What Do You Need From The ColdFusion Team?

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Life is good in CF land. We’re working hard on what will be one of the most exciting ColdFusion upgrades ever. ColdFusion sales continue to climb. ColdFusion team members have been making a point of visiting (and posting to) the forums and major discussion list. We’ve been sending speakers to independent and community events the world over. We are continuing to support user groups, with occasional speakers, and more than occasional goodies and giveaways. Lots of Macromedians, including key ColdFusion team members, are active in the blogsphere. We are about to embark on the largest user group tour ever, dedicated to spilling the beans on the next version of ColdFusion, before the beta even begins (this in direct response to user requests for more insight into the future of ColdFusion). As I said, life is good.
Or rather, it should be. I am still being asked, and quite regularly too, “is ColdFusion dead?”, and “why is Macromedia not committed to ColdFusion?” and “why do you not support the community more?”.
So, I need your help. What do you want? What do you need us to do (more of, or differently, or even less of)? I don’t want to hear about features, or bugs, or product specific requests. Well, not in this thread anyway. What I do want is your opinions and advice on community interaction, market presence, and general perception.
Have an opinion? Please share! The good, the bad, or the ugly, I want to hear it all. Thanks.

91 responses to “What Do You Need From The ColdFusion Team?”

  1. PaulH Avatar

    the vast majority of stuff we do is intranet & will never see the public light of day, i guess much of the cf market is like this? getting some of this out in public would probably help.

  2. Kevin Franklin Avatar
    Kevin Franklin

    From a European perspective… play the in-flight magazine game. A lot of ‘executive’ opinion seems to originate from reading articles on board transatlantic flights etc. Or television advertising? I’ve seen recent dot net and Cisco IP phone campaigns, for example, which are bound to influence public perception of a firms commitment to a product line.

  3. Alex Hubner Avatar
    Alex Hubner

    Ben, IMHO the support site of ColdFusion (and other Macromedia products in general) is very poor in terms of organization, very difficult to find informations regarding security patches, workarounds and hotfixes. Hotfixes are mixed with technotes, technotes are hidden and very often not listed at the technotes index, and so on. Macromedia blogs (especially the Brandon one) became a place to find fresh information regarding the product instead of the support site ar This is very bad because you’ve lost track of the changes and also looks like (to our clients to be more specific) that MM doesn’t have a good official support for the product. Blogs and support foruns are great, but not the best option to publish sensible information such as hotfixes. Also, very often technotes are updated (including new hotfix files and new drivers version) without a clear notice. You have to keep visiting the links to make sure you have the latest files/info… For that reason I was forced to build a application that keeps track of all sources of information (technotes and blogs) regarding CFMX 6.1, I organized (packed) it on my website at:
    A better organized support site for ColdFusion will definitively make a great difference.
    And for the rest, you folks are simple great! 🙂 The blogs (and the able for posting comments such as this) are a great example of it. Community are an important thing that many companies seams not to care.

  4. Bryan F. Hogan Avatar
    Bryan F. Hogan

    I agree with Alex 100%. By the way Alex and others, you can signup for technote notifications on my blog at
    I know been has heard this before, I would much rather have easier access to Technotes, Updated Technotes, Hotfixes, and Security Patches than a new CF version.

  5. Craig M. Rosenblum Avatar
    Craig M. Rosenblum

    1. I agree about a better organized support site. Especially with by default flash-enabled macromedia site. I really hate using flash searching for custom tags, forums, anything. Flash has it’s uses but not for essential things.
    2. A better central location for best practice information. A lot of us are self-taught, so we can’t always take advantage of the experience of others. I think it’d be nice to have a central location for all best practices for coldfusion. That is constantly updated, easy to find and search.
    3. Screenshots and Portfolios of Applications created. To help us learn from each other, we need the ability to see applications that each of us make, hiding any secure or names of course, but with screen shots and explanations step by step of how you/we planned the application. As CF Developers we don’t have a way to really show off our work, this could be a place to show off our work, and explain our thoughts, share some code, and so forth. This would be a big one for me.

  6. Mike Brunt Avatar
    Mike Brunt

    Alex makes a good point here Ben and I would like to add one comment. Perhaps Macromedia should automatically email all registered users of ColdFusion with Hotfixes (I assume they have that info from the time of purchase-registration).
    But my main point is this. The seeds of our future technology-business world are in our Education system(s). Could Macromedia not make some concerted efforts to get heavily subsidized versions of ColdFusion into our Colleges and Universities backed by some sort of dedicated efforts to get CF development on the curriculum somehow. I know this for certain; CF is so bloody enjoyable to use that the word and usage would spread quickly. In addition, this may be a very good time to do just that as I see question marks appearing around the edges of the Holy Grail that "OO" promised to bring. How may other programming languages out there can support both Procedural and "OO" paradigms simultaneously with such ease? Those are my thoughts.
    Mike Brunt – webappermb

  7. Jim Avatar

    Agree with the thoughts here:
    1. improve access to information needed by people who USE (not want to buy) ColdFusion (patches, hot-fixes, technotes, etc)
    2. ditch the Flash on the Exchange – I used to use this all the time to see what people were doing and releasing but it’s now totally unfriendly, slow and I probably haven’t visited it more than once or twice since moving to Flash.
    3. better organization of ‘who’s using cold fusion’ – it would be nice to have something I could search through – say I have a potential e-commece client – I could come to Macromedia – search on e-commerce and get a list of clients currently using CF for this task.
    Back to coding!

