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Last updated Oct 17, 2003.
Macromedia ColdFusion is a Web server application that interprets CFML (ColdFusion Markup Language), a proprietary and extensible markup language. Like other server applications, it creates dynamic Web pages on the fly and grabs data from the database.
To run ColdFusion files, a ColdFusion server has to be loaded on a server for it to serve CFML pages. Macromedia has a personal ColdFusion Web server known as JRun 4 available, or ColdFusion can be run on any web server. Another option is to find a Web host with a ColdFusion server.
It works with databases using Microsoft's OLE DB, ODBC, and drivers accessing Oracle and Sybase databases. It can also work with applications using CORBA and Microsoft's DCOM.
Like ASP.NET, "Hello, World!" in Coldfusion uses HTML. The only difference is the file extension uses .cfm. All ColdFusion tags begin with CF as in <cfquery>.
ColdFusion runs on Windows, Linux, and UNIX servers. It has many useful features and capabilities built in, but ASP and PHP both have a slight edge in overall features when third-party add-ins are considered. The high price tag of the software is another negative factor. On the positive side, it's easy to learn, flexible, extensible, and has a good community of users. The code is more compact than ASP and JSP code.