Last night, Ben Forta continued his whirlwind tour of Scorpio, the code name for Adobe’s ColdFusion 8 software, this time in the beautiful environs of downtown Chicago. The talk was extremely illuminating, for a number of reasons.
First, the people in the CCCFUG lived up to their rep by grilling Mr. Forta about every feature he demoed. When nearly an hour had passed in the presentation, and he was still on slide two, Ben asked if we could hold off on some questions until he got to the next slide. That request was greeted with more questions, which, to his credit, Ben answered. He was willing to answer any question we had, while throwing t-shirts into the audience to those that asked.
Second, if you have never seen Ben speak, it is a sight to behold. I don’t think I have experienced that much raw information in such a short period of time. He covered an immense array of information in just under three hours, which was partly comprised of the following:
1) The new CFIMAGE tag
2) Argument Collections
3) Implicit array creation
4) A great demo on AJAX integration
5) A CF Debugger in Eclipse
Yeah, that’s right, a ColdFusion debugger for Eclipse. Hopefully, your reaction is the same as mine – FINALLY! As Ben told us, the debugger was in CF back in version 4, but then it was phased out because supposedly no one used it. Well, it is finally back, and it is built on the existing debug framework in Eclipse, so it appears very easy to use. If you know how to use the debugger in Eclipse, you know how to use the CF debugger.
Okay, where was I? Right…
6) .NET integration
Hold up again, partner… .NET integration? Oh yeah, basically, CFOBJECT and CreateObject() will now support invocation of .NET assemblies within the CLR. CF users will be able to access local and remote assemblies, and will be able to use .NET methods and objects in ColdFusion. Ben then ran a pretty neat demo showing a CF app that dumped drive data for his machine… data derived from a .NET method. Very cool.
Okay, sorry this is jumping around so much, promise it won’t happen again. Okay…
8) Integration with Microsoft Exchange.
No, we are going to stop again, because this one really blew me away. Ben, always the showman, showed this in demo, but it was an integration between CF and a Microsoft Exchange server. All you need is username, password, IP address, and CF app to submit and receive the data, and bam… ColdFusion logs in as if it is an Exchange user, and allows setting appointments, tasks, and sending emails all through the Exchange server. It was so simple, and yet so powerful, this demo really showed the degree to which CF 8 is going to effect the community.
To be honest, there is a lot more than this. Generation of Connect presentations with ColdFusion. CFPDF, for manipulating the DDX of a PDF directly. CF Server Monitor, an incredibly robust monitoring system built on Flex. Plus about a dozen more features that Ben just blew past because we just didn’t have the time.
Ben Forta showed Scorpio in all its splendor, and it had the room foaming at the mouth. And, although there was persistent questioning about a release date, all we could get from him was ‘mid-2007’… with the emphasis on ‘mid’, if that helps.
It looks great, and I would suggest to anyone who can… get into the Beta. From what we saw last night, you’ll be glad you did.
ps – Oh, and third… Ben somehow landed at Midway at 5:30, and got to 1 North State Street at 6:10. For those of you outside of Chicago, it might not seem like that big of a deal. For those of you from Chicago… I think we can agree Ben must have some sort of superpowers. I mean, besides all his other superpowers.
Now I’ve said too much…