I finally got some time to look at Jeff Peters’ “ColdFusion Lists, Arrays, and Structures”. Jeff has been an active member of the ColdFusion community for quite some time, and has been a strong advocate for Fusebox (the subject of a book he published a couple of years back). This new title checks in at a svelte 150 pages dedicated entirely to the three data types enumerated in its title. This is an important subject, for many ColdFusion users the only experience they have with them are when using form fields that come back as lists, or accessing default structures (like FORM and URL, without even realizing that these are structures). The book has three primary sections, one for each of lists, arrays, and structures. Jeff’s explanations are clear and concise, the examples understandable (if somewhat snippet-ish), and the language is highly readable. Some of the function by function descriptions feel unnecessarily repetitive (more like language docs than in-depth coverage), but these are clearly grouped and I found myself skimming over them easily. My only real complaint is that I’d have loved to see some practical advice (in the “Loose Ends” section, perhaps), things like performance implications, maybe the same simple example presented using different data types so as to better explain their differences and the impact thereof; while the type by type coverage is great, I’d have liked to see Jeff close with taking a step back and putting it all in context (hey, next edition maybe?). Having said that, this book is highly recommended, and if you are serious about CFML development then the less-than-$20 cover price is easily justified. Book details are at http://www.protonarts.com/.

4 thoughts

  1. I’ve been enjoying your blog ever since you came to speak in Denver on your tour. Regarding this book – I love to use Structures, Lists and Arrays to organize data in my ColdFusion code. If I’m already a user of Structures, Lists, and Arrays would I still find this book useful? When you say you found yourself skimming over them easily was there any reference or code examples you thought would be useful for a more seasoned programmer? I don’t know if I’m more seasoned but I do use those data structures.

  2. Greg, I’d call this one a beginner-intermediate title, I don’t think that it’ll be overly helpful to experienced users. But having said that, yes, even experienced users may find bits and pieces that prove useful.

  3. Thanks for the review, Ben. I’ll keep your comments in mind for future editions. Readers might also be interested in my latest book, "Fusebox 4 & FLiP: Master-Class ColdFusion Applications", also available at ProtonArts.com.

  4. I went ahead and bought a copy (finally) after being reminded of it’s existence on andy jarrett’s blog entry on indispensible books

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