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Enter the BlueDragon: BEA tries to move ColdFusion into SOA

BEA OEMs technology for transforming legacy ColdFusion apps into Web services.

Claiming it can ease the movement of legacy ColdFusion applications into the world of Web services and SOA, BEA Systems, Inc. announced the availability Monday of BlueDragon, BEA WebLogic Edition.

 Do you re-write these legacy applications? That sucks up developer time.
Blake Connell
Director of MarketingWebLogic Server

The new product is a fusion of sorts itself as BEA is OEMing the BlueDragon technology from New Atlanta Communications LLC and bundling it with BEA WebLogic, said Blake Connell, director of marketing for WebLogic Server.

BlueDragon is runtime server technology that allows code written in ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) to be deployed on J2EE servers such as WebLogic or IBM's WebSphere or in the Microsoft .NET environment, according to New Atlanta.

ColdFusion, originally written in the early 1990s in C++ by the programming brothers J. J. Allaire and Jeremy Allaire, was sold to Macromedia in 2001 and is now part of the Adobe Systems, Inc. product line. Adobe is selling a Java rewrite, ColdFusion MX 7, for Web services development of forms applications also employing Adobe's PDF products.

The new BEA product is aimed more at the old CFML code that predates J2EE and in some cases the Java language itself, according to Connell. These are Web applications developed by government agencies and business, including transportation, in the early days of the Web. It is not a small market as ColdFusion still has a global presence. He said there are approximately 125,000 server licenses for ColdFusion and globally there are approximately 350,000 developers working with the language. Most of those developers are probably doing maintenance work, in his opinion.

"We don't see a lot of new development in ColdFusion," Connell said.

The BEA product strategy is to provide a means for taking existing CFML Web apps, putting them on WebLogic and then moving the legacy apps into services using BEA's AquaLogic Data Services Platform for SOA development, Connell said.

One of BEA's customers, Georgia Department of Transportation, is using the fusion of BlueDragon and WebLogic to modernize its architecture without rewriting its CFML code.

The ability to use a working CFML application rather than re-writing it in a newer scripting language is the key selling point for the new BEA product, Connell said.

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"Do you re-write these legacy applications?" he asks. "That sucks up developer time."

He said BEA believes organizations will want their coders to concentrate on creating the new generation of Web services applications rather than re-writing them from scratch in the trendier languages such as Ruby.

The announcement of the WebLogic-BlueDragon product was coupled Monday with BEA touting its J2EE server as an industry success story. Claiming that new features, updates and applications for WebLogic are giving it "momentum," Wai Wong, BEA executive vice president, products said: "In the last year alone, we've seen a 12 percent increase in year-over-year licensing revenue, faster than IDC market growth expectations, proving that we are taking share away from our competition."

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