ColdFusion MX is a "next-generation" version of ColdFusion Server. With the introduction of ColdFusion MX, ColdFusion Server enters a new and exciting phase of its life. What does this mean? It means that the engine of ColdFusion Server has been retooled (or, to be more accurate, replaced) with an engine that is J2EE-compliant. This engine enables ColdFusion MX to fit easily within the strategy of any organization adopting a J2EE standard for their server infrastructure.
If you'd like to learn more about the J2EE standard and what it means to ColdFusion, you might want to jump to Chapter 22, "Leveraging J2EE," for a complete discussion of the J2EE standard.
In addition, Macromedia has included great eXtensible Markup Language (XML), .NET, and web services support in ColdFusion MX. They enable users of the product to develop next-generation web content right away by using the power of ColdFusion MX.
Fortunately, the core CFML has not changed. You still can write ColdFusion applications just as you've done in the past. Now, however, when your code is parsed and run by the ColdFusion engine, rather than being compiled into P-code (as was the standard with previous releases of ColdFusion Server), your CFML code is compiled to bytecode and executed. This enables a much faster, more stable execution of your ColdFusion application code.
Understanding the New ColdFusion
Before we discuss the new ColdFusion Server architecture, it's important to realize that from a development standpoint, very little has changed. This cannot be stressed enough. Although it's important to understand that your applications now are compiled to and executed as bytecode, it's also important to realize that you do not need to know Java to write ColdFusion applications. This is one of the greatest benefits of using ColdFusion MX. Essentially, you are getting the power, performance, and stability of a J2EE-designed web application while retaining the speed and ease of use to which you've become accustomed in ColdFusion.
You might notice that with ColdFusion MX, you as a developer are being given more power. With the introduction in ColdFusion MX of ColdFusion components (CFCs), web services support, and Flash integration services, and the deployment of applications on a variety of Java application servers, you have more options and services than ever before.
This is an exciting release of ColdFusion, as it greatly increases the power of the language by extending where applications written in CFML can be run. It also greatly increases their stability, scalability, and performance.
New Technology Brief
As you begin to explore ColdFusion MX, it's helpful to have an understanding of the new features available to you in this release. Table 1.1 lists some of the key features and their uses. Although each new feature is discussed in complete detail later in this book, we still recommend that you review Table 1.1 to familiarize yourself with the changes.