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State of ColdFusion Platform in 2012

It’s been a long, hard year for anybody who is an Adobe fan.  Especially so if you worked at all on any of Adobe’s “enterprise” products like Flex, ColdFusion, or LiveCycle.  With the disaster that big red threw on us last November, we learned that Flex was killed (then spun on to Apache, which is actually ending up to be awesome), ColdFusion was moved to India, LiveCycle was made “government only”, and Adobe was left to pursue new markets instead of ones they had put energy into before (like HTML5 and Gaming).  This post won’t be about Flex — I help with a monthly newsletter which can give you all the background on that project at the Spoon Foundation. The LiveCycle suite of products died because Adobe felt that anybody not associated with a Fortune 50 company could handle the power it offered.

Anyway, back to ColdFusion.  This is the product I’ve been associated with for the longest (since 1997?), and arguably the one that has made me the most money out of any Adobe technology.  Lets face the facts, ColdFusion, while not dead is in a downward spiral.  Today is not the day when I see new ColdFusion projects being started, and I certainly don’t see new faces in the ColdFusion community.  That’s a problem and a tall-tale sign that the platform is slipping into the “Dated” cycle of technology.  That’s not a bad thing (unless you are looking for a job), it will just be different.

To my surprise, there was an online panel titled “CFML 2012: State of the Platform” this past week.  In my searching of the web, I only found three references to it (two blog posts and a mailing list post).  I’m not sure what the panel exactly talked about (I couldn’t find any reference to it being recorded), but Judith Dinowitz did a blog post about it after.  I’m going to make some assumptions about the conversations based on the summaries since I didn’t attend live, but I do want to interject my 2 cents…

  • ColdFusion is past the point where it needs a “killer app”.  PHP has a few of these (WordPress, Drupal, etc).  Most people simply USE these applications — very few contribute to them.  They are not the reason why they have so many developers.  I have lots of customers who want WordPress on their domain — not because it is PHP.  Consequently, they don’t care that it is written in PHP, they just want that App.  Sure, now they have PHP on their site, but it does not really matter anymore — everybody has PHP available on their site.  ColdFusion already has what I think is a killer app — Mura from Blue River.  It’s the nicest thing that we got, and everybody who does anything with CF should give it a try.
  • Education is great, but it won’t save CFML.  We have years and years of books, blogs, magazines, etc. at people’s disposal that want to learn CF (some of these may be out of print, but you can still find plenty).  A site dedicated to learning CF in a week is cool, but it’s not the savior.  What is the incentive for people to even look at CFML as a language.  No jobs, no demand, nobody cool using it — everybody is just passing it up.  If I were looking to pick up a new language, would I honestly pick CF?  Nope.  Would a website that shows somebody how to use it be beneficial to those who need to learn it for their job?  Yup.
  • A stable platform from Adobe is what is mucking up the place.  Look, I’ve been an Adobe/Macromedia/Allaire CF fan for years and years.  CF10 was a huge disappointment.  Not only was it super buggy out the gate, but when the biggest feature (auto-updates) fails to work a few months after the release, and the fix to it is even harder to find — you know you have a problem.  In all honesty I’ve spent more time debugging weird issues in CF in the past 6 months than writing new features in my apps.  Weird issues like if you accidently point an ORM relationship the wrong way you have to restart the ORM engine in order for it to work again, or if you call .NET library through and the library tries to return a pointer that CF stops processing requests, cause me and others headaches.  The lack of attention to detail for the last 3 releases has been alarming and has caused weird bugs that then need to be reproduced for the end of time because many of the features were done by copy/paste coders rather than engineering the code from scratch.  Who the hell would want to touch a platform if all they see is work-arounds instead of new features?   Ask any system admin about installing CF and the laborious process that can be.

What would I do to change it if I had the community’s support?

