August 9, 2020
ColdFusion Needs to Die
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(11)
August 9, 2020
ColdFusion Needs to Die
Wizard 43 posts
Followers: 23 people
(11)

For 20 years, I’ve listened to ColdFusion nay-sayers who haven’t had faith in the language.  My first CF project in 1999 was met with resistance about using ColdFusion as part of the technology stack.  I’ve endured companies and developers alike tell me that ColdFusion is dying; that ColdFusion developers are too hard to find; that ColdFusion isn’t as modern as other languages.  ColdFusion has a bad reputation, regardless of how the die-hards, myself included, love and are passionate about the product.

To be clear, I love ColdFusion.  It’s the best development language.  It’s easy to learn, it’s easy to understand, and it’s constantly evolving.  It’s got an active, vibrant community of some of the best and brightest developers in the world.

But for 20 years I’ve fought the reputation, and frankly, I’m tired of it.  I know how great ColdFusion is, I’m tired of having to sell it to others.  Defending a product that is so capable, secure, and easy to work with us exhausting.  I’m tired of business owners and developers who hear the name “ColdFusion” and immediately wince.  It’s an uphill battle and playing the role of Sisyphus is challenging.

Adobe has made tremendous efforts to improve the reputation of ColdFusion in the development community.  The annual CF Summit is amazing.  When ColdFusion 10 came out, Adobe created a class curriculum for teaching the language in colleges and universities.  I don’t doubt Adobe’s commitment to the product, or its ability to continue to create the best application development platform in the world.  Adobe is dedicated to the development and success of ColdFusion; this I do not doubt one iota.

The community itself, albeit small, is dedicated and passionate.  Ask any ColdFusion developer about why they love the language and they will talk your ear off.

And ColdFusion itself is simply the best.  It’s enterprise class.  It’s strong, stable, mature, secure and feature-rich.  There are very few legitimate reasons anyone can give a developer to justify the reputation that ColdFusion has.

Michaela Light is one of the most passionate advocates of the improvement of the image of ColdFusion and its community.  In each episode of her CF Alive podcast she asks “What Would It Take to make CF more alive this year?”

Here’s a bold option to consider;  Don’t keep it alive.  It’s time to kill ColdFusion.  Let the ColdFusion name die.  Rebrand the product as something entirely new.  This would require revamping the language so that it’s effectively a new product.  Make it as easy as ColdFusion, and backward compatible with CFML.  Perhaps, spin off the forthcoming cfscript 2.0 into its own product!

Something needs to change.  The biggest reason ColdFusion is considered a dying language is because of its reputation as a dying language!  Perhaps we, as a community, need to let the ColdFusion name die, take the best parts of the language and create something new that doesn’t carry the stigma of the ColdFusion name.

I would love to see the world view ColdFusion and its development community as the cutting-edge product that we know it already is.  I want to see it grow, and thrive, and be successful, and all of us along with it.  Maybe we should consider the anchor that is the reputation associated with bringing up the name “ColdFusion” as the sacrifice needed to make that happen.

11 Comments
2020-09-03 10:42:30
2020-09-03 10:42:30

dd

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amberpharswan
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2020-11-10 06:20:34
2020-11-10 06:20:34
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amberpharswan
's comment

junk comment, should remove

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2020-08-18 15:48:42
2020-08-18 15:48:42

“Here’s a bold option to consider;  Don’t keep it alive.  It’s time to kill ColdFusion.  Let the ColdFusion name die.  Rebrand the product as something entirely new.  This would require revamping the language so that it’s effectively a new product.  Make it as easy as ColdFusion, and backward compatible with CFML.  Perhaps, spin off the forthcoming cfscript 2.0 into its own product!

Something needs to change.  The biggest reason ColdFusion is considered a dying language is because of its reputation as a dying language!  Perhaps we, as a community, need to let the ColdFusion name die, take the best parts of the language and create something new that doesn’t carry the stigma of the ColdFusion name.”

 

Someone’s already tried all that. Its name is Lucee.

In its time, Windows has received more bad press, ill wishes and death predictions than perhaps any other software. Yet it is still going strong. Unashamedly under the same name, Windows.

ColdFusion could learn a thing or two from Windows. While the name stayed the same, the versions have become iconic: 3.1, 95, 98, CE, NT, XP, Vista, 2000, 7, 8, 10. Like changing seasons, these versions have conjured up a sense of growth, evolution and survival.

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2020-08-18 00:00:57
2020-08-18 00:00:57

I am curious what we would rename it, Phoenix doesn’t seem to fit. 🙂

IMO, the whole defense of CF is dead is a dead discussion. When it comes up my response is standard. Legacy JS is dead, legacy Windows is Dead, legacy tech is dead. Have you used modern CFML?

