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Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rock (SOTR) 2010 (London) with: Inga Lamote
Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rock (SOTR) 2010 (London) with: Inga Lamote

StructAppend() the Forgotten Function

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In my applications, I create an Attributes object (REQUEST.Attributes), which is a unbinding of the URL and the FORM scope. I was first introduced to this idea in FuseBox and I really like how it can simplify a good amount of code.

I was going over the code I use to create this last week. I thought my code was very simple, and yet some how, my boss, Jim Curran, was able to make a suggestion to simplify it even further. StructAppend(). Admittedly, I had to look it up because I wasn't exactly sure what it did - I am not sure I have ever used it.

Well, it does exactly what I wanted it to do. Of course, the code was very simple before, but now, it is even more so. I was able to take this:

// Copy the URL into the Attributes sturct. Unless we want to explicitly get
// information from the FORM variables (as we do in add/edit screens), we are
// just going to get it from the Attributes object to make things simpler and
// the scoping more consistent.
REQUEST.Attributes = Duplicate(URL);

// Now, go over the form variables and copy those into attributes.
for (LOCAL.Key in FORM){
	REQUEST.Attributes[ LOCAL.Key ] = FORM[ LOCAL.Key ];
}

and make it this:

// Copy the URL into the Attributes sturct. Unless we want to explicitly get
// information from the FORM variables (as we do in add/edit screens), we are
// just going to get it from the Attributes object to make things simpler and
// the scoping more consistent.
REQUEST.Attributes = Duplicate(URL);

// Now, move the form values into the Attributes object.
StructAppend( REQUEST.Attributes, FORM );

As you can see, the difference is small, but we have removed a coded Loop and let ColdFusion handle the process with a built-in, hopefully more efficient method. All to say, sometimes, I try to come up with a solution that ends up being more complicated than a solution that is built into ColdFusion. This only goes to emphasize the point that people really need to understand the basics of the language.

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

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