  • Have the community switch their primary support to Railo. They care, and they fix bugs.  It’s free*, and when you want their support, they actually support their product.  Gert and their engineers care and they care about the community and the community’s future.  Because the barrier to entry is lower for Railo (and don’t give me the BS that you can develop real applications in CF and then buy it later on.  I’ll show you each application that I’ve written that needed to get around the three IP barrier just to do simple debugging), it will make it easier for people to try.  The trick is getting people to know about it and actually try it.
  • Marketing.  This is the big one.  Right now, we have very few cheerleaders left.  I don’t know very many Adobe employees that are really saying much about CF.  The usual subjects like Forta, Ray Camden made very little noise about CF10 being released when compared to the previous versions.  Heck, Adobe didn’t even do a road-show to the user groups and communities to tout the features of CF10 (they are planning one now — nearly 10 months after the release).   In addition to the dismal marketing effort by Adobe, the other CFML engines have not had much luck with their marketing campaigns.  It’s amazing how many active CFML developers I’ve talked to in the last year that never heard of Railo, let alone have used it.  They are all scared to try it — it’s different — and it’s not Big Red.  That is one thing that the remaining cheerleaders can do to help — help us get the word out of what is out there, how cool it is, and how ‘fun’ it is to use it.
  • More Marketing.  Close your eyes for a moment and think of a “typical” Delphi or Pascal programmer.  What kind of image pops in your head when I ask you to think of a COBOL programmer?  I bet they have beards, work in cubicles, wear ties and probably are closer to retirement than college.  Now think of a Ruby programmer or a Node.JS programmer.  I bet you thought of a hipster working out of a Starbucks or some cool Silicon Valley office overlooking the hills.  This is totally generalizes a whole swath of people (which I hate), but it makes a point.  ColdFusion programmers are not seen as “cool.”  ColdFusion is not seen as “Cool.”  It is not what the cool kids use, and it’s not what the startups use.  No idea how to fix this one.  This has nothing to do with the feature set of the language, how it performs under load or how fast it is to create an application for it.  In fact, it may be those things that CAUSE the “not cool” issue… I still see too many hipsters arguing about how to break JavaScript just so they can win the game of using less semicolons.  It might also have something to do with us constantly arguing with each other about which framework is cooler when the rest of the world is looking to do cool stuff.  Again, we are probably way past where we can fix this one.  Just don’t make me shave my beard.
  • Make CFML easy to use.  Not for us developers.  Make it easy for server admins to use.  There is nothing worse than trying to install CF9 onto Windows Server 2008 (CF9 came out /after/ 2008).  Between getting the server to even run, and run well, you need to go into IIS hell to get it to answer pages properly.  Install CF10 on RHEL with Apache?  Hope you have all weekend. The truth of the matter is installing Adobe’s CF is torturous if it is not your passion.  This is why we get so much resistance from IT people who don’t do development.  Sure, there are blog posts and some tech support documents scattered all over the place on how to do it, but for many people (some of them become decision makers), this is their first experience with the engine.  Railo is not free and clear in this one either — while what they offer is much better, it is still much harder than it needs to be (installing the connectors can be a real pain).   This could be solved by making configurators and wizards to help with the processes.  But the biggest thing is to make sure they work WELL.   What would be even better would be to offer a quick and easy way for developers to package up their apps, all the settings and allow us to make our own installers.  Adobe strictly prohibits this (they don’t OEM CF licenses), and the licenses from Railo seem to avoid the issue all together.  An extension of this idea would be to make the CFML engine packageable so that we could make our own WAR files and be able to just drop them into Tomcat or WebSphere.  You can /kinda/ do it today with a deep understanding of the engine and how Java works.

If you made it this far, well then you managed to make it through my mind-barf.  Am I giving up on CF?  I’ve pretty much given up on Adobe CF.  Unless they turn that ship around, and quick, I don’t see spending thousands of dollars on the frustrations they call a product.  Am I giving up on CFML?  No, but I see my time being spent on many other languages and products.  I’ve been getting better and better with Java, and ActionScript still has a lot of my attention.  Do I see myself dropping everything and picking up the language de-jour some day?  I have paying customers that expect me to get work done, so probably not.

I hope not to offend anybody — and please do leave your comments below.  An open discussion is one I want to see and contribute to.


31 responses to “State of ColdFusion Platform in 2012

  1. Just a Guy November 17, 2012 at 2:58 am

    Instead of waiting for something to “happen”, look in the mirror and go build the cool things you expect to be a follower of. That’s what the CF community has not continued to develop. You are the community, you’re the one who needs to do cool things with it because you have all these crazy skills. Quit passing the buck and lamenting and start with yourself. Results speak for themselves. IS CF better for a startup? Go build something, since CF is so fast you’d be done so quick anyways.

    • quetwo November 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

      Just A Guy: And for the last few years, I have been. I don’t have the time to write that “killer-app”, but I have been evangelising CF for a long time. Every startup I’ve been involved with has used it. I feel good for what I’ve been doing, but a community is not just one person.

