An enterprise-level application server with emphasis on electronic commerce.Opening Up ColdFusion
Though we've spent most of our time discussion the proprietary aspects of ColdFusion, we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that Allaire has done a pretty good job in extending ColdFusion with a slew of integration technologies. On the database side, ColdFusion includes native drivers for Oracle and Sybase database, as well as support for ODBC and OLE DB connectivity. There's full support for SMTP and POP3 mail protocols, as well as support for LDAP 2.0 directory services. Finally, there are over 400 extensions (available at the Allaire Web site) that add specific capabilities, including connectivity to COM (only on the Windows NT version, alas) and CORBA objects. On the database side, ColdFusion includes native drivers for Oracle and Sybase database, as well as support for ODBC and OLE DB connectivity.
As a platform for electronic commerce, ColdFusion has a step up on most other application servers with direct support from e-commerce tools from CyberCash, ICVerify, CyberSource, Open Market, and NetPerceptions. Security is enabled via LDAP or Windows NT Domains, as well as access control, although the actual security between the Web browser and the ColdFusion server depends on the security measures offered by the Web server.
Be warned that most of the advanced features discussed here - like native database drivers, load balancing and failover - are available only in the Enterprise version of ColdFusion Server.
ColdFusion began life as development environment for extracting data from databases long before there was a distinct market segment of application servers. And as the application-server market matures, ColdFusion has adapted to the realities of today's enterprise, where protocols like CORBA and COM rule the day and reliability is assured with failover. The only drawback: a lack of total support for Java, which is many believe is becoming the lingua franca of the application-server world.
Pros: Excellent basis for electronic commerce; affordable; very scalable; good development environment; large installed user base; good third-party support.
Cons: Lack of commitment to Java; reliance on proprietary tools like CFML. New: Load balancing, failover, native database drivers, support for XML and CORBA;