I’ve always respected Vince Bonfanti and his New Atlanta team. We’ve spoken at events together, we’re cordial and respectful when we meet, and on occasion we’ve even chatted about our products and direction. Although I don’t know him personally, Vince has always struck me as a sharp guy, someone who understands and is passionate about technology, and he seems like a decent person. That, even though we are competitors.
Over the years I have been very careful to never negatively comment on his company or products, even when asked to make comparisons. Never, I just wouldn’t do that. And frankly, I’ve never even felt the need to do so. It’s a big pond out there, and if ColdFusion does well while its clones do the same, well, that’s good for everybody.
Which is why Vince’s recent post on who leads and who copies bothered me. Vince has every right to say what he wants, and at the end of the day he wants to sell product, and I understand that. But when the message changes from one of selling your product’s benefits and virtues to a rant that more closely resembles preschoolers in the sandbox arguing “my daddy is bigger than your daddy”, well, that’s both sad and pathetic.
But it’s gotten worse, and thus this post. Recently, one of Vince’s staff was discussing his product with a member of the press at a trade show, and used the opportunity to badmouth ColdFusion and Adobe, as well as to imply that Adobe is abandoning ColdFusion, almost trying to position them and their product as the heir apparent. How pathetic! I have briefed the press on lots of products hundreds of times in a decade and a half, and I have never yet had to resort to badmouthing others and lying about their products or plans so as to make my point. It feels a bit like presidential political races, where those who have little positive to say about themselves have to resort to innuendoes and mudslinging, and those on the sidelines shake their heads in dismay and mutter disappointedly. Honestly, having that little faith in your own product is rather sad.
New Atlanta is a privately held company, so no one outside really knows how well they are doing. Over the years Vince and others have told me that they were doing well, and I have always believed them and have been happy for them. But the increasingly defensive positioning and rants, not to mention shenanigans with the press, well, that really smells of desperation. And that’s rather sad, too.
Next week we start the big Scorpio Usergroup tour. Tim, Adam, and myself will visit dozens of locations and get the chance to speak to thousands of customers, introducing them to what is shaping up to be a truly incredible new ColdFusion. And I can assure you that I’ll have no difficulty demonstrating and pitching ColdFusion without having to resort to even mentioning any other vendor or product. And I definitely won’t have to badmouth them or make up stories for uninformed reporters.
I guess when you actually have a story worth telling, taking the highroad is easy.

20 thoughts

  1. Ben, you and the whole Adobe team are great people. You all exhibit a real concern for the community and a high-level of professionalism. Adobe has been incredibly fair and respectful to the existence of New Atlanta. It’s an incredible cheap shot and a stupidly bold decision of theirs to act as they’ve been doing recently. I can tell you from personal experience though that they have quite a record of being unprofessional and doing whatever it takes to sell their sub-par product. About 2-3 years ago they gave a presentation of BlueDragon at the South Florida CFUG and their highlight then was that they had just struck the deal with myspace. They openly told us tons of secrets about how myspace functions and how they had put that solution together for them. I consider that to be massively unprofessional and perhaps they only got away with it because myspace was too young to realize that they should’ve had them sign an NDA or something! Also, I happened to "win" a free copy of BlueDragon in a raffle that they had. They said that they would email me the license and copy right away. Weeks went by and I never heard from them, I never have heard from them since. By the way, I never intended to use bluedragon at all, I was looking forward to placing it on Ebay except that nobody was even buying or sellling it on there anyways, hehe! So, don’t worry Ben, they’ll get what they deserve and I agree, they truly are desperate. They should at least have some respect for the company whose software they’re cloning, I guess they’ve never heard of "Don’t bite the hand that feeds you".