  2. rip747 November 17, 2012 at 3:30 am

    “Have the community switch their primary support to Railo” – I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m really sick of the lack of attention that Adobe is giving ColdFusion. They don’t even promote it on their homepage or their main product page. Railo is infinitely faster and more stable then Adobe and the reason is that the Railo folks actually care about their product and the community around it. If I had a choice I would switch all my open source projects over to Railo and lock out Adobe, but I just can’t do it since I feel the Adobe community shouldn’t be suffering because of the parent company’s slack. We’ll see how 2013 shapes up for ColdFusion and CFML in general. Hopefully people will get off their butts and actually start helping out the open source community. We have some great projects on the horizon right now (check out Foundry https://github.com/foundrycf/foundry), but these authors need help and motivation.

  3. Rick Smith November 17, 2012 at 3:38 am

    I REALLY like this post because it tells me that there are other CF developers out there actually THINKING.

    However, having heard of and used Railo extensively, I don’t share the same opinion of you on that regard. My clientele is diverse enough that Railo would only work in some environments, not all (contrary to the opinion of all the railo fanboys out there I know… who put all of us who don’t like it in the “you actually need to try it” bracket. Yeah, I did. No thanks. And I’m not the first to be turned off by the product AND the community.). Frankly, it’s a bigger hassle then it’s worth imho and I do not like Railo.

    I’m still using ColdFusion 9, but not for the reasons you outlined with CF10, but simply because I find the upgrade doesn’t offer anything new to my customers, something I’ve blogged about before. And I’m not much of an IT admin, but I’ve have never had the install problems you mentioned with CF9 on a win2008r2/iis environment. Yes, having to manually put a virtual directory for CFIDE on every site when you create a new one is a pain in the butt, but that’s been around on iis since CF6 and nothing any IT admin familiar with a CF [and winServer] environment shouldn’t already be aware of. The only thing about CF9 I wish I could do is update to Java 7 from 6. I know nothing about a nix/apache install. But your post further pushes me away from CF10… for the first time it looks like I’m going to skip a generation of CF. Further, I’m still put off by the fact Adobe didn’t include me in beta testing for CF10, because I had a huge list, but I think Adobe has stopped listening to customers for quite some time now and I think Adobe didn’t include a lot of people… I miss Macromedia… A LOT! Man they were the absolute best listeners and they wanted to make their customers happy… it was more than just money… it was passion… something long gone from the heart of this product.

    Want to make CF “cool”? Want to bring CF back? Want to address most of these concerns? In 2000, nearly 15 years ago, CF was recoded from scratch not long after Macromedia got it from Allaire. You think that code is aged? You betcha! Time for another build from the ground up instead of, as you put it, band aids. This makes CF cool and hip because CF is “new” again, having learned and applied the lessons from years passed, keeping all generations of CF programmers alike happy, from the new to the old. Oh and by the way, Adobe needs to LISTEN to its customers… the ones who currently use, and may use in the future, ColdFusion. Don’t pull some Microsoft Windows 8 crap!

    I do however feel very mush the same way as you do with CF… kind of a bad aftertaste if you will. I just feel I’m stuck on CF9 as opposed to turning to other languages, although I do frequently use PHP as well, which as aged and evolved nicely. My customers depend on ColdFusion as do I. Like WIndows 8, I hope CF10 is just kind of a mishap to something better later.

    My two cents.

    • geraldguido November 18, 2012 at 12:04 am

      >> And I’m not the first to be turned off by the product AND the community

      Rick, I am very curious as to what put’s you off about the railo community. I am on the list myself. What is it that puts ppl off to the Railo community? In general they seem to be a helpful lot genuinely passionate about CFML,

      It really saddens me to see all the doom and gloom about CFML. I really do love the language and am totally hooked on CFWheels at the moment.

  4. Russ Michaels November 17, 2012 at 5:56 am

    There are new people coming to cf but sadly they get driven away immediately by the attitude of the remaining community. Anyone that posts a question on cf-talk for example is made to feel like an idiot and told their code is shit because they are not using a framework, not using oop or orm or all the advanced features.
    Anyone that wants to take advantage of cf’s easy to learn RAD feature and just put together something simple with a few tags will get blasted down, so hardly surprising if they end up thinking cf is crap and then tell everyone else.
    The old cf community lists are pretty dead now too, I guess more folks are using the more general communities like stackoverflow, don’t know if that suffers from the same unfriendly issues

    • quetwo November 17, 2012 at 7:49 am

      Russ, This is a huge issue as well — but unfortunately, I see that in most languages that are beyond more than a year old in popularity. You see the same thing now in Obj-C, Ruby, PHP, etc. for their user communities. I personally stopped subscribing to CF-TALK nearly 5 years ago because I couldn’t handle it. It’s all about the religion of this and the religion of that (Frameworks, code styles, etc), and it bothered me.

