By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2005-03-28 Print this article Print

The release last month of ColdFusion MX 7 is by far the biggest since the original MX release almost three years ago. That release saw ColdFusion move from a stand-alone server to one that ran on top of Java-based application servers.

In tests, we found that the Enterprise Edition of ColdFusion MX 7 probably wont beat enterprise-class Java servers for the biggest implementations, but its more enterprise-ready than ever and will work well for almost any corporate Web application need.

Pricing for the Enterprise Edition of ColdFusion MX 7 starts at $5,999, and the Standard Edition is priced starting at $1,299. ColdFusion runs on Linux, Mac OS X, Unix and Windows platforms and works with BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic, IBMs WebSphere and Macromedias own JRun application server (which is included with ColdFusion).

One of the most important additions in MX 7 is the ability to create multiserver configurations and clusters of identical servers and ColdFusion applications. Using these new features, we easily created a new instance of a Java server and copied ColdFusion applications into that server instance. This worked very well for extending our servers or creating clusters, and a new cluster manager feature let us manage multiple server clusters.

However, these built-in multiserver features worked only with JRun.

Using the new Report Builder, a very capable and flexible design tool , we could query data sources and create a wide variety of attractive reports that could be deployed easily into Web applications either as a PDF or FlashPaper. We found this tool to be excellent for creating reports, although we were disappointed that it ran only on Windows.

Also new in this release are event gateways, which make it possible to build ColdFusion applications that dont rely on the Web. However, using this feature requires developers to be comfortable in ColdFusion Components. With this capability, we built applications that could react to messages and data coming from non-Web connections, such as SMS (Short Message Service) or instant messaging. This makes it possible to build applications that send out IMs when certain data events occur or accept SMS menu requests for specific data.

ColdFusion Components also opens up ColdFusion to fuller data integration options, including back-end applications that connect through Java Messaging Services.

Click here to read Labs review of Zend Platform and Studio. As always, ColdFusion pages can be built using almost any authoring tool. However, most users will find it easiest to work in Macromedias Dreamweaver MX. The ColdFusion Dreamweaver extensions have been enhanced with this release, including the addition of a log-in wizard that makes it possible to build applications with detailed authentication requirements.

ColdFusion MX 7 includes many new and updated CFML (ColdFusion Markup Language) tags. Other new features in ColdFusion MX 7 include an embedded Verity Inc. search engine, additional Web services options and increased database support.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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