Lifecycle Scopes

Lucee has built in Scopes which are data holders that can contain any variables and keep them around for a specific duration. All of the scopes are accessible via dotted notation from anywhere that the scope has valid to access it.

There are three primary categorizations of scopes:

It is also important to understand the Scope Lookup/Cascading rules.

Setting any variable into a scope

To set a variable into a scope, use dotted notation:

application.myVar = "foo"; //sets foo into myVar in the application scope
request.myVar = "bar"; //sets bar into myVar in the request scope

Global Scopes

These variable scopes are available from any script executing within an application. The global scopes are:


Accessible for the entire life of the application, which is until the applicationTimeout specified in the Application.cfc expires. Care must be used when multiple requests are writing to the same application scoped variable. In these situations, use lock {} to syncronize write access.


Accessible for the life of a user session, until the sessionTimeout specified in Application.cfc is reached from no activity. Care must be used when multiple read & write requests could come in from the same client simultaneously and overlap. In these situations, use lock {} to syncronize write access. See Lucee Clustering on sharing session data across multiple Lucee instances.

Accessible for the life of a single request, the Cookie scope is created by Lucee based on the cookies provided by the user's browser. It contains the same data as is in the cgi.http_cookie variable, but it is parsed into a structure for you like below


Contains variables that should be persistent for a particular browser client. By default, client variables are stored as cookies, and so are synonymous with the cookie scope. However, client variables can also be stored is a database where a cookie ID is used to loop up the database entry and populate the client scope. See Lucee Clustering on storing client data in a databasse and sharing client data across multiple Lucee instances.


Server scoped variables exist for the life of a running Lucee instance.

Request Scopes

These are scopes created and available for the live of a single web request. Once the request ends, any data set into these scopes is deleted.


Accessible for the life of a single web request.


Accessible for the life of a single request, the URL scope represents any URL query parameters passed


Accessible for the life of a single request, the FORM scope represents any parameter which has been sent (Posted) to the application using an HTML form or javascript Ajax with POST


Accessible for the life of a single request, the CGI scope (which stangs for Common Gateway Interface) is all of the web server variables passed to Lucee by Tomcat, Apache or any web server running in front of Lucee.

The full list of CGI variables is available in the CGI Variables Reference

It is not necessary to read lock access to any of the global scopes, only write access when there can potentially be a race condition of two clients writing to a global variable at the same time where use of that write could conflict.

Localized Scopes


The Variables Scope is global to a single Component. Any variables declared in a Component without the var keyword default to the variables scope. However, variables should always be explicitly scoped for readability and to prevent mistakes, and also slightly improves performance.


Any variable instantiated within a function with the var keyword, lives in the local scope of that function and is not accessible to other functions in the Component or elsewhere.

In the example above, only the myFunc() function has access to myVar. If multiple functions need to access myVar, it should be declared it in the variables scope. That would change the example to the following:

Variables should always be explicitly assigned to a scope, and use var for local variables. This will prevent subtle bugs that are hard to track if accidentally overriding a more global scope when it should have been a local variable.

It is also possible to access local variables as a collection using the local structure.


The arguments scope is available inside any function


The This scope is the public interface of a Component. Any variables set to this, will be accessible from outside the component.


The attributes scope is a special scope used only in custom tags


The caller scope is a special scope used only in custom tags


The thread scope is created when creating a new thread{} in Lucee. Any variables passed to the thread at put in the thread scope, and exist until the thread finishes.

Scope Lookup / Cascading

Lucee looks for variables starting from the most specific and works outward. If a variable is not scoped, Lucee will search additional scopes for it. This can be a performance penalty if doing a lot of lookups, therefore follow the style guide for scoping variables

The order in which Lucee looks up scopes is:

  1. .CFM Templates

    1. Variables
    2. CGI
    3. Cffile
    4. URL
    5. Form
    6. Cookie
    7. Client
  2. Components

    1. Local
    2. Arguments
    3. Query (only inside a query loop)
    4. Variables
    5. CGI
    6. Cffile
    7. URL
    8. Form
    9. Cookie
    10. Client

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