  5. Sean Corfield (@seancorfield) November 17, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I’m glad to see someone call out the panel and follow-up post as being unrealistic and I mostly agree with your comments but have a couple of quibbles.

    LearnCFInAWeek is a very slick-looking community project and I applaud the team of volunteers that have worked so hard on it. Like you, I think it’s too little too late and I wish we’d had it five or six years ago before the decline really took hold.

    Yes, decline. All CFML developers need to accept that the world has changed and the language is in decline: declining market share, declining job market, Every technology goes thru the same cycle and it’s just CFML’s turn. Despite all the best intentions of certain stalwart groups, we can’t turn back that tide and we need to be realistic about it.

    I’m a fan of Railo – to the extent that I joined the company back in 2009 although with the formation of The Railo Company this year, backed by large CFML partners in Europe and the USA, I’m no longer involved. I haven’t run Adobe ColdFusion since 2009 and CF10 is the first release I haven’t even downloaded and tried (I’ve looked at the docs a bit and read some blog posts but there’s nothing compelling in the release for me – Railo 4 already has the features I’m interested in and more, like CLI).

    On installation, yes, compare the ACF instructions in LearnCFInAWeek (long, long page of it with many, many steps) with just the download & unzip “installation” of Railo Express. I know which is easier for beginners. As for the deeper installation problems, I’ll blame Windows for making this harder than it needs to be 🙂

    Where I disagree is on marketing. I agree that Adobe haven’t done much marketing for the product over the last few releases. I agree with the image the world has of CFML developers (actually, I think the image is worse than you suggest – I interact with a lot of non-CFML developers!). So where do I disagree? I just don’t think we can solve the decline with marketing – and I don’t think it makes sense to even try. Sure, we can defend CFML when challenged (but, please, make sure you’re informed about other technologies so you can talk about pros and cons – otherwise other developers will just laugh at you… and it will merely confirm their poor opinion of CFML and its developers!). But the cycle is inevitable and trying to turn back the tide didn’t work well for Canute and won’t work well for CFML developers either. Accept the changing technology landscape, learn new skills to augment your CFML toolbelt, be prepared to use other technologies alongside or instead of CFML.

    Lessons you learn from other languages will make you a better programmer – and make you more employable. That’s where CFML developers need to expend effort: raising their game. I’ve been interviewing a lot of people recently for roles at World Singles. The general lack of experience with modern software development processes is holding CFML developers back: TDD (heck, even basic unit testing), automation (of testing and of deployment, CI, CD), source code control systems (learn Git people!), poyglot development experience, understanding the JEE / JVM stack, Agile techniques (Scrum, Lean, Kanban…). The list goes on. I’ve been saying for years that this is what will kill CFML and, as you note, we’ve seen a lot of the top CFML developers, evangelists and cheerleaders moving to other technology communities where these development processes are commonplace.

    Whilst it’s all “too late” for CFML really, there’s still a chance for CFML _developers_ to change their game, to learn those new skills, and to find interesting work with technologies that are still in the growth stage.

    Don’t let your language define you, let your skills define you.

    • quetwo November 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      Sean: Thanks for the reply. I agree with you on every point. With marketing, I’m not talking about marketing in the classical sense, but more holistically. I don’t think we will be able to win the minds of many additional people, but at least we can slow the mass exodus because of the bad perception from outside our community. I’ve heard way too many times people saying how their boss is now demanding that they switch to product X or language Y simply because they heard bad things about CF.

      If you are a CF dev, and you don’t know anything else (or worse yet, you run away from everything else), you will be in a world of hurt. I have a few friends looking for work right now, some of them are extremely talented, but they’ve struggled because they have been pretty bull-headed about only doing CF. Sometimes when it moves from being a passion to being a religion is when you have the most problems.

  6. Ron Stewart November 17, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Thanks for the post. I share some of your opinions, particularly on the state of the CFML world. Adobe’s version of the language appears to me to be in a tailspin both technically and in terms of corporate support as an important product, and as a result my team is actively looking hard at Railo as an alternative. We and our customers have a significant investment in CFML as a crucial part of our infrastructure. The one thing that may actually help us make a case with our IT gatekeepers to move away from Adobe will be not just the problems ACF is struggling with right now but also all of the security problems facing other Adobe (PDF and Flash vulnerabilities, anyone?) and their less than stellar history in addressing them. Adobe’s reputation is taking a beating in a number of circles and on a number of different fronts, and that’s both bad for Adobe and potentially an opportunity for alternatives.

