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Adobe’s ColdFusion warms to .Net

Upcoming version 8 will bridge Java and Microsoft worlds

SAN FRANCISCO — Adobe Systems Inc.’s ColdFusion software for building Internet applications and Web sites is being improved with Microsoft .Net support, enabling .Net objects to be invoked from within the ColdFusion language.

A public beta of ColdFusion 8, is to be offered starting today. The general release is set for mid-year. Version 8 is the first Adobe-branded release of the former Macromedia technology.

ColdFusion is a server-side Java application; it is partnered with a markup language for writing ColdFusion applications. .Net support in the upcoming version 8 bridges the Java and Microsoft worlds.

“Customers don’t need to select one technology to the exclusion of the other,” Tim Buntel, Adobe senior product marketing manager, said.

Also featured in ColdFusion 8 is generation of PDF documents as well as capabilities for working with PDF forms and manipulating existing PDF documents. Support for the JBoss application server has also been added.

For developers, Adobe is adding interactive debugging based on the Eclipse IDE. A Server Monitor capability, meanwhile, identifies bottlenecks in the server.

Adobe’s Flex rich Internet application technology and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) components are leveraged in the new product for integration of complex environments with intuitive interfaces, Adobe said.

ColdFusion differs from Flex in that Flex is a client-side technology featuring a language and compiler to convert code to Flash content. With ColdFusion, the server-side technology can integrate with databases and Java and .Net objects while also offering text searching. However, ColdFusion also can generate an HTML interface for Web applications.

The ColdFusion upgrade puts to rest questions about Adobe’s commitment to the technology after acquiring Macromedia, said analyst Ray Valdes, research director for Internet platforms and Web services at Gartner.

“People may have wondered if Adobe appreciated ColdFusion, and I think they do. I think it’s part of their enterprise software strategy,” Valdes said.

While Adobe recently offered the Flex software development kit to the community at large via open source, there are no plans to open-source ColdFusion. This stance gives the company the ability to make certain ColdFusion integrates with other Adobe technologies, Buntel said.

Meanwhile IDG reporter Paul Sayer reports that Adobe has upgraded Acrobat 3D for incorporating 3D CAD models in PDF files, adding the ability to mark up the images with product manufacturing information such as dimensions and tolerances. The update also allows the exporting of such data from the PDF file into formats, such as STEP and IGES, used by manufacturing tools.

The 3D capabilities, first added to Acrobat in February 2006, can be used by designers to share information and visualizations with colleagues and customers who lack 3D design software installed on their machines. However, the mark-up and export features in the latest version won’t work with existing versions of the company’s free PDF (Portable Document Format) reader software: users will have to wait until the release of Adobe Reader 8.1, planned next month, for that.

Adobe’s attempt to further integrate Acrobat into the flow of 3D design information around the enterprise mirrors broader moves in the CAD (computer-aided design) or PLM (product lifecycle management) industry to make 3D models accessible to a wider range of workers.

The software will sell for around US$995, with upgrades from earlier versions from US$295, Adobe said.

Comment: cdnedit@itbusiness.ca