  8. Ryan Avatar

    I’m in a large ($25B)+ company as a contractor and we are actively using CF for well over 100 apps on our intranet. There are a few other groups throughout the company that also utilize CF. Unfortunately, outsourcing dictates that much of the IT infrastructure is moving to a massive IT firm (which happens to partner with MM).
    Sadly, neither of the two companies consider CF to be a ‘corporate standard’ (they claim Java is). Now, in theory CF works well with Java, but somehow management doesn’t see it that way. One boss stated that if we have a big security framework, or database pooling framework, that getting CF to integrate with it would be difficult at best.
    I don’t know enough Java (none) to refute that. A lot of our problem is convincing the powers that be that things can coexist and that I won’t have to recreate the wheel/security framework/whatever each time I make a new app.
    CFMX rocks, and most of the time I doubt the majority of us use its full power. But when we need to do so, or integrate with other 3rd party products things get confusing.

  9. Andy Allan Avatar
    Andy Allan

    I was having a look at the Amazon web services page, and in the Articles and Tutorial section you’ve got articles on consuming the web services using .NET, Java, PHP, Python, PERL, even Notes… but no ColdFusion.
    Now of course the majority of ColdFusion developers know this can be done easily and there has of course been at least one article in the CFDJ, as well as a few in various blogs. These are all CF resources though, Amazon isn’t! You could theoretically assume therefore that ColdFusion is unable to consume Amazon’s web services.
    You’d think that with Amazon being such an internationally used and trusted site, with god knows how many visitors that MM would have made sure that there was a link in there outlining how you consume web services with CFMX … a serious opportunity to promote one of CFMX’s strengths is being passed up here!
    And the same goes for other popular sites out there (google, ebay, paypal) who provide useful web services and links on how to consume them in various languages.
    And I also nod my agreement at the above posts about the lack of clarity in the MM support site

  10. Brian Avatar

    Sometimes I go to the local MMUG, but since it is in the evening, that takes away from my family time. I have been to more likely to go to MSDN events, because they are during work hours and my managers are happy to let me go because it counts as free training towards our corporate training goals, as it is an official MS event.
    How about a free version of CF that supports a maximum of 1 running process at a time. Not good for anyone who wants to deploy a site that gets more than just a small amount of usage, but it would allow people running personal websites and students to put CF in use for free. A lot of people who just want to learn a web programming language probably go with asp or php in part because others will be able to see what they have done.
    I have to agree with the comments to remove flash on the MM exchange site, although I see that as unlikely at best.

  11. M. Schopman Avatar
    M. Schopman

    I have been using CF since the first versions came from Allaire, since then I have regularly emailed to Macromedia about volunteering for Coldfusion Support to the community. Never heard anything from them.
    I will release my cms system soon and with that my blog, this will become my support platform from that time 🙂

  12. john Avatar

    I keep tabs on hot fixes here: so I am not sure I agree that things are difficult to find, but I do think that there are opportunities for the Sever to check a centralized database and prompt us for available updates not unlike Windows Update.
    I would really like to see is the Marketing of HomeSite + come out from under the shadow of DreamWeaver. The marketing of this very fine product is confusing to be kind and off-putting to be generous. A cult following is not the way to refer to your development community.
    The DRK’s are very cool, but I would like to see this sort of stuff out in the public domain. This can only help advance techniques used by the developer community at large. I realize it must be a small revenue stream, but nothing compared to the license fees people generate when they see all the advanced things that can be done. At a minimum I think if the company want to keep making money off this type of education then perhaps charge a premium for access for the first three months or something and them dump it to the public.
    Finally, I would like to see some sort of multi-threading functionality. The more advanced and app, the more things it needs to do concurrently that does not involve generation of web pages. Scheduled tasks and XML request and reply handling are two examples I can think of. Being able to construct a module that can spawn multiple processes in order to say process all the records in a contact table, or make simultaneous XML requests to two or more external systems would really help speed up CF heavy lifting capabilities. I’m sure you can imagine the need, but if you need a real world example from the travel industry I can email you more detail.

  13. Rob Brooks-Bilson Avatar
    Rob Brooks-Bilson

    Ben, one area that I think could really use improvement is the marketing of ColdFusion outside of the normal CF chanels. By that I mean we see plenty of advertising and evangelizing of CF in the CFDJ, CF related blogs, CF mailing lists, etc.
    Where I don’t see a lot of CF presence is on many of the large general development sites such as DevX (small amt of CF content), (relatively small CF section), O’Reilly Network, and many other sites like this.
    I guess what I’m saying is that I’d like to see a more proactive and active approach on Macromedia’s end to push CF further into the market. Get it into more large organizations, evangelize to the education system, partner more closely with ISPs, work with the operators of large developer communities to get the CF message out!

  14. Rick Mason Avatar
    Rick Mason

    I would like to echo some of the other suggestions.
    1. Redo exchange, it’s two steps backward from the old Allaire site. It’s just too hard to find a custom tag on there.
    2. Setup a mailing list with all security and tech alerts.
    3. Buy a couple of Google boxes for the Macromedia website. I hate having to leave the site everytime I want to find something.
    4. Do whatever it takes to get ColdFusion into the colleges. Our local universities have classes on DreamWeaver and Flash but not ColdFusion. Maybe Macromedia needs to create a staff position as college evangelist. We need to create an army of young CF enthusiasts infiltrating corporate America.

