language to suit your incomings.

And Ray, I've been thinking of building an ad server in house for a while, so I'll check out Harlan instead... you may have saved me lots of time.

Comment 14 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/8/2011 at 10:50 PM

It's ok to mention Railo if you don't mind me saying Adobe ColdFusion is better. ;)

Comment 15 by Pete posted on 11/8/2011 at 11:12 PM

I agree, and when I've saved up a spare 1000 I'll get it!