A Brief History of Time

We've always talked about our hardware upgrades and how well they perform. Our hardware architecture is, no doubt, critical to the success of the site, but the software that actually runs AnandTech.com is equally important. Recently, we performed a major architecture shift from a ColdFusion based back-end to Microsoft.NET. We thought that this would be an interesting article, to highlight the history of AnandTech.com from a software perspective.

In this article, we will discuss background information on the following platforms:

ColdFusion

Macromedia ColdFusion is a web-based language that focuses on the RAD development of dynamic web content. ColdFusion started off based on a C++ runtime that interpreted code within HTML templates and compiled it into PCODE, which was then interpreted by the ColdFusion runtime and delivered to the web server and, in turn, to the end user requesting the page. ColdFusion back then was similar to PHP and ASP. Recently, Macromedia decided to take the ColdFusion language to a standards based platform, JAVA. ColdFusion runs on top of almost any J2EE server; we used the ColdFusion standalone version, which uses Macromedia JRUN as the J2EE server. ColdFusion templates are written in CFML (ColdFusion Markup Language) and then compiled down to JAVA byte code and executed by the J2EE server. Macromedia used to be the only game in town, in terms of ColdFusion. Now, a company named New Atlanta makes a ColdFusion server that also runs on .NET.

Microsoft .NET

The .NET platform is the new framework for building Windows based and web-based applications from Microsoft. It not only replaces the older ASP platform, but introduces some up-to-date languages that run on the Common Language Runtime, which is the backbone of .NET. The three main languages used with .NET are: C# (similar to C++), VB.NET (somewhat similar to VB) and J# (fairly close to JAVA). The beauty of this architecture is that it brings different developers together on a single platform. Those who wrote mostly in C++ or JAVA will probably choose C#; and those who are familiar with VB or more verbose languages will probably choose VB.NET. J# is there for the JAVA developer. Whatever language in which you write your code, it is compiled into an intermediate language, CIL (Common Intermediate Language), which is then managed and executed by the CLR. ASP.NET is simply another .NET based environment that allows you to write in any of the languages that run on the CLR. Its syntax is similar to ASP.

AnandTech 1.0
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  • Dennis Travis - Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - link

    Great Job with the site Jason as always and it was interesting to see how far things have come along since I first started visiting here.

    Keep up the great work.

    ...Dennis
    Reply
  • stoneranger - Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - link

    kewl read, I enjoyed it. Really. I think it is very interesting the progress the industry has made. Things are actually getting easier. I love anand tech. Of course I could be considered a geek by some. But I think it is by far one of the best sites on the web.
    Reply
  • Frozen7 - Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • Frozen7 - Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • Da3dalus - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Nice to see some of the earlier designs, I didn't visit this place in the 1.0 to 3.0 days. Reply
  • cameronj - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Under the 5.0 heading it says "
    Hardware used in version 4.0
    5 x Dual AMD Athlon MP 1900+ w/ 1GB Memory"

    Interesting article though :)
    Reply
  • CrystalBay - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Ahh The Celery Report...Do you guys have all this stuff archived ? Reply
  • CompMan86 - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Two errors: 1) The second graph on the conclusion page, the caption says "the graph below" instead of "the graph above." Also, "SQL Sever/Sybase world and while" on page 2 should say Server, not sever. Minor mistakes, just thought I'd give you the heads up. Otherwise, awesome article!

    And in response to the target=_blank comment, you have no control over window size or window attributes (like toolbars) with that. target=_blank is good when linking to an external site, but if you want to have a customized popup, javascript IS the standard.
    Reply
  • quanta - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Why the site keep on using Javascript to open a new window when it can be done using 'target=_blank' attribiute? Is that Anandtech's idea of 'standard compliance'? Reply
  • PorBleemo - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Great job Jason! Always an interesting change to see site background like this... Reply

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