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2020-08-13 19:19:04
2020-08-13 19:19:04

Stay Focused and SELL: It’s The Server Stupid (IISS).You heard of KISS, now remember IISS!!!   The power of coldfusion is the server. 

  1. Secure
  2. Reliable
  3. Fast
  4. Endurance
  5. And 100 more

You can use so many different coding languages that everyone is familiar with and you can use all sorts of libraries that make it easy for you develop COOL Looking apps and interfaces.

Stop trying to sell programming and sell the value of CF server.  That is what Adobe has focused on for more than the last 5 years.  That’s why they are NOT supporting new CFML coding. CF handles angular, angular 2,3,4,5,6 and more coding that you or anyone would ever want to learn.

We use Azure Dev Ops for our developers to push their code from desktop to Test server and then from test server to TWO different production Web Servers hosting CF Enterprise. Life is good.

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2020-08-11 17:29:27
2020-08-11 17:29:27

Wow, that’s a headline that will grab eyeballs. More in response to David’s proposal in a moment.

But to Lee’s comment below, people DO indeed still pay for CF. Your argument is a bit like someone telling a Mercedes dealer they need to lower their price. If someone doesn’t want to pay for a Mercedes, they can as you say go elsewhere.

And someone would surely make the point here eventually (that neither you nor David have) that there is indeed a free alternative CFML engine, in Lucee. Some feel that is the best choice for them, but clearly not everyone who uses CFML does, as Adobe continues to sell enough (whether in new sales or re-licensing) or they wouldn’t continue with the product, staffing the large team that supports it, developing new editions every two years, etc.

But I realize your focus (like David’s) is on reaching new folks. We can’t push a rope. My point here is that making it free is not “the answer”, because anyone new to CFML who doesn’t want to pay (or who doesn’t go with low-cost CF hosting) can use Lucee for free.

Why should Adobe be expected to give away a product that makes them money? There is a place in the world for proprietary software–even if a segment of the IT community demands otherwise (and even if many in the wider culture would also decry profit and capitalism).

And if one would want to say “they’re shooting themselves in the foot, and the community around CF is dead or dying”, no it is not. There is still a very large CF (Adobe CF) user community:

  • As David noted, we see it at the Adobe CF Summit (which clearly only represents a sampling of the community)
  • We see it in the Adobe CF forums: where the number of CF questions has it ranked 7th out of the 90 Adobe product forums listed on the front page
  • We see it in CFers participating in other community resources, or in their purchase/implementation of 3rd party products and services
  • We have vendors like Ortus (and their community) really advancing CFML, and modernizing it, with tools, training, docs, and more. And we have their Modernize or Die podcast, encouraging improvement each week.

And as for reaching new folks, the “price” of CF need not be an issue if one goes with a hosted solution, as you note. While there may be far more PHP hosting companies than ones that host CF, that really doesn’t diminish the value of those that are there, and how anyone can run a CF site for a pretty low cost.

But yes, yes. There will always be (as Jim notes there has long been) this ongoing debate about CF, its price, its marketing, its reach into education, its available developer pool, etc. And there are many opinions, and folks who think their “obvious answers” are being ignored want to point them out, as if no one sees the problems and solutions.

So I step up in such debates to offer counterpoints. It’s about reasoned debate.

All that said, and back to David’s proposal, I can see some value in a name change. But I can also see it being a long uphill climb to get the IT world to recognize it–and some would inevitably connect it back to CF, eroding some of that gain. But sure, it MIGHT help.

It’s a difficult challenge trying to get the IT world to accept such a thing. Some aspects may be driven by “marketing”, but most is organic, and may have as much to do with what the community does. Again, there are lots of ways the community is great. But let’s see what the community (and Adobe) may have to say.

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Charlie Arehart
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2020-08-12 02:13:29
2020-08-12 02:13:29
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Charlie Arehart
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I was trying to grab the attention of the community, Charlie!  Do you think I succeeded?  

I agree that it might help to make changes in order to try and shake off the reputation.  I don’t know the actual answer.  This article is intended to be more of a wakeup to the community to start championing this language we all love, and to draw the attention of people who dislike ColdFusion in order to have them understand that it’s only the reputation that is bad… the product itself is something to be adored!

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Charlie Arehart
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2020-08-12 14:26:07
2020-08-12 14:26:07
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Charlie Arehart
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I appreciate that some do pay for CF, and don’t get me wrong – I love it dearly. I simply find it a hard sell to clients, certainly the uneducated.

