Last week a new article on ColdFusion MX 7 Packaging and Deployment was published on the Adobe ColdFusion Developer Center.

Designing ColdFusion Applications for Deployment as EAR Files
By Jochem van Dieten and Mark van Hedel

In this article the authors begin by describing the anatomy of a J2EE EAR file and the advantages of using EARs to distribute ColdFusion applications. It continues with some of the challenges faced when packaging ColdFusion EAR files, and expands into building and customizing them with Apache Ant.

I think the authors make an exceptionally good point towards the end where they recommend that the packaged application ship with a wizard (to be written with the app that is packaged) that runs first when deployment is complete where the wizard would be a custom interface to ColdFusion settings using the Admin API. This would solve the problems discussed in Episode 7 of the ColdFusion Podcast where some concerns are raised regarding the inclusion of a CF serial number and Admin password, or adding datasources and mapping definitions after deployment. The authors wrap up with a clever suggestions for Application Start-Time configurations.

(side note on CF Podcast 7: One criticism of the better known CAR file packaging was that source files can't be included, just the CF settings -- I want to point out that you can include source files or any other file in CAR package by selecting the build option for "Assoc. Files/Dirs" in the menu.)

If you've already read the documentation or listened to the CF Podcast 7, you'll find a lot of new information in this current Devnet article.