Merlin - ColdFusion Manager
Just making a quick post about my entry to the CFUnited demo derby called "Merlin". If you didn't see the demo, Merlin is a AIR based ColdFusion manager application that has the ability to manage CF servers from the desktop. Since it's based on the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), it will run on Windows, Mac or Linux.
So some of you are probably saying "isn't Adobe doing an AIR based manager system with CF 9". Yes, they are. Several of us in the community were asking for this feature, and Adobe is providing one. You can try it out from the public beta on labs.adobe.com. Their application, however, seems to have some problems. First, it will only work on CF 9 servers. It was also missing several key items and I didn't like its design and flow.
Since options are always a good thing, I felt that an alternative was worth building, hence "Merlin". Merlin will work and be supported for ColdFusion 7,8 and 9. I'm open to expanding this to Railo and Open BD if their teams would be interested. Merlin will also have several features not found in Adobe's manager like the ability to do server snapshots, 3 levels of restore options, performance monitoring and mail spool management.
I'm currently wrapping up the application and will start inviting people into a private beta. If you haven't signed up yet, please do so.
You can sign up at the Merlin site: http://www.merlinmanager.com
Some have already asked me about pricing and if it will be open source. As many know, I'm a big open source guy. At present, there has been simply too much development time spent on this project to make it open source or to give it away. So this will be monetize to help compensate the current and future development. To be clear though, I will make the pricing fair. It's too soon to ascertain a price (we're not even in beta yet), but I suspect it will end up being cheaper than SeeFusion, a popular CF performance monitor. Naturally, I'm completely open to comments and suggestions on that topic. My game plan is to have so many features that the pricing will not bother anyone.
Another popular question is the security surrounding the application. Again, many who know me understand I'm a big security geek. The snapshots will be encrypted in your local sqlite database. The communication between between servers and Merlin can also be wrapped in SSL. So frankly, Merlin will end up being more secure than how many people are currently using the web-based CF Administrator.
So why the name? Well, I tend to name my projects after medieval themes like Portcullis, Katapult and Thor. Merlin, if you think about it was the one Arthurian character that was in control of the situation (for the most part) and who knew what was happening among the other characters. It seem to fit the attributes that the manager application also had.
Thanks to everyone who gave feedback so far. I hope Merlin becomes a useful tool for the community.
Here are the pics from the demo at CFUnited..