SitePoint’s August 2nd 2006 issue of Tech Times was released yesterday. In it, a reader asks what products and technologies she should learn (she mentions “AJAX, CSS, Flash, ColdFusion & MSSQL, PHP & MySQL, Microsoft technologies”).
I have a couple of issues with Editor Kevin Yank’s response, and just sent him the following:

Kevin,
I am writing regarding your August 2nd column, and your comments in your “What To Learn?” section. I quote:
“… and even the relatively stagnant ColdFusion have plenty of power to offer with a gentle learning curve up front.”
You are correct about the gentle learning curve, but can you clarify “relatively stagnant”? Just to be clear, the Webster definition of stagnant is “not advancing or developing”. ColdFusion was first released in 1995, ColdFusion MX 7 was released in 2005, 7.0.1 later that same year, and 7.0.2 in June of 2006. In addition, the ColdFusion team is hard at work on the 8th major version of ColdFusion (currently codenamed “Scorpio”), to be released in 2007. Obviously, we are both advancing and developing ColdFusion, and so the term “stagnant” is utterly inappropriate. As such, I must request that you update and correct your statement.
In addition, just in case you were unaware of this:
“But more heavyweight platforms like Java and ASP.NET can open the door to more complex and esoteric applications, not to mention higher salaries”
Yes, Java is heavyweight, I agree. But did you know that ColdFusion is a Java application, it runs on standard J2EE servers (like IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic, and our own JRun), all the runtime services are native Java, and it actually code-gens Java source and compiles down to Java bytecode (in fact, you can deploy your ColdFusion application as Java bytecode without needing the CFML source on the server)? ColdFusion is Java, no more or less so than if you had written your code in Java or JSP directly. So yes, Java is indeed heavyweight, and ColdFusion is as capable and heavyweight as the server it is running on.
Sincerely.
— Ben

I’ll let you know if he responds.

74 thoughts

  1. Ben:
    I think Kevin got it right. With regards to your two complaints:
    1. I think Kevin was referring to mindshare, and not the product itself when he called ColdFusion stagnant. ColdFusion has been stuck in the 25-30 range on the Tiobe Index for just about forever, regularly jockeying for position with languages like dBase and FORTRAN. Compared to the upsurge in interest in languages like Ruby and Python, I would call ColdFusion’s mindshare stagnant. Yes, I know that popular != good, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
    2. Yes, ColdFusion compiles to Java bytecode, but this does not qualify you to code in Java. Similarly, the fact that my C programs compile to machine code does not qualify me to code in assembler.
    Kevin’s main point is valid: For maximum career portability, don’t go into ColdFusion. ColdFusion, for all its merits, is a niche product for making web applications. To go into other areas (such as middleware or traditional Windows forms applications) requires other languages, like Java or C#. Therefore, to best future-proof your skill set, you should pick a web development programming language that can be used in a wide variety of other applications.

  2. I’d have to say that I agree with Tom Halter’s statements, specifically: "For maximum career portability, don’t go into ColdFusion."

  3. If you truly want maximum portability. Maintaining your skills as a restaurant dishwasher is the way to go. Every restaurant has dishes. 😉
    All joking aside. I would certainly agree the CF market share is considerably smaller …but coming from another perspective, I believe adding CF to my repertoire has given me the competitve edge in my workplace. (Java shop) Personally I find the thought of basing my career on a single technology terrifying. I’m always pursuing other angles (Java, Flex,AJAX, Usability, Architecture, Patterns/Concepts)
    I guess my point is this, when talking career development …I believe any technology should be considered a tool as part of an arsenal and not the basis of your career.

  4. I think you sent a good letter in terms of asking him to clarify his meaning. While it is sometimes odd to correct someone, we do have quite an issue with misconceptions about ColdFusion.
    As for "career portability," which I would argue changes almost every day in technology and hardly holds any value to someone interested in development technologies at all, I think it is largely dependent on industry. The medical, government, and finance industries seem to use CF all over the place, while research areas tend to use PHP (probably because it is the most common solution for running on linux). While it’s not fair to say CF is used for everything, I think you will learn the tools that your target industry requires you to and I haven’t had trouble finding work at all in quite a few industries. And the Tiobe index is hardly accurate for anything considering all the private intranets, etc. which I would argue is a bigger area of employment then public sites as of late. I also don’t know about CF being a "niche" product as it is focused at web development as a whole just as much as PHP, ASP.Net, Ruby, etc. and used in just as widely ranging industries.
    Anywya, just thought I would put my thoughts in.

  5. The best thing you can do to for your career is to learn a language well. There are plenty of people in every language who think they know it but end up writing really bad code. Be the person who writes good code and you will be fine. Plus you probably find it easier to learn any other language.
    ColdFusion is certainly not stagent. Every release has new features and sees gains in popularity.