  15. David Avatar
    David still feels slow. I don’t know if the slow reaction of the mouseovers on the main navigation is intended but it compounds the general slow feeling of the site. I use a cable modem connection with a 1.8GHz Dell Latitude, 1GB RAM, not a dog of a machine. I agree with another comment that flash in the exchange is a pain, it takes the way I’m used to browsing and replaces it with something that reduces functionality, even though it looks nice.
    what’s up with fusetalk in the forums? it seems like every fourth time I visit the forums it is not working. when working, it is slow. searching the forums is even worse.
    I think the CF community would benefit from more open source projects like FarCry CMS. perhaps Macromedia could help to foster projects like this with a special section of
    the PHP community has varied and rich open source projects. to name a few quality projects:
    nucleus, phpBB, gallery, phpCollab (alternative to SiteSpring ), osCommerce.
    the aforementioned projects solved a real world problems and provide an excellent code base for learners and the curious… about PHP. some more open source CF projects certainly wouldn’t slow down the adoption rate of ColdFusion.

  16. Fred Bobardo Avatar
    Fred Bobardo

    PLEASE stop hiding HomeSite+

  17. David Avatar

    Macromedia should buy TerraForm and hire Matthew Sheppard to help integrate it with the next release of ColdFusion.
    TerraForm is such an incredibly useful tool for developing form based applications. There’s a bit of a learning curve but it is worth it. It makes ColdFusion’s cfform and cfinput look like a joke.

  18. Pete Freitag Avatar
    Pete Freitag

    More support for CFUG’s would be nice. Ed and Amy do a great job with the limited resources they have but their resources are indeed limited. Providing more giveaways, T-Shirts, etc. The last box our CFUG received from MM only had 3 T-Shirts, Free download of Dreamweaver, and a demo version of RoboDemo.
    Helping provide Macromedia speakers is also nice, I think you guys do pretty good job with that already. Maybe the user groups could setup a program where Macromedia could hook up non MM speakers with user groups.
    Community week is providing User groups with some exposure, but why not provide that exposure all year long. Or when a person buys a product include the nearest user groups in the email.

  19. David Fekke Avatar
    David Fekke

    I know this might be uncomfortable for MM, but BlueDragon has added some nice tags that are not available to the CF community. CFIMAGE and CFIMAP are two examples of tags that should been added to CF a long time ago. I know that CFIMAP is available as a devnet add on.
    Maybe MM should ISO the language so the community can add their input to what ColdFusion should or not support as a language.

  20. Jeff H Avatar
    Jeff H

    I feel like MM is really wanting to be viewed as an enterprise-ready company…what with CF Enterprise not coming with a full version of JRun and with Flex being aimed at the enterprise. I would personally love to seem them hit that level but the problem I see is the sheer lack of really advanced documentation. When I’m looking around Java forums and even going to the bookstore, there are a ton of high level Java/J2EE articles and publications but all the CF stuff seems to be beginner/intermediate stuff with only the slightest mention of really serious programming techniques. I think the beauty of CF is that is easily accessible to those who don’t need industrial strength tools, but still has the strength for those who do need it (read: J2EE). So to make a long post, short…more focus on enterprise resources…books, articles, Breeze presentations, etc. The more advanced the better. Show what the product can really do.

  21. Alex Hubner Avatar
    Alex Hubner

    You’re right Jeff. Another thing that is very hard to see (specially here in Brazil) due to the lack of "enterprise" documentation and maybe support: good hosting companies for those who can’t afford for a CF license. You can find hosting providers that offer CFMX, but in a limited way (disabling sensitive tags such as CFOBJECT and CreateObject() function) or in a insecure way (leaving all open) and even not using sandboxes.
    CFMX Enterprise + sandbox security are fine, but to make it completely safe in a shared box you must turn-off Java integration (createObject and so on), which is very bad because we use it extensivelly (even to invoke CFCs). The sanboxes doesn’t isolate Java features properly. An example: access to ServiceFactory and settings is possible in a shared environment, even using sandboxes. This is unacceptable and must be changed.
    Definitively ColdFusion Server needs a better support for shared environments at the security level. Some say you can use multiple instances (also aka CFMX for J2EE), well, this is not a choice if you offer shared ColdFusion accounts. It demands more memory and hardware usage and work. It’s ok for a sort of dedicated/semi-dedicated hosting, but even so, I’ve never saw a hosting company offering it.
    Disabling features such as CreateObject() and others that offers a security/privacy risk for applications on the same server is not a good thing for the technology. I belive hosting providers plays a very important role in the success of a language. CFServer must have a better support for shared environments. I belive that despite of the price, CF is a marginally supported technology on hosting providers because of it. ASP.Net is expensive too, but offers a better solution to shared hostings, so it’s easy to find someone who supports it.
    I hope Macromedia folks can build a mechanism to really isolate applications in the same server. The sandbox concept is fine, but it does not work very well as we know.

