Adobe has released a public beta-test version of its upcoming ColdFusion 9 development platform, with new features including better integration with Microsoft Office and a new Eclipse-based integrated development environment called ColdFusion Builder.
The new release, issued on Monday, is intended to help developers improve productivity while better integrating with Adobe's own technologies and Microsoft Office applications such as SharePoint, Excel, Word and PowerPoint, Adobe said.
Applications built with ColdFusion 9 can now extract, parse, read and import data to and from Office documents, while retaining all formatting, Adobe said. This means users can read and edit Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets from within ColdFusion applications.
All versions of Office are supported, as are OpenOffice formats.
ColdFusion 9 applications can now access SharePoint as web services, according to Adobe. ColdFusion 8, released in 2007, included expanded integration with Microsoft's .NET, and Adobe said on Monday that SharePoint integration was seen as the next step.
The new version of ColdFusion is better integrated with Adobe's Flash platform, building on the introduction of support for Adobe technologies such as Flex and PDF in ColdFusion 8, Adobe said.
"The increased integration with everything from Adobe AIR applications to enterprise-based Adobe LiveCycle ES software enables companies to meet critical business needs quickly, while ColdFusion Builder provides developers with an enhanced workflow between ColdFusion and the Flash platform for rich internet application development," David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president of Adobe's platform business unit, said in a statement.
ColdFusion 9 also includes integration with object relational mapping from Hibernate, which allows applications to be database-independent — meaning they can work with multiple databases.
Building on the server monitoring features introduced in ColdFusion 8, the new software also includes a Server Manager for monitoring ColdFusion across multiple servers.
ColdFusion Builder is a customisable, extensible integrated development environment (IDE) based on Eclipse, and includes tools for debugging applications, remote support and custom code generation, Adobe said. ColdFusion Builder supports applications built using ColdFusion 7 and 8.
The IDE is intended to simplify development by allowing the automation of repetitive tasks and the re-use of code, Adobe said.
The betas of ColdFusion 9 and ColdFusion Builder are available from Adobe's website. The company did not give an expected date for general availability of the products.