    I read the follow-up blog post from the “state of the language” discussion and I was a little surprised this wasn’t touched on (or perhaps just wasn’t included). Adobe has always been the primary visible force (for lack of a better word) behind the language. Although that is changing with Railo in particular and OpenBD to a lesser extent, to see Adobe’s current handling ColdFusion both technically and as a product should be a concern for all involved in the language. Mention ColdFusion or CFML to a server admin and if they have ever heard of it, they will almost certainly associate it with Adobe rather than the other CFML engines. And right now, that’s not a particularly positive association.

  7. rip747 November 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

    CF-Talk has been a cease pool for as long as I can remember. Its a shame that people are told that its still a resource to get help with ColdFusion. It would be better for everyone if it was just shutdown. I would never put up with that self-righteous crap on the CFWheels board.

  8. John Farrar November 17, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Awesome discussion guys and Nick, I like your post.

    Now let me say that you were not able to attend my meeting because of a schedule conflict and the lack of community buzz so this is for information to those who missed it.

    At the end of the day CFML is for more than one group of people. Unless all those groups are being services we loose synergy! There are groups that get attention; owners of solutions, developers, designers, administrators, site owners, site users make up the main market segments. I find over and over we talk about CFML like raw materials and manufacturing are what make a language thrive. (Translation would be the version of the CFML server and site builders.)

    How many times do we need to learn to begin with the end in mind? We don’t need YOU (any individual, not pointing at Nick in particular here) to build a killer app but WE do need to build them. To compete with other killer apps we need to understand the customers.

    Enterprise customers love Mura, and any customer on that level should take a look.

    Small to medium business customers can for instance get into WordPress for about 100 a year hosting, 50 for a skin pre-made and if needed less than 50 for a book. There are other aspects of WordPress that service a different market but there is not a technical barrier between CFML doing the same type of solution. At the end of the day this missing piece of the puzzle falls back on the developers vs the platform vendors.

    I am calling any developers who want to win to contact me at johnfarrar@sosapps.com or the house of fusion if you won’t to focus on web site API libraries like Flickr, Twitter, etc. ColdFusion is not dead but our approach is missing that the solution is ours for the taking. To do nothing is to welcome the end and it won’t take a lot or many to turn things around. No one needs to do this alone! 🙂

    • quetwo November 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      John: I don’t think you grasped the entirety of my post… It is true I was unable to attend — but I would have had I found out about it before the event (and not in a casual conversation with a 3rd party)… You didn’t even mention it on your twitter stream until minutes up to it.

      What ColdFusion doesn’t need is a killer app. Sure, a killer app will bring more people to use the CFML engine, but it won’t revive the language. People use WordPress, Joomla, etc. because they want to use those products — not because they want to use PHP. Conversely, few learn those products because of those products — they just use them. Heck, this blog you are reading was written in PHP — but you don’t see me dropping everything to learn PHP just because of WordPress.

      In the “Action Items” of that meeting (again, according to the only blog post or record I could find about the meeting) said you wanted to build a framework, not an app. I’ve never heard any developer say they didn’t want to use CFML because they couldn’t integrate with an API. I really don’t see how these will move the platform forward. The only one I see as a good action item is education — but as I said in my post — it is way to little, way too late.

      I’m not proposing we do nothing. My proposals are in my post, and deal with less tangible items, and more global items. Some items are thing we can do as a community — some are things we really depend on Big Red and Railo to do for us. But I will tell you one thing — the last thing we need is yet another application framework for people to ignore all the while the rest of the world is laughing at CFML developers.

      • John Farrar November 17, 2012 at 11:44 pm

        That is exactly my point Nick… developers know how to write apps much better than promote a platform. We understand the CFML development issues pretty well but a hosting provider was at the meeting and he said my evaluation was straight on. He knew many CFers who had learned PHP to support WordPress or another solution. While I respect your development skills you should do the research before kicking at the effort. (It was mentioned on house of fusion and on a couple different CF groups on Facebook.)

        Bottom line is you don’t agree. Let me ask if you have gotten outside the building (Steve Blank suggests we prove our theories.) to test the demise of CFML. Apple was much farther gone when it came back. We could duel with analogies but why not offer encouragement vs being a wet blanket? You must be very bitter about Adobe.

        P.S. The meeting was first for those who assisted me with a detailed survey. I am a grass roots spokesman for CFML not a officer. Since the meeting was on Google Hangout and it only takes 10 we ran out of seats. As you were not one of those surveyed they got priority invites. Nothing at all personal but you are right that we didn’t promote a big meeting. 🙂

  9. jude November 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I have been using Railo a while now and really like it and have pretty much.converted 100%, shame about the community though, after I joined I got a very bad first impression and mow I am scared to post questions for fear of getting attacked and ripped to pieces for saying the wrong thing so I don’t post unless I am absolutely stuck.
    Cftalk does seem to have improved of late.

