We use ColdFusion 9 and without a doubt it’s an excellent product. Here are some reasons why:
- It’s runs on the JVM with all those 3rd party library benefits
- It’s very productive (compared to any Java-type language) – you can get a lot done quickly
- It integrates well with the Microsoft Stack (Sharepoint / Office)
- It plays well with Flex and BlazeDS, supporting both out of the box
- It’s fast
- The community is very friendly
That’s great. But.
I sometimes worry about how important CF is to Adobe? Are Adobe 100% behind CF? Are they promoting it, and are the promoting it in the right way?
This matters to developers because if a developer thinks that by using CF he or she is going to narrow their appeal to future employers, then that developer might consider a move away from CF and towards a more popular language that has an assured future. They might like CF but are not going to back a flagging pony when there are so many alternatives out there. Worse still they might not consider ColdFusion as an option in the first place.
(Of course a job is more than the language, but put that aside and focus on the language choice for now. )
So, in regard to Adobe and ColdFusion, here are my opinions:
- Adobe don’t regard CF as being an essential part of its product range. I can’t see it promoted here. CF is unique in the Adobe product range and it should be promoted for that reason. Competition in web development languages and tools is cut-throat – look at the competition out there from PHP, ASP .NET, Ruby, Groovy etc. You always have to be promoting.
- Adobe doesn’t promote CF to developers in the right way. For example: Adobe uses a team of evangelists to promote its products. For Adobe this means Ben Forta among others (and I read Ben’s blog). More and more his posts have concerned Flash rather than CF and recently this awful post really brought the point home. If this is representative of the focus inside Adobe and if CF is depending on this sort of promotion then I seriously worry.
- Adobe doesn’t empower the developer. The CFBuilder IDE is now a center-piece for ColdFusion, marketed in conjunction with CF. But is a paid-for product, and this is not developer friendly. C# .NET and all the open-source languages offer a free IDE. Instead Adobe offer a paid IDE that offers very little extra above and beyond Eclipse + CFEclipse. I’ve warbled on about this before. In fact I tried CFEclipse (stand-alone) again recently and threw it out again! Why? Because a simple 3rd party Eclipse plugin won’t work with it. Very frustrating.
So in conclusion, Adobe need to market ColdFusion to developers and focus on that. Keep the server licence fees – young developers usually won’t have to pay for them or justify having to pay for them. But make the tools free, make the tools good and market ColdFusion to developers as a real modern JVM scripting language. That will find it’s way up the chain leading to higher CF adoption.
Remember that today’s developers will become senior developers, then team leaders and CIOs, and it is they that they will be advising the CEO on Enterprise technology.
Adobe’s job is to make sure that these guys have ColdFusion on their shortlist.