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JDJ MEETS. . . Jeremy Allaire
JDJ MEETS. . . Jeremy Allaire

(October 11, 2002) - Alan Williamson, JDJ editor-in-chief, interviewed Jeremy Allaire, CTO, Macromedia, Inc., to get the rundown on how Java developers can take advantage of JRun4, ColdFusion MX, and Flash Remoting.

JDJ: With CFMX in the field for nearly 3 months now, how has the adoption rate been?

Jeremy Allaire: We're seeing a lot of excitement about ColdFusion MX. For existing users, the most attractive features of ColdFusion MX have been the new component model and the ability to work with XML and Web services really easily. They're also excited about the possibility of running their ColdFusion applications on a Java application server. For Macromedia, however, the best part of this release is the interest we're getting from people who haven't previously used ColdFusion. A lot of shops that have standardized on J2EE are now looking at ColdFusion as a great way to do rapid application development on their Java server, and the Macromedia Flash development community is excited about the way Macromedia Flash Remoting allows them to easily connect their applications to a database.

JDJ: CFML has a reputation in the field for being too lightweight for anything serious. How have you addressed this issue with the Java community?

Jeremy: There are two important sides to this question, and we think ColdFusion MX addresses both. On the development side, we've not only preserved the productivity and ease of use of our scripting environment, but also introduced a powerful new component model that makes it much easier to do structured development in ColdFusion. As a result, you can easily implement advanced design patterns like MVC using the same high-level scripting syntax that makes ColdFusion a great tool for rapid application development. Moreover, we don't restrict you from using other languages. If there is something you would rather develop in Java, that's fine. You can easily reuse that code from within ColdFusion -- either by calling the object directly, sharing data with a servlet, or importing it as a tag library.

The other side of this question is in deployment, and this is where ColdFusion MX represents a major change. By rearchitecting ColdFusion MX so that it can run on a Java server, we're enabling developers using ColdFusion to take advantage of the performance and reliability of the J2EE platform. For example, if you deploy your ColdFusion application on IBM WebSphere, it will run just like any other application on WebSphere. It can run in multiple instances, it can use the ultrafast IBM virtual machine, and it can take advantage of specialized WebSphere features like load balancing, database connection pooling, vertical scaling, and legacy integration.

JDJ: We notice you've implemented Sun's PetStore application, in CFML. How did that go?

Jeremy: It's a great tool for customers to study when they're trying to learn how best to design their own applications. ColdFusion MX is the easiest way to get started building rich Internet applications that leverage Macromedia Flash MX and Macromedia Flash Player using Macromedia Flash Remoting, and this shift can dramatically improve the richness of the user experience for Internet applications.

JDJ: What is it CFMX has to offer to the J2EE community?

Jeremy: A lot of companies that have adopted J2EE as their deployment platform are struggling to actually get their development teams productive in Java. They're finding they either don't have the skills or that Java is overkill for a lot of their projects. We think we have the answer to that problem. ColdFusion MX for J2EE enhances the Java platform by providing an easy-to-learn RAD environment that takes advantage of standard J2EE servers. Using ColdFusion MX, companies can enable a whole new group of developers to build applications quickly and deploy them to their J2EE server -- whether they're building intranet reporting applications entirely in ColdFusion or working together on a large project with a team of back-end Java developers. As a result, companies can optimize their development teams across different kinds of projects and become more productive overall.

JDJ: Flash Remoting: will this feature be offered on all the J2EE servers or just JRun?

(a) If yes, will this be integrated into various J2EE servers or part of an additional component from Macromedia that J2EE developers will have to purchase?

(b) How many J2EE licensees will be supporting Flash Remoting?

Jeremy: Macromedia recently announced Macromedia Flash Remoting MX supporting Java and Microsoft .NET, making it available to all Java and .NET developers outside of JRun and ColdFusion. Macromedia Flash Remoting MX can be purchased for $999/processor and supports all leading Java servers including IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic, Sun's SunONE, Oracle 9iAS Tomcat, and Resin.

JDJ: Do you see Java applets as having failed to deliver on the client side, which is why Macromedia Flash has grown in such popularity?