  6. Sorry Tom and Andrew, I have to disagree. For maximum portability don’t be a one trick pony, this is true of CF and any other technology. The more tools you have in your toolbox, the better equipped you’ll be, and the more you’ll be in demand.
    — Ben

  7. Kevin was responding to a question from a reader who wanted to know which language and technology he would suggest learning first. In the comments and in the article some have pointed to learning Ruby or Python. I would hate to think that trying to learn web programming would start with Ruby, Python, or god forbid, Perl. These are all great scripting languages, but they were not built with the web in mind. One of the reasons ColdFusion has become popular for web development over the last eleven years is that the syntax is similar to HTML and XML.
    For me ColdFusion was not the first language I learned, but concepts I learned from ColdFusion helped me learn other languages like Java and C#.
    I agree with you Ben, ColdFusion is not stagnant.

  8. Here’s how I see it. You can be a little fish in a big pond (ASP.NET, Java) OR you can be a big fish in a little pond (CF).
    I think it is probably true that if you have your mind set on working on Enterprise applications that CF may not be the right choice for you. I’m not saying that CF cannot work in the Enterprise, rather that there is an Enterprise mindset that Java or ASP.NET are the way things on "done."
    However, if you deal with small or medium business or are working at department level, CF may be your best bet. SMBs are more interested in getting things done–quickly and cost effectively. This is what CF does the best. I’ve never had a problem finding a client…but if you want to work in a cube for the rest of your life and have every step of your work dictated to you, then be sure and follow the flock.

  9. Here we go again – bashing ColdFusion because it is not as pervasive as Coca-Cola in the marketplace, or because it is not open source. So what is Bank of America and MySpace thinking? 🙂 For any good developer, you will want to excel at whatever language or languages you use. And for most clients – the people that pay us – what matters is a solution that meets their needs and the needs of their customers.

  10. A nice little discussion we have going here!
    Ben: I am not in any way advocating being a "one trick pony." I agree with you, in that the more tools you have, the better. I was merely responding to the question in the original article, asking what to start learning. By definition, every beginner starts out as a one trick pony.
    That said, I cannot in good conscience recommend someone starting out learn ColdFusion. CF, being a niche product, is a "Small Pond." It can be difficult for a beginner or even intermediate developer to get work, because the pond tends to be dominated by the experts (the big fish). This is good if you happen to be a big fish, not so good if you are a small one. After all, everyone starts out as a small fish.
    For someone just getting started, it is hard to go wrong with a good general purpose programming language, like C#, Java, or even VB.NET. You never know what twists and turns you career will take (mine certainly didn’t turn out like I expected), so it is good to have at least one general programming language under your belt. Most of these languages can be used very well for web development (as was the question in the original article).

  11. Okay it’s my turn to step in and throw out my 2 cents worth of opinion.
    I work in Seattle and trying to find a ColdFusion job is like trying to find a needle in a VERY large haystack. Sometimes it’s near impossible. Believe me I would LOVE to code in ColdFusion but here in the Northwest hardly anyone uses it. They are all mainly ASP.NET or PHP.
    Whenever I want to learn a new language I do a Dice.com or Monster.com search on the language.
    Oh and on a side note…I hate to say this, but MySpace is migrating to ASP.NET from ColdFusion because ColdFusion couldn’t handle the load. Their CPU usage went from 87% to 27%. I wish I could dig up the article where I read this. And in fact one of the coders of MySpace chimed in with the comments to the blog post and confirmed it.
    Here’s what I would love to happen with ColdFusion, is to have it so that I can use a lot of OOP features in shared hoesting environment. The biggest thing I HATE about ColdFusion is that it’s so DAMN expensive and it’s not really meant for a shared environment like .NET or PHP.
    If ColdFusion had a lower cost or if it was FREE then I’m sure it would gain more popularity. Here’s where it comes down to…XP comes with IIS, PHP has Apache, both are pretty much Free. But when I need deploy a CF app I have cost overhead in the thousands! On top of that the job market for it SUCKS.
    So here I am an extremely frustrated CF’er that feels like, "Yes features are being rolled out that are pretty cool…but the cost is still up and the popularity is down."
    What needs to happen is for CF to get into the hands of the little guys. Why is Ruby on Rails picking up steam and PHP always been popular…cause it’s something the little guys can get their hands on and it doesn’t cost them a thing but their time to learn.
    I feel like leaving ColdFusion because of this and it feels like I’m breaking up with a long time girl friend or going through a potential divorce.
    All in all I just feel like Macromedia/Adobe has lost sight of the everyday person/coder, ya know the little guys. 🙁 Yes I know that Flex came out free, but what about CF?
    Ben, I think kevin had it straight on about ColdFusion being stagnant. ColdFusion job market is stagnant, the language no, the market yes. Oh and by the way he said "relatively".

  12. The cost of a CF license is less than the the cost of a good developer for a week. If a place is concerened about that then I would stay away.
    Oh, and you can also use a hosted server where you won’t have to pay the license at all.

