Cold Fusion Professional 2.0 is aimed at Web developers familiar with HTML and other Web-based technologies, said company cofounder Jeremy Allaire.
The tool consists of a server-based component that uses its own markup language, the Cold Fusion Markup Language (CFML), to allow developers to weave database integration into new or existing HTML-based applications.
The server-based code is interpreted by the Cold Fusion Server, which generates HTML pages with embedded database access to any ODBC-complaint database.
The tool can be used to create online commerce and corporate information systems. Other tools more familiar to corporate developers such as Powersoft's PowerBuilder and Microsoft's Visual Basic can be used to build Web applications. But Allaire said Cold Fusion has won a following among Web developers not familiar with core IS tools. "We're focused on the mass market of Web developers, people who have grown up with Web development."
Version 2.0 includes better database integration, markup language improvements, and application server refinements to better support database reporting. The tool, which runs on Windows NT, is sold on an annual subscription basis, which entitles users to new releases of the tool. Annual subscriptions cost $195.
Some analysts expect relatively inexpensive tools such as Cold Fusion to eat into the market share of long-time IS favorites such as PowerBuilder. However, at present, most Web-centric tools only offer a fraction of what developers need to assemble full corporate applications.
"If you're building a complicated application, these Web tools don't make a dent in the overall corporate development need," said Liz Barnett, an analyst with Giga Information Group.