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Recommended Host for ColdFusion
What Is ColdFusion?
ColdFusion is a web application development platform that's known for its superb efficiency. It's used in the development of web and mobile applications, which makes it a key provision for many web hosting customers.
History of ColdFusion
Development on ColdFusion began in 1995. Two brothers, Jeremy Allaire and JJ Allaire, released the software under their brand name, Allaire Corporation.
Originally, the pair wanted a simpler way to put a database on the web, and they developed ColdFusion as a scripting language that worked with HTML. Within a year, ColdFusion had been developed beyond its original remit. It's now used as a rapid web application development platform to handle databases, forms, feeds, reports and file conversion. Developers love it because it's cheap and powerful.
From day one, ColdFusion has been one of the web's notable success stories. Under the ownership of Allaire Corporation, ColdFusion increased its annual revenue from $1 million to $120 million within four years. Macromedia purchased ColdFusion in March 2001 for $360 million. It was a deal which also resulted in Jeremy Allaire being made chief technology officer at Macromedia.
Adobe then purchased Macromedia in 2005, bringing ColdFusion under its brand name. ColdFusion still has strong suport for Flash, although with Flash being deprecated, this is less of a benefit for developers than it once was. ColdFusion also supports FlashPaper, a virtual printer that can create Flash or PDF 'printouts'. This is a legacy product, but proves just how closely the two technologies have been.
Originally, ColdFusion only ran on Windows servers as it was written in Visual C++. After the Macromedia acquisition, ColdFusion Server was redeveloped in Java EE and had its own runtime environment (JRE). This transition occurred around 2002 and lead to 'MX' being added to its name. ColdFusion is deployed using Tomcat.
ColdFusion projects consist of two primary file types:
- Objects, which are saved with the .cfc extension. Objects are either COM or CORBA in type, and can be associated with properties, methods and nested objets
- Pages, which are saved with the .cfm extension. Pages hold objects, HTML code and other items.
Why Use ColdFusion?
Many developers prefer ColdFusion over Java because it's much quicker to bring their ideas to the web. Its close relationship with Flash, and ease of use with databases, has also helped it gain traction as a development tool.
Note that there are two versions of ColdFusion used in hosting: Standard and Enterprise. Enterprise is the more expensive of the two, but it offers users better monitoring and security. Look for Enterprise wherever possible.
ColdFusion is supplied on web hosting plans across all service categories, from shared through to dedicated. However, it does pay to look for specialised hosting if you plan to develop extensively in ColdFusion. Realistically, a common ColdFusion application will need 2 GB of RAM or more, which means venturing into virtual private server (VPS) territory eventually.
Specialised hosts will normally isolate ColdFusion and may not install other common applications and technologies, such as PHP. This helps to keep the servers speedy, since they're tasked with just one thing. Beware of any company that crams customers onto its servers, since ColdFusion needs adequate resources and can be slowed by over-use.
Web hosts normally offer the most recent version of ColdFusion Enterprise, although they may be willing to deploy a different version if you ask.
Many developers go on to get certified in ColdFusion in order to prove their abilities. Often, when shopping for web hosting, you'll find that some staff are ColdFusion certified too. This is a bonus if you're new to the platform.
Also, look for Sandbox security, or Resource security. This feature lets you ring fence ColdFusion resources to prevent unauthorised access. You can apply the restrictions to:
- Data sources
- ColdFusion tags
- ColdFusion functions
- Servers, including specific ports.
This feature isn't enabled by default, so check that your host will provide it once you've paid for your hosting plan.
ColdFusion Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
What is ColdFusion?
ColdFusion is a rapid web application development platform developed and sold by Adobe.
What language is used for writing ColdFusion applications?
Can other languages be used for writing ColdFusion apps?
What type of applications can ColdFusion be used to build?
ColdFusion is a general purpose web application platform, so it can be used to build any sort of app. It is most often used for building data-driven websites and organizational intranets. It is also frequently deployed for running SOAP APIs or other web services. It can be used to provide server-side support to internet-connected desktop application platforms, like Apache Flex or AdobeAIR.
What are some of the major features of ColdFusion?
There are many. Here are just a few:
- Database abstraction
- Cache management for client and server
- Code generation for client side widgets and forms
- HTML to PDF format conversion
- Data import and parsing for a wide variety of applications
- File indexing and search service
- Full support for XML
- Server clustering
- Crontab style scheduling.
What server operating systems can ColdFusion be run on?
ColdFusion works on MS Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris.
What web servers support ColdFusion applications?
Most of the major web servers can support ColdFusion, including Apache, IIS, and IBM HTTP Server.
What databases does ColdFusion support?
It supports most relational database systems, including MySQL, MS SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, and PostgreSQL.
Is ColdFusion really cross-platform?
Yes. ColdFusion runtime environment is built in Java and runs on the Java EE platform. This makes it completely compatible with any machine running that platform.
Can I use ColdFusion in conjunction with .NET?
Yes. ColdFusion has access to the .NET framework and can run .NET modules as part of an application.
Can I use Java in conjunction with ColdFusion?
Yes. ColdFusion boasts "tight and bidirectional integration with Java." Java can be called from ColdFusion and ColdFusioncan can be called from Java.
Are there any web hosting companies that specifically support ColdFusion?
Yes. Use our webhosting compare tool to find webhosts that support it.
Are there any alternatives to ColdFusion?
Alternatives to ColdFusion can be grouped into two categories: alternative processors for CFML (essentially, replacements for ColdFusion), and entirely different application platforms.
CFML, ColdFusion Markup Language, is an open specification. Anybody can build a new application engine that runs apps written in CFML, and several groups of developers have. If you are looking for an open-source alternative, the best option right now is Lucee. Lucee was forked from the popular Railo project, and now has the bulk of the original Railo development team. Another option is BlueDragon, which has an open-source Java version and a proprietary .NET version.
There are a number of alternative development platforms that can achieve similar results to ColdFusion. Both Java and .NET can be used alone, without ColdFusion, to build web applications. .NET has many specific tools for web development already included. Java web development can be greatly sped up with any number of Java Web Development Frameworks, such as Takes, Vaadin, and Grails (among many others).
How does ColdFusion compare to Ruby on Rails, PHP, and Node.js?
As always, that depends on what you are trying to accomplish. For a "straight-forward" content-heavy website or ecommerce platform that is not dependent on an existing application database or enterprise system, a PHP Content Management System (Drupal, Joomla, WordPress) is probably the best option. It is certainly the easiest option. For content focused web apps that do not require a lot of real-time interaction, Ruby on Rails is the industry standard. For interactive web apps that require multiple users interacting simultaneously, Node.js is often a good fit, but a more mature platform like Java might be called for.
ColdFusion works best when any of these situations also call for connection to an existing Enterprise server, or when SOAP (as opposed to RESTful) web services are required.