  13. Where to start – first of all, I think Ben was correct to respond to the article. The truth is, CF has long been bashed because it made web development easy for the regular guy. There’s nothing "cool" about that. The OO elitists just wont stand for that kind of thing!
    Alot of talk about Ruby, learning new languages and career portability. First of all, Ruby is "new", and "exciting", there is alot of "talk" about Ruby, but it’s not that pervasive, despite all the hype and a number of bloggers going on about it. If you want career portability, learn the business. If you want technical portability, learn the fundamentals of programming (I started with COBOL, and I am so glad of it) – you’d be surprised how many people are weak in this area. Whatever language you learn, know how it applies to business solutions. That being said, I do think you would be a better CF developer if you knew Java (well), on a pure technical level.
    While I was at it, I did a search on Monster for CF positions, in the U.S. – 547, and (sigh!) another 464 when spelt "Cold Fusion". "Ruby on rails" came back with 70. (Fortran had 317, and DBASE had 67!). So, while CF may be weak in some areas of the country, I think it’s doing ok, on a national average (granted, still way behind the "more than 1000" VB, Java, PHP, etc positions on monster).
    It’s niche, no doubt, and I’d prefer to see a more agressive pricing structure (maybe that’s just me). But I have to say, the demand for CF in the metro NY area is booming. There’s more jobs than people, salaries are jumping (up over 50% in the last 2 years – on average, I’ve been observing, not me persoanlly though, I’m afraid to say!). There’s money to be made in niche!
    So, good on ya, Ben. Fight the good fight. Changing perceptions is a slow process, but we’re getting there.
    IMHO.
    David

  14. Tony,
    Pricing is a whole separate discussion, but let me share this. We’ve done lots of research on this one, many times, over many years, and the reality is that price is not an issue except in very few cases. Developer Edition is free, CF hosting is in line with other hosting options (and we have worked with hosting companies to make it easier for them to offer ColdFusion hosting), and (being someone who talks with thousands of customers a year I can state this quite definitively) the raw cost of the server almost never comes up as the barrier to ColdFusion. For this who don’t want to use ColdFusion anyway, and are looking for ways to ding it, sure, they bring up price, but not otherwise. It has been years since anyone told me "I am going to go with x because of the price of the CF server". 5+ years ago we heard price quite a bit, but we really don’t hear it anymore. Now part of it could be the change in the market, in the 90s everyone was building .com sites, including lots of start-ups with no cash to spare. And as there are less and less of those types of companies around we (fortunately) do not find ourselves defending price at all. We get asked about standards, and J2EE vs. .NET, about performance and reliability … but not price. For most companies the cost the $1500 entry price for ColdFusion is not an issue if they are convinced it will save them money in development time. And there is no evidence to suggest that if we suddenly gave away ColdFusion for free that those using PHP or Ruby or other no initial cost options would suddenly come running in droves to ColdFusion. Really. I am not trying to blow you off here, I just want to set the record straight based on what we hear from customers (both those who do buy ColdFusion, and those who opt not to).
    — Ben

  15. "Where to start?" is right.
    "For someone just getting started"… If we’re talking about web development here, they should learn Cold Fusion and use the brainpower saved on the learning curve to actually learn the WEB part of it ((X)HTML, CSS, JavaScript, standards, usability, accessibility, etc). Any newbie will undoubtably write bad code the first few times, but any experienced programmer can still make bad web apps and pages.
    The Northwest contrast to the DC area (where I’d say there are plenty of CF jobs thanks to the marketing to the government MM/Adobe has done) is quite interesting though. Being from the DC area, I’d never given a second thought about learning a new language since becoming skilled in CF. I’d rather spend that time on all the other web technologies (plus databases, SEO, etc) that are also constantly changing.
    And finally, wasn’t MySpace coded in CF5? How do PHP 2 and ASP 1 scale?

  16. Whats with all the arguing here – cf is ‘relatively’ stagnant and is NOT a good career move. Its a stretch to say otherwise.

  17. Very nice response Ben, I am so sick of people spreading information about ColdFusion when they themselves do not have a clue as to its power.

  18. @Ben
    Good post, Ben! It reminds me of the other post you made regarding the CF job opportunities article a while back. Keep taking them to task!
    @Tony
    "Oh and on a side note…I hate to say this, but MySpace is migrating to ASP.N

  19. Hey be it stagnant or not, the fact that fewer have chosen to continue using CF or new developers are picking up another language has left me with a massive overflow of CF work. My clients request ColdFusion because they see the value of RAD, integration with other important Adobe technologies such as Flash and PDF, and because it simply works for them.
    So in my case, ColdFusion has been my choice. Yes I can code ASP and PHP fluently. I could probably pick up .NET or Java in a few months time. But why?

