Adobe ColdFusion warming to 64-bit OSes

64-bit platform support coming before a full-scale upgrade codenamed "Centaur" in 2009

Adobe Systems plans to update its ColdFusion 8 technology within the next month with additional 64-bit platform support before launching a full-scale upgrade codenamed "Centaur" in 2009.

ColdFusion is a server platform for deploying Web applications based on Java. Applications are deployed as Java files. CFML (ColdFusion Markup Language) tags are turned into Java byte code. "It's basically a way to very rapidly deploy high-performance, highly scalable Java applications," said Ben Forta, Adobe director of evangelism.

With a free update due this quarter known as "Gemini," Adobe extends 64-bit support to Windows Server 2008, Mac OS X Leopard, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and Suse Linux 10. This improves application performance, given the ability to address larger amounts of memory in 64-bit systems.

ColdFusion applications currently will run on those platforms only in 32-bit mode. "With the 'updater,' your code will run as is, but it will be a native 64-bit application now," Forta said. ColdFusion 8 already supported the 64-bit Solaris OS platform.

Work also is under way on the planned Centaur release of ColdFusion, featuring continued integration with other Adobe technologies as well as productivity enhancements.

ColdFusion is positioned against other server-side platforms, including PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), ASP.Net, and JavaServer Pages. A benefit of ColdFusion as opposed to those rivals is the ability to generate applications with just a few lines of code, Forta said.

A user of ColdFusion, Jeff Mitchell, CTO at Voe and Voe, which runs an online marketplace for content for mobile devices, said he believes ColdFusion offers better performance than PHP. Mitchell said he has worked with PHP.

But PHP does offer an advantage over ColdFusion as far as price, Mitchell said. "The price would be my only complaint in comparison to something like PHP, which is essentially free," he said. Voe and Voe has paid about US$6,000 as a one-time license fee for ColdFusion, said Mitchell.

Sixty-four-bit support for Linux would be a plus for Voe and Voe, which runs a flavor of Red Hat's Linux, Mitchell said. "We'll definitely give that a test once it comes out because our servers actually are 64-bit architecture at the moment, but it's running in 32-bit [mode]," said Mitchell. Voe and Voe basically runs its whole site on ColdFusion, which serves as an application server, Mitchell said.

Originally based on C and C++, ColdFusion was rewritten in Java several years ago to leverage the growing importance of Java on the server and to add capabilities like server monitoring, said Forta.

Meanwhile, ColdFusion, which Adobe acquired when it merged with Macromedia in December 2005, has been holding its own revenue-wise. "Under Adobe, we saw the strongest quarters we've seen yet with ColdFusion since the acquisition," said Kristen Schofield, senior product manager for Adobe ColdFusion. She could not comment on actual revenue figures for ColdFusion.

Adobe officials cited analyst estimates of 400,000 developers using ColdFusion.

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