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Macromedia's ColdFusion Looks Beyond the Web

Macromedia released a new version of its ColdFusion Web application today as it continues to spread its wings beyond the PC.

ColdFusion MX 7 (previously code-named Blackstone) has been re-architected with Java J2EE 1.4 and introduces interactions with mobile phones using short message service (SMS) text messaging as well as standard Web-based instant messaging clients.

"With our event gateway SMS text messaging, everybody can have interactive experience because most cell phones today support SMS," Dave Gruber, senior product manager for ColdFusion told internetnews.com. "Let's say I'm driving to the airport and my flight gets canceled. The best response these days sends a call out to my mobile phone. With our SMS feature support; I can now get an interactive experience in rebooking that flight from my phone."

Gruber said the addition of SMS also improves two-way interactions with machines, such as enabling a bank to offer customers the ability to query balances, or check large transactions, including the transfer of funds or stop payment on a check, with an SMS over a current edition cell phone.

"The added Instant messaging capability even allows developers to create machine to machine transactions," Gruber said.

The software now lets developers structure new printable Web content, in either Flash Paper or PDF formats and offers structured business reporting in Microsoft Excel format with graphics, sub totals and formats similar to some third party business reporting products that Macromedia had relied on in the past. The company also said ColdFusion MX 7 supplies a new Enterprise Manager that lets IT administrators create multiple application instances.

Gruber said ColdFusion MX 7 also supports all the same APIs as previous versions and ties into all security authentications: LDAP servers, Microsoft security services, and Java security services. However, Gruber said developers would need to build in their own security protocols for basic authentication and beyond.

For some time, Macromedia has been looking at extending its bread-and-butter Flash software to enhance the mobile environments. Samsung and T-Mobile have already announced partnerships to include Flash Lite 1.1 in their respective handsets. Macromedia has also diversified its traditional Web developer business with Flex and Breeze, for online meetings, rapid training, and front-end applications.

But as Jeff Whatcott, vice president of product management at Macromedia, told internetnews.com, the company's strategy has always been adapting to the evolution of the digital world and delivering better experiences on every digital interface.

"In the first generation of the networked world, the Web browser was the universal window into the digital world," Whatcott said.

"The second generation of the networked world is much more diverse, with a variety of networked applications like browsing, IM, RSS , online meetings, training, and enterprise applications being accessed via an incredibly diverse array of devices including phones, PDAs, cars, and more. The Web has become only one window into the digital world. With products like ColdFusion MX 7 and our mobile product line, we are providing technology that helps people build great experiences for new kinds of devices."

ColdFusion runs as either a standalone application server or on top of J2EE application servers, including Macromedia JRun, IBM's WebSphere, and BEA's WebLogic. The platform's open architecture allows it to deliver applications on Windows, UNIX, and Linux platforms, the company said.

The software comes in two editions. The Standard Edition includes two CPUs for $1,299 except for event gateways. The Enterprise Edition includes two CPUs for $5,999. Upgrading from previous versions runs $2,999 for the Enterprise and $649 for Standard. Switching from Standard to Enterprise costs $5,350. A localized version for Japanese is expected to ship later this year.