  2. That is very well said Ben. I have followed the New Atlanta rant for a few weeks now. They have a great product. It fits well in a market that needs it. Adobe, with ColdFusion, has a great product that they are making even better. How Mr. Bonfanti got his story, we will never know. Why Mr. Bonfanti is telling his story we will never know.
    I am very pleased to see the stand you take on this.
    One thing to remember, when you get into a pissing contest with someone, you both get wet. I’ am happy to see you have stayed dry. All I can say at this point is, Mr.Bonfanti is all wet.

  3. I agree completely. Last year at CFUnited I sat in on the New Atlanta session. What a waste of time. It ended up being no more than a marketing pitch and most of the time Mr. Bonfanti referenced Blue Dragon and MySpace (which is in my opinion is a horrible site). Nothing against CFUnited (which is great) or Teratech (also great) for bringing them in–but I could have sat through a much better session at that conference.
    At any rate, I think New Atlanta is completely unnecessary for 99.99% of my needs. ColdFusion stands strong on its own. Thanks, Ben, for taking a stand on this.

  4. Well said Ben. I agree with you 100% and then some.
    I’ve always had a problem with BlueDragon, but after Vince’s recent comments, I couldn’t keep quiet any longer.

  5. I’ve gotta say I don’t know Vince or have ever used new atlanta products BUT anytime I’m randomly browsing a CF blog and a BD post comes up…… anywhere…….. in the remotest of places….. there is a vince comment that usually feels very defensive or high horsed back to the op. He seems like a nice, smart and passionate guy just like you said….. but its like mainstream radio when you have something shoved down your throat a lot and without requesting it…. you tend to form a negative connotation when you think about that thing. That is how I currently feel about that entire group, and sadly I have never used their products or know any of them.
    I’ve never actually said it out loud since it seemed rude, but those are my first impressions. I know a lot of what I’ve read he has made offhanded comments then in the next sentence attempted to clarify he meant no ill will towards CF or MM/adobe etc. kind of like an abusive husband I would imagine 😛

  6. Some announced features in ColdFusion do already exist in BlueDragon. That is fact.
    If you wrap up that fact in a slightly edgy blog post about who is chasing who, it gets people talking. It is a marketing strategy whether good or bad.
    Personally I thought Vince’s post was relatively harmless and did not stray too far out of the usual topic / tone of his other blog posts. I’m surprised it generated as much "additional press" as it did. I’ve heard it said that CFMX8 will make NA feel very vindicated, due to the BD features that are being added to CFMX8. I’m sure others have made similar comparisons.
    I know nothing about what NA said (or says) to the press, but would love to know as many details as you are comfortable sharing. Otherwise, it appears to me that this post with a a negative slant towards NA / Vince, isn’t any different from Vince’s (which has a negative slant towards CFMX.

  7. Competition is good. 🙂
    I agree with Jeffry…
    Email and blog posts make poor communication mediums. Pick up the phone and hash things out. Seems like all of this could have been cleared up with a friendly and polite phone call.

  8. So when Scorpio is released, will Adobe be taking the same pricing route that they have with CS3?
    You know the one where the suite costs $1100 in the US and $2600 in the UK. I know I’ve emailed you directly about this, but Ben, be very very very aware of the immense bad feeling Adobe is generating with their CS3 pricing policy. Please do not allow this to happen with CF.
    The install base is small enough as it is in the UK.

  9. I firmly believe in the philosophy of "let the market decide." An example: New Atlanta brought CFTHREAD to the table, then complained when Adobe put into CF. Let the market decide which implementation is better.
    Adobe is clearly the market leader, and obviously New Atlanta (Vince) resents that fact. Granted, NA has its share of successes, and they are to be applauded for them, but Adobe and ColdFusion will always be the market leader for CFML. NA will have their niche and need to do the best to thrive within that space.

  10. I think that Vince’s response to this particular issue (referring to the blog entry he linked to earlier on this page) has been completely reasonable. First off, he agreed that any negative statements about Adobe by New Atlanta would be innapropriate. Second, he investigated the claim and found that it wasn’t true– it was a misunderstanding. So I think that Tim Buntel is right– this should be considered a closed issue.
    Ben, if you’re referring to a different statement or blog posting from Vince, other than the comments made to the reporter, I suggest you should link to them so that readers have the chance to look at the same items as you are.