I don’t expect Adobe to suddenly stop charging anything at all, but it would be nice to reduce the barriers somewhat – make it an appealing option for Hosting companies, or someone using a small VPS. Maybe offer up a ‘lite’ version for free, and certainly bundle up CF Builder with CC – get more eyeballs on it and make it easier for people to ‘dip their toe’ into it.

As a side note, the hosts that do offer shared CF hosting I’ve found to be some of the best to deal with – very knowledgable, prompt and always willing to help. I can’t say that with any others, and it’s one of the many reasons I keep coming back to CF.

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LeeBailey
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2020-08-12 20:36:27
2020-08-12 20:36:27
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LeeBailey
's comment

Great to hear, Lee (and David). And I appreciate those points, Lee.

FWIW, of course, they do offer the free Developer edition (and a free Express edition, which is its own animal), but neither is intended for production, of course. And I know that’s your focus here.

And also about 20 years ago there was a different “Express” edition which WAS in fact a “watered down” edition that was meant for free production use–and for various reasons it didn’t last to the next release. Again, perhaps the most prominent is that the product makes them money, as-is. They may not see a benefit to ever offering a free prod version, or even a lower priced one.

But things could change. CF2020 (about to come out in beta) will have important architectural changes allowing for far greater modularity. Who knows, that could well lay the groundwork for a surprise announcement about pricing, based on such modularity. We can’t expect them to indicate if that’s so, before its release (they typically don’t release even news of changes in what’s in Standard vs Enterprise, until a new version is actually released).

As for CFBuilder ever being bundled with CC, I think I could safely lay a very large bet that that will NEVER happen. CFBuilder (and CF) are so far out of the realm of what the Creative Cloud side of the Adobe house does, that never the twain shall meet. And there are literally several dozen of other Adobe products that are in the same boat, so it’s not out of antagonism toward CF. It and CFB just do NOT fit the CC mold. (FWIW, cfb IS indeed given with a purchase of cf, 1 with Std and 3 with Ent. There are also plans to rewrite cfb to vscode. ) 

Finally yep: it would seem everyone could help (community and Adobe) to raise the profile at least of how there are indeed excellent and relatively low-cost hosting options. I list several CF hosting companies at my CF411.com site, specifically http://cf411.com/cfhosts , and I have been happily hosted on both Databank [formerly Edgeweb] and  Hostek. And I have customers who have been happily hosted on them as well as VivioTech, Ayera, and others,

So often, when matters of the “cost” of CF come up, the only focus is on its “price”. But there are in fact many people (myself included) who have NEVER “bought CF from Adobe”, because instead they run on hosted servers. And this includes even large production deployments, not just mom and pop shops. There are CF hosts who are quite capable of handling very large setups, and there is also the available Amazon Ami (where you pay per hour).

Of course, such large setups won’t be “cheap”, but that’s not because of the CF licensing but rather about the architecture and support of such substantial needs. Indeed, the CF license (if separated out) would typically be a tiny part of that cost. This is why some people really don’t understand the angst about CF’s “cost”. In many deployments, it’s barely discernible.

But that brings me back to my Mercedes analogy: if someone wants one, they do have to pay for it, and the more money they make the less painful that price is. Hosting is the best way to get people who want CF to do it at a low cost, and for the rest it just becomes a question of whether CF is worth the price for their needs.

Or perhaps we may see a change like you’re advocating. 🙂

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2020-08-11 16:12:19
2020-08-11 16:12:19

I’ve been using ColdFusion since it came out and I’m pretty sure we’ve had this conversation in the past.  Maybe a few times.

What would be interesting to figure out is why languages like Python (which have been around forever) are having a surge.   https://redmonk.com/rstephens/2020/07/27/redmonk-top-20-languages-over-time-june-2020/

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2020-08-11 09:21:58
2020-08-11 09:21:58

In my view, it’s the pricing thats the problem – it’s a hard sell to any company getting them to invest in the software when there are so many ‘free’ alternatives. Companies don’t ‘get’ how CF saves in development time or investment down the line – they see the upfront cost and nothing else.

This cost has a knock-on effect that it’s offered by so few hosting companies too, particularly in the shared hosting environment. If a client feels locked-in to using a handful of hosting providers, when there are hundreds of thousands of alternatives offering PHP – that’s another barrier.

These contribute to the fact there are fewer CF developers than most other languages – those that are around can, by virtue of there being less of them, command higher rates (possibly a good thing, if you’re a developer). But, again this then adds to the ‘upfront’ price the client is presented with.

 

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