BlueDragon, New Atlanta's ColdFusion-compatible CFML server, was originally written in the Java programming language. The BlueDragon.NET edition--which was released almost five years ago and powers MySpace.com, the world's largest CFML web site--was originally created using Microsoft's Visual J#. Using Visual J#, which compiles Java-language source code directly to .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) byte code, allowed us to rapidly port the very large BlueDragon code base from Java to .NET; and, it allowed us to share a significant percentage of code between the Java and .NET editions of BlueDragon (about 80% of the code in BlueDragon.NET 7.1 is shared Java-language source code--the rest is written in C#).
However, in January 2007 Microsoft announced plans to retire the Visual J# product, which meant that we needed a new strategy for BlueDragon.NET. There wasn't an immediate urgency to address this issue because Microsoft will continue supporting Visual J# through 2017; and, both Visual J# and BlueDragon.NET 7.1 are fully supported on the recently released Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems. But, the fact that Visual J# will not be supported by Visual Studio 2010 or .NET Framework 4.0 meant that it had become obstacle to future development of BlueDragon.NET.
Earlier this year New Atlanta engineers began the effort to port BlueDragon.NET to a pure C# code base and I'm happy to announce that this effort has been completed. We now have a version of BlueDragon.NET in-house that's written completely in C# and passes all of our regression testcases. Having achieved this major milestone, we can now move forward with several projects that we had either started or planned, but were blocked due to the dependency on Visual J#.
While I can't yet forecast when these will be delivered in commercial product releases, here are some of the BlueDragon.NET projects we're working on or have planned related to various Microsoft products and technologies:
- Windows Azure. Cloud computing is one of the most exciting and important technology trends to emerge in recent years. Our goal is to provide complete support for developing and deploying ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) applications on Microsoft's cloud computing platform via BlueDragon.NET.
- SharePoint. Microsoft's business collaboration platform has become one of its most successful and popular server-based products. Our goal is to allow developers--via BlueDragon.NET--to create fully-integrated SharePoint content written in ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML).
- ASP.NET MVC. Microsoft's new web application model-view-controller (MVC) framework supports content (views) that are created using technologies other than ASP.NET WebForms. We currently have a working prototype of a custom view engine based on BlueDragon.NET that allows fully-integrated ASP.NET MVC content to be developed using ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML).
- Visual Studio. Key to integrating ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) with other Microsoft products and technologies--such as Azure, SharePoint, and ASP.NET MVC--is the ability to develop and debug CFML within Visual Studio.
- Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR). Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 implement significant enhancements for integrating dynamic scripting languages with the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR). We are already exploring ways to take advantage of these enhancements in the BlueDragon.NET implementation of ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML).
- Linux/Mono. An "open source, cross-platform implementation of C# and the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) that is binary compatible with Microsoft.NET," the Mono project allows C# applications to be deployed on Linux operating systems. Now that Visual J#--which isn't supported on Mono--is no longer required, it should be possible to deploy BlueDragon.NET (and CFML applications) with little or no changes on Linux via Mono.
We're very excited by all of these new opportunities, and I look forward to providing more details about each of these new projects, and to technology preview releases that we plan to make available starting in 2010.
As it has been since we first announced BlueDragon.NET almost seven years ago, it remains our goal to provide BlueDragon.NET customers with the best possible solutions for integrating ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) with Microsoft products and technologies.