ColdFusion cooling off?

GCN Insider | Products & Trends that affect the way government uses technology

Could Adobe ColdFusion be in danger of being eclipsed by larger platforms?

Here are some indicators we've heard: Late last year, Hope Mentore-Smith, deputy chief information officer and chief technology officer of the Fish and Wildlife Service, noted during a lunch meeting of the Industry Advisory Council of Washington that the agency plans to move from ColdFusion to a more service-oriented platform, one with 'more robust application development standards.' And in an issue of the Tech Times online newsletter published by Collingwood, Australia-based SitePoint, editor Kevin Yank argues ColdFusion book sales and want ads have leveled off, indicating a stagnation of interest (see

All this came to mind last month at the FOSE trade show in Washington, where we spoke with Richard Baker, an account manager at New Atlanta Communications. The company offers a product called BlueDragon, a family of runtime products that serve ColdFusion-based pages and applications.

We were perplexed. Why buy a ColdFusion platform from anyone other than Adobe? Baker noted that one version of BlueDragon is written on the Microsoft .NET platform, a feature that lets you integrate Cold Fusion Markup Language-based assets with .NET Active Server Pages.

'You can actually have the two running together side by side and sharing variables,' Baker said.

This is important in that many agencies are standardizing on software platforms, usually either on .NET or the Java Enterprise Edition. As a result, BlueDragon is frequently used to help shops migrate to .NET, Baker said.

Adobe, of course, denies ColdFusion is incompatible with these larger platforms. Because ColdFusion is built on Java, it integrates completely on that platform, working with most major application servers, said Adam Lehman, Adobe ColdFusion specialist. ColdFusion offers a simple way for beginning programmers to develop Web applications ' an ease often lacking in other Java development environments.

And although the present version can work with .NET only through Web services calls, the upcoming Version 8 of ColdFusion ' to be released this summer ' will offer the ability to call .Net objects natively.

About the Authors

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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