  20. I’m finding all of this pretty funny actually. The author of the article (Kevin Yank’s) obviously has a great point. The fact that everyone is here debatting the question, and the fact that Ben sent an e-mail asking for a change, plainly tells me that Kevin is right. Obviously Ben is not confident that he’s correct, or else he would simply let it go. It’s one thing to correct a factual error (say a feature which was mis-represented), but it’s another thing to publically refute an opinion like this.
    Instead of telling me that ColdFusion is not stagnant anymore, prove it to me by showcasing new exciting clients who are doing innovative things with the technology. To me, a technology becomes stagnant when there are no more innovation being done with not technology (NOTE: I know there is still invovation WITHIN the technology, but there doesn’t seem to be an innovation USING the technology). 4-5 years ago you had cool products like FuseTalk and Paperthin gang created, and to this day they are still the only ones creating solid products with your platform. Ben, this fits your definition of "Stagnant" if you ask me.
    It’s unfortunate, but reality nevertheless. I love ColdFusion and haven’t programmed in it for a while now. The last straw for me was when I had a product idea and wanted to do it in ColdFusion. I wanted to OEM ColdFusion but Macromedia wanted charge me 100k as an entry fee. This was not withstanding the fees I had to pay for each sell of the product. I’ve started development in .Net. The price to distribute .Net (and java for that matter) is Free.
    Cheers,
    Eric

  21. Kevin was 100% correct and gave the reader some good real world advice. Only a small fraction of web developers show any real interest in coldfusion and it takes only simple job search on seek or anywhere else to prove that CF jobs are more scarce than they are for MS, Java, php technologies. Have a look at the TIOBE index (www.tiobe.com) if you want to se a general gague of just how much interest there is in coldfusionthese days.
    Kevin, take no notice of Ben, it’s his job to defend coldfusion to the death, without rhyme nor reason. I love coldfusion too, but loving it aint going to put food on the table.

  22. As editor of a websiet that has over 3 million in traffic each month and deals with all major technologies, with no biased to ward any of them, I ouwl dsay that Kevin Yank is in a far better position to comment on community attitudes than Ben Forta, Ben being ridicuoulsly biased toward coldfusion.
    Why ridiculous? He even has teh nerve to write to an editor and tell them to revise their work to suit his opinions!! Ben, you better free up some time as their are many many editors, devlopers and members of the community who feel exactly the same way as Kevin does, best be sending them all an email asking them to revise their opinions.
    Btw; coldfusion is ‘relatively’ stagnant in quite a few ways. Despite what you say publicly, you would have to know this or be living in some kind of dreamland. It is stagnant with respect to people doing new and wonderful things with it (heaps more exciting adn new stuff happening in php and .net worlds, heaps!!), and stagnant with respect to the industry and job market behind it.
    One more thing – coldfusion is not java. java is java. the words ‘is’ and compiles to’ are not teh same.

  23. @Eric: "Obviously Ben is not confident that he’s correct, or else he would simply let it go." – If someone says something wrong about your company, is that what you do? Nice. Let me know how that wprks out for you in life.
    @Monica: There

  24. I must admit, just updating your skills from CF6.1 to CF7, will take you a couple of weeks. Fidling around with all the new heavy weight stuff like event gateways, report builder, cfdocument, not to mention Flex 2 intergration, will take you some time. I wouldn’t refer to ColdFusion as being a stagnant technology, far from it. And a word of advise, take the http://www.tiobe.com index with pich of salt. Javascript is dropping of the list much like a bricks do! How’s that possible with all the ajax talk going around?

  25. I see complaints of ColdFusion being too expensive, niche market product and not powerful enough to compete with the newer technologies.
    Price is not really an issue. If you are a small to medium company that is trying to have local servers, then your out of pocket cost can be percieved as high. The price of ColdFusion sahred hosting leverages that until you can afford your own server. This is a typical growth process.
    Niche market does seem accurate considering that most business types are using the product. ColdFusion is not used by one industry, it is being used by most industries.
    ColdFusion is not powerful enough? ColdFusion offers the most amount of features out of the box than any other product offering. OOP? ColdFusion is a J2EE application that offers ColdFusin Components (CFCs) that allow you create object based programming. With the release of Flex 2.0, which I have not seen any viable competition for to date.
    ColdFusion does not limit you. ColdFusion has a build for most every mainstream Operating Sytem and web server. Microsoft works on Microsoft networks. ColdFusion continually develops ways to integrate with all technologies regardless of barriers. Adobe prides itself on being portable to everyone and listens to their user base to keep making ColdFusion easy to use even for difficult tasks.
    AJAX buzz? Adobe has released Spry to provide an easy to use AJAX framework. Now here is the kicker, ColdFusion can integrate every aspect of their technologies together. You can leverage Spry with ColdFusion, ColdFusion with Flex and then you can mix all three together.
    For the OOP people, ColdFusion components are used to leverage DAO and Gateway objects in an MVC paradigm natively in ColdFusion Flex wizard.
    The market for ColdFusion will increase and has always been there. I have lived rther comfortably since I have adopted ColdFusion almost 8 years ago. SAP is researching the viability of Flex in their product suite. SAP would not consider a product line unless they took it serious enough as a business solution.
    Don’t discredit ColdFusion. Don’t speak negatively of it. Allaire/Macromedia/Adobe have never spoken negatively of you. They just find ways to work with your technologies easier than you thought. Simplicity does not mean less power. It takes more effort to make a difficult process look simple.

