New version of ColdFusion aimed at .NET, Ajax crowd

The very first language I ever programmed was Quick Basic. The next one was Java in an introduction computer science class.

New version of ColdFusion aimed at .NET, Ajax crowd
The very first language I ever programmed was Quick Basic. The next one was Java in an introduction computer science class. But the first time I ever made real money programming it was building ColdFusion when I worked for Wharton Computing. As a result, ColdFusion has always held a special place in my heart even though it had started to get a bad rap around the web as of late. There was some pickup when Flex 2 came out but the general consensus was that ColdFusion was dying and everyone was just waiting around for the funeral. But today Adobe released a public beta of ColdFusion 8 and based on the early looks I've had, this is very much targeted at putting the wind back into ColdFusion's sails by courting .NET developers and people who want to start doing more with Ajax.

The biggest thing for a lot of people will be the closer integration with .NET. ColdFusion is based on Java and you could always invoke Java objects pretty easily from ColdFusion. That meant if you were a Java shop (especially one building RIAs with Flex) you could add ColdFusion on top of your Java stack, use all the Java code you'd written, and then leverage the close ties between ColdFusion and Flex for things like AMF (Action Message Format). Now you can do that with .NET, so that if you are primarily using .NET but you want to take advantage of Flex 2 or LiveCycle Data Services, you can use ColdFusion to invoke all of that .NET work and then seamlessly pass it to Flex.

The second thing I think is cool/interesting is the Ajax piece. ColdFusion is going to enable developers to code in ColdFusion but render HTML and JavaScript to create advanced Ajax controls. Things like the cfgrid tag, which (surprisingly) creates a grid component can be generated a HTML/CSS/JavaScript for a very powerful, Ajax based grid component that looks the same from almost any browser. I think it significantly lowers the barrier to entry for Ajax forms and allows developers to expand the horizons of the UIs they can build. The hardcore Ajax crowd probably won't be using it, but companies or developers who want to quickly add some pizzazz to their site might give ColdFusion a second look.

In a lot of ways Adobe seems to be positioning ColdFusion as an RIA hub. You can invoke Java objects or .NET objects and then bridge that code with Flex or LiveCycle Data Services and have ColdFusion as the go-between. As someone who developed ColdFusion for a long time, it's great to some excitement around it. There are a lot of features in there like the ability to generate PDF or even create Connect presentations on the fly that I think people will take to in a big way. ColdFusion opens up a lot of doors for Adobe's other RIA technologies, so keep an eye on how it progresses.

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