ColdFusion is an application server and software development framework used for the development of computer software in general, and dynamic web sites in particular. In this regard, ColdFusion is a similar product to Microsoft ASP.NET or Java Enterprise Edition.
The primary feature of ColdFusion is its associated scripting language, ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML), which compares to JSP, C#, or PHP and resembles HTML in syntax. “ColdFusion” is often used synonymously with “CFML”, but it should be noted that there are additional CFML application servers besides ColdFusion, and that ColdFusion supports programming languages other than CFML, such as server-side Actionscript.
Originally a product of Allaire, in 2001 the company was purchased by Macromedia, who subsequently merged with Adobe Systems in 2005.
ColdFusion is most often used for data-driven web sites or intranets. More advanced users can use ColdFusion as a productivity layer above a J2EE platform or use ColdFusion as middleware in a service oriented architecture (SOA), generating SOAP or RESTful web services or Flash remoting.
ColdFusion can also handle asynchronous events such as SMS and instant messaging via its gateway interface, available in ColdFusion MX 7 Enterprise Edition.
ColdFusion provides a number of value-added services out of the box:
» conversion from HTML to PDF and FlashPaper
» client-side form validation including rich forms using Flash
» GUI widgets such as datagrids and date pickers
» platform-independent database querying via ODBC or JDBC
» data retrieval from common enterprise systems such as Active Directory, LDAP, POP, HTTP, FTP
» client and server cache management
» session, client, and application management
» file indexing and searching service based on Verity K2 (Enterprise Edition only)
» XML parsing, querying, and validation
» Server clustering
» GUI administration
» Task scheduling
Other implementations of CFML offer similar or enhanced functionality, such as running in a .NET environment or image manipulation.