  26. At the job I work at now, CF was on the outs. But having redeveloped a project in cold fusion I was able to show that its definitely not the langauge, its the developer. Having said that, I have to say that I, too, am tired of the CF this and CF that bashing. Put the right tool in the hands of the right person and you will have the right solution. As easy as Cold Fusion was to learn, Adobe should do some main stream advertising for it – even if it is as subtle as blurb in every ad – like "intel inside". Then we can not have this conversation all together.

  27. Of course Ben is confident that he is correct. People of his caliber certanly wouldn’t make such strong statements unless they knew that ColdFusion was being falsely described.
    Believe me, every time someone makes a comment about CF like Kevin did, expect to hear some fiery responses from CF community, which is growing every day. The reason why the community is growing is because being a CF developer has been and continues to be very exciting. If you don’t agree with that, that’s fine. All we are asking is not to badmouth CF because it doesn’t deserve it.
    To all new developers out there still deciding which way to go, I couldn’t recommend ColdFusion more. I find it so much more exciting than any other language. And of course, it is very powerful too.
    To all of you who said you couldn’t find a ColdFusion job, have you tried brushing up on your CF skills lately? CF is easy to learn and difficult to master. Employers are looking for the best people, whether you are a CF, PHP or .NET programmer. Jobs don’t fall from the sky. If you are really passionate about CF you will find the job very quickly and when you do, you’re in for one hell of a ride!

  28. Its funny, I see here in the responses two kinds of people -those living in the rel world and stating facts that matter, and those coldfusion developers talikng all emotional but missing the point entirely.
    cf is powerful, cf is wonderful, cf this and cf that. You act as though simply deciding to use cf will actually create a job for you and make your life so exciting. You care little for the fact that there are relatively few jobs for it, that it is rarely used (relatively speaking), and that its WHOPPING expense DOES MATTER! Its expense is killing it – why? Becuase t prevent mainstream adoption, which prevents momentum, which prevents all teh ther things that the competetition has going for it.
    If cf were as RAD as .NET, as simple as ruby or php, and had something undisputably unique about it, then i could understand. But it doesn’t – its just ascripting language with pros adn cons like any other – just very VERY EXPENSIVE!
    I used ita fair bit years ago, adn liked it a lot. But when clients, who nothing of of web dev, specifically request you to steer clear of coldfusion, you know there are some serious perception issues.

  29. Arthur: "I used ita fair bit years ago" – With respect, I think the vast change in ColdFusion since "years ago", and association of todays product with that product is what started this conversation. ColdFusion has changed dramatically in the last 5 years, and that is the main reason why it does not deserve the "stangant" tag it was given.
    David

  30. IF CF is stagnant, I never got the memo.
    I’ve been coding in CF for almost 10 years now. I’ve moved all over the US during my professional life, and mind you, I tried branching out into other technical areas, from networking, to C++ to Java. However, to my benefit or detriment (you be the judge), I always ended up with a job coding in CF, because that is where the money was for me. I was paid much more as an experienced CF professional, than anything else.
    I’ve worked in a variety of industries from Seattle to LA, and I’ve always been able to put food on the table thanks to Allaire/Adobe/Macromedia for keeping CF alive and cutting-edge.
    Ali

