I’m sure there is a lot to Model Glue I haven’t touched yet. For instance I haven’t even looked at the Coldspring tie in with MG. I also haven’t done any IOC (dependency injection stuff) using ChiliBeans within MG. However, I have been mucking with ConfigBeans.

To be honest, at first, I thought they seemed like overkill. But like all short-sighted people thinks quickly got blurry for me until I put on my ConfigBean glasses and could see clearly. Quite frankly they are handy.

Here’s a for instance. I built an app not too long ago that let other developers add page specific menu items to their view. So if you were on the login page you could define a structure that contained all the info needed for that link (text, caption, javascript to run on the click event, whether it was a “admin” or “user” link, if you had to be logged in to see it, etc.. etc.) you then passed this structure into a custom tag that stored the struct in an array in the request scope. Then, when the page_menu view was loaded the array was iterated over and the links added to the menu. It worked pretty well and I was able to use a similar technique to let each page developer add context sensitive “tips” to the application, and various filtering mechanisms to different query views in a consistent manner.

So, buy now you must be wondering why I’m droning on about this request scope stuff when I started talking about ConfigBeans. Well in my dig into Model Glue I decided to port this application as a good “indepth” exploration of the framework. In doing this port I want to get away from using the Request Scope unless absolutely necessary (I might post later on when it is necessary). These page specific menu’s are an ideal candidate for moving from the request scope into a ConfigBean.

Now, there are two options to making this move; I could make one ConfigBean that stores all the page menu options for all the pages. Or I could create one ConfigBean for each page that has custom menu items.

In this initial dig into the idea I am using the first option. One big ConfigBean that consists of a structure (each key is a page) and each structure consists of an array of menu item structures. You’ll notice the array of menu item structures is the same. I basically didn’t have to do any work at all in converting my view in ModelGlue because of this.

Now, on the onRequestStart event I load into the event data the pages menu items. Then at the top of the page menu view instead of assigning my local menuItems variable the contents of Request.Page.Menus I just assign it to viewState.getValue(“pageMenu”)

OK, admittedly, this example is pretty specific to my application so here is another instantly useful example that you might find applicable.

In the documentation about ConfigBeans Joe mentions they are a great candidate for storing datasource information - then you pass in the datasource bean to your DAO instead of the datasource name etc. This way it’s all encapsulated.

Well, with this same app I actually have to have two datasources defined. The primary datasource (an Oracle 9i database) and an import datasource (an access database). The import database just points to a totally empty place holder access mdb file. But with CFMX 6+ the only way to dynamically connect to an access database is to have this placeholder one in existence.

<cfquery name="manuals" datasource="placeholderAccessDatabase">
SELECT * FROM sometable IN 'full path to the actual access database to read

Again I have two choices; one datasource ConfigBean with info about both datasources (getDSN and getImportDSN) or two ConfigBeans - one for each. Again I chose the former and just have one Datasource ConfigBean. In this example it just makes sense to me to have one bean for all DS information especially since my importation actions all need to get the data from the access database, muck with it, then stick the transformed data into the oracle database.

Ok, so that one still isn’t applicable? Well how about if you’re using MG and you have one primary layout view that takes the content you build in your subviews and then sticks said content into its appropriate place in the main template. How do you give each page a unique title within the html ‘title’ tag? Well, I have a PageInformation ConfigBean that holds some general info about the page.

This particular application has a variety of entry points for the many different organizations that use it. You can go down different branches within it based merely on your entry point and based on the place you are at in the application it needs to show the primary organizations “look/feel”. So in my PageInformation ConfigBean I not only store the page’s title but also what organization(s) is the owner of the page. (plus those page menus I mentioned earlier also show some organization specific menu items depending on the organization (or section) the page belongs too).

So now I can quickly grab the organizations code and use it to load the appropriate CSS for that page. I can also use it to load the correct page menu items. And I can use that pages information to show a unique title for each page that has a title defined in the ConfigBean.

Admittedly, some of this stuff could have been stored in the database. But there are a couple caveats to my ability to do things to the database. First a specific customer owns the database and they have six or seven apps that use it. Adding new tables to the schema isn’t a very easy task (must go through a committee to get each table approved and they only do review sessions twice a year). Plus, I have tried to keep my apps specific data out of their way and have left the database purely for storage of business related data. Because of this the ConfigBeans work out really well.

Whew, sorry I droned on :O) hopefully I haven’t scared you away from my craziness and instead have illustrated some of the potential of ConfigBeans with ModelGlue.