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Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5 : Connecting Your Project to Live Data - Setting Up a Local Testing Server

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A local testing server is a Web server installed on your personal computer that you can use to simulate live connections with the database. While there are quite a few steps involved with downloading, installing and configuring the server, the process is fairly simple and will enable you to test your pages and further develop your applications as needed.

1. Download and install ColdFusion

Adobe ColdFusion provides a set of powerful, easy-to-learn and easy-to-use tools for developing data-driven Web applications. As a commercial product, it does need to be purchased by your company or Web host in order for it to be deployed on a live, production Web server. However, Adobe makes a Developer Edition available, free of charge, to be installed and used in testing environments.

  1. Using a Web browser, go to www.adobe.com/products/coldfusion.

  2. Click Get the Free Trial (see Figure 1). A login screen appears.

    NOTE

    The most recent release of ColdFusion as of this writing is version 9, released in October of 2009. The process shown in these steps will work with ColdFusion MX7, ColdFusion 8, or ColdFusion 9, so if you have already installed one of those earlier versions, you need not re-download and reinstall ColdFusion 9.

  3. Log into Adobe's Web site in order to download software. If you have an Adobe account, type your username and password. If you do not have an account, you can click the link on the page and create a free account, and then return to this page and log in (see Figure 2).

    Figure 1. The Adobe ColdFusion home page
    Figure 2. The login page
  4. Select the version of ColdFusion that is appropriate for your operating system and click Download (see Figure 3). The File Download dialog box appears.

    Figure 3. The download page for ColdFusion
  5. Click Save (see Figure 4).

  6. Navigate to a directory on your computer into which you want to download the file and click Save.

  7. When the download completes, navigate to the directory into which you downloaded the file and double-click it to launch the installer. The first step of the installer informs you that ColdFusion is going to be installed.

  8. Click Next (see Figure 5).

    Figure 4. Saving the download
    Figure 5. The first step of the ColdFusion installer
  9. After reviewing the license agreement, click Next (see Figure 6).

    Figure 6. The ColdFusion license installer license agreement
  10. Click the option to install the Developer Edition.

  11. Click Next (see Figure 7).

  12. Select a configuration for ColdFusion. For a local testing server, Server configuration option, which is the default option, works best.

  13. Click Next (see Figure 8). The next screen displays a list of subcomponents to install with ColdFusion.

    Figure 7. Choosing to install the Developer Edition
    Figure 8. The Server Configuration screen
  14. Leave the default selections and click Next (see Figure 9).

    Figure 9. The Subcomponent Installation screen
  15. Select the directory into which you want to install ColdFusion. Unless you have a particular reason to choose something else, leave it at the default.

  16. Click Next (see Figure 10). The next screen allows you to specify that you will be using the stand-alone version of ColdFusion.

  17. Select the Built-in web server (Development use only) option.

  18. Click Next (see Figure 11).

    Figure 10. Choosing the installation directory
    Figure 11. Setting ColdFusion to use its built-in Web server
  19. Enter a password and type it again to confirm. This password will be used by you when you need to log into the ColdFusion administrator to configure your server, so be sure to use a password that you will remember (see Figure 12).

    ColdFusion uses the Remote Development Service to allow external editors such as Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe ColdFusion Builder to have access to the server to simplify development. On a development or testing machine such as the one you are setting up, you should enable RDS and set up a password to control access. You should not enable RDS on a live production server.

    Figure 12. Entering a server password
  20. In this case, select the Enable RDS option and type, then confirm, a password (see Figure 13). The installation wizard offers a summary of the settings.

  21. When you are ready, click Install (see Figure 14). The installer will likely take several minutes.

    Figure 13. The Enable RDS step of the wizard
    Figure 14. The summary screen of the installer
  22. Once the installation is complete, launch the ColdFusion administrator to complete the configuration (see Figure 15).

    Figure 15. The Installation Complete page
  23. Click the link provided to launch your Web browser. After a few minutes, the installer will complete and display the ColdFusion administrator login screen (see Figure 16).

  24. Log in and explore the administrator if you wish, using the password you created during the installation process (see Figure 17).

Figure 16. The ColdFusion administrator login screen, which displays when the installation and configuration are complete

Figure 17. The ColdFusion Administrator home page

You have now installed ColdFusion on your computer, and are ready to begin using it as a back-end resource to connect your project to live data.

2. Configuring the database

After ColdFusion is installed, you need to set up and configure a database to use for your application. Many relational database systems exist, from desktop applications such as Microsoft Access to enterprise-level solutions offered by Oracle. One of ColdFusion's strengths is its ability to work with almost any database system.

Derby offers many of the features found in expensive, enterprise-grade systems such as Microsoft SQL Server, but as an open-source solution, it is available free of charge. However, it does entirely lack a user interface. Therefore, it is necessary to create your own front end to the database. In this case, you can use ColdFusion to create that front end.

  1. Once the files are downloaded, unzip them into the ColdFusion Web root. If you used a default installation on Windows, the root will be at c:\ColdFusion9\wwwroot, while on the Mac it will be at Applications/ColdFusion9/wwwroot.

  2. Open a Web browser and type http://localhost:8500/catalystbibledbconfig.cfm in the browser's address bar.

  3. Press enter.

  4. Enter the ColdFusion administrator password you set up while installing ColdFusion.

  5. Click Set Up Database. The ColdFusion page will create the necessary settings to configure the database, as well as creating the tables needed for the remainder of the examples here and populate the database with sample data.

    Once complete, a confirmation page will be displayed.

  6. When you get the confirmation page, you can close the browser (see Figure 18).

Figure 18. The ColdFusion database configuration completed
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