  22. dave Avatar

    a) The exchange doesn’t suck because of Flash. Not sure why others think it’s slow… it’s plenty responsive for me.
    b) Not sure why people want multi-threading…If your issue is that long running processes are freezing your GUI, switch GUIs…Flash, CFFLUSH an animated gif, whatever.
    c) 6.1 Enterprise DOES come with a full version of JRun, you just have to install in J2EE config.
    What I’d like to see from macromedia is, like others, more evangelism in the enterprise sector. It should really be marketed as a RAD Java-based web app platform. Most people’s impression of CF is that it is a toy that is unsuitable for enterprise use, when it fact it does scale pretty well.
    I recognize that CF’s roots is ease of use, but I think MM can do more to bridge the gap between that and a robust product respected by larger organizations. The way I feel, CFCs are very, very close… and I do use them extensively in all projects, whether it be for simple web-services or a full-blown MVC architecture. The issue is that I almost feel like MM didn’t take it’s own product seriously and think that people would actually try to build enterprise-level solutions that utilize CFCs. We need a real constructor (see blue dragon), and we need better thread safety for persistant CFCs (I don’t care if I have to var everything, but the fact that if I use cfinclude in a cffunction it eliminates any var’ing is ridiculous). Either cfinclude should not work inside cffunction, or anything included should only have access to the local function scope. That and why cant I make the CFFILE scope thread safe?
    I want CF to stay, but MM needs to give me the tools to buld the argument. .NET is doing a much better job at proclaiming ease of use and being enterprise-level.
    Central and Flex pricing is off anybody’s charts… I wonder if someone up top WANTS these products to fail. You can’t compare Flex to Websphere, they’re not the same thing. Compare JRun to Websphere, and that should give you an idea how much flex should cost, especially because it is so new. This isn’t 1999 or 2000 when an executive would jump to blow some money on new-fangled technology. It needs to be PROVEN before it’s worth anything. Ooops, wrong blog 😉

  23. Adam Howitt Avatar
    Adam Howitt

    I agree with David Fekke’s comment that making the language an open standard designed by a board of developers other than Macromedia would help revitalize the direction of ColdFusion. BlueDragon’s advances are proof that competition is a good thing for CFML and it’s developers. Wasn’t CF always touted as an implementation of CFML rather than the owners? Let’s get it out there in the hands of those who can invent and evolve the language. Don’t let it go stale in your hands and dent the careers of its developers.

  24. Brian Meloche Avatar
    Brian Meloche

    I have to agree with Adam’s, David’s, Jeff’s and Pete’s comments. Macromedia has to do better marketing with CF all around.
    The user group program gets little internal support (they need applications, AND A BUDGET!!!), and give us UG managers more access to help evangelize the product. The same goes for Team Macromedia. We volunteers get a lot less for what we do than people might recognize. MM has to learn to better market CF to the general web community, education, enterprise market… everywhere. Currently, it seems most marketing is done to expand the market within its existing market, and upgrading, and not going after new markets. This includes having more web hosting companies that offer CF, getting more schools that offer CF courses, actively showing the power of Java with the simplicity of ColdFusion. ColdFusion is buried on and you really have to go looking for it. There is no concerted effort to market the product to the general IT community. CF needs to take market share away from PHP, Java and ASP/ASP.NET.
    ColdFusion is Macromedia’s ticket, and always has been, but its marketing people continue to market it as a niche-type application server. They don’t get it…
    There is a fundamental flaw in the way ColdFusion is marketed. ColdFusion is marketed as an application server. CFML, the company’s potential salvation, and what we LOVE about CF, is NEVER MARKETED. If I can impress anything on the powers that be, it would be to shift your marketing focus from CF Enterprise to CFML. Get more hosting providers that offer CF as a language to its customers (I get tired of seeing PHP and Perl as the only languages many providers offer!!!). Offer a CF Express again, so that more CF apps can be put into production, and help evangelize CF… by evangelizing CFML. EDUCATION EDUCATION EDUCATION!!!!!!!! You get more CF developers, and guess what? You’ll sell more CF servers.

  25. Jeff H Avatar
    Jeff H

    I know that CF Enterprise actually does come with JRun…it was a typo…should have been "CF Enterprise now coming with a full version of JRun" instead of "CF Enterprise not coming with a full version of JRun". Silly spell checker couldn’t understand what I meant instead of what I typed….can I put that in as a feature request?

  26. David Avatar

    Would people care about Homesite if Dreamweaver weren’t such a slow dog? Granted, DWMX 6.1 was a huge performance increase. But quite frankly the DW developers should be ashamed that using DW to upload files to a site pegs the CPU at 100% usage!
    I understand that DW is busy doing a lot of "helpful" things like keeping track of all files in a site/projectd and making sure our links are maintained. If DreamWeaver was shipped with all of these bells and whistles turned off by default it would load quick and run effortlessly like Homesite. As users performed certain functions DreamWeaver could interactively offer the user a "better" way by prompting them to enable the bells and whistles.
    Funny that PHP is not in Ben’s spellchecker. 😉
    Can somebody please fix the "&quote;"s?

  27. Chris S. Avatar
    Chris S.

    MM has done a poor job of building the developer community. The Exchange site is slow now that everything has been Flashified (by the way, Flash should stick to animations and forget about being an application), so few hosts support CFMX, the server is too expensive (ASP.Net is free with Windows Servers), JRUN is buggy and slow, CFMX doesn’t have enough features out of the box (I had to buy a bunch of custom .DLL’s), and most important there is only a fraction as much CF expertise out there as there is other application languages – the only way MM is going to get anywhere with CF is to grow the user base much larger (I think a free version of CFMX – not just a development environment – would do the trick).
    My experience with CF was good in the beginning, but I’m outta here. I’m moving everything to an enterprise ready environment, Microsoft .Net.