    I tried cf10 and that was the catalyst for me, the only real worthwhile change was Apache but that seems to have caused so many issues it is counter productive so I gave up on it.

  10. Phillip Senn November 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I’ve been into ColdFusion for years, and am hungry for anything related to ColdFusion. But I have never heard of quetwo before. That’s a little disappointing. One of my fears is to be ignorant of something that “everybody else” knows. I found you by doing a twitter search for ColdFusion. Doug Hughes and I are kicking around an idea of having a regularly scheduled Google hangout to talk about things that I know I should be doing but just never get around to doing. We’ve done two so far, and will start it back up again after Thanksgiving. The working title is called “Office Hours”.

    • quetwo November 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      Phillip: I haven’t regularly talked about CF stuff in a while, but I am an avid user and cheerlead it when I get the chance. I attended 5 CF-United Conferences, many MAXes, wrote a few articles for FusionAuthority, and have helped the Mid-Michigan CFUG for a long time. I’m not a rock-star CF guy like some, nor do I really want to be.

      Sounds like a great idea to do the regular hangouts. I know Doug has a passion for this stuff as well (and some of the things I posted were directly related to a conversation I had with him when he stopped by our place a few weeks ago).

  11. Dave Quested [Airsquare] November 19, 2012 at 1:29 am

    I rarely comment on CF threads, but perhaps that’s part of the problem at hand. There’s so many awesome highly experienced CF ‘lurkers’ out there building great apps with CF but never heard. I’m too busy getting things done … which is why I use CF.

    My response to CF is dead, is in decline, etc etc. Really? Maybe. Perhaps I need to pop my head up more, but whenever I need a solution to an issue, it doesn’t take long. Typically it’s an issue that Ben Nadel, Pete Freitag or Ray Camden have already blogged about. Thanks guys.

    Personally I don’t really care on the cool stakes. I want to get shit done. There’ll be something cooler next month, week, day. But that doesn’t mean I’m ignorant. I research, look what others are doing and can always achieve it in CF, perhaps faster. Who knows. I think technology choice is less important these days and it’s all about what your app can do, what it integrates with, etc.

    Bottom line: we need to build successful apps, share what we’re doing, promote each other, make our companies bigger and hire/train more CF developers.

    It’s certainly what I’m aiming to do.

    Perhaps the CF vendors should do everything they can to promote us, make us successful, and buy more CF.

    • Snake November 24, 2012 at 6:18 am

      I would agree that more killer apps would have helped and have been saying that for years.
      I see someone said this would not help as it would only result in people using the app and would not expand the userbase.
      This is wrong, it would expand the userbase the same way as wordpress or any other killer php app.
      Lets take Mura or mangoblog as an example, these are prob the 2 biggest cf apps and many people that use them at some point may need cfdevelopers to customise it for them, create custom modules and skins, and a cf host to host it.
      So the user themself may decide to learn cfml or will hire a developer.
      So the more killer apps there are, the more need there is for cfdevs to do custom work and write plugins.

      This is relevant still now regardless of the state of cf, as it is simply a marketing exercise. Any killer app will only become popular if people start using it and spreading the word, regardless of what language it uses.

      However the chances of anyone making these killet apps is pretty slim now as there is no community to speak of who would collaborate to produce such apps.
      Even my cfmldeveloper.com community for which I have provided collaboration tools for all the members remains silent, no-one talks to each other anymore or wants to be part of a community it seems.

      • John Farrar November 24, 2012 at 11:42 am

        P.S. Is Ruby everywhere like PHP? What is? Even Pearl has made a comeback. Pearl seems to be thriving again. Thriving means finding a product market fit and using the tool (CFML) to create it. The platform is up to the challenge and I have actually interviewed hosting companies in the tradional sense who said the would build magic installers for killer apps. Also there are hosting companies already doing this.

        When the internet was in boom growth developers made the decision of platform based on personal choice. Over time more and more open source prebuilt apps are making the choice. The more killer apps we have that have product market fit the more CFML will thrive. In reality if we have unique product market fit that drives demand. If we compete with WordPress by duplicating it you are right, matching features leaves us behind the win cycle. So, the key is not to target identical maket channel products. 🙂

      • John Farrar November 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm

        Sorry, that answer was not to you. The CFML community is not as social as the platform itself is not relational building. When languages are newer there is a sense of community built around solving common challenges. What common problems does your site provide communal answers to?