  31. Sorry for the double post, but I read a few more responses, and have to comment.
    Please keep in mind that I have been working with Coldfusion my entire professional life.
    Ben is not just talking through his hat when he says that price is no longer an issue. A lot of the rebuttals mention how small businesses can’t handle the cost.
    That is a crock. I have worked for small, medium and large businesses. From local insurance companies, to large entertainment conglomerates, to SBC (does that name ring a ‘bell’). Neither had any problem with the price of ColdFusion server. They would all get excited when a new version of CF would come out with more features, that made them confident that CF was still a valid investment, not to mention the reduced development time it gave them. With regards to SBC, they went with CF because they became a Java shop. They did the heavy duty app development in Java, which integrated seemlessly with the CF websites. Also, they were running Web Sphere and Microsoft technologies, and CF allowed them to run both.
    With regards to MySpace (the entertainment company I mentioned, owned MySpace before they went public). The same way SBC became a java shop, the MySpace guys were Microsoft developers. Their area of expertise was C# and all the other MS languages, NOT Java. They were doing a lot of app development in .Net, and in that sense, it was more cost effective for them to drop CF. It became a question of .Net vs. J2EE, which is a completely different debate which has nothing to do with CF per se. Ben can handle this question better, it’s not .Net vs. CF, but .Net vs. J2EE. There’s nothing to get excited about the fact that they switched to BlueDragon, that is just a stepping stone for them to go completely .Net, and be a 100% Microsoft shop.
    Oh and yes, the MySpace site was poorly coded, that’s why it couldn’t handle the load. I know some of the people who coded it. It was coded in CF 5, and there have been 2 major releases since then. I know many people who used to work for Allaire and Macromedia support, and MySpace never tried to contact Macromedia to work on how to improve their code to handle the load, and work on an upgrade plan to MX which could handle it. My friends in MM Support used to handle many such cases and I know they had a lot of success stories with many Fortune 500 companies in similar situations.
    This is why I hate it when this is used as a Failure Case against Adobe Coldfusion. IT IS NOT.
    MySpace did not give it a chance, and then switched to a version of BlueDragon which was concurrent to CF MX. If they had switched to BlueDragon’s equivalent of CF 5, W/O changing any code, then I would have liked to have seen, how the site would have done.
    Next, they only switched to BlueDragon because it works with .Net, and they had already made the decision to phase out CF completely and become a 100% .Net site. So BD was only a stepping stone.
    Hope this sets things straight.
    Ali

  32. No, I think the ‘stagnant’ comes from the lack fo industry around coldfusion. Its eaasy for those who are already in the industry to quote how much work there is -but Kevin was right to give the advice he did. Any new developer would be comitting career suicide by adopting cf -they would be best learning anything else but cf! Later, once established as a developer adn once they knew they were in cf ‘hotspot’, then they may consider adopting cf – but under normal circumstances, kevins advice makes sense.
    One poster here said that business do not care about the cost, even said it was a ‘crock’. I find this totally ignorant. Of course many businesses care about the cost -i ahve heard them complain of teh cost and point out how cf does essentially teh same teh same thing as php. I have heard them point out how .NET costs less but does so much more than just web. I have heard all sort s of ‘caring’ directly relating to teh high cost of codfusion. I can also see that the adoption rate for coldfusion is significantly less, a fraction of, other technologies specifically because of the cost.
    The high price for cf, in a market you can get similar and better for free, matters.
    I also agree with the earlier poster who alluded to the fact that some cf folk in this thread seem to have a handy ability to paint a rosy picture for themselves and completely ignore the very real issues that impact most developers adn organisations, effectively making coldfusion a product that barely rates a mention at the majority of pre project meetings. Woudl you belive I even bump into people who think cf is an old product from years ago and don’t even realise it’s still around? It’s a worry.
    Anyway, have to side entirely with Kevin here. His advice was solid and his comment aboiut stagnant works for me too.

  33. "So far, posters like you have yet to provide any tangible evidence to back up your claim that ColdFusion is stagnant."
    You are kidding, right? Job boards, community size numbers, searches for pre built apps and code, tiobe index, search of source forge for new adn exciting cf developments, personal experience of the other posters, so n and so forth. A book being pulled from print!! I think its fair to say that there is more ‘evdidence’ coming from these other posters than there is from ‘posters like you’
    I am not saying cf is or is not stagnant, but I am saying is that it is easy to see why people think so. Liek anotehr poster here expereinced, I also meet people who either think cf is dead or pretty much laugh at any suggestion you make that they should use it. It just aint taken all that seriously by the majority of developers – don’t tell me you can’t find evidence of this.

  34. "The high price for cf, in a market you can get similar and better for free, matters."
    Nail on the head. The resaon coldfusion is ‘relatively’ stagnant is becuase it offers very little above and beyond what you can get far cheaper, and with far more security (ie; many many more coders available, many many more pre built apps and code libraries, many many more books, training course, hosting providers, the list ges on)
    The adoption of cf is not very widespread for one reason and one reason only – it’s cost. It is no less capable than php or asp.net, it is not siginicantly harder or easier to learn that ruby or php. Really, cost is the major thing working against it.
    Think about it – why would everybody be rushing to build their projects in cf? All the old reasons to use it are no longer valid. Or should I say, valid enough, to convince most IT managers that it is worth the money. Any project that can succeed with cf can absolutely succeed in any other language, so why put up with the downsides of cf?
    I am not anti-cf as such, but it just seems to me that if folk appraoch this methodically, do up a list of pros and cons and puts ticks in columns for each technology – the chances of cf coming out on top are pretty slim for most folk. Jeez, the chances of cf even getting on the list in the first place is pretty slim these days.
    Kevin has a point and, more importantly, has a right to make his point, without letters of harrassment being sent his way.
    Ben, send a letter to O’Reilly, publishers of a very very poular coldfusion book, ask them what they were thinking when they took it out of print due to lack of demand. There’s a great big ‘cf is stagnant’ clue right there. Look at the size of the cf community, the numbers attending CFUGs around the globe, its pretty lame. The clues are all over the place.
    cf is a nice scripting language, but it is not exactly one the majority of web developers are very excited about or interested in. Hence, stagnant.