  28. Sam Avatar

    I didn’t read all the comments but Mike Brunt hit it on the nose for me *ouch*
    I was posting up flyers about the Macromedia Worldwide User Group presentation in the Computer Science department at Temple University (Phila, PA) and one of my Prof. approach me and told me how he had fought for the department’s support in CF and other Macromedia tools.
    As I am a Computer Science major, I truly want more variety in the classroom than MS products on the computer desktop in the labs at Temple.
    To compensate for the loss, I rely heavily on community forums (ie. to self-teach.

  29. Micha Schopman Avatar
    Micha Schopman

    I also have the feeling that MM applications could be more improved. There are some issues for example with DWMX 2004, focussed as the main ColdFusion developing platform, which are just annoying.
    Like the context sensitive help, buggy, non-printable, text is unselectable. And still it lacks a good working treeview. Move actions always result in failures in the tree. 🙂
    Developers often said, we want to deploy our applications compiled at clients. This has been called so many times.. and who comes first… BlueDragon. Makes me think Macromedia does not listen enough to the CF community.

  30. Vinny Timmermans Avatar
    Vinny Timmermans

    The main problem behind Coldfusion’s low market presence is the fact that business customers are not willing to pay a high price just because their developers like the CFML programming language. If they do not have to pay for a dedicated C# server or a VB server (they simply do not exist), why should they pay for a CFML server? Microsoft really understands how the market works. They charge developers for using a programming language by selling them Visual Studio and sell value added server platforms (SharePoint Portal Server, BizzTalk Server, Project Server, Content Management Server etc.) to business customers. Each and everyone of these servers has a set of features that have clear business value. Coldfusion lacks such features. There is no built-in content management, project management or portal functionality or whatever other out-of-the box business oriented featureset. It is just a programming environment. From what I have heard from Blackstone this will not change. So the new Coldfusion upgrade will definitely be a killer upgrade for developers. There will be many enhancements to the programming language but it will stay a developers oriented product instead of a business oriented product. So, until MM start delivering server platforms that have real value for business (Flex 1.0 is another example of a developer oriented server platform) they will have a hard time persuading businesses to buy into their server products. What I would like to see is merging Coldfusion, Flex and Central technology into one Macromedia RIA Server. Such a product would deliver added value to developers (CFML, AS2 and MXML) as well as business customers (occasionaly connected apps, synchronization, blast feature etc.).

  31. cyrn Avatar

    Terraform is a really great product and would be an outstanding addition to the ColdFusion package.
    I think getting the word out, particularly to colleges around the country, about CF should be priority. By that I mean bringing a new crop of developers who are not yet familiar with CF.
    Some repository for best practices information. I agree with the comment that CF developers are out there building some amazing apps, but those experiences (good and bad) really are not out in the open to be learned and improved upon.
    I’m not sure how this would be done but we really need more books out on CF. Given any bookstore, you’ll find half a shelf of Java/JSP Books, 1/4 ASP/ASP.NET Books, and the remainder to PHP and CF. Somewhat related to the best practices idea, I’d like to know how people are using CFCs and frameworks (Fusebox, Mach-II, others even).

  32. Joe Bernard Avatar
    Joe Bernard

    Here is my number one wish for CF:
    Open up the serviceFactory and let us in.
    For those that may not know, the serviceFactory is an object that exposes many low level functions in the ColdFusion engine.
    With it you can:
    Flush your trusted cache
    Toggle trusted cache on or off
    Reinitialize the axis web services engine
    Output the SQL for all the queries that ran on a page
    and much more.
    The functionality exposed in the serviceFactory object could enable us extend our apps, error handling, and site admins in new directions.
    And before anyone says it, yes I know none of it is supported and could change at any time. But to at least have some centralized documentation about it’s capabilities would be a welcome addition for those of us that want to get in to the nuts and bolts.
    I’d also like to see more documentation about low level Java functionality (such getting at the output stream buffer). Some of this kung fu can only be found on blogs, but should be made more publicly available by Macromedia.

  33. Matthew Walker Avatar
    Matthew Walker

    I make and sell a few custom tags including TerraForm mentioned above. By far, the number one problem I encounter is people having problems installing them. It’s part of the philosophy of custom tags really: use something without understanding how it works (which often means "without understanding how custom tags work"). But it’s only becoming a bigger problem as I add richer features such as skins, shared resources, and localization resource bundles. What I’m really distributing are apps with hundreds of files and a tag API.
    I think the "custom tag" paradigm is outmoded. It would be really nice for CF to have some kind of integrated third party app installation process that worked for *both* exclusive and shared servers and verified a correct install. It would also be nice if products could be in some way "Macromedia certified" (for a fee of course).

  34. Pete Ruckelshaus Avatar
    Pete Ruckelshaus

    IMO, the following is needed:
    In general, turn CFSCRIPT into a language that can replace CF tags; i.e., I want to be able to do things like query from within CFSCRIPT blocks.
    For specific functionality, I would like to see some easy way to create multilingual web sites. I would like to see some of the more useless tags (CFSLIDER, for example) be deprecated, and replaced with more useful "stock" widgets like a calendar that can be given a number of parameters as well as a query object and output Flash or HTML. I would like to see even better, more automatic, whitespace suppression (i.e. without explicit CFSILENT or CFSETTING tags). I would like to see a tag, perhaps CFAPPLICATION, act as a "switch" that adds greater support for presenting a single set of templates on a number of delivery platforms (i.e. WAP/WML, HTML, etc.).
    Sorry for the shouting, I think that last one needed emphasis…as if my being the nth person to mention it wasn’t enough.

