BlueDragon thoughts…

By Eric Jones
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So the guys from BlueDragon saw my article “Making the case for ColdFusion” and wanted to take me to lunch, “for the kind words about BlueDragon”.

So I told them how to get my office and we headed over to the local sandwich shop for a little CF lunch. The lunch overall was good and so was the conversation. We talked of course about BlueDragon, and ColdFusion.

My impression of the BlueDragon company (New Atlanta) has become a bit more “impressive”. Brian (sales) and Charlie (CTO) are a couple of great people and they had a lot of things to tell me. Of course in one lunch you can’t learn everything, so I’m hoping more conversations will occur of the next few weeks / months.

Here’s a sum up of what I learned:

  • New Atlanta is very community focused – The community and their customers drive the development train and dictate what features do and do not get added
  • BlueDragon Server (free) isn’t that much different from the JX (paid) version
  • They are very willing to work with companies – They understand a design shop doesn’t have time to integrate BleuDragon so they will help!
  • They are very willing to work with developers – If you talk with them you’d be surprised the hoops they will jump through to help and support you.
  • They love to talk about their product and typically bring lunch – go ahead contact them and have them visit your design shop!
  • They don’t see themselves as a direct competition with Macromedia, but more an alternative choice – Ok we all know they are a competition, but competition is good.

So based on this lunch I’ve taken the plunge and setup my very own BlueDragon development environment on an old XP machine. Setup went VERY smoothly. If you’re going to do this just keep in mind that on a windows box you have to setup your DB Connections initially via ODBC, since the JDBC drivers are only shipped with the paid server (BD Server JX).

So what complaints do I have? Well just a couple actually.[list=1]
[*]Initially my web sites were not configured for .cfm, .cfml, .cfc files to be served by BD. It would have been nice to have a tool which would do this for me automatically rather than me doing it manually.
[*]The BD Admin screen is kind of hard to read. I’m all up for the BD blue here and there but the menu system and a lot of other areas don’t contrast well
[*]I’m not a big fan of setting up ODBC connections, but I totally understand that this is a free product so I have to do some of the work.

That’s it for now. Hopefully any future problems will be minor and just chalked up to my crankiness!

Oh yea one more thing, if the BD guys are reading this thanks for the T-shirt (or as my office mates call it “the pill”), and when can we expect our complimentary JX license keys?

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  • charlie arehart

    Eric, thanks for the many kind comments.

    I’d like to respond to your points of concern, for the benefit of others (otherwise I’d just call or email you directly).

    About your point 1, you absolutely should not have had to manually configure the CFML file extensions. I assume you’re using IIS. During the install (or even afterwards via the Admin console), you can tell BD to integrate with an external web server and it will do those configurations for you. As you note, we’re willing to help you or anyone else who may experience any problem with that. On an XP machine, there’s no reason it shouldn’t have worked (some complications arise on Server editions of Windows when you have multiple web sites and no “default site”, which we’re working on.)

    On your point 2, the contrast of colors in the Admin console, we get complaints about it at a rate of about one per few hundred downloads. I’m starting to wonder if the configuration of a user’s browser or computer (color depth, etc.) may impact how it looks. I’d like to work with you more on this to understand the problem. Will contact you directly.

    Finally, as to your last point, it’s not clear if you’re just joking or not, but we’ll contact you off-line to discuss. Just to clarify in case anyone else is reading this, you don’t need any license key for the free Server edition. Just load and go. The Server JX edition comes with a 30-day trial key built-in then becomes a developer edition after that unless you add a key to extend it/purchase it. Finally, the J2EE and .NET editions come with no key and start out as developer editions (single IP address) but you can ask for a trial license key (or of course purchase a commercial license.) All this is discussed on the downloads page of the site.

    Again, Eric, thanks for your remarks and enthusiasm.

  • Charlie’s comment just adds to the fact that the folks at New Atlanta are a joy to work with. I’ll second the good vibes from them and add that their presence makes it much easier for me to consider setting up colocated or dedicated servers on a shoestring budget!

  • They do have way cool T-Shirts, I’m wearing mine today!
    Got it at MxNorth last year, has their big blue dragon on the back. :)