September 15, 2007

Should Java developers look at ColdFusion?

Adobe has been on heights with their products for the last one year. Adobe ColdFusion 8 was released this july.It's an application server and software development framework used for the development of computer software in general, and dynamic web sites. Question is, should java web developers look into these technologies? Lets see why and why not choose ColdFusion.

ColdFusion is a similar product to Microsoft's ASP.NET or Java Enterprise Edition. The first version of ColdFusion was released in 1995 by Allaire. In 2001 Allaire was acquired by Macromedia, which was in turn acquired by Adobe Systems in 2005.Interesting part of history is, Microsoft was once interested in acquiring Allaire but,Allaire showed a lack of interest! Initially ColdFusion was completly written in C++ until 2002. The entire application server was rewritten in Java that has resulted in recent Java-based versions being labelled with the "MX" suffix.But in the latest version, this "MX" has been dropped.

Enough of history.. Lets see its features and get into our topics! ColdFusion is available for on Linux, UNIX, Windows, and Mac OS X. But the application server is not a freeware from Abode. You can download a free developer edition and use it. The primary feature of ColdFusion is its associated scripting language, ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML), which resembles HTML in syntax. Other than CFML, ColdFusion supports programming languages such as server-side Actionscript and embedded scripts that can be written in a JavaScript-like language, known as CFScript.

Another great feature is increased productivity using ColdFusion. Like many dynamically typed scripting languages, there is no need to build, deploy, or restart your application server.You simply modify the code and refresh your browser to view your latest changes.What happends behind the scene is that server compiles .cfm pages into Java servlets.However, compilation is done in memory and not to disk.

Next major feature is something which java developers really will like. Developers can make seamless calls to all the built-in Java libraries, as well as those bundled with ColdFusion and any custom APIs of your own.Using CFScript developers to wrap java code and feel home! Integration with other technologies such as CORBA, web services, and COM is quite simple. Developers can also make calls to native methods on Linu,Unix or Windows using CFXes (ColdFusion Extension Tags). Due to these facilities there is no need to import another third-party library. So at the same time, ColdFusion is a big library!

So with these advantages, should Java developers turn and have a look at this technology? According to me, Java and JSP will still stay more powerful and flexible. Even though ColdFusion has productivity, does it give the high performance and reliability? For those who have never (Including me) tried ColdFusion before, its time we try it!

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