Aug 2 2008

Railo USA Tour 2008 - It Is Well Worth A Look

Posted by Mike Brunt at 12:35 PM
- Categories: ColdFusion

When I first heard of a product called "tagFusion" back early in 2000, I recall being bemused at the thought of a Java engine to run CFML code on.  There is a good article here from 2001 that features Alan Williamson talking about this in a press piece about the re naming of tagFusion to tagServlet.  He also addresses the fact that he had been in discussion with Allaire about some kinds of mutual interests but that Allaire had ceased discussions in January 2001.  tagServlet eventually was launched here in the USA by New Atlanta as "BlueDragon".  My reaction at the time and still to a certain extent to this day was a fear that deviation from the existing CFML tag-function-operation could cause confusion with the established ColdFusion user base and that this would not be good for the overall community and user-base.

My thoughts began to mitigate a bit after the launch of CFMX6 - 6.1 or more to the point, after I began to realize that the move into the J2EE realm brought us into a whole new world of possibilities.  From the outset tagFusion-tagServlet-BlueDragon had embraced the Java-J2EE world.  In that world we are introduced to a standards-based place with formalized clustering, easy creation and distribution of complete web applications, recognized directory structures and a lot more.  In my career with Allaire and Macromedia and in my consulting work I have seen the similarities between Websphere, Weblogic, Tomcat, JBoss etc.  In our ColdFusion world we only really see this in the Enterprise version of ColdFusion in versions MX 6.1, 7 AND CF8.  

Sorry this is a long-winded introduction to what I really want to blog about.  Last night I went to the Inland Empire ColdFusion User Group meeting in Pomona, Southern California.  The presenter was Gert Franz of Railo, on the first leg of the "Railo Road Show, USA 2008".  Gert was recently appointed to an Adobe instigated committee to oversee the evolution of the CFML language.  A move designed to limit the sorts of things I feared back when I first heard of tagFusion and of course to constantly and improve CFML.  Gert is currently the only member of that committee from a rival CFML engine to ColdFusion which I think says a lot.  In addition, Railo announced a partnership with JBoss at Scotch on the Rocks, Adam Lehman blogged about this in detail; here.  Last night Gert went through the features coming to us in Railo 3.1 which will be open-source and should be released sometime around November 2008.  There will be many features in this impending release and I highly recommend that you make it to one of Gert's presentations whilst he is here in the USA; details of the tour itinerary can be found here.

As a server-side aficionado the items I recall which stuck in my head are...

  • A New Cluster Scope potentially making replication of data around a cluster easier.
  • An Instance Deployment-Replication mechanism eliminating the difficult task of keeping multiple instances synchronized.

There is a lot more though, these are exciting times for those of us who spend most of our time assisting large enterprise environments.


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