ColdFusion 8 public beta chews bubblegum, takes names

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The world's first real server-side scripting language, which seemed to get quiet in its v5-v6 days, is back with a vengeance with the new ColdFusion version 8. Currently available as a public beta and due for public sale in a few months, the new release has a tonne of new features to get web developers in a tizzy. While version 7 IMHO felt like a minor upgrade for most of us (the most impressive new features were in the $6000 Enterprise edition), version 8 has lots of end-user features that really goes a great job of catching up & leapfrogging some of the competition. Here are some of the highlights:

  • AJAX interface with a huge amount of functionality: a data grid, an auto-suggest gadget, and tonnes more.
  • WYSIWYG editor replacement for textarea boxes, which uses FCKeditor.
  • Flash presentations generator to completely replace Powerpoint with something much better.
  • Built-in database. PHP 5 has SQLite, ColdFusion 8 has Derby.
  • RSS/Atom reader & generator, to make publishing or reading web feeds a non-issue.
  • PDF manipulation, everything from content modification to being able to secure documents.
  • Flex integration, for doing Flash-based applications without using Flash. Neat stuff.
  • Microsoft Exchange interface for accessing email, calendars, contacts, etc from Exchange - very useful for building intranets.
  • Image manipulation commands - after years and years of waiting, CF finally gets a command for manipulating images.
  • Really easy and powerful multi-threading - I'd like to see Ruby get multi-threading as easy as this.
  • Server improvements - not only can you more easily segregate your websites you can now also monitor how they are all performing.
  • A debugger! Has been missing since version 5.
  • Implicit struct and array creation, you don't have to manually create the variable and then assign data to it one item at a time, you can now just do <cfset months = ['January', 'February', 'March'] />.
  • Simple file commands, like finding a file's size without having to resort to Java, etc.

There's a whole bunch more, but those are some of the improvements that I'm really excited about. Go read the full What's New guide or watch the What's New videos, I think you'll be rather impressed, I know I am. I really can't wait for frameworks like Coldbox to upgrade to support some of the new features, now that would be niiiiice!

4 Comments

HostMySite offers a free Beta

HostMySite offers a free Beta Trial for ColdFusion 8 (for testing purposes). I have installed ColdBox framework and it is working flawless. :-)