Monday, June 28, 2004

CFUN 2: Deploying CFML on J2EE - Opportunities and Challenges

This session was given by Charlie Arehart of New Atlanta, makers of Blue Dragon, which if you aren't aware is an alternative engine for running CFML. It's largely CFMX compatible and they have an extremely capable free version for use in production (YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT!!), so you really should check it out. I tested the betas of both the free and JX versions pretty extensively, and the folks from New Atlanta offered fantastic support throughout the beta. The final version was announced at CFUN so go download it! (It runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, and they also have a J2EE version.)


Although I had investigated and done some experimentation with deploying CFML apps on J2EE before, Charlie's talk reminded me why I need to revisit this experimentation and probably put it into practice. First and foremost, if your company is mandating that you need to move to J2EE (or .NET for that matter--there will soon be a version of BlueDragon that will allow for CFML apps to be deployed on .NET), you don't have to throw out your CFML code or your CF development skills. Converting applications and retraining people can have a huge cost associated with it, and Charlie's overriding point was that you don't need to do this. Your CFML applications can run perfectly on J2EE and can easily be deployed on J2EE. (This process is quite a bit simpler with BlueDragon than with CFMX, but you can do it with either.)

Even if you *aren't* being forced to move to J2EE or .NET, running CFML applications on J2EE can still provide tremendous benefits due to the ability to isolate your applications from one another by running separate instances. At i2 we just went from running only on our web servers to running the i2 User Group site on those servers as well. I was so used to not being concerned about multiple applications that Charlie's discussion of using multiple instances for isolation purposes really hit home, and I'm going to revisit this when i get back home. There are a ton of other benefits for session management, clustering, integration with JSPs, Servlets, EJBs, etc.--the list goes on and on. (Get me talking about this at a UG meeting and I'll probably never shut up!) At any rate, this is definitely worth taking a look at if you haven't already.

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