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Open BlueDragon

The recent Open BlueDragon release announcement has heartened many ColdFusion (CF) developers.

Open BlueDragon was released as an open source project in May under the General Public License version 3 (GPLv3), joining the ranks of well-known open source products that include MySQL, OpenOffice, Firefox and SugarCRM.

New CF Player
Open BlueDragon, like its closed source parent company New Atlanta Communications LLC, is positioned as an alternative to Adobe Systems Inc.'s ColdFusion engine. While Open BlueDragon is not the first alternative ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) engine -- others include Railo and Smith Project -- Open BlueDragon is a stable and proven technology.

But the real value of the product is not so much that it's open source, or that it runs well on both the Windows and Linux platforms with Web services such as Internet Information Services, Apache, Jetty, TomCat, among others. The real value is not even its ability to port smoothly with back-end database solutions like MySQL. It's actually in the jolt this may give CF Web developers.

Costly ColdFusion
While many developers who work with Java, ASP.NET or PHP code get away with no additional cost concerns, CF developers traditionally have to defend their use of CF and the added costs that come into play. Alan Williamson, one of the Open BlueDragon Steering Committee members, writes: "[Adobe has] traditionally had to put a wee sting in the tail when it came to the invoicing. Someone had to pay for the CFML engine license. Sure, [Adobe] passed it onto [its] client, but wouldn't it have been nicer had [Adobe] been able to keep that extra [cash] for [itself] instead of passing it on?"

In asking the Open BlueDragon Steering Committee members for clarification regarding comparisons in functionality with Adobe, Adam Haskell, another member of the Steering Committee says, "Open BlueDragon as a CFML engine supports most of the tags ColdFusion offers, but not all. It also has tags that Adobe doesn't support. Adobe recently created a CFML Advisory board to help maintain a core set of standards."

Unified Standards
No doubt, going forward, that set of standards will be incorporated into Open BlueDragon to provide a unified standard set for all developers.

"An open source BlueDragon means you can now bet the farm on CFML," Williamson says. "CFML is here to stay, and for once in the history of CFML, the community will take a lead in the future direction of CFML as a language and platform."

To see a list of organizations that utilize CF in their sites, go to www.forta.com/cf/using.

About the Author

J. Peter Bruzzese (Triple-MCSE, MCT, MCITP: Messaging) is a longtime contributor to Redmond, an InfoWorld journalist and the Exchange 2010 instructor for Train Signal. You can reach him at peter@trainsignal.com.

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