Re: Cold Fusion vs. Active Server Pages...

Matthew James Gering ( (no email) )
Tue, 29 Jul 1997 16:22:20 -0700

Cold Fusion is a closed HTML-like script with specific function for
manipulated output and making ODBC-based database calls and data
manipulation. Because it is HTML-like, it is much easier for a
non-programmer to learn and read. This is especially useful if you have a
development team consisting of developers and non-developers. Because it is
closed (specifically defined set of functionality) it is rather fast, and
quick to learn.

Active Server Pages (ASP) on the other hand is simply a way to use any
ActiveX compatible scripting language on the server and have it be
interpretted on-the-fly. Microsoft offers ActiveX scripting engines for
Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) and JavaScript. I have seen
third-party engines for Perl and SmallTalk, and there are likely others. You
can also mix languages in the same page, and you also have comprehensive
server-side include (SSI) functionality. You can also include ActiveX
objects (formerly OLE objects) server-side that expose an interface (set of
functions, methods, etc) -- there are infinite numbers of ActiveX objects
for specific tasks, and you can write your own (in MSVC, VB , etc).

Since ASP allows you to use a complete programming language, you have
infinitely more potential functionality and Cold Fusion, and can easily
mimic the set Cold Fusion functions. If you already know a language, then
there is little or no learning curve -- but you are essentially programming.
Being able to use any ActiveX scripting engine, and any ActiveX object
allows you infinite possiblities and extensibility.

As far as speed, VBScript is particularly slow and resource intensive. You
are taking an already slow interpretted pseudo-language and interpretting it
from text on-the-fly. The current VBScript engine is based on Visual Basic
4.0 which was not particularly fast and subject to resource leaks --
hopefully it will be updated to VB 5.0 which is 10x faster. Anything that
has to be interpretted on-the-fly from text (including Cold Fusion) has a
performance limitation. The fastest server-side method is writing ISAPI
directly (from MSVC or VB) or writing an OLE server with an OLE-compatible
language (VB, Delphi, etc) and use OLEISAPI.

Cold Fusion is available for Win32-based web servers only. ASP should
operate only any ISAPI compatible web-server -- although I've not heard MS's
implementation being used ony anything but IIS. ChiliSoft makes an ASP
interpretor that runs on other web servers including Unix-based servers. All
of this is entirely server-side, no client compatibility issues.


> Someone recently suggested to me that Micro$oft's Active Server Pages
>(ASP) component of IIS 3.0+ serves the same functionality without any
>additional cost. I've tried to track down information on ASP on the den of
>iniquity that Microsoft calls a web page; but i've only gotten a couple of
>paragraphs which can be more or less summed up in the words "It's cool, use
> The question is... DOES ASP have the same functionality as Cold Fusion?
>Partially? Which should we invest money and development time in? Are
>there compatibility problems between browsers? Operating systems?