Strange behavior with ColdFusion ExpandPath() when using Symbolic Links

I was playing around with the Quicksilver framework last night, and for some reason it was unable to find and instantiate my CFCs properly.  After digging into the framework a bit and determining where it was breaking, I discovered something strange about the way that ColdFusion interprets ExpandPath() when it exists in a directory that is defined as a symbolic link.  I am not sure if the same behavior exists on Macs, but I would imagine it does.  If someone could confirm that to be the case, I would be interested.

For starters, I usually have a ‘www’ directory in my user home directory. This way when I pass my user profile around from distro to distro, my development work is included in my home directory.  For ease of configuration I typically have a symbolic link in my OS that points /www/ —> /home/dshuck/www/.  Then when I am creating a new web project called ‘davescode’, I would put it in /home/dshuck/www/davescode, but my Apache config would usually point to /www/davescode.  For the past several years, this approach has worked will for me.  That is until last night when experimenting with Quicksilver.

When Quicksilver loads, it creates a list of service CFCs in the the application in such a way that if I had Foo.cfc in a directory ‘com’ in the root of my davescode site, it would look like /home/dshuck/www/davescode/com/Foo.cfc.  When I initted the application, I was getting an error that  it couldn’t find the CFC home/dshuckcom/Foo.cfc.  Essentially what was happening is that it was getting the full path of the CFC and replacing the path to the root of the site with “”.  In a perfect world the value of the path after the string replace would have looked like com/Foo.cfc. Unfortunately that was not so.  Here’s why!

I put a test file called path.cfm in the root of my davescode site that considted of the following:

<cfoutput>#ExpandPath("./")#</cfoutput>
<br/>
<cfoutput>#ExpandPath("/")#</cfoutput>

The result was very surprising!

/home/dshuck/www/davescode/
/www/davescode/

For some reason when you do ExpandPath(“/”) it looks at the symbolic link path, but when you do ExpandPath(“./”), it looks at the true file path.  For the life of me, I can’t think of why that would be.  If anyone has an explanation, I would be all ears!