  35. @Mikey
    What I find ignorant, are vague comments being attributed to me.
    What I said in my post was a comment about Ben’s statement saying that in his extensive experience in dealing with CF clients, that they no longer complain about the cost of

  36. Okay, this is getting silly now. I belive I can see the problem.
    First up, the statement that cf is stagnant is ambigious. Stagnant in what way – adoption? Innovation? Number of new releases? In some ways you can see that yes, cf is stagnant. In others, it seems ridiculous to say it is stagnant. So with no clear rules, this debate is futile and unresolvable.
    It seems to me that most people here are arguing more along the lines of how popular cf is. With that in mind I can see why the stagnant claim makes sense for some people, but not for others. I ersonally think that cf is ‘relatively’ unpopular but that this means very little given that there is no popularity contest taking place, so far as I can tell.
    I am a certified coldfsion developer and a macromedia certified instructor. Up until about 5 years ago, I was providing cf training and involved with plenty of coldfusion work. These days I do almost exclusively asp.net and some php. Why the change? Because coldfusion became stagnant. Now thats not a dig at coldfusion, it is a fact pure and simple. In my state (WA, Aus) it simply dried up and nobody uses it anymore, so I had to move on.
    Having said that, as you can see here, there are people still making a great living from cf. So to them, it is far from stagnant.
    Is Keving Yank correct? Yes he is, no he isn’t and maybe. Should Ben have asked him to change his work? No, its pretty darned rude to send an email and suggest that he update his work to reflect the feeling of someone other than himself. Ben should probably have simply asked Kevin to shed more light and explain where he was coming from, then wrote his blog with a bit more insight. Instead, all he has managed to do is stir up yet another ‘cf is dead’ style debate – which is no good for nobody.

  37. Ali,
    "I have not found small businesses and companies who use ColdFusion to complain about the cost of ColdFusion. "
    "I have not found small businesses and companies who use ColdFusion to complain about the cost of ColdFusion. "
    Why in the world would companies that are already using coldfusion complain about it’s cost!? They kind of make it clear that they are okay with teh cost by the fact that they bought it. Isn’t the whole point of this portion of the debate that it is not used as often by companies because of the cost – those that already use it obviously do not qulaify as being in the group of people that don’t use it due to its cost. So your rebuttal here makes no sense.

  38. If you think it’s all about magnitude and numbers, you’re wrong. It’s like saying the number of Ford drivers is much larger then the number of Ferrari drivers. Therefore, Ford is a much better car. "The most popular" does not always mean "the best". I am not saying that CF is the best, but it is damn good and certanly not stagnant.
    You think there are no exciting cf developments out there? Currently, there are 118 open source cf projects on the list. Not on sourceForge, but on an official list, which you probably don’t need to know.
    Lots of developers don’t get a chance to try ColdFusion because of Microsoft’s popularity or because of negative comments about CF from people that we’re seeing here. Every developer that I introduced to CF fell in love with it. "people think cf is dead". That’s right, they can only think it is dead or wish it was dead, but the fact is, cf has never been more alive in 11 years since it was invented.

  39. "If you think it’s all about magnitude and numbers, you’re wrong."
    I second that.
    "cf has never been more alive in 11 years since it was invented. "
    I second that too – its bigger and better than ever.
    "Lots of developers don’t get a chance to try ColdFusion because of Microsoft’s popularity or because of negative comments about CF from people that we’re seeing here. "
    Sure , MS has got the umpf to grab a developers attention, and the tools and technology to back up the marketing. But there still seems to be enough left over for coldfusion to grab a portion of the market. (a slightly different market I might add)
    I am not so sure its correct call some peoples comments here negative as such – or to suggest that the comments affect the relatively small adoption rates (as opposed to the relatively small adoption rate generates the comments)
    As is seen here, cf does suffer from issues that definitely prevent it from being used by mainstream developers. We have no real control over that. One thing is very clear for many cf developers, you cannot survive on cf alone.
    This is rather sad as the same is often not true for other developers – one CAN survive on asp.net alone, or php alone, but this is often a hard thing for a cf developer to be able to say. The sad thing about this is that many who come to cf are looking for an easier life, so it’s a bit of a shock for those who realise that they will be cutting no corners or avoiding ‘trickier’ languages by adopting cf. This alone could be enough to deter folk from adopting it (as in, well if I have to learn php/asp.net anyway, why spend thousands trying to dodge them)
    Every developer that I introduced to CF fell in love with it. "people think cf is dead". That’s right, they can only think it is dead or wish it was dead, but the fact is, cf has never been more alive in 11 years since it was invented.

