Saturday, 3 September 2011

Must have features in ColdFusion Zeus

A lot of announcements have been made about ColdFusion Zeus in recent conferences. I like this way of leaking the features in the upcoming release because it let's the community know what we all should be prepared for. I think the biggest announcement made was the move from JRun to Tomcat. I think what the team has thought is right, it should move to the next standard and the next standard is indeed Tomcat. I don't know why it took such a long time for the team to decide on this move. I have made a list of features, which I think will be a good fit for the next release:

  1. HTML5 features - Nothing concrete have been said at any of the conferences, but I noticed that there is a MAX session on ColdFusion and HTML5. I think there might be some good news about ColdFusion implementing some of the HTML5 features in their product. Of all the features in HTML5, the one that stands out is the WebSocket implementation. I don't know how the API or tag would look like, but if there is one HTML5 feature to be present in ColdFusion then it has to be WebSocket.
  2. Server side action script - I had attended the MAX conference long back, where in some one from the team had demoed the Server side action script. I think this would be a great addition to the product. In fact, I would say Adobe should create a new product separately with this in mind. The number of Flex developers are growing at a very good rate. In fact Adobe is betting very high on Flex\Flash. I don't see any reason as to not have this product in place. Whether it is a part of ColdFusion or not is a different story, but I want this some how from Adobe. I'm sure folks at Adobe would have certainly given a thought to it.
  3. Ajax controls - ColdFusion though not really a front end technology, but it does have some set of Ajax controls - Tree, Grid, etc,. What I find is that these are useful but difficult to code (may be it is just me).   I have to use the layout, tabs and other controls which are very difficult to follow. I would suggest improving or deprecating that. 
  4. ColdFusion Administrator - The Administrator looks like it was built in 90's. Why not take the best front end technology Flex and build it again. This might be time consuming, but it should be built in the next release. 
  5. Report Builder - Is this still under development? No idea? A feature provided in one release should then be enhanced in the next release. Looks like Adobe has completely forgotten that they had built this product some time ago; sorry ages ago.
  6. Performance - Since the product is moving from JRun to Tomcat, I'm a little skeptical about the performance of the product. If ColdFusion Zeus takes a performance hit then it would be difficult to get everyone adopt to the new release. I hope the move betters the performance.
  7. IDE support - I'm thinking of a list of features for CFBuilder, but the minimum for the IDE is to support the new features and changes in the language. I'll post this next.
That's it. I can think of these at the top of my mind. Can't wait to get my hands on the public beta release. Go ColdFusion!!!


  1. Based on Adobe's presentation at RIACON almost all CF improvements are on existing features:

    - Report Builder will not be improved at all (I asked).

    - AJAX, they may introduce the ext 4 library, but since most people are using jQuery and Dreamweaver has jQuery "built-in" I don't think you'll see much in this area.

    - Performance is expected to be better. JRUN has had no improvements in at least 4 years and it will ship with whatever the most current version of Apache is.

    - Administrator is Zeus so far looks like 9 with new features. For as much as we spend on the Enterprise licensing, I would rather see an Enterprise (multi-server) capability similar to FusionReactor. Give everybody the current server admin.

  2. I find it interesting that you say "I like this way of leaking the features in the upcoming release because it let's the community know what we all should be prepared for." -- compared to open source projects where every feature is always public throughout its development and the community at large can provide a lot more feedback.

    As for the features, I don't think you'll see any movement on what you're asking for - except performance where Tomcat should definitely give a boost compared to the outdated JRun server. I run a bunch of stuff on Tomcat and startup times are usually 3-6 seconds (for Railo on Tomcat).

    Of the features announced for Zeus, I'm more interested in closures and the deeper Java interop (both already announced for Railo 4, along with command line execution of CFML scripts without a server). The other interesting feature will be the security enhancements announced for Zeus.

  3. @Steve W,

    I hadn't attended RIACON and hadn't heard anything about the report builder announcement. I hope it gets through in the next version.

    What I meant by Ajax controls is that, it is difficult to use. I would rather use jQuery UI.

    I expect the performance to be on par with CF 9.01 if not better.

    The administrator in CF looks old and IMO should be replaced with a better UI.

  4. @Sean,

    Since CF is not open source and the features are being leaked in conference, it is kind of paradoxical. I like Railo, but haven't had the opportunity to work on it.

    I'm sure there would a pre release of CF (may be you are a part of it) where in some community members test it out. Whenever there is public beta they will open up things for everyone to see. I think that's a good strategy.

    Only time will tell about the features since everything is known to only a few. I mentioned a few because I felt that it can be a good value add to the product.

    I think closures and Java interop will take CF to great heights. I'm particularly interested Java integration and closures is definitely worth a try.