Jeremy: I don't think Macromedia Flash has grown popular because of Java applets failure, but rather because of it's own inherent benefits --- an approachable scripting and design environment; a powerful and capable object model; strong built-in support for remote communication and back-end integration; very small, lightweight distribution of the runtime, and the ability to design very small, lightweight client applications because of its vector-based design, and finally the phenomenal ubiquity across pretty much every major browser, operating system and device platform.

JDJ: To what extent will you be pushing Flash Remoting as a standard? Should we expect to see a JSR anytime soon?

Jeremy: As we evolve Macromedia Flash Remoting, we expect to move it to a standard that we will promote widely. However in our first release we are not currently planning on submitting a JSR.

Some quick info on JRun 4: Macromedia Flash Remoting is also native feature in JRun 4. Macromedia JRun 4 is the latest release of Macromedia's Java application server, which is focused on providing a fast, affordable, and reliable J2EE 1.3 compatible platform. It is designed to be an approachable, complete solution for developing and deploying robust Java applications on time and on budget.

About Alan Williamson
Alan Williamson is widely recognized as an early expert on Cloud Computing, he is Co-Founder of aw2.0 Ltd, a software company specializing in deploying software solutions within Cloud networks. Alan is a Sun Java Champion and creator of OpenBlueDragon (an open source Java CFML runtime engine). With many books, articles and speaking engagements under his belt, Alan likes to talk passionately about what can be done TODAY and not get caught up in the marketing hype of TOMORROW. Follow his blog, http://alan.blog-city.com/ or e-mail him at cloud(at)alanwilliamson.org.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

I used RH 8 to make a port to Mac OS X. Runs grreat! Thank you Allaire!

To respond to an earlier query, CFMX *is* supported on Linux, and there are a substantial number of deployments on that platform.

Specific to RedHat and to the thread you mention on the MM site, it's important to note that CFMX is currently supported up to RedHat 7.2 -- the thread you mentioned is specifically about customers looking to run CFMX on RedHat 7.3.

> Java has proven that you need a PHD to really do it right.

Java is a wonderful high level language and to do it right just means that software development is your primary discipline. Many web developers have come from other backgrounds and using a development language can be daunting at first.

CF is great for RAD for web applications only.

As for the .net prediction why would one choose those numbers? I believe that the enterprise application development, that is more complex than what a web CF application could provide, would be better approached using open tools that run on a wider platform than just the WinTel architecture. Hence the reason that CFMX now runs on top of J2EE.

Think about it.

Cory

Java has proven that you need a PHD to really do it right. This isn't going to work as probably only 10-20% max of developers have time,etc to get into something that hard, expensive. CFMX jumps into the void...and may save Java. My long term predication at our company would be 20-30% .Net, 50-60% Cold Fusion and 10% pure Java for things that you can only do in Java....

I'm new to CF (having a long C++/Java background) and I've been very, very happy with the implementation of a fairly complex application in CFMX. I've been singing CFMX's praises to all of my java friends.

However, I've been extremely unhappy to find that CMFX doesn't seem to run on Linux - there are long postings on the Macromedia Forum (Unix- CFMX with RedHat7.3 JRun errors + installation failure) where there are widespread installation issues.

What about Linux???

Tammy

The reason to use CF over pure JSP is the coherence of the tag set. You can certainly cobble together various JSP libraries to achieve the same functionality as CF, but it will take time to get them working together properly and efficiently, and the skills you develop will be shop-centric. Remember, we're talking RAD here. I like using CF as a tag set for a rich, core functionality which can be extended by adding other JSP libraries

ColdFusion goes WAAAYYY beyond what JSP allows for - even using every custom tag library out there. I have developed in both environments and ColdFusion can do what you need in one-tenth the time.

For starters, creating Web Services is a breeze with CFMX. Additionally querying databases, connecting to LDAP servers, even simple scripting are all considerably easier.

Now that CFMX has the performance of J2EE - and offers the ability to access J2EE elements like EJBs and servlets, I would definitely recommend it. I guarantee the license will pay for itself in days in reduced development time...

Why do we need to use ColdFusion for
J2EE development? There are a lot of examples for very useful JSP custom
tags. See one in the link below




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