  12. Some guy November 20, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    My adventure with ColdFusion began with ColdFusion 6 and died with ColdFusion 7 MX. I do have respect for CFML. I think that the language itself has lots to offer. It is rapid development and it has lots of goodies for those newbies programmers. That’s how I became an intermediate developer today. By working through ColdFusion then moving onto something much bigger: Ruby. Why do I say BIGGER? Well…The ColdFusion Community SUCKS and it does a really good job at sucking BAD. The Community is NO HELP. I mean literally NO HELP at all. You post a question in the “House of Fusion” site and you get smashed and taken by an idiot. Why? Because if you are not using a “Framework” or if you are not within a “group of jerks” then you can’t be part of anything. You are done. Adobe did NOTHING to savage the community. Ben Forta? Really? What did he do? Nothing but travel on Adobe’s money. Adobe was all about the Hollywood show, fireworks and sparkles. They had nothing of the successful languages like Python, Ruby, Java, C++……Adobe was in for the money and they didn’t care for the developers. Point blank. Just like Flash, ActionScript and Flex are in it’s demise so is ColdFusion and Lifecycle. ColdFusion was doing JUST FINE while at Macromedia. We have to understand that Adobe is a company good at PURCHASING products. They see it as a “PRODUCT” rather than a “PRODUCT + PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE”. There is no growth in that thinking. They bought Photoshop, ColdFusion and most if not ALL of their products. It is ridiculous. I made the move to Ruby and I am happy with it since then. Coldfusion isn’t a good language to learn OOP either. How can you rename language standards for something totally unknown…oh well…

  13. I am the sun Sey November 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Another HUGE problem that had been ignored by Adobe and it’s community: ColdFusion Hosting. I lost count of how many people asked me the same question over and over again: “Why are you charging me more for hosting when I can pay peanuts money for hosting it in another language?” When I brought that question up to the community here was the overall response: “You have cheap customers”. WOW! Adobe’s marketing strategy at hand. Seriously? Wrong! I made thousands of dollars with PHP development because my clients wanted affordable long term hosting. How can ColdFusion compete with products like Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, phpBB just to name a few? It could have done it if it had been HUMBLE from the very beginning. But no…let’s be giant greedy and rude people. What happens? GoDaddy drops ColdFusion hosting forever. Great! They didn’t offer good service for it anyways. Then HostMySite (which promised exceptional customer service) ended up selling or merging with another company. It became trash. Those companies tried to make CF Hosting affordable and FAILED it. We are talking about the NUMBER 1 Hosting company in the WORLD. Come on…if Adobe had any good sense it would have caught up on what was happening. But no…Adobe is ALL about the $$$ blin blin. So let’s try to be a monopoly like Microsoft. There you go. At the end of the day, got nothing.

  14. existdissolve November 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    The notion of a “killer app” for ColdFusion as a means of driving adoption is not realistic by any stretch of the imagination.

    Let’s say that you do create the magical killer app. Fine. How are you going to get people to use it? WordPress’ saturation is partly due to its awesomeness, but is due (IMO) in much larger part to the ubiquity of PHP across hosting providers. Any hosting provider you go to not only has PHP support, but probably also has some push-button deployment wizard to make it just that much easier to setup your WordPress site.

    But how did this happen? Was WordPress such an amazingly popular app that it drove all the hosting providers to suddenly start supporting PHP where they had previously not? I doubt it. My guess is that the ubiquity of PHP is probably what drove the decisions for creating WordPress on top of PHP in the first place, not the other way around.

    So again, if this magical CF app is created, is it realistic to imagine that the popularity and demand for this app will create a global rush with hosting providers to start supporting ACF/Railo? Killer apps have to live somewhere, and if they are to be truly “killer”, the actually need to live _everywhere_. In the current state of CF saturation, that just doesn’t seem likely.

    • John Farrar November 24, 2012 at 11:15 am

      LOL, CFML is in decline vs thriving. What a counter productive brain block to think the only way for CFML to thrive is to usurp the place of WordPress. Let me help some of you understand what a killer app provides. It provides a solution with a growing demand that can be found, period! Yes it would be nice to be found everywhere but marketing is rarely 100% rational, even for when geeks buy things. It is amazing how many excuses there are to throw in the towel without making knowledgeable decisions for courses of action. It’s almost like some people believe Tinkerbell sprinkled fairy dust on WordPress so only someone from never never land can believe. You are also ignoring the cloud model changes the magic installer argument to just needing compatible instances to setup. The past in this case does not dictate the future.

