Matthew J. Clemente

Reading Specific Lines from a File with CFML (and a Question)

Apr 23, 2021
3 minutes

This post touches on two subjects - the first involves reading a range of lines from a file in ColdFusion - and the second is a question: if you have a useful CFML function, where can you share it?

Reading File Lines

While working on a Commandbox custom command to generate markdown documentation from CFCs, I needed to read a range of lines from the file being processed. Specifically, there were situations in which I wanted to analyze the code of a specific function. Parsing the CFC with getComponentMetadata() returns a wealth of information, including the line numbers of each function.

While CFML provides a lot of handy built-in functions, extracting specific lines from a file is not one of them. A little searching lead me to, which had a (20 year old) UDF by Raymond Camden to read a file using Java. I'm no Java expert, but the UDF didn't appear to close the fileReaderClass, and it also seemed that CFML has developed enough over the past two decades that a revised version would be worthwhile, so I put together my own UDF for the job. Here's a gist of it, or you can see the code below:

* Based on a UDF by Raymond Camden (
* @hint Read a range of lines from a file
* @filepath path to the file being read
* @start number of the first line to read
* @end number of the last line to read

public string function fileReadLines( required string filepath, required numeric start, required numeric end ) {

if( !fileExists(filepath) ){
return "";

var fileLines = '';
var fileObject = fileOpen(filepath);
var done = false;
var lineNumber = 0;

try {
while( !done ) {
var line = fileReadLine(fileObject);
if( lineNumber >= start ){
fileLines &= line;
if( lineNumber < end ){
fileLines &= Chr(13) & Chr(10);
if( lineNumber == end ){
done = true;
} catch( any e ) {
} finally {
fileClose( fileObject );

return fileLines;

Sharing Code Snippets

Later in the week, another problem resulted in a series of web searches that ultimately lead me to Brian F. Love's blog post on hashing any ColdFusion Type. This included code for a very handy hashify() function.

All of which got me thinking, where's the best place to share CFML code snippets and functions today?

  • still has a wealth of valuable functions, but it's been a good three years since the last update.
  • Michael Borne put together a little over a year ago, but the site is now down (though the repo is still on Github).
  • There's also ForgeBox, though my initial thought is that it seems a bit overkill for sharing small code snippets and functions. Then again, left-pad was on npm, so maybe the package manager approach isn't out of the question.

I don't have an answer to this, but I figured that at the least, this might be fodder for the next episode of Modernize or Die - CFML News. It certainly seems a worthwhile topic for discussing.