Davis, Calif., gets fast with ColdFusion

Seth Duffey, a systems specialist for the City of Davis, Calif., started off developing with Microsoft's Visual Basic, but he's left the tool and isn't turning back.

'I came from a [Visual Basic] background, but trying to do [Microsoft Applications Server Pages] for me is really hard. I left VB in version 6, and never did anything for the Web with it.'

Duffey said he now uses Macromedia Inc.'s ColdFusion, which the City of Davis has used for the past five years for its citizen-facing and intranet Web applications.

'Everything on our Web site is ColdFusion,' he said, referring to about 25,000 individual Web pages. 'Most of the stuff that's displayed is database driven'from the main page, to job opportunity listings, to the city council's agenda. All of those things have back-end interfaces where staff can upload things without having to know HTML.'

Duffey churns out several new applications for the site a month'all on his own. And existing applications are constantly being updated. ColdFusion, he said, is largely responsible for his ability to keep up with his workload.

'The amount of time you save makes up for the cost' of the tool, he says. There are three people in Davis' development shop, and they are all producing ColdFusion applications'including Duffey. 'There's one person who does content for the parks department and another who does mostly internal applications,' he said.

ColdFusion moved to an underlying Java architecture in its last major upgrade, away from a proprietary application server. The Java beneath ColdFusion has given Duffey and the other two developers the ability to tie into data that wasn't reachable before.

For example, Duffey can use Java Database Connect database drivers to connect to the databases of the city's packaged financial software system, giving Web applications read-only access to current financial data.

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