  11. Be, with all due respect, assuming we have all the details here from these two entries, I have to agree with Tom here. The article is both short and lacking any supporting details and does not even attribute the ColdFusion is dying to the New Atlanta rep. It would seem that based upon the email thread with Tim, NA took the concerns seriously.
    Also, I read the prior post as well and took it as an attempt to prove that NA can be *as innovative* as Adobe more so than a we thought of it first kind of thing….but clearly I have no personal or professional feelings tied up in this debate so I might read it differently than you.

  12. Given the ‘respectful, cordial’ relationship you’ve maintained with New Atlanta it seems odd to me that you would respond publicly to hearsay of this [rather provocative] nature without actually bothering to confirm whether it was true or not. Since it appears that the comments can’t justifiably be attributed to New Atlanta, it sure seems that a public apology or at least a correction is due them.
    I also read Vince’s reponses in blog posts (and his own original posts) and find the following to be the prevailing sentiment of others: if he assertively responds to criticisms about BlueDragon then he’s being ‘desperate’ and ‘defensive’, and when he outlines competitive advantage of BD over CF then he’s being an obnoxious loud-mouth and trying to ‘shove stuff down our throats’. This is business, gang, and I really don’t understand the adolescent griping over a company marketing (and defending) their own product line — it seems logical to presume their competitors won’t be doing it for them.
    I find a lot of hypocrisy in those comments above complaining about having to endure New Atlanta’s MySpace and other guerilla marketing blah-blah. I certainly recall having spent fifty bucks on the ADVANCED CFMX Application Development book (by Ben Forta, et al) only to discover a full 120 pages of it devoted to how to use (and therefore why to buy) DreamweaverMX? Talk about ‘sales tactics’. I suppose some found those chapters a dream come true, but when I drop a fifty on a 1000 page book about ADVANCED ColdFusion I don’t expect to have 10% of it wasted on another product that only tangentially relates to the topic of the book. I wanted another 100 pages of advanced ColdFusion techniques, but I was denied them in favor of aggressive Dreamweaver marketing (I still don’t use Dreamweaver years later).
    Note that I am not, nor have been, a user of BlueDragon; I’ve evaluated it in the past and compared differences with CF as many others have, and my comments are not derived from some pro-BD or anti-CF fanaticism. But its so tired seeing the same repeated themes come up over and over again in discussions that relate to BlueDragon and how it does or does not reflect upon/complicate/detract from/or otherwise harm CF. The competitive advances each flavor makes is ultimately healthy for the language and to suggest otherwise is silly.

  13. I’ve always been a fan of Bluedragon as an alternative. It has some good features, but in my opinion, it’s still riding the coat-tails of Coldfusion. Sure, they may implement a few fancy features that Coldfusion doesn’t have, and maybe they’ll even lead the way in a few relatively minor areas (like CFTHREAD).
    but Adobe Coldfusion is still the defacto standard. when I build my open source applications, I try to support Bluedragon because it’s pretty popular. But I avoid anything that’s not "core" functionality. If it doesn’t work in Bluedragon *AND* Coldfusion, I don’t use it.
    Of course, in my real life job, we use Coldfusion, and we *ARE* tied to some features that Bluedragon didn’t or doesn’t have. Flash/Flex integration and CFReport being the primary items.
    Like I said, I like Bluedragon… but starting with the keynote Vince gave at CFUNITED last year, where the whole speech seemed dedicated to proving that New Atlanta wasn’t a "copycat" company.. to his recent blog posting… well, those things just bugged me.

  14. @Ben: I would never ask you to change your perspective on a specific issue. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions.
    But it does appear that you did get the facts wrong with respects to "the opportunity to badmouth ColdFusion and Ado

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