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Iterating Over Function Arguments Using CFLoop In Lucee CFML

Published: January 7, 2023

In my previous post on flattening arrays in ColdFusion, I mentioned that the arguments scope in a Function body acts as both an Array and a Struct. This is a truly great feature of ColdFusion; but, iterating over such a dynamic data structure can be confusing at times. Luckily, ColdFusion also gives us the highly dynamic CFLoop tag. We can use CFLoop to iterate over the arguments scope using either Array iteration or Struct iteration.

To see this in action, I’ve create a function with two named arguments; but, I’m going to pass-in four arguments. Then, I’m going to iterate over the arguments scope twice: once as a Struct and once as an Array:

	testArgIteration( "aye", "bee", "see", "dee" );
	// ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- //
	// ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- //
	* I test Function argument iteration using the CFLoop tag.
	* NOTE: I have TWO NAMED ARGUMENTS defined, but I'm passing-in FOUR arguments.
	public void function testArgIteration( a, b ) {
		// Using CFLoop to iterate over the arguments scope as a Struct. In this case, the
		// "key" is either the NAME of the argument, if it exists; or, the INDEX of the
		// argument if it is unnamed.
			key = "local.key"
			value = "local.value"
			struct = arguments
				key: key,
				value: value
		// Using CFLoop to iterate over the arguments scope as an Array. In this case, the
		// "key" is ALWAYS the INDEX of the argument, regardless of whether or not the
		// arguments are named.
		// --
		// NOTE: We could have use the attributes "key" and "value" here as well, and it
		// would have worked the same. I am opting for "index" and "item" since they feel
		// more Array-appropriate.
			index = "local.index"
			item = "local.item"
			array = arguments
				index: index,
				item: item

Notice that when I am providing the arguments scope to the CFLoop struct attribute, I’m using the key and value attributes for iteration. And, when I provide the arguments scope to the CFLoop array attribute, I’m using the index and item attributes for iteration. This difference in attribute selection isn’t strictly necessary; however, I think it makes the code more clear.

Now, when we run this ColdFusion code, we get the following output:

All arguments output to screen during Struct and Array iteration using CFLoop in ColdFusion.

As you can see, we were able to iterate over the arguments scope as both a Struct and as an Array! Note that when treating the scope as a Struct, if we run out of “named arguments”, the “index” variable will be the numeric offset of the argument.

The ColdFusion Function is a very dynamic, powerful construct in the CFML world. In fact, I listed “Named And Ordered Arguments” as one of the many reasons to fall back in love with modern ColdFusion. The arguments scope is certainly part of that power. And, the more we understand how to use the arguments scope, the better we can be at leveraging this great power.

Check out the license.