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Understanding the ColdFusion Administrator

Starting with ColdFusion 3.0, Macromedia recognized that system administrators don't always have the luxury of sitting right at the keyboard of the server they're administering. For this reason, Macromedia developed a very nifty Web interface for its program's configuration utility, the ColdFusion Administrator. You can now fire up the Administrator interface by clicking a desktop icon, right-clicking a taskbar icon (on Windows 9x platforms), or by remotely accessing a special URL in any Web browser. Assuming that you used the default directories when you installed ColdFusion server, the URL to access Administrator is

http://your.hostname/CFIDE/Administrator/index.cfm

It's a good idea to bookmark the ColdFusion Administrator page in your browser at this point. I'll be referring to it often in coming chapters as I define datasources, discuss setting up access to your server's mail system, and explore template debugging.

Whichever method you use to start the Administrator, the result will be the same. Your system's default Web browser will bring up the ColdFusion Administrator login screen. Enter the password you specified in the install process and you'll see a set of page frames, like those shown in Figure 3.4, offering access to ColdFusion settings groups. The following sections introduce each of the main groups you see in the leftmost frame of your browser.

Figure 3.4 The main configuration page in ColdFusion Administrator.

The Server Settings Group

This group provides options to tune ColdFusion's performance and the way it handles variables. You probably won't need to make any adjustments to the default settings initially.

Included in the Server Settings panel are

  • Server performance settings that can be used to fine-tune the way ColdFusion runs on your server

  • Configuration for ColdFusion variables

  • A mail server configuration you'll later use to integrate e-mail into your applications

  • Directory mapping

Directory mapping defines the location of key directories on your Web server, such as the root or home directory of an application.

The Datasources Group

This section provides options to set up and test ColdFusion datasources, including

  • Setup for ODBC, OLE DB, and native datasource connections

  • A summary panel listing all datasources regardless of connection method

  • Setup for the Verity search engine, which you'll later use to construct powerful searches of your documents

The Debug Settings Group

This group controls the behavior of ColdFusion's built-in debugging tools. Settings include

  • Switches to turn on ColdFusion's various debugging displays

  • Settings to control who sees the debugging messages

The Automated Tasks Group

This group allows you to schedule automated tasks. Settings include

  • General automation settings to control whether scheduled tasks are logged

  • A task scheduler allowing you to define new automated tasks

The Extensions Group

These settings control various options relating to ColdFusion extensions, including

  • Custom tags

  • CFX tags

  • Java extensions

  • CORBA connectors

An extension is a user-written module that can be used to extend the capabilities of ColdFusion. Extensions come in a variety of flavors and can be written in any of several languages (including ColdFusion's CFML).

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