Interview for Farcry: A Free ColdFusion-based CMS
      "FarCry : A Free ColdFusion-based CMS" interview with Steve Rittler
Michael Smith: This time we are talking with Steve Rittler about his CFUNITED-
05 talk "FarCry : A Free ColdFusion-based CMS". So why should a developer come 
to your session Steve ?

Steve Rittler: Michael, I'm going to be showing them how a great open source 
product can be used to address a constant business problem - managing website 
content.  We'll not only go over the features and functionality of the package, 
but also get to the code and show how easily extensible it is.  Some might say 
that FarCry is similar to Spectra (a content management toolkit sold by Allaire 
several years ago), but it works much, much better and is boatloads faster too!

MS: How much does Farcry cost?

SR: The software is FREE (as in beer)!  The folks at Daemon have released it 
into the world under the Common Public License.

MS: Wow! What kind of things can FarCry do?

SR:  FarCry can manage your site's navigation structure, HTML content, images, 
files such as Word and PDF documents, news items, event listings, and links to 
other websites right out of the box. There's even a built-in user directory for 
managing permissions that integrates with Active Directory or LDAP if you so 
desire.  FarCry is built on ColdFusion MX and has been designed from the ground 
up to be extensible - you can easily add new features and functionality to it 
using the same ColdFusion knowledge you already possess.  Say, for example, you 
wanted to integrate "Michael's Book Club" in your Farcry-managed site.  You 
could easily create a new "book" content type and add it to the managed core of 
FarCry by writing *one* ColdFusion Component (CFC).  Spend another 5 minutes 
tweaking some display code for "book" objects and you're all set to manage your 
entire library through your website.  It's pretty powerful stuff!  Did I mention 
that I didn't have to write a single query to make that work?

MS: How is that possible?

SR:  Daemon managed to abstract all of your database operations into a single 
tier composed of four queries, hence the name "FourQ" for this layer of the 
FarCry core.  All of the SQL code is created and written for you dynamically 
based on the properties of the objects you define.  In the example of our "book" 
content type above, some properties of the object might be title, author, 
summary, and year of publication.  When you deploy that CFC into the FarCry 
core, FarCry takes on the task of creating the database table(s) to store that 
information and manages all database interaction from then on.

MS: That is cool - but doesn't it take a long time to set up a site this way?

SR: Actually, no.  You can be up and running with a site just as fast as you can 
populate the content.  That, as well as the site layout design, usually 
represents the slowest part of any site development process anyway.  Creating 
simple custom types and integrating simple applications is a piece of cake. 
Even my first attempt at doing so didn't take more than 20 minutes to figure out 
and test.

MS: What versions of ColdFusion does Farcry run on? 5, MX, MX 7? Standard, 
Enterprise? Windows, Linux? Macromedia, New Atlanta?

SR:  Farcry runs on all versions of ColdFusion from MX forward .  Enterprise 
edition is not required.  Farcry will run on BlueDragon, but from what I 
understand there are some minor tweaks that you have to make.  Nothing that will 
cause you to rip your hair out anyway!  It'll run on whatever flavor of OS 
you've got, assuming you can run CF there.  I'm currently working on making a G4 
my development server - i'll have to let you know how that works out.

MS: What about support options? 

SR: Farcry is open source, but Daemon (www.daemon.com.au) is the company behind 
the development of Farcry and maintains the code base.  They do offer support 
and consulting packages if you should need them.  Other than that, there is a 
very popular (and immensely helpful) mailing list that is monitored and archived 
by Daemon.  There are a growing number of resources online (blogs, newsgroups, 
tutorials and walkthroughs) that are easily Googled as well.  I use all of these 
on a regular basis.  Someday i'll contribute back to the core codebase!
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