  35. Mike Shaw Avatar
    Mike Shaw

    As a large numbers (read the majority) of CF developers work in small teams on small projects, I would like to see is an initiative from Macromedia to assist and lead in the creation of large opensource projects. Less experienced or even experienced developers could learn the process of building large scale products within large teams, something the average CF developer doesn’t usually encounter. I think this would assist in improving the overall standard of CF developer and also spread the CF word once some robust opensource products were available.

  36. Robby Lansaw Avatar
    Robby Lansaw

    Usually conversations like this I tend to stay away from, as they never feel to go anywhere, but considering the communities outlay of comments, I thought I should share mine.
    There’s several posts along the lines of ‘more marketing should be done, or done towards [insert area of business]’. I tend to agree, but on a different level. I’m sure MM is in fact out there selling the product, or attempting to.
    But they need to quit trying to sell it to *us*. the community is here, open and willing. We don’t need some sales pitch everytime something new comes across within ColdFusion itself. Put that effort out there, it’ll come around.
    IMO, for the education sector what needs to happen is a core group of individuals needs to get together with Geoff and crew and build a set of applications on top of FarCry tuned for the education sector itself. As that product emerges, Macromedia should push it’s academic version hard. Couple a solid application structure with a cheap implementation, the code base and server will be within the schools IT mindset. Then encouraging
    that sector to have classes, job openings, publications will be that much easier.
    I don’t however agree to the IDE market based comments and how HomeSite+ should be pushed more, or how DreamWeaver should have ‘x’ feature. Let MM give a very generalized IDE, and a base for what an IDE can do for ColdFusion. Then support the companies who are building a CFML specific IDE. Don’t flog one language preference over another in the IDE phase. Make the cash of the IDE and help CFML grow.
    That being said, the RDS specification needs to be opened up. Allow IDE developers who want to build an IDE product for ColdFusion to access it the same way Macromedia wants to. More tools for a given language can never be a bad thing.
    Standards. Invent some, adopt some, do something.
    ECMA script option in cfscript, a whole new documented standard, (from MM or within a committee of active CFML companies)… something.
    There needs to be a definitive answer to everything done in ColdFusion. "Why x does ‘this’", "Why z does ‘that’ when y does ‘this’".
    The entire CFML spec and its outcomes should be on paper, available, and ready to examine.
    Not to chose sides on a MM biased based post, but Blue Dragon shouldn’t have to guess what a certain outcome should be.
    Develop and invoke a component that doesn’t have the surrounding [cfcomponent] tags ? Who would have thought, it’s not documented, it doesn’t make sense, but yet it’s possible. It should be documented.
    While I don’t work with the language, I’ve always followed PHP and its evolution. One thing I admire with PHP is the push for no ‘magic’ happening by introducing something, and for the most part, it’s stuck well.
    ColdFusion has a lot of ‘magic’ happening in certain situations, mainly with cfcs. Magic in this context meaning ‘I do something and something else happens, or has an adverse side effect’. Watch a month worth a posts on the cfcdev mailing list and you’ll soon see the whole magic coming across. cffile not being thread safe, local vs arguments scope clashes etc.
    Enterprise language? Put it on paper.
    I’m well aware that there has been new products coming into the market place for Macromedia, but the lack of new CFML content on ‘desdev’ really does stand out. As far as I can tell, the only thing that has been added as of late is a ‘getting started’ setup. Is the docs not adequate for that type of content? What about the 100k + user community that has already breached that era of CFML?
    Architecture section is pretty weak I might add.
    Opening up the process you have to follow in order to have content considered for ‘desdev’ would be nice as well, for those who don’t know what it actually takes to help MM put content in the CFML domain.
    Open up the Bug/WishList database. I can’t say this loud enough. Comments like Matthew Walker’s (which I agree with), carry very little push outside the scope of the conversation. Mainly because there isn’t any way to push an idea past submitting the idea into the blackhole we call the ‘wish form’.
    Educate hosting providers on all issues within ColdFusion. I don’t know how many times I’ve argued a case for a taglib and got knocked down, frankly because of ignorance on the companies fault. Having all of the tools in the toolkit is one thing, being hampered by the lack of knowledge of your provider is another.
    We all know the community is loud, it always has been. Sadly we’re not the only voice that has to be considered in this equation.

  37. paul Avatar

    Hi, In the UK CF is being used less than before even with the intro of CFMX (cant rember the last time i saw a job looking for CFskills). Java is all you seem to see. Judging by the lack of marketing of CF I imagine most of the tech bosses in the UK don’t even know the first thing about CFMX J2EE. If that product made more inroad into the J2EE market here, then it would very much help the rep of CFML as a scripting langauge.

