Railo 3 Beginners Guide Review

The Railo 3 Beginner’s Guide is a book released late last year which I’ve just managed to get my hands on thanks to Packt publishing. The core authors include some Railo team members – Mark Drew, Gert Franz and ardent Railo community members Paul Klinkenberg & Jordan Michaels – so there’s no better source here – straight from the horse’s mouth!

Whilst this one is a ‘beginner’s’ guide, it does cover a fairly wide range of topics for developers – they are unarguably ‘Railo-centric’ – but that’s sort of the point.

Chapter 1: Introducing Railo Server
Chapter 2: Installing Railo Server
Chapter 3: CFML Language
Chapter 4: Railo Server Administration
Chapter 5: Developing Applications with Railo Server
Chapter 6: Advanced CFML Functionality
Chapter 7: Multimedia and AJAX
Chapter 8: Resources and Mappings
Chapter 9: Extending Railo Server
Chapter 10: Creating a Video-sharing Application

Generally speaking, I find that books like this have a challenging scope: do you try and fit in everything you know for CFML development? Where do you start/stop? It’s a tricky balance – I found that there were some quite big leaps from absolute basics, like looping & outputting, through to storing information in the ram cache, using ORM and Amazon S3. Don’t get me wrong, these topics are important, but a fair leap away if you’re assuming the user can’t output a loop.

All that said, the examples given are clear and well explained, and certainly give a taste of a Railo outlook on CFML development. Hopefully there will be an advanced series too, which delves down into JVM tuning and garbage collection in details amongst other things.

As far a Railo resource, it’s undoubtedly useful – in fact I would say it’s ideal with a CF developer with ‘some’ experience, who wishes to use Railo-tastic features, and is moving from ACF. However, it’s not something I’d recommend to those who are picking up CF for the first time, as you just can’t fit the entire CFML programming fundamentals into a single book – in my opinion anyway!