ColdFusion is Macromedia's server technology. It uses CFML, a tag-based language that is relatively easy to learn, install, and configure. Macromedia offers extensive support for ColdFusion with articles and tutorials on the ColdFusion Developer Center Web site (www.macromedia.com/devnet/mx/coldfusion). A developer version of the ColdFusion MX 7 server is available for free download at www.macromedia.com/cfusion/tdrc/index.cfm?product=coldfusion.
PHP is an open-source server technology that includes the PHP scripting language and application server. Although PHP can work with IIS, it's more commonly used with Apache. If you plan to use PHP for your application server and want your Web application to retrieve real-time data from a database for dynamic content, your only database option is MySQL, because it is the only database that Dreamweaver and many Web hosts support when using PHP. A free download of the latest stable release of PHP for Windows is available at www.php.net. A Mac version of a PHP module for Apache can be downloaded at www.entropy.ch/software/macosx/php.
JSP is a Java-based application server that requires a Web server that supports Java. JSP is fast and powerful, but learning JSP can be intimidating for those new to Web-application development. JSP can be used with Macromedia's JRun 4 Web server, available for trial download at www.macromedia.com/cfusion/tdrc/index.cfm?product=jrun. It can also be used with several other Web servers, including Apache Tomcat, available for free download at the Apache Jakarta Project Web site (http://jakarta.apache.org/tomcat).
ASP.NET is a Microsoft technology that works with IIS and the Microsoft .NET framework. A newer, more powerful version of ASP, ASP.NET is commonly used with either the C# or Visual Basic programming language, both of which Dreamweaver supports. For more information on ASP.NET and the .NET framework, visit Microsoft's ASP.NET Web site (http://asp.net).
Which application server you choose may depend on several factors:
The remainder of this chapter provides installation and configuration tasks for three of the server technologies: ASP, ColdFusion, and PHP. This is becauseunlike JSP and ASP.NETASP, ColdFusion, and PHP share similar code, they're widely used, and none of them require you to use object-oriented programming languages. Many Web-application techniques are similar for all five server technologies, so if you're experienced with ASP.NET or JSP, you can definitely use Dreamweaver's advanced features with those server technologies.