  38. Steve Avatar

    Since there are lots of comments already I just want to second a few…
    1. Get the hosting providers costs down. PHP and ASP are winning because the hosting costs out there are cheaper and people/companies know that when they are ready to go to dedidcated servers that their software costs will be cheaper then too. It is almost impossible to get someone to switch away from an affordable PHP or ASP hosting plan (even if you rewrite their app) if you have to tell them that the monthly cost will go up $30 a month.
    2. Get in front of the Execs because they don’t always listen to their techies. More presentations, articles and advertisements on why CFML is better, faster, cheaper, whatever need to be in front of the people that make the decisions.
    3. Environments are often dictated by the other major products that are purchased. For example, I work for a very large company and this year we may by a very large product that runs on Websphere. Guess what all the talk is… Java and Websphere.
    4. Education should be FREE. Academic versions of the software are still overpriced. If you can’t make them free, then you need to make them dirt cheap. We have all been students. Who has $100 when they can barely afford 39 cent Tacos? Get into the schools (highschool and college) and offer them the software (CHEAP or FREE) to get classes using it and students learning it. Right now a class could teach Java all day long with no cost using FREE servers and FREE IDEs. I remember in college when we learned VB. Our textbook included a slim version of the MS VB IDE all for the price of the textbook $49. There you go…. bundle Dreamweaver with a textbook for $49 and promote it to Universities.
    Good luck with this effort. I have been using CF since v.2 and really love it.

  39. Dominick Accattato Avatar
    Dominick Accattato

    I think that your team should get JRUN out to the public for free. Other J2EE application servers are becoming free and it’s only time before JRUN and others like it are forced in that direction. I do understand that there is probably a team for JRUN but coldfusion and j2ee are married, and it would be nice to have the application server for free, and hopefully you could win the market, make money on support and draw more people into Coldfusion and Flash.

  40. Eric P. Vanguard Avatar
    Eric P. Vanguard

    There are many "features" and "bug fixes" that I’d like to see in the language itself, but I think there are greater problems with Macromedia. Here are a few that I can think of now.
    1. Macromedia seems to have dropped the "ColdFusion/Flash/Dreamweaver" solution slogan. They seemed to have stopped pushing ColdFusion to the Flash developers, and have seems to have stopped a whole solutions. I see many more flash developers using PHP, probably cause its "free".. hmmm…
    2. I’d love to have a Macromedia sponsored site where I can get a blog going, and where every Macromedian would have their blog. Microsoft sponsors such sites, so does Sun! Also Macromedia as no website to evangalize ColdFusion (maybe could be similar to is too obscure and formal.
    3. Very little, if any, ISV support and partner program. Actually the partner program itself is very poor. Every year at DevCon/MAX we are promised it will get better. I’ve given up on the partner programs now and no longuer attend the events.
    4. Macromedia has great development platforms, yet they ALWAYS see the need to compete with their partners instead of working with them. This has become increasingly obvious with Breeze and at a lesser extent Contribute. It’s beyond me that they can come out with great products (such as Flash Communication Server), expect you to develop applications based on these platforms and they railroad you with their own multi-million dollar product.
    5. Lack of a descent IDE. I’d like to see at a minimum one "stable" fast IDE. What does it tell you when Macromedia ships Homesite+ with Dreamweaver. Homesite isn’t much better though as it often crashes on me.
    6. Free version of ColdFusion would be nice to have. I don’t care about the bells and whistles. I’m willing to pay for those and so are most of my clients. But I’d like to see a stripped down version of ColdFusion back again.

  41. David Avatar

    Correction: I mistakenly attributed TerraForm’s author as Matthew S. Terraform is made by Matthew Walker. Sorry Matthew.

  42. Ryan Miller Avatar
    Ryan Miller

    I like just about every aspect of ColdFusion and what it offers. I do think there is one area that could be better.
    Recently, I have tried to interact with two Web Services written in .NET. The web service did not return simple value types. Because of this, I was unable to work with them. I would like to see CF work better with Web Services no matter what it is written in or what data types are returned.

  43. David Avatar

    > The exchange doesn’t suck because of Flash.
    > Not sure why others think it’s slow…
    > it’s plenty responsive for me.
    Flash driven exchange alters the behavior I expect from my browser’s back button and my mouse’s scroll wheel. If it doesn’t suck because of Flash then it sucks because of the way it was implemented in Flash.

  44. j-m Avatar

    I am very disappointed by Macromedia in France. I used to work in the UK where the CF community is small but efficient. In London you can find plenty of job in CF for instance. However in France, Technical directors barely know CF and think that it’s absolutely useless in comparison to PHP or JSP or ASP. To find a CF job in France is more than difficult.
    I cannot believe that Macromedia is doing nothing positive for its product. Now with CFMX we can do so much as CF developer by interacting with Java, it’s a very good and efficient combination.
    There is absolutely no presence of CF in national advert, technical magazine or some campaign to advertise CF.
    Guys unless you are not interested by the French market, you have to do something for CF or it will die in France and the others technologies will survive.

  45. Mike Klepper Avatar
    Mike Klepper

    Here are some ideas and observations:
    1. Push for use of ColdFusion in college classrooms. As a person who teaches CF at a post-secondary level, I frequently feel unsupported by MM as well as by the usual textbook publishers.
    2. CF marketing is very "inbred" – MM places ads in the CFDJ and MXDJ, but that is preaching to the choir!
    3. Improve the performance and quality of Dreamweaver.
    4. Improve the performance of CF. Ex: Java’s string operations far outperform CF’s, yet CF is Java-based!
    Something NOT to do would be to make the release of the next version of CF in any way similar to the release of Studio MX 2004! It is in everybody’s best interest to make CF a finished product that is functional, that has working components, and that has complete documentation.

