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.
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
Cons: Lack of commitment to Java; reliance on proprietary tools like CFML.
New: Load balancing, failover, native database drivers, support for XML and