Adobe has released public beta versions of ColdFusion 9, the latest version of the company's Web development platform for hardcore developers. There's also a new version of the ColdFusion Builder IDE (integrated development environment) for creating ColdFusion applications.

Adobe says that ColdFusion 9 features enhancements in productivity, integration, and rich interface development.

"From a productivity perspective, we're adding a new way to build database applications without having to write SQL code," instead using Hibernate technology for building object-based applications, said Adam Lehman, Adobe product manager for ColdFusion. Applications become database-independent, Lehman said.

With version 9, Adobe is making it easier to build applications that can be deployed in Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) format for running applications offline and putting data back in ColdFusion when coming back online. Flex and Flash integration is highlighted as well

Also featured is integration with Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration platform and the abilty to work natively with Microsoft Office documents built in applications like Excel or PowerPoint. Data can be read from Excel files, for example.

Integration with SharePoint allows ColdFusion applications to talk to the SharePoint document library, with SharePoint able to manage documents. Developers can build business applications in ColdFusion that reside on top of SharePoint.

ColdFusion Builder is an Eclipse-based product. Serving as a full IDE for building ColdFusion applications, ColdFusion Builder also provides tools to work with databases and supports HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for building Web pages.

The company did not offer any information on the final release date for ColdFusion 9 or ColdFusion Builder.