  15. John Farrar November 24, 2012 at 11:44 am

    P.S. Is Ruby everywhere like PHP? What is? Even Pearl has made a comeback. Pearl seems to be thriving again. Thriving means finding a product market fit and using the tool (CFML) to create it. The platform is up to the challenge and I have actually interviewed hosting companies in the tradional sense who said the would build magic installers for killer apps. Also there are hosting companies already doing this.

    When the internet was in boom growth developers made the decision of platform based on personal choice. Over time more and more open source prebuilt apps are making the choice. The more killer apps we have that have product market fit the more CFML will thrive. In reality if we have unique product market fit that drives demand. If we compete with WordPress by duplicating it you are right, matching features leaves us behind the win cycle. So, the key is not to target identical maket channel products. 🙂

  16. Narayan, india December 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I am surprised by this cribbing about Coldfusion..I hope people note that Microsoft has just about dropped ASP.NET in favor of HTML5 and javascript. as people switch from desktop to Mobile. .A lightweight Jetty(already started running on Android) and CFlite on Android will open the flood gates wide as we are struggling with silly backbones,embers and sammys! And phones would soon be quadcore! and more. An easy SLIM (PHP) like CF RESTFUL service or a drop dead easy SMS web service would work wonders for a start .

  17. rinehartrides December 13, 2012 at 5:24 am

    Very late to the party….

    …very good post. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head: Railo’s cool, but in most of CFML’s market Adobe *is* CFML, and Adobe just doesn’t give a crap about it.

  18. Edward Beckett December 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Interesting post … It seems we are in the era of ‘cheap and easy.’ A large percentage of front-end developers just want a ‘point-and-click’ solution – that’s ‘most likely’ why php and WordPress are so popular – A) php is packaged on any nix server; B) though there are a lot of point-and-click solutions, setting up WordPress manually takes just a few minutes. So there you have it. This is most likely another reason for RoR’s popularity too … it’s pretty easy to install and learning it isn’t too terribly hard either if you’ve had any exposure to other languages.

    As far as ‘killer-apps’ in CF … I’ve got to agree … I think Mura is pretty awesome. The docs are kinda’ lame and the getmura site is littered with ‘paid-support’ marketing which doesn’t give new end-users a very good feeling about getting involved. Realistically though … I think what’s really good about Mura – isn’t really Mura per se … but ColdSpring …

    In my little world I’d say the best thing CF has running is ColdSpring, FW/1, ColdBox and CFWheels – not in any specific order … However, in a shootout with other languages and frameworks I can’t really see CF standing up to them in a popularity contest … other languages are free, easier to learn, have a relatively quicker development process, scale better (maybe), and have quite a large support community … And it quite well known that employers will go the way of the developers …

    Personally I’m going the way of spring / grails … but I’m not much for the next coolest thing … I like good tools, support, scalability and compatibility and feel that java based solutions have the best balance for my needs …

  19. Shawn Grigson January 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Heya, Sean. It’s the other Shawn. 😉

    I think it really comes down to a particular soapbox for me:

    Languages should be free.

    ColdFusion, for years, was a paid solution. The reason “killer apps” weren’t made for CF (for public consumption) was that it was a paid platform. WordPress would never have been developed on CF. Why would it? To get people to use a killer app, you don’t want them to have to drop thousands of dollars to merely use it.

    So if anyone is going to write a big killer-app for CF, it’s going to need to be on Railo or not at all. You don’t want cost to be a barrier to adoption.

    • John Farrar April 1, 2013 at 7:59 am

      Shawn, do we criticise Zend for selling a paid version of PHP? Is the PHP platform suffering because there is a paid version? We have had a great version of CFML for years. We have winning solutions that scale and build out fast. We need to change how we do business to thrive and stop looking to myths that can be shown false blames on other platforms.

      So who will join in on creating a killer app. Thrive or stagnate on the free myth that has not been a roadblock for a long time? The choice is ours. If we pick apart why WordPress thrives in the market there is nothing there we cannot produce. If we do usability and acceptance testing we find there are problems that users have with WordPress. The existing base of apps makes it hard and nearly impossible to fix those issues. With these issues and others the opportunity to thive is in our hands.

      Who will join with me? I am planning another meeting as soon. CFML offers advantages not found on any other platform. We will win best when we stop trying to code CFML like it were another platform. David didn’t defeat Goliath with armor and a sword! (Well, LOL, he did use a sword in the end but it was not something that would have worked before his strength brought the victory.) Where are the winners? Who will stand with me and prove the doubters wrong?

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