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Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rock (SOTR) 2010 (London) with: Kevin Roche and Seb Duggan
Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rock (SOTR) 2010 (London) with: Kevin Roche ( @kroche ) Seb Duggan ( @sebduggan )

CFInclude Templates Are Parsed Regardless Of File Type

Published in Comments (9)

This is in response to James who said that ColdFusion CFInclude tags will only parse files if they have appropriate extensions (such as .cfm). This is to demonstrate that that is incorrect. CFInclude will parse any file looking for ColdFusion tags. James argued that a CSS file would throw errors when it encountered HEX color values starting with # signs. What he is confused about is that # are only evaluated inside ColdFusion tags or CFOutput tags.

To demonstrate this (and my point about using the Include() method of the page context), I am setting up a simple page and an included CSS file. The CSS file has ColdFusion code on it that will randomly change the background image of the body tag.

Here is the css file:

<!--- Create array of background images. --->
<cfset arrImages = ListToArray(
	" #Chr( 13 )##Chr( 10 )#"
	) />

#body {
	background-image: url(
		"<cfset WriteOutput( arrImages[ RandRange( 1, 8 ) ] ) />"
		) ;
	font: 12px verdana ;
	margin: 30px 30px 30px 30px ;

#text {
	background-color: #666666 ;
	border: 2px solid #AAAAAA ;
	color: #F0F0F0 ;
	padding: 10px 10px 10px 10px ;

As you can see, we create an array of images. Then, in the body tag, we execute the CFSet tag and the WriteOutput() method to dynamically set the body background image. And, just to exhaust the error-producing possibilities, I have used ID selectors (#) and colors to demonstrate that # signs will NOT throw errors.

Then, I have two main files. One uses the CFInclude tag to demonstrate the parsing of the CSS file and one that uses the GetPageContext().Include() method to demonstrate that it will not parse the CSS file:

	<title>CFInclude Parsing Test</title>
	<style type="text/css">
		<!--- Include the CSS file via CFInclude. --->
		<cfinclude template="styles.css" />
<body id="body">

	<div id="text">
			This check to see if a CSS file will be parsed if included
			via the CFInclude ColdFusion Tag.

			If the CSS file IS parsed, the body should have a
			randomized background image on page refresh.


The one that uses the page context differs ONLY in the include statement:

<!--- Include the CSS file via page context. --->
<cfset GetPageContext().Include( "styles.css" ) />

To see these at work, check out the two demos:

Using CFInclude Tag

Using GetPageContext().Include()

On the second demo, view the page source to see that the Include() method actually includes the ColdFusion tag without executing it.

Want to use code from this post? Check out the license.

Reader Comments


Good post - simple, clean and to the point! Also, I thought I'd let you know that code samples are coming through as PRE tags, at least in Bloglines.

One compliant -- the choice of images for the sample is a tad bit NSFW.



Thanks for the comment and for the confirmation of PRE tags in Blog lines.

As for the images. I agree. I write a lot of this stuff early in the morning and my judgement is not that great. I will tone it back significantly. My appologies.


Oh, don't get me wrong - I personaly don't have a problem seeing beautiful women - it just might be a bit hard to explain if the wrong person walked by my cube while I was, ummm, testing your sample code. ;-)


I'll be honest... you're not the first person to mention it ;) I want to have fun, but at the same time, I don't want to exclude anyone, cause ColdFusion rocks hardcore and no one should be uncomfortable in any learning environment. As a solution, I will stick to ladies ('cause it's just fun) but no "questionable" photos. Just good, clean fun.


Just gotta say Ben that I found your site a few days ago and am addicted to the way you code and the context in which you explain it all. Certainly makes learning much easier ;)



I really appreciate that :D All I want to do it learn and share the knowledge. I couldn't be happier that you are into the way I code and explain things. Please let me know if you ever want me to whip up an example for something or help out with a problem that needs to be solved.

Thanks again!


Is there a coldfusion tag to import html content from external site.

similar to jstl tag <c:import url="${param.url}"/>

I am getting an error on <cfset pc = GetPageContext()>. Does this mean I am using an old version of coldfusion.




I don't know of any way to import from a remote server, but it might be possible somehow.

If GetPageContext() is breaking then you might be using a pre-MX version of ColdFusion. It was introduced in MX 6 I believe.


Hi Ben,

I have the same doubt that su,
Is there any way to import external html into our coldfusion application, like a header or footer?

Thanks in advance.

Best Regards.

I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I believe in human rights. I believe that we can afford to give more of these gifts to the world around us because it costs us nothing to be decent and kind and understanding. And, I want you to know that when you land on this site, you are accepted for who you are, no matter how you identify, what truths you live, or whatever kind of goofy shit makes you feel alive! Rock on with your bad self!
Ben Nadel