Microsoft SharePoint has grown into a collection of servers and technologies for collaboration, process management, search, document-management, as well as portal type functionality. And as use of SharePoint has grown within enterprises and organizations, so have the requests for ColdFusion SharePoint integration. Indeed, some of the biggest ColdFusion deployments on the planet have asked for just that, which is why I posted an entry a while back soliciting input and feedback on the subject. (And yes, the responses to that post were all read and reviewed by the ColdFusion team, so those of you that weighed in actively helped to define the solution, thanks!).
The big challenge we faced with SharePoint integration was understanding what exactly users wanted. What we didn’t want was to release a feature only to find that it does not solve most problems for most users (we’ve done this before, and it’s no fun at all). And each time we asked for specifics we got slightly different answers. But, thanks to lots of research, we were able to come up with a list of features that seem to address most user needs, and the following is what is planned for ColdFusion 9.

  • The most common request is for single-sign-on (SSO) support, so that ColdFusion applications running under SharePoint can leverage SharePoint authentication and security, removing the need for logins and authentication in ColdFusion applications themselves. In ColdFusion 9 this is accomplished via SharePoint integration files included with ColdFusion (a WSP file and a supporting CAB file). With these files installed and configured, SharePoint can pass credentials to invoked ColdFusion applications providing SSO support.
  • So, what do I mean by “ColdFusion applications running under SharePoint”? One way to build SharePoint applications is by using Web Parts, ASP.NET server controls, to build Web Part Pages. Web Parts may be pre-written Microsoft provided controls, 3rd party controls, or your own controls. And in ColdFusion 9, Web Parts can be ColdFusion applications, too. Combine that with the SSO support just mentioned, and you have the building blocks for solid ColdFusion SharePoint integration.
  • But what if you just want to be able to access data in SharePoint? What if you don’t need your application running as a Web Part, you just want to take advantage of SharePoint user lists and views and groups, or to work with SharePoint stored images and document workspaces, or use SharePoint search? Some of this is already doable via SharePoint exposed Web Services, but for increased control and performance we’ve added a new tag that accesses exposed SharePoint features directly. This is a huge, powerful and sophisticated tag. And I do mean huge, it supports close to 50 actions and hundreds of possible attributes and parameters (depending on the operation being performed, most actions take just a few parameters).

Between these three options, SSO, ColdFusion applications as Web Parts, and access to SharePoint services via , we believe we’ve addressed most of what users are asking for in ColdFusion SharePoint integration. This not only further solidifies ColdFusion as an integral part of the Enterprise, but also allows organizations using SharePoint to leverage the power and productivity of ColdFusion without abandoning their adopted Enterprise architecture and platform. It’s a big win-win all around.

35 thoughts

  1. This is not just big, this is HUGE. I am amazed at how quickly this was integrated into the product, good work CF Team!

  2. Ditto. We don’t have SharePoint yet, but it’s on my boss’s radar, and I was worried about the impact that would have on my development preferences.
    This is great. ColdFusion continues to be a key to developing applications that masterfully integrate systems.

  3. Grazie mille!
    So thrilled that you championed this Ben. This is a significant deliverable that will make justifying the upgrade to CF 9 a no brainer to a myriad of companies.

  4. This is great. We have used CF since the late 1990s, and first moved CF pages into SharePoint web parts in 2002, the front end of a case management system. The back end was a SQL database, and the business rules and logic was writen into CF. We are now in the middle of upgrading that system into a 3rd generation front end using MOSS 2007. The simple truth is that we are using the MOSS page viewer web part (Option2), and point to CF pages. This will add immense capability if and when we need it. And I’m a plain old country lawyer, so it cannot be hard to do.

  5. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. We are once again fighting with a crazy application that merges ColdFusion and Sharepoint via the webservices and it’s just fluky as all get out. Being able to have an actual integration instead of this thing we’ve cobbled together is going to be a HUGE timesaver. I simply cannot wait for CF9.

