My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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Barry Beattie wrote recently on the CFCDev mailing list a question asking, "if it were Java/JSP, would you bother generating great sections of HTML within the java classes instead of leaving it to the JSP to take care of?"

It got me thinking again about my own use of HTML in CFCs.

At first, I thought it was a valid point - of course I would never consider using HTML in a Java class. But, the more I thought about it, the fuzzier the line got. As it turns out, I could go either way on the CFC/tag issue, depending on the specific case.

In Java/JSP, no, I would almost never write the HTML in a class. I may have some small bits in a UI class from time to time, but never more than a single tag or perhaps two. But, it is not for any other reason than writing HTML like the following is completely unreadable and impossible to follow, and more importantly easy to screw up:

String somehtml = "<html>";
somehtml += "<head><title>" + titleOfThisPage + "</title>";
somehtml += "<meta ...></head>";

Can you imagine doing an entire page like that? Or even just a table with more than a couple of columns? It's unwieldy.

With CFC's however, you can still keep the HTML in its readable form. In some cases, I prefer to use CFCs to accomplish the goal of reuse, while in others, I prefer to use includes. I find myself preferring CFCs in particular, in cases where there may be slight customizations to a basic display, based on individual client preferences. I can inherit (or aggregate, if it makes more sense) from the base display (cut up into logical chunks) and reuse those parts which make sense, and only rewrite the custom bits. It lets me keep duplicate code to the absolute minimum - something I'm very fond of these days. The inheritance in particular has the extra benefit of allowing me to keep client code unchanged, as long as I've followed Liskov Substitution Principle.

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