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Subject RE: Coldfusion vs. apache/mod_perl
Date Wed, 05 Jul 2000 21:30:01 GMT
I just left a company that used either mod_perl or coldfusion for our intranet
development. I never did any coldfusion development but I did have to deal with
maintaing the coldfusion server and apps. 

coldfusion crashed several times in the three or four months I was involved
with it. We never could determine what the problem was. 

coldfusion (like Apache/mod_perl) eats memory. Our coldfusion processes usually
used a total of 200MB of memory.

coldfusion does not play well on unix (at least solaris). Allaire's site
recommended changing some kernel parameters to get the best performance out of
cold fusion. That was something we weren't willing to do on a box that had much
more than CF running on it.

To my knowledge, CF does not give you the power to mess with the web servers
API like mod_perl does. You may or may not need this ability.

IMHO, mod_perl applications easily out-performed our CF apps.

One plus for coldfusion, there seems to be more CF developers out there (at
least in Austin, TX) but that may be a sign that very few people are using CF.

My opinion: stick to mod_perl, it won't let you down.

On 05-Jul-2000 Bas wrote:
> Hi all,
> this is probably gonna be a longish one. It's about coldfusion vs. the
> combination of apache/mod_perl, I'm hoping to find some people on the list
> who have some experience with both, and who maybe faced a similar question.
> I've been searching the Net for a few days now to find opinions, but espec.
> in comparison to the apache/mod_perl combo, I couldn't find that much.
> Some intro: I work for a content syndication company; basically, we receive
> tons of different newsfeeds, we classify the content, both manually as well
> as automatically (based on fulltext and metadata queries), we add some extra
> content if it's not in the incoming data (for instance, we create a smaller
> version of a news story so it reads better on a WAP device), then we have
> quite a bit of distribution options: we do HTML, plain text, XML, using
> transports such as FTP, e-mail, HTTP Post, as well as host the news which
> customers can include dynamically in their website.
> The parts that involve website development are currently done exclusively
> using apache and mod_perl, this makes up about 35% of our overall system.
> Now, it seems that Allaire's product, Spectra, does offer us a solution to
> (parts of) our problems. I'm not sure yet exactly what problem it solves, we
> still have to establish that, but let's assume it does. Spectra is a product
> built using Allaire's ColdFusion. That means that if we have to add
> functionality to Spectra, we'll be using coldfusion to develop that.
> To assess coldfusion, I installed the eval version on one of our Linux boxes
> to explore it.
> Here are some of my observations:
> 1- "Code inside HTML"
> coldfusion's like PHP or ASP in that you embed most of your code inside HTML
> pages. 
> I don't like it; I prefer to use some templating system that allows our HTML
> wizards to edit HTML, and our perl wizards to code perl.
> But let's not start that discussion: we've seen it before ;)
> 2- Feature comparison
> If I compary the features available in the coldfusion appserver with the
> available options for mod_perl, I don't see a lot of extra's:
> - session management
> We do that using our own Web::Session implementation (very much like
> Apache::Session). It can do that either using cookies or stick the session
> id in the URL. coldfusion seems to require cookies.
> - database connection pooling
> We use Apache::DBI;
> - Scheduled tasks
> We use cron;
> - Sending mail from within the appserver
> Tons of CPAN modules can do this. Great MIME stuff there too;
> - Retrieve web page and stick into local file
> This is a built-in feature of the appserver. lwp-mirror can do this just
> fine.
> - coldfusion can use COM (or is that ActiveX?)
> Apparently, there are a lot of those thingies to stick into coldfusion and
> use that from within your code.
> We run HP-UX; those won't work for us.
> - coldfusion can be clustered (apparently automagically)
> So far I haven't had the need to do this; our HP box with 4 processors never
> gets a load above 0.2.
> I assume with Apache running on a few boxes, some load-balancing hardware in
> front of those, and some URL rewriting and/or smarter session management,
> clustering could be accomplished as well. I doubt we need this though. If we
> do high volume content serving, I'll convert the dynamic content to static
> html or xml, ftp them over to a box running a non-mod_perl Apache and serve
> 'm from there. I never measured this too well, I think it did something like
> 400 reqs/second on Intel hardware running Linux.
> 3- Complexity of layers (or would those be called 'tiers'?)
> With mod_perl, I have to make sure Apache runs (Ok; I need to get the stuff
> compiled too. I can do that. By now ;)), so far, I haven't seen Apache go
> down ever. With coldfusion, aside from Apache, I have to make sure a
> bunchful of different coldfusion apps are running. How stable are those
> apps?
> Also, I don't know how coldfusion talks to Oracle. DBI/DBD::Oracle works
> good enough.
> 4- Developer community
> Concluding from the amount of hits I got searching dejanews etc., the
> coldfusion developer community is hiding out somewhere else. On Allaire's
> site, success stories sound great; mod_perl's success stories on
> do too, but they don't contain a lot of buzzwords (;)
> ).
> I'd love to hear some opinions on this. I'm not looking for "stick to what
> you know"-kinda replies; I know that already. It's just that *if* Spectra
> does provide needed functionality, it will be faster to buy it than it is to
> develop the same functionality using apache/mod_perl. Yet, I do want to know
> what I'll be getting into when I need to work with coldfusion on a daily
> basis vs. working with apache/mod_perl on a daily basis.
> Regards,
> bas.

Jason Bodnar + + Team Linux

Okay, Marge, as long as we're traumatizing the kids, I have a scandalous
story of my own.

                -- Homer Simpson
                   Another Simpsons Clip Show

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