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Giving Railo a Chance

Transitioning From Adobe ColdFusion To Railo On Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)

I've been developing ColdFusion sites for a good 10 years. I remember the Allaire days, eased through the Macromedia days and suffered through the Adobe days. ColdFusion 4.0 was my first taste of the CFML language. I'm not sure if it was it short learning curve or it's ability to allow me to create websites so quickly, but either way I fell for it instantly.

I'll be the first one to tell you that ColdFusion always had room for improvement. My complaints were fairly simple, from wanting server side image manipulation without using a plug-ins, to making it less of a resource hog. The biggest complaint I have nowadays, is the fact that Adobe seems to be focusing ColdFusions attention to Flash and Flex. Two technologies, which I will admit, could care less about.

I'm sure some of you would argue with me, but I think the days of developing Flash sites are numbered. With HTML 5 on the horizon, there's really no need to bother with this buggy, resource hogging, technology. It saddens me that Adobe (or more to the point, Adobe's sales department) is pushing this technology so hard. I wish they would focus more on the core language and features, but alas they don't seem to be going that direction.

Then this week something happened. My ancient Apple G4 development server which was running Adobe ColdFusion 8 crashed. I decided to do a clean install of everything and at the same time upgrade the operating system from Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. I really wanted to take advantage of Apple's Time Machine to do my back-ups, which unfortunately is only available for Leopard users. The upgrade was going smoothly up to the point where I installed ColdFusion server. Oops! Apparently ColdFusion doesn't play well with Leopard. IT has something to do with the Apache contector or something. Honestly I just didn't care anymore.

Meet Railo

Railo is a CFML language server package that just happens to be open-source. I've known about it since around June, but I haven't really had a chance to experiment with it. So I thought that this was a good of a time as any to make the switch. I ran into a couple of hurdles installing it, but I finally was able to get it all working this afternoon. I've documented everything I did to get it working on a stock Mac OS X 10.5 install (with all the security updates installed as well) and I will be sharing this information with you in the next few days.

So far, I'm totally impressed. It's running all my development sites with me having to change ANY code so far. The pages seem to load faster and the load on my server seems to be lower. Generally very good news. So come back soon, I should have my install steps up shortly.