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Adobe Chugging Along with ColdFusion

Adobe today released ColdFusion 8, completing its string of upgrades to the Macromedia software line, which it acquired when Adobe acquired the company in 2005 for $3.4 billion.

Adobe  has been hard at work integrating the Macromedia and its own product lines to offer a more comprehensive portfolio. The software maker sees ColdFusion as the glue between client- and server-side technologies and functions.

On the client side, ColdFusion 8 now supports Adobe Flex and AIR technologies, AJAX-based components, and Eclipse-based wizards. On the server side, ColdFusion 8 now integrates with Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), formerly known as Apollo, Microsoft's .NET assemblies and J2EE servers, including JBoss.

ColdFusion 8 also supports application interaction with PDF documents, so you can fill out a PDF document online instead of filling out a form; A server-side function then fills in the form with the data.

Tim Buntel, senior product marketing manager for ColdFusion, told internetnews.com that AIR integration is likely to be an area of focus moving forward.

"We do have a very good connections story with AIR. Publishers can expose server-side functionality to be consumed by an AIR app when connected," he said.

Despite ColdFusion falling a few years out of date (its last revision was in 2005), Adobe was pleasantly surprised to see great interest in the public beta. The company had been hoping for 5,000 testers; It got 14,000. "There was a lot of curiosity of how Adobe would take this old product and shoot new life into it," said Buntel.

Adobe has three pricing levels, one of which everyone can agree on: free. The free version is for developer machines and for local development purposes, meaning it's only used for building and testing on that one computer.

The standard edition carries a suggested price of $1,299 per two CPUs and is intended for small- to medium-sized businesses. The enterprise edition is $7,499 for two CPUs.

Buntel said that Adobe.com is already being run on ColdFusion 8 and that sites will notice a significant improvement in performance even without changes to their application code. He said just upgrading from CF 7 to 8 will yield up to a four-fold performance increase.

Some components of the underlying language are even faster thanks to fine tuning of the tags and functions in the language. Creating a ColdFusion component is over 20 times faster than before, he said.

Buntel also said that Adobe added support for writing multithreaded code, so blocks of code that lend themselves to parallel execution are readily identified and written to run in their own threads.