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From Jeffrey Polaski <jpola...@rgs.uci.edu>
Subject RE: comparison between SERVLET/JSP to Cold Fusion
Date Mon, 05 Nov 2001 19:38:06 GMT
I've been using ColdFusion for about five years now, in a variety of
situations. I think CF is very well suited for a lot of web development, and
it's a great tool. It has it's limits, but for a lot of web sites CF is a
good match for the task. 

However, I think that Java/PHP/ASP/Etc... would now be a better choice for
most projects. CF is, unfortunately, rather limited in how you structure the
code. Programming is all about creating and managing abstractions. CF's
abstractions just aren't as powerful as the others, and this is it's biggest
limitation. The next version of CF is supposed to be running on top of a
Java server, and this will give you access to a more powerful language, but
I don't see how this will be much different from writing taglibs, or any of
the frameworks that are available. 

Let me explain what I mean when I say that CF is limited for more complex
apps by an example. As part of my job I write a lot of data-entry type apps.
Instead of writing each one by hand, I would like to have a little xml file
that describes a set of forms, their validation, their interaction, etc...
and then some code that builds the web app based on the xml for me. Java
would be a much better choice because you have acces to a much richer
language. In Java you have classes to organize your code, you can write a
finite state machine to represent the structure of the site, you can use
templating tools like velocity, you have a lot more flexibility in how you
structure your application, etc... You just get a lot "more".

If you really wanted to you could do a lot of the same kinds of things in
CF, like write a templating engine, but it would be a lot harder and it
would not be as reusable. If I just wanted to write *one* or a *couple* of
data-entry type applications CF would be a better choice. I could just bang
it out and get on with my life. But if I want an application that "makes
applications", CF is not the right choice.

Well, anyway, here's a list, not really in order, of issues regarding CF vs.
Tomcat:

ColdFusion:
	Proprietary
	More expensive (still fairly cheap for an app-server, though)
	Harder to find people who know ColdFusion
	CF is not object oriented
	The language is easy, so training is less of an issue the Java
	Fairly complete -- Doesn't have endless expansion/options/etc...
that Java has
		Also, the extensions are easy to use, too.
	Overall, IMHO much easier to use than Tomcat
	Better documentation (Ben Forta books, etc...)
	Will be rewritten Java soon, ColdFusion will become a set of custom
tags that run on top of their 
	Not good for a lot of numeric processing
	While there are techniques to extend CF, it's really not well suited
for very complex applications. 

	Difficult to internationalize an application
	More difficult to write an application that will bring down a server
		Sure you can write a query that returns a 500 meg result set
or something, but, in general, CF is more stable during development
	A lot of CF developers I've known, while being good CF developers,
are very limited in that they don't have a very broad understanding of
programming in general. This can make for some systems that just don't work
well in a particular business.

	CF is very well suited for the majority of tasks one is likely to
run into when doing web development, but if you have an especially complex
site or want to express more sophisticated ideas, like a finite state
machine, you'll have a much more difficult time

Tomcat (Java server solution):
	Free (Both beer & speech)
	Better suited for complex sites
	More difficult to set up and administer
	Better career move (I get 18 hits on Dice for ColdFusion, 32 for
Tomcat, 4077 for Java)
	You can find students who know Java (because I work for a
University, this is an issue).
	I think Java has more of a future as a programming language. There
are college grads who know it, there is a lot of research being done, etc...
that leads me to think that Java will be around for a while. 
	There is a much larger user community
	You can switch servers.
	The language skills transfer better to other languages
	There is a lot more documentation for Java, the language, and JSP,
the technology, but not a lot for Tomcat per se. 
	Ultimately I see CF as being squeezed out of the market. There are
too many compelling and freely available technologies "below" it, and
Microsoft, IBM, Bea and other "above". Everyone except MS is using Java, and
MS has a Java clone (essentially). 


[Yikes! This thing is getting too long and I need to get back to work...]


   Jeff Polaski



-----Original Message-----
From: Henry [mailto:hxzhang@cs.ualberta.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 2:20 PM
To: Tomcat Users List
Subject: comparison between SERVLET/JSP to Cold Fusion


I am not familiar with cold fusion, but when using html
can not fulfill our business needs for rich client side
control (like input masks), does other product has better
control on the client's side?



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