  40. This is getting funny. Other platforms have debates like:
    Which is better, .Net or Java?
    Which is better, C# or vb.Net?
    Which Java App server is better?
    We are debatting whether the technology that we love is ‘alive’ or ‘dead’. How pathetic is that!!!!
    Ben, ignore what people have to say (i.e. don’t publically start a STUPID debate about a STUPID subject), let’s stop complaining and let’s start doing something about it. We never hear the community leaders mention anything about 3rd party products which are currently on the market (maybe a post of two MAXIMUM!). Talk about what exciting things people are doing (i.e. features in FuseTalk, CommonSpot, Vertabase, etc…). I don’t even see them advertising on your site. It’s like these people fell off the face of the earth for the CF community. 5 years ago they were all the talk of the town.
    If I leave the CF community it won’t be because I don’t like the language or the capabilities, but because the community leaders are in their own little world (or ‘clique’) and don’t see very far ahead.
    My 2 cents (which will probably get ignored because I’m not part of the CF ‘clique’, but Alas! Worth a shot!)

  41. I am not going to comment on specific responses or comments here. Well, not yet anyway. But I just have to respond to the suggestions that e-mailing an editor and asking for a correction is rude – the nerve!
    If I see someone make a public statement that I believe to be incorrect or misleading, then yes, I absolutely will (and should) comment and even have ‘the nerve’ to demand a correction. That’s my right as a reader, just as it is the recipient’s right to respond or choose to ignore me. Columnists, editors, and authors are not Godlike creatures, they actually can be mistaken at times, and it is perfectly permissible to question their writings.
    Heck, I happen to be an author too, and I get e-mail from readers just about every single day. Most are requests for help, comments, or suggestions – but I do get corrections, clarifications, and even criticism sporadically. I don’t consider these messages rude at all. On the contrary, I am honored that people read what I write and feel strongly enough about the topic (whatever that strong feeling is) to write to tell me so.
    I have written to many authors, editors, and columnists before. And I will keep doing so where I deem appropriate. And as shocking as this may seem to some of you, doing so is not rude and does not require nerve.
    Enough said!
    — Ben

  42. Its not so much the sending of the email to the editor that is wrong, you have every right to do so, of course. Personally, I find the act of broadcasting the fact that you sent the email before getting a response from him, and stirring up a debate that adds further speculation about the value of coldfusion in todays market is, well, useless at best and damaging to cf at worst.
    CF faces enough hurdles and is need of more support and adoption – giving folk more reasons to spout all the reasons not to use it, providing them a platform on which to declare how they would like to use it but can’t justify it, so on and so forth. Whats the point?
    It seems that in this lot of posts, right here in a coldfusion website, you have more folk disagreeing with your assertion that it is not stagnant. How good does that look to the casual uninformed observer?

  43. Ben may not like Kevins comments, but Kevin is pretty much right in his assertion that CF is not a good language for a newcomer to learn – there simply isn’t enough people hiring coldfusion for it to be one of those languages you just up and learn.
    Coldfusion is not mainstream, is used by only a tiny percenatge of organisations, and does not have serious momentum or industry behind it – therefore, it’s a pretty bad choice for a newcomer wanting to get into web dev.
    Is it stagnant? Yes, in many ways and for many people, it is. Though I agree with the other poster that ‘stagnant’ is contextual and relative. In my world, cf rarely rates a mention and is NEVER considered a viable option. The reasons not to use it are absolutely overwhelming for a lot of people.

  44. My main gripe with coldfusion is that it does not get used enough to warrant remaining skilled with it. I know it is used in certain places, but the fact that it is not in widspread use means it is a niche product with limited reach and importance.
    I think besides the cost issue, is the fact that developers are not supported with a professional level IDE. I cannot belive they are still touting Dreamweaver as a development environment for coldfusion. After all these years, thats just so weak.
    From the IDE point of view – yeah, doesn’t really get much more stagnant as they are yet to develop a coldfusion IDE that could even remotely satisfy a serious coder. Wonder if MacroDobe have any plans here?

  45. Barney, have you heard of Eclipse platform and a ColdFusion plugin for it called CFEclipse?? To save you time searching, it’s a prefessional quality IDE for CF coders. Most cf developers use it. Do you know how much it is? It’s free!
    Isn’t it wonderful to be able to code in your preferred language for free.
    Ok, back to work now. CFEclipse is waiting…

  46. Yes, I have seen eclipse. Dreamweaver is actually far preferable to eclispe – it is a very basic (and small, and slow as a dog) eclipse plug in that provides nothing at all that competes with the likes of VS.NET or JBuilder, or even some of the great PHP tools out there.
    Sorry, cfeclipse is nice if you can’t afford dreaweaver, but still no substitute for a n IDE (after all, its basically a code editing plug-in) Are you comapring cfeclipse to vs.net or intelli-j o rjbuilder or any decent IDE with serious developer features and time savers? Come off it.

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