Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.
I like Railo a lot, but until now one thing has made me reluctant to switch completely to it.
The problem for me has been that cfdump was lacking a bit in comparison to the ACF version. Yes it outputs all and then some more information than the ACF version, but it lacked a crucial usability feature for me. The ability to collapse rows.
A Simple Thing That Makes A Huge Difference
Now before you go jumping on me, yes I know all about the many many other debugging, tracing and logging features available in both ACF and Railo.
The thing is though I am a very visual person when it comes to data. I like to be able to see and manipulate my data and cfdump is a great tool for that. Not being able to collapse rows when dealing with very large/complex structures is a big draw back, its a simple thing but it makes a huge difference for me.
Open Source For The Win
Now here is where I am going to bash Adobe just a little bit. If this was a feature ColdFusion did not have and I wanted to see it added I could raise a feature request on the bug tracker. However I would probably have to wait for the rest of the two year cycle before it would appear in the next release. And that is assuming the feature request did not get closed/deferred for this reason "NotEnoughTime", for example <cfretry>.
Since Railo is open source though, I can go in and add this functionality to the tag myself. Railo is actually engineered to be easy to modify even if like me you don't know much (or even any) java.
So What Did I Change?
Well I didn't really make too big a change. I added the ability to collapse rows and an additional style rule to change the mouse cursor to a pointer when you hovered over a clickable region. Pretty simple, it only took me a couple of hours one evening and most of that was just figuring out where things were in the Railo directory and which code file I needed to modify.
How To Install
Warning: I have only tested code this on Railo4 against IE9,Firefox and Chrome. Use at your own risk.
So how do we install it. Well first download the code and extract the zip file.
Next make a backup copy of the original "Dump.cfc" file located at:
Now replace "Dump.cfc" with the new version and restart your railo server. If everything is working you should now be able to collapse individual rows in your cfdump output.
Finally by the time you are reading this I will be home in Ireland for the holiday period, so Merry Christmas everyone!