MACWORLD - Macromedia touts Java server for Mac OS X

Boosting Java development for Apple Computer users, Macromedia Inc. at the Macworld Conference & Expo on Tuesday is announcing availability of JRun 4 for Mac OS X, a J2EE-compatible application server.

The company also is adding Apple and BEA Systems Inc. to its list of environments that support the ColdFusion MX Internet development, although Apple can only be used for developing and testing and not for application deployment. In addition, Macromedia is sprucing up ColdFusion support on IBM WebSphere and Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) application servers.

Priced at $899 per processor, Macromedia's JRun 4 for Mac OS X is a commercial J2EE-compatible application server used at more than 10,000 companies worldwide, according to Macromedia. JRun could be used on Xserve, Apple's rack server for Mac OS X, according to Macromedia.

A JRun user applauded the port to Mac OS X.

"JRun previously had not been available for the Mac OS X operating system, so now it gives us another platform that we can leverage for building solutions and it's a fairly cost-effective platform," said Geoffrey Corb, vice president of systems development at Synergenic, an e-business consulting group in Milford, Conn.

"Other products in its space, like [BEA] WebLogic and IBM WebSphere, are orders of magnitude more expensive per processor," Corb said.

ColdFusion MX, Macromedia's server scripting environment for building rich Internet applications and Web services applications, is available in a developer's edition for Mac OS X, enabling development and testing of applications. The developer edition, however, does not support development of production applications. The full name of the developer line is Developer Edition of Macromedia ColdFusion MX for J2EE Application Servers.

"We've gotten very strong demand for developers who want to build and test their applications on the Macintosh," said Phil Costa, Macromedia senior product manager for ColdFusion MX. Asked if there would be a version to support production applications, Costa said, "We haven't announced that but we're looking very closely."

The benefit of the developer edition is developers can build applications on Mac OS X and then deploy to a data center or with a hosting provider, Costa said. "This allows them to develop on OS X, which is a great client platform and also a full Unix platform," Costa said.

An Apple representative declined comment on Macromedia's announcements.

ColdFusion MX enables applications that, for example, can provide complete animation, connect to live data and change information on a screen based on user input without requiring that screens be refreshed.

Macromedia also is adding BEA WebLogic Server to the list of application servers supported by ColdFusion MX, as part of the ColdFusion MX for J2EE Application Servers product line. Versions 6 and 7 of WebLogic are being supported. ColdFusion MX for BEA WebLogic Server costs $3,399 per processor and is available now.

A representative at a software developer that has written a product to run on top of ColdFusion said she appreciated the expansion of platform coverage.

"From our perspective, we're very pleased to have the opportunity to leverage what Macromedia is doing in expanding its platform coverage," said Jennifer Hanes, vice president of marketing and operations at PaperThin, in Quincy, Mass.

Additionally, Macromedia is updating its ColdFusion MX offerings for IBM WebSphere to support Version 5 of the application server and also to work on the IBM AIX Unix OS running on WebSphere. Sun ONE Application Server 7 also is now supported. Previously, Macromedia supported the Sun ONE Web server but not the application server, according to the company.

Macromedia opted to support Sun and IBM prior to BEA because of partnership priorities and engineering schedules, according to Costa.

The new version of ColdFusion MX takes greater advantage of the J2EE architecture, enabling developers, for example, to build an application completely in Java, test and compile it and package it as a J2EE archive file to be handed off to a data center, Costa said.

Performance and availability also are improved. ColdFusion can be installed multiple times on a single application server to enable clustered instances and greater availability. Or, separate instances of ColdFusion can be run on a single box to provide for security and isolation.

ColdFusion MX continues to feature a Web services engine for building and consuming Web services.

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