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Lots more to the current CF2021, 2018 prerelease than folks may realize

Have you checked out the many things coming in the updates for CF2021 and 2018 in prerelease the past few weeks? Anyone is welcome to join the prerelease, logging in with an Adobe account. It's a lot more substantial than I think most realize.

There's more changes to CF in the prerelease than just "Azul Java support", and indeed it's about more than just CF itself (but the various released CF installers and CFBuilder as well). In this post I list those things, both features and resources, both to inform those who may be interested in the various things that are coming and to help motivate some to check out the prerelease before final release (which could be any day now).

[Update on 7/20/21: Just hours after I posted this last night, Adobe announced suddenly via a public CF forum post that they were putting the move to Azul on hold to Dec 2021. There had been no mention of that in the prerelease before then. And I can see now in the prerelease that the new installers have been removed, but the changes per the CF updates and for Lambda/serverless are expected to proceed.

You can see a question I asked in reply to that forum post, about what this means for the features that WERE seemingly only in the new installers. I've asked it in the prerelease forum as well, not knowing who if anyone may answer me.

It is indeed just terrible timing that this announcement came out just literally hours after what I wrote, throwing things into a state of confusion currently. Still, much of what I write below still stands. I'll update things as they may change]

What new/changed features the prerelease offers

In brief, the prerelease addresses these changes or improvements:

  • Support for Adobe's change from supporting Oracle Java to supporting instead the Azul Zulu JVM
  • Support for macOS Big Sur (in ColdFusion, at least. But there's a new ColdFusion Builder 2018 installer for all OS's, including MacOS. More on that below.)
  • Renewed support for the ColdFusion 2021 Lambda/serverless feature (this feature had been removed shortly after CF2021 was released)
  • Support for Tomcat 9.0.43, embedded in CF2021 (I suspect the same is true in CF2018, though I have not yet installed it to confirm)
  • "Enhancements in Language, Accessibility, PMT, Installation. Security and other areas"
  • Several fixed issues

[Update on 7/20/21: Again, the support for Azul has been postponed to Dec 2021. It's not clear for now how the pulling of the prerelease installers on 7/20/21 affects the Big Sur support that was planned, let alone the Tomcat support. But the Lambda and other changes in the updates seem to be proceeding as planned.]

Finding out more about what the prerelease offers

First, you may have seen the news posted by Adobe here back on June 15 that Adobe was planning a new release due in July that would update ColdFusion 2021 and 2018 to be able to support the Azul JVM, as an alternative to the Oracle JVM they have long supported. The post also pointed to the prerelease for more information. Since then, more and new information and resources were added to the CF prerelease site.

And as you can see from the list above, this update is indeed about more then just adding the Azul JVM support.

The prerelease site discusses these things in more detail, in various resources offered as PDF's there:

  • Release notes document
  • FAQ document (about the JVM support change)
  • Issues Fixed document
  • Known Issues document
  • ColdFusion Serverless document

[Update on 7/20/21: on visiting the prerelease site this morning of 7/20/21, I see that the FAQ (which was indeed focused on the Azul support) and Known Issues doc (which was focused on the new installers) have both been pulled, along with the installers.]

Obtaining what the prerelease offers

The implementation of these changes are offered in the following forms, to suit your situation (all of which should be tested by folks as much as possible):

  • A new update for each of CF2021 and 2018, for those already running those (offered by way of a prerelease URL to use in the CF Admin updates page)
  • New installers/zips for CF2021 and 2018, for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris (which will include all the things being added in this prerelease), for those installing CF going forward
  • War file (for those deploying CF via JEE servers)
  • Installers/zips for the Azul Zulu jvm for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris
  • New installers for the CF Add-on Services , CF .NET service, PMT, Auto-lockdown tool, and API Manager
  • a zip for the CF 2021 serverless feature

Checksums are indeed offered for all the installer binaries: CF, the CF-related installers, and Azul Zulu.

[Update on 7/20/21: Again, I have changed this list above per what I find in the prerelease site as of 7/20/21. Note how the first and last items in the list DO remain, even with the postponement of Zulu support, and the removal of the installers. If things change, such as if they still come out with new installers for CF2021 and 2018 for all the other benefits they were to offer, I will update this.]

Attention MacOS Users

I mentioned above that the prerelease site indicates that the new CF installer does support Big Sur. (Yes, it's frustrating that it's taken several months to get that. Both CF2021 and Big Sur came out in Nov 2020.) One thing NOT clear from the prerelease site is whether the new CF Builder 2018 installer ALSO supports MacOS. We can surely hope it would but I would appreciate hearing if anyone could confirm it. I would update this post to clarify that.

Those on MacOS should also not miss this point made in the "Known Issues" document, "If you are installing ColdFusion, Performance Monitoring Toolset, API Manager, Server Lockdown, or Add-ons on MacOS, you may encounter issues. As a workaround, before launching the installer, run 'xattr -r' against the dmg".

Again, I'd appreciate hearing from Mac users about how that goes or if perhaps there's more to say. You can offer that here or perhaps better in the prerelease itself--since many there would not know about what I am saying here..

[Update on 7/20/21: again, with the pulling of the installers for CF 2018 and 2021 and CFBuilder 2018 on 7/20/21, it's not clear for now how that affects the support for Big Sur. It would seem that could only have been offered with a new installer. I'll update as I learn anything.]

Where to ask questions, report problems with the prerelease

Finally, there are surely several questions that may remain, as you either contemplate or proceed to work with the prerelease features. Note first that there are two sets of places offered in the prerelease to do that:

  • Forums (one each for issues and announcements)
  • Bug and Feature Request trackers

And I have answered already some questions there, having read all the site resources to pull together this blog post. And I have also offered answers to still other questions I've seen elsewhere.

A FAQ with still more that I hope to offer

As such, I'm planning to put together my own FAQ on what's new in the prerelease, as follow-up to this. (Whether I get it out before the prerelease ends will depend on when it come out, but my FAQ should benefit folks even AFTER the prerelease is finally released.)

And yes, I noted above that there is a FAQ from Adobe in the prerelease. But for one thing it's currently only 11 questions and answers, all regarding the JVM support change. Some of what they offer there does indeed expand upon what they offered in the blog post from June 15, that I referred to above.

But not only are there some questions about the Java support change that they don't address, there are also questions about the other features and changes in the prerelease that they don't currently address.

I'll add a link here when I do create that other FAQ post. (Whether I will update this post itself once the prerelease ends, it's unclear. That will depends on what resources are newly made available on the public Adobe site.)

[Update on 7/20/21: Of course, this change of direction regarding the postponement of Azul support, as well as the pulling of the installers, only raises still more questions and answers that I would have offered in that FAQ. Again, VERY frustrating that this happened literally the morning after my post here, otherwise I would have worded everything very differently of course, as opposed to all the corrections made. As things settle, I guess the answers will get better. Grr.]

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