  46. Craig M. Rosenblum Avatar
    Craig M. Rosenblum

    I really want macromedia to completely remove flash from the coldfusion site design.
    I absolutely abhore it. I keep having to remember there is a secret url variable to turn it off.
    I really love the idea of bring cf into colleges. After all so many of us are self-taught, there simply was no education available, or our companies had no interest in training us, (which is still a lot more common than you’d like to think)
    There are some things macromedia does right, and i’ll be glad to mention those as well.
    1. All forum messages are posted in usenet, that means we can search it thru google groups. Mega-cool.
    2. Hasn’t lost site the number one feature of CF is Rapid Development, so we’re all about speed, efficiency,stability,scalability and performance.
    Here is a brand new idea.
    Instead of web conferences that macromedia uses to share new info or presentations.
    Why not web presentations from each user group, so we can learn from each other. After all each area has it’s speciality and different skill levels at teaching.
    Live teaching is so important.
    I would really prefer that went to a different site, not where only coldfusion related material was there. Make it non-flash, i beg of you.
    Maybe have a weekly scheduled chat for cfers across the world, to come to, and discuss, exchange and learn from each other.
    My goal is to always learn from others, and share what i know. Messageboards are okay, but live interactivity always enhances learning.
    That’s it from me.

  47. Brian Meloche Avatar
    Brian Meloche

    John, I wholeheartedly agree. All Macromedia seems to do is go after the existing customer base, and not go after the non-ColdFusion based shops out there. Macromedia needs to do a better job at educating the potential customer, and be able to deal with the objections of the misinformed IT manager.
    Regarding something I said earlier, and many others seem to agree with, is the lack of a ColdFusion presence in the education system, and I do not mean selling CF to educational markets. I am not a Bible thumper… far from it… but I am reminded of something in the New Testament that says, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach the man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." Although the allegory isn’t entirely on the mark, teach someone about ColdFusion, and how to program in it, and I guarantee you that most developers out there would pick it for the bulk of the web applications out there if they just understood CF for what it really is, and not an outdated perception of what it was in 1997.
    I went around Cleveland State University on Saturday and posted fliers about the Macromedia’s worldwide user group meeting on 5/19, and when I got to the areas in Engineering, Business and Urban Studies there where the web and programming courses were being taught, and I saw the courses offered, I saw Java everywhere…. VB.NET everywhere… and even some PHP and Perl.. but ColdFusion… NOWHERE. What does that tell you? It tells me that Macromedia is not doing what it needs to do to grow the base… at the base by educating the developer. The future of ColdFusion does not lie in teaching a designer how to develop in CFML, it’s how to teach a Java developer to be more efficient and build apps faster by using ColdFusion for most of the application and use Java only where it’s necessary. In the end, it’s all Java.
    One final thing: I have seen this mentioned elsewhere. I think Macromedia needs to reexamine its licensing model. It’s been proven that there are all sorts of reasons why teams of CF developers do not develop on their own machines… version control among them. Most shops buy development, testing and production licenses, and often staging, intranet and multiple production licenses in clustered environments. This means that a company needs to make a SIGNIFICANT investment in ColdFusion app servers before a single piece of a ColdFusion application can go live. This puts ColdFusion behind the ball in investment versus PHP, ASP/ASP.NET and even Java. Look at this for a company that BUYS a ColdFusion application!!! You have to buy the application, PLUS all the servers!!!
    I think that Macromedia needs to offer copies of ColdFusion for use in development, that DO allow for multiple developers to use the same server… FOR FREE. This new license model would allow more companies to EXPLORE the use of CFML for its application development without having to make a significant initial investment… and I believe would sell more ColdFusion servers and develop more ColdFusion developers in the long run.

  48. stylo~ Avatar

    1) Exchange: the fact that the custom tags scene has splintered badly is evidence of how incredibly annoying the flashed exchange is to use. No right click to check out a tag in a new tab? Painful, painful, painful. (And no search by title/description/etc? Jeez.) And why not a portal page listing new forum items, tags, tutorials, news from outside (other site’s articles), etc?
    2) Price: a free stripped down version as a starter and/or cheaper hosting.
    3) Visibility: an evangelizing team that does real work making sure CF is represented at Amazon, ebay, Paypal, c.c. companies, and anywhere else imaginable. Write the solutions for them and have them listed alongside everyone else’s.
    4) IDE: dedicate Homesite to CF and improve it and actually sell it. You can’t stuff everything into Dreamweaver without ruining it.

  49. Troy Pullis Avatar
    Troy Pullis

    Do an encore tour of the user groups that will miss the first leg and make Minneapolis/St. Paul a part of it!

  50. John Wilker Avatar
    John Wilker

    Simple. More public awareness. I just got an email about learning how to use CF… I know how to use it. MM seems content to market to it’s customer base. There are huge organizations using CF, gov’t agencies, etc… The only place I’ve seen MACR advertising is in the CFDJ.. Again marketing to the chior.
    I know MACR Can’t compete with the M$ advertising machine but even a few comercials, some banners all over the internet, hell spam somebody once, pop ups suck but look at X10. The marketing aspect of MACR is seemingly uninterested in expanding the user base. I sure haven’t seen a Flex comercial, how will anyone know how kick ass it is? Is it our (the developers) jobs to market MACR products?
    I also agree with pretty much everything else being said; The exchange, more UG support, DRKs, etc….

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