BlueDragon – ColdFusion (CFML) Engine

by Simon. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

The BlueDragon Server family of Java-based servers (Server and Server JX) enables the stand-alone deployment of CFML. Both BlueDragon Server versions contain a built-in web server for development and testing, and each integrates with Microsoft IIS, Sun ONE/Netscape/iPlanet (JX only), and Apache web servers for deployment.

BlueDragon offers flexibility for the deployment of ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) pages with native technology platform integration on the operating system, web server and database of your choice.


BlueDragon is an alternative CFML engine comparable to Macromedia’s ColdFusion. It is exclusively licensed and distributed by New Atlanta from TagServlet Ltd based out of Scotland. ColdFusion is a proprietary technology based on Web technology industry standards, however, it is becoming a less closed technology through the availability of potentially competing products.

New Atlanta’s BlueDragon product, released in 2002, provides a ColdFusion MX 6.x-compatible platform to run CFML-based applications on a variety of platforms ( Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and more). While ColdFusion MX 7 offers new features not available in BlueDragon, some new features in CFMX 7 have long been in BlueDragon (such as sourceless deployment, server-based deployment on OS X, and more.)

BlueDragon 6.2 is available in four editions: BlueDragon Server and Server JX (similar to ColdFusion Standalone editions), BlueDragon for J2EE Application Servers (BD/J2EE), and BlueDragon for the Microsoft .NET Framework (BD.NET).

The first two editions are standalone servers which run on Windows, Linux, and OS X. With BD/J2EE, CFML applications can be deployed on any J2EE server, enabling integration of CFML and J2EE as enabled in CFMX. BD.NET uniquely extends the .NET framework and IIS to permit deployment of CFML applications as native .NET web applications, offering integration between CFML and ASP.NET that’s not possible with CFMX.

The Server JX, J2EE, and .NET editions of BlueDragon are commercial products which are available as 30 day unlimited trials which convert to a single-IP developer edition with no expiration. Purchase and licensing information is available on the BlueDragon site.

The Server edition, on the other hand, is free for deployment (though not for hosting, redeployment, or (as of the 6.2 release) commercial use. Intended to gain favor with those comparing to other free web application platforms, there are no differences in CFML tags supported in the free Server edition, but it supports only ODBC drivers on Windows (and only MySQL or PostgreSQL on Linux and OS X), it supports only IIS on Windows or Apache on Linux/OS X, and does not support secured (SSL) connections.

None of the limitations of the free Server edition exist in the commercial Server JX, J2EE, or .NET editions.

BlueDragon offers several advantages (tags, functions, and other functionality) not found in ColdFusion. Similarly, there are a few tags and functions found in ColdFusion that are not supported currently in BlueDragon. New Atlanta maintains a complete list of incompatibilities with Macromedia ColdFusion MX in the documentation.

The .NET edition of BlueDragon may indeed be the most compelling edition for many, since it’s something that ColdFusion MX does not support. Designed to run on Microsoft’s .NET platform, BD.NET not only enables CFML applications to leverage the powerful benefits of the .NET platform, it also opens the door to integration between CFML and ASP.NET as well as .NET objects.

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