Working With FW/1 & QB - Steps to Integrate Using Subsystems

August 22, 2017

Today I wanted to go over a library that I think is pretty awesome and echoes capabilities found in many other modern languages: QB.

QB is a query builder DSL written by Eric Peterson, who's been putting out some really cool modular libraries for the CFML community.

With QB, you can:

  • Quickly scaffold simple queries
  • Make complex, out-of-order queries possible
  • Abstract away differences between database engines

The syntax uses a builder pattern that makes writing queries more readable and easy to understand when glancing through code.

As simple as:


And complex as:

     .whereIn("AuthorID", [1,2,3])

QB is written to integrate with ColdBox as a module but, in this post, I'll go over how to integrate it as a subsystem in an FW/1 application and mimic the WireBox dependencies with FW/1's baked in dependency injection library, DI/1. While FW/1 and ColdBox have many differences in feature set, their convention to MVC patterns and syntax is still quite relatable.

If you're ever glancing through ForgeBox and see a standalone library that's built to integrate with ColdBox, integrating it in your FW/1 app might (emphasis on might!) be easier than you think; as I'll demonstrate below.

Getting Started



The examples will be making use of CommandBox to build out dependencies so you will want to have that installed.

Framework One Structure

I'm going to assume you have a fair grasp of FW/1, configuring DI/1 in an FW/1 application and basic knowledge of how to use FW/1's subsystems feature. If not, no worries. You'll still be able to follow along and I'll do my best at explaining and pointing out documentation when I can.

In my examples I'll be using Lucee and an H2 database using MySQL dialect, but you can use whatever engine/db combo you'd like. H2 is an in memory database that is easy to set up in a Lucee Application.cfc without having to touch the admin settings. Setting up the H2 driver in Adobe ColdFusion may differ as I've never tried.

You'll want a basic FW/1 application fleshed out. Create a project directory and name it fw1-qb-example (or whatever you'd like). Next, build out a folder structure that follows the standard conventions like so...

|- /controllers
|- /layouts
|- /model
|-- /data
|- /subsystems
|- /views
|-- /main
|--- default.cfm
|--- error.cfm
|- Application.cfc
|- index.cfm

Some convention based directories will not be used in my examples such as controllers & layouts.

Your framework settings in Application.cfc should capture something like this to start:

variables.framework = {
    defaultSection: "main",
    defaultItem: "default",
    error: "main.error",
    diEngine: "di1",
    diLocations: "/model",
    subsystems: { },
    trace: true,
    reloadApplicationOnEveryRequest: true

If Running Lucee: Setup For H2 Database

Create a directory in /model called data. This is where H2 will store it's temp files. Based on the structure above, all you need to do is add a few lines of code to your Application.cfc.

this.datasource = "qb_test";
this.datasources[this.datasource] = {
    class: "org.h2.Driver",
    connectionString: "jdbc:h2:#expandPath("/model/data/" & this.datasource)#;MODE=MySQL"

Note: H2 supports a number of mainstream SQL dialects.

Putting It All Together

So far, you should have locked down getting CommandBox and a basic FW/1 structure ready. You may have noticed I didn't include FW/1's actual files in the breakdown. That's because we're going to pull it in as a dependency along with QB. Let's go ahead and do that now.

Installing Dependencies With box.json

First, we need to fire up CommandBox from a terminal/command prompt, point it at our project and create a project file (box.json) for CommandBox to identify with.

#> box
#> cd /path/to/fw1-qb-example
#> init fw1-qb-example

init creates our box.json to define dependencies; among other bits, we won't cover today. The file will have pre-generated settings but we really just need something that looks like this:


We've defined 2 key things here:

  • dependencies: The libraries we want to get from ForgeBox. be refers to the latest "bleeding edge" version (FW/1 is good about reasonably stable dev releases) and x means to get the latest stable release.
  • installPaths: Where we want those libraries to be physically placed. FW/1 will go in /framework and QB will go in /subsystems/qb.

Once our dependencies are fleshed out, we can go ahead and tell CommandBox to install them.

#> install

Final Settings

At this point, we now have a functioning FW/1 application with QB set up as a subsystem on a very minimal level. It's time to wire up QB and its components in DI/1. This way we can access it directly in FW/1 and also satisfy its own dependencies.

For ease of defining paths to QB, we'll create an application mapping.

Add this to your Application.cfc:

this.mappings = {
    "/qb" = expandPath("./subsystems/qb")

Next, we will tell DI/1 where QB and its components are and define some arguments for a constructor method.

Add this block of code to the empty variables.framework.subsystems struct in Application.cfc.

qb.diLocations: "/qb/models",
qb.diConfig: {
    loadListener: function(di1) {
                grammar: di1.getBean("MySQLGrammar"),
                utils: di1.getBean("QueryUtils"),
                returnFormat: "array"

If you have a look in the ModuleConfig.cfc in the QB directory, you'll see some declarations set up with WireBox. The above code is essentially the equivalent mimicked in FW/1. Keep in mind, there's more than one way to accomplish what we have above so you may be familiar with a different approach.

So what's going on here?

qb.diLocations: "/qb/models" tells DI/1 to create a subsystem bean factory and gather objects in /qb/models based on the default conventions.

qb.diConfig is more involved...

We define a load listener with a closure that takes the DI/1 object as an argument. This is for defining our bean factory settings. In the function block, we use DI/1's convenient builder syntax to declare individual bean objects of QB's components. The declare() method is used to define an "alias" to the component. This is useful for having DI/1 automagically satisfy an object's constructor arguments. The last declaration of "QueryBuilder" calls withOverrides() to pass in specific arguments to the the object's constructor, or init method.

Note: The declaration of MySQLGrammar. This is specific support in QB for the MySQL dialect. There are other options available. See the /qb/models/Query/Grammars folder.

Now that we've programmatically squared away our component requirements, we're ready to fire up a server and actually do things!

From CommandBox we just need to enter start and a server will start up and open a browser with our application.


To use QB from DI/1, we can call on it like so:

builder = getBeanFactory("qb").getBean("QueryBuilder");

Let's assume some simple scenarios...

Given a Posts table, return all posts.

// Returns an array of structs
posts = builder.from("Posts").get();

Given a Posts table, return all posts that are not drafts.

posts = builder.from("Posts").where("IsDraft", "=", 0).get();

Given a Posts table, return post by ID.

posts = builder.from("Posts").where("ID", "=", 5).get();

Given a Posts table, return all posts that include "CFML" in the title.

posts = builder.from("Posts").whereLike("Title", "%CFML%").get();

Given a Posts & Authors table, return all posts by that author.

posts = builder.from("Posts")
               .join("Authors", "Authors.ID", "=", "Posts.AuthorID")

Given a Posts & Authors table, return all posts by that author within a date range.

posts = builder.from("Posts")
               .join("Authors", "Authors.ID", "=", "Posts.AuthorID")
               .whereBetween("PublishDate", createDate("2017", "8", "1"), now())

What's Next?

That was just a few examples to scratch the surface of what QB is capable of. You can refer to the Official QB Docs for more examples. You can always glance through the source code to see what has been implemented as well.

Kudos to Eric Peterson for creating such a cool library.

If you work with FW/1 apps and haven't taken the plunge into incorporating CommandBox / ForgeBox with your typical workflow, I hope this helps get the wheels turning.

I've also put together an example application on GitHub based on this post.

Happy coding!