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  ::   November 19, 2003

IBM Weighs in on Flex
At this morning's keynote, Rod Smith, VP of Emerging Technology at IBM gave a ringing endorsement for Macromedia's new Flex technology. His two main points:

1. J2EE is a great platform for middleware, but falls short on the client/presentation layer. 2. Flex represents a platform agnostic (meaning supported by J2EE/ColdFusion and .Net) solution for the presentation layer that appeals to traditional code based developers.

One other interesting point that I think Rod made (actually it was just on a slide) was the use of Flex with enterprise portals. I've been doing a lot of research/work with portals lately, and I think it would be really interesting to see how Flex would/could be used within the Portlet framework specified in JSR 168 and JSR 170. I'm hoping that IBM and Macromedia will have more to say on this topic soon.

  ::   November 13, 2003

ColdFusion MX, Portals, and JSR's 168 and 170
I've been doing a lot research into corporate portals lately as part of my job here at Amkor. I've evaluated the offerings of some of the major players such as IBM, Plumtree, and Oracle, and am always interested in how we can leverage our investment in ColdFusion within the portal space, which is dominated (mostly) by Java.

The Portlet specifiation as outlined in JSR 168 and the Content Repository for Java technology API outlined in JSR 170 (both of which Macromedia participate in) standardize the framework for portlets in a vendor/application server neutral way. To me, this standardization and the fact that Java is the portlet technology of choice has me wondering if Macromedia could/will support portlet development within ColdFusion in a furure release of ColdFusion MX.

As I see it, there are (at least) two ways this could be supproted. The first, and probably the simplest would be simply to have ColdFusion MX expose "remote" portlets as web services. WebSphere v5 now supports remote portlet calls, as long as they are registered in a UDDI directory and (presumably) adhere to a specific WSDL format. IBM Portal Server and Web Services, a whitepaper from IBM explains how this works in some detail.

The second way I see ColdFusion supporting portlets would be to actually write the portlet using CFML, and have the underlying CFMX (JRun) application server compile the code to Java and package it up appropriately as a WAR file.

Possibly interesting as well would be how this could be done if you were running ColdFusion MX on top of a J2EE application server (such as IBM WebSphere) that was running as the portal server.

What do you think? Is this something that seems reasonable or even desirable for a future version of ColdFusion?

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