5 reasons we love ColdFusion 9
In case you didn’t hear, we officially made ColdFusion 9 hosting plans available to the public this month—I say “officially” because we’ve technically been offering CF9 for more than six months, beginning with the beta release last summer (we were also Adobe’s first sanctioned host to offer it, I might add).
This latest version has some great new features and we’re pleased to continue our fervent support of the ColdFusion community with the release.
If you haven’t taken a look at what CF9 is all about yet, we’ve put together 5 of the top things we love about it:
1. ColdFusion Builder – CF9’s most talked about new feature isn’t even a part of the server software, it’s the IDE—Adobe’s first ever IDE for ColdFusion.
Built on top of the open source project Eclipse, which is widely used as a Java IDE, ColdFusion Builder is deeply integrated with ColdFusion 9 and allows developers to manage their entire development life cycle (from concept to production, as Adobe puts it) with a single tool. Simply put, it makes the process of building CF apps easier and faster.
2. Object Relational Mapping (ORM) – This is a big deal. And to be honest, I’m not sure why ColdFusion ORM hasn’t garnered more attention than it has.
The reason it’s a big deal: It shifts the way CF developers can approach application development… and it’s a HUGE time saver.
Ray Camden articulated the benefit of CF ORM best during his presentation at Adobe MAX last October:
For most of our lives, we’ve been a slave to the database table… we write our code based on it, we even do some of our functionality based on it; for example, we may not add the ability to sort by a last name if the database table only has one column for names… so typically, that’s the way we work. We have our tables and then we slap the web app on top. That’s not really the way it should work. The way it should work is that our app should define everything… and the database should be the slave to that.
… and ColdFusion ORM enables us to shift the relationship we have with the database in this manner.
In a nutshell, ORM allows us to map data to and from a relational database—those darn tables—by using object models. And what this means to CF developers is a tremendous amount of time saved from tediously writing SQL statements and the ColdFusion code that goes with them.
Imagine making complex database calls without writing any SQL queries? Now you can with CF ORM.
3. Enhancements to CFScript – this one is particularly interesting to me, and one that I hope you CF developers out there will comment about below. Enhancements to CFScript in CF9 pretty much takes the language to the next level, and you can now build an entire CF web app completely in script syntax without using any CFML.
This example shows how CFML tags and CFScript can do the same thing.
Is CFScript more elegant to use? Is it more of a “real” programming language? That seems to be the assessment of some, but either way, CFScript does a good job of expanding the appeal of the platform.
4. The cfspreadsheet tag – This is just a cool feature, and is part of the broader office file interoperability features now in CF9. The cfspeadsheet tag lets you mange, access, create and interact with data in an Excel spreadsheet. It’s that simple, and CF9 makes it simple to do. See some examples here.
5. Our Community – Newtek Technology Services, which supports the CrystalTech brand, boasts one of the largest ColdFusion communities in the world. Not an exaggeration. A big reason for this is that we’ve been supporting ColdFusion for over a decade, beginning with ColdFusion 4.0. That’s not only before Adobe, that’s before Macromedia. So as I mentioned earlier, we’re thrilled to be supporting this latest version and the next generation of CF apps that will call our servers home.
What’s your thoughts on CF9? If you participated in the beta program, what were your experiences? Do you plan on moving your site to 9 or are you sticking with 8 (or even MX 7)? Let us know.