  6. Thank you Ben and the CF team. I remember you talking about this at last year’s MAX and thinking then how great this would be. Our intranet is MOSS and our custom apps are CF and Flex. This is going to make life so much easier and I already have projects in the pipeline waiting for <CFSHAREPOINT>. My managers have already said yes to CF 9 because of this news.

  7. Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but it seems that the integration of ColdFusion and SharePoint is not as wonderful as I thought. First, the single sign-on mentioned makes use of SharePoint’s single sign-on authentication method, which is only available in MOSS 2007, which carries quite a large price tag (not the free WSS). So if you want this feature, but only run WSS like us, expect to have to upgrade to MOSS. (Please, please tell me I’m wrong!)
    "And in ColdFusion 9, Web Parts can be ColdFusion applications, too."
    This feature is implemented (as described in the documentation) simply by using a SharePoint Page Viewer Web Part, which is really just an iframe. You don’t need ColdFusion 9 to do this. You can create this web part and point it to any page.
    The cfsharepoint tag does look nice, however, since using sharepoint webservices can sometimes be tricky.

  8. Just to add to what Tim Knell said above, even prior to CF9 one could embed a CFM page in a webpart, we’ve been using MOSS 2007 for a little while now as well as running CF 8 and using the Page viewer Part has worked for us so I’m a bit unclear on how this is listed as a new feature.
    -Malik

  9. Keep in mind that this is not fully baked yet. Part of the purpose of a public beta is to encourage working with features so as to elicit bug reports and enhancement requests. And we do have time to make changes and fixes and enhancements.
    As for authentication beyond basic authentication specifically, we do have a solution for this, but it involves some licensing issues that are being worked on. In the meantime, file those enhancement requests.
    — Ben

  10. Currently our organization is spending 50-100k on Share Point (asp.net) web parts. What this next release of CF is going to do is empower all CF developers to be able to develop CF web part applications, and up the pay scale of all CF developers. Great job can’t wait to try it!

  11. Verhoeven, are your sure you need the web parts? We’ve been "implanting" .cfm pages in basic web parts since 2002 with great success, and have not ever been constained by the technology. MOSS is a great environment, but does not have to contain business logic or special function. Try the Page Viewer Web part with some more sophisticated CFM page and fuctionality implanted simple via URL. That way you script CF, not ASP. It has worked great for us.

  12. Ben:
    "…As for authentication beyond basic authentication specifically, we do have a solution for this, but it involves some licensing issues that are being worked on…"
    At Max 2009 one of the presenters said that NTLM authentication was working in CF9 beta 2 (and if it wasn’t then I should consider it a bug), but we have not been able to get it to work. Your comment above leads me to believe that there is a way. Can you send me down the right path? SharePoint integration without NTLM in a government installation won’t fly. THANK YOU!

  13. Please advise because it seems that basic authentication is not used we are out of luck. Please provide any help!!!
    Thanks

  14. Ben, You state there were licensing issues with
    using NTLM with <CFSHAREPOINT>
    Have those issues been resolved in CF9?
    If so, do you have any examples?

  15. Is it possible to use this tag to interrogate a sharepoint list from a coldfusion page that is not a webpart?

  16. Anyone have any examples for this? Not much on the web but basically I want to be able to pull a list of all documents in a Document Library.

  17. Hi Ben,
    I’m a little worried.
    You have not posted back in over a year.
    Hope all is well, and that noone has lost their job
    over this issue of omitting the CRITCAL
    NTLM+HTTPS piece of SharePoint?
    Hello (tap tap tap), is this thing on?

  18. the https issue is a BIG issue for us, making
    the cfsharepoint tag rather useless.
    Im with Bill, and asking the same question.

  19. Just another using checking to see if we can do anything other than basic authentication for the cfsharepoint tag yet. It’s a major obstacle for me using it at the moment.

  20. Any further update on NTLM+HTTPS authentication?
    We are using SharePoint 2010, so it would have to work in that environment.

  21. Just attempted to use <cfsharepoint again. It has potential to be a useful tag. As it stands now, with no NTLM support, what is its purpose? Any news on whether or not it will be fixed soon? Sharepoint is growing and I’ve got to use a tool that will work with it in a real world scenario (one that involves security).

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