Andrew Shorten and Deepa Subramaniam answer Your Questions About Flex.
Where’s the CF version of this article?
Not much to say new about ColdFusion. A major update to CF is in the works, an update to CF Builder are also in the works, just as had been articulated previously. No changes to the plans already announced.
If you are asking about what comes after that, well, my answer will be the same as when I was asked the same question after we shipped CF8 before we shipped CF9. If the next major update sells and does well, there will be a subsequent major update. If it does not, then I doubt there will be one. It’s a business at the end of the day. So, we’ll get the next major update out. And then we’ll figure out what comes after that, same as any software developer must do.
I’m afraid that this type of reasoning doesn’t build confidence. Because without enough sales the product support simply ends. The result is that companies turn to open source. Not because its better or cheaper but because it won’t simply disappear all of a sudden. The result is that today the situation isn’t any better than 20 year ago (its probably worse). I’m not surprised that soo many IT projects fail.
Tom, I think you are greatly over simplifying the commercial versus open source discussion. Every commercial product has to make this business decision, it doesn’t matter if it is software or cars or food, you make what people buy for as long as they buy it. I don’t know what type of development you do, but if you created software that you license or sold I assume you’d have to make the same business decisions. No software vendor will make long term promises. Having said that, as I said, we are hard at work on a new CF and a new CF Builder.
Ben, thanks for the reply! I can only hope you’re right. The reality is that Flex (and therefore AIR as well) has lost at last 2 year (which in IT terms is long as you know) of essential improvements like improved performance, improvements in the existing UI components, new UI components, more predictable behaviour, … All this important time was lost because Adobe only seemed to focus on mobile related improvements. If Apple would have allowed the Flash player on their iStuff then this would have been an acceptable strategy. Adobe gambled and lost. In the mean time you have to buy the competition to catch up and shift the resources to non-Flash/Flex related technologies. We can be mad about it but you’re right: we have to face commercial reality. Everyone has to draw his/her own conclusions. I’ve drawn mine and I don’t see a lot of Adobe Flex/AIR in there (and I have been doing Flex full time for nearly 5 year). I simply can’t because I would have to move to San Francisco or New York to find enough interesting projects…
Ben your comments on CF make it sound very "release-to-release" as far as the decision making is concerned. Almost as if Adobe is working off 1-year renewal contracts for the platform.
For someone like myself, who has been involved with CF over 10 years, and is responsible for future technology direction at my company beyond 1 year, that kind of message makes my job very difficult.
I’m not sure if there’s any other enterprise industry out there that has a customer base invest in its products when they are unsure of the future sustainability of that product (unless the product is a commodity, or intended to be throw away in the first place – not the intent with CF I’m sure).
If I’m looking at platform choices, and technology direction for our business products 5 years down the road, am I to still consider ColdFusion? Should I be making plans to migrate to another tool set? Is there some message or promise that can be directed at professionals such as me, and organizations like mine?
If we’re committing to ColdFusion as a development platform for the future, I think we need more than an "if" from Adobe on this matter.
I was perhaps overly black and white, and "release to release" may be a simplification, but the core message is a fact. Whether it is release to release or slightly longer is nuance. The reality is that the ColdFusion business is just that, a business, and the team will make business decisions, just as every software company and team must do (and just as I assume you and all other developers do). No business or organization can ever commit to long term investments ignoring future unknown business realities, doing so would be dishonest and foolhardy. The good news is that CF9 met its numbers and so we’re working on CF10.
That I fully understand the economics Ben – I think if there’s a takeaway for Adobe this past few weeks, it’s "Message Matters" (yes, I’m playing on the "Experience Matters" tag line from MAX a few years back;-)
As I move further away from hands on development roles, I’m more than happy to bring Adobe technologies with me to up the enterprise ladder. I trust them, I’m comfortable with them, but ultimately I’m staking a part of my reputation on Adobe’s support.
I’m not naive enough to ask for a binding commitment, I know you can’t give that anyway, the only thing I’d ask you to do is consider the impact of decisions and how they play at a "board room" level. Impress that message upon those at Adobe who make strategic product decisions and communications.
Oh yes, also, looking forward to CF 10 – I haven’t been in the "rumor loop", so I’m hoping to be delightfully surprised by all the awesomeness to come!
This is crap again from Adobe! I have a hard enough time convening companies that CF is not going to die. I also understand as a business model a product needs to sell. But Adobe has put themselves in a situation where no company, as much as they want to, will invest! Your commitment needs to be in place or this will not work. I think Adobe needs to move focus! Open Source CF which brings in the numbers, then Adobe can charge for services, support and CF Builder which we all will buy. Adobe can still remain in the background just like Zend and PHP. Focus on that model!
I like Railo, but Adobe ColdFusion is better. I donâ€™t like this FORK, it can only lead to bad things, but Adobe lost focus a long time ago, and if it was not for the commitment of a few like you it would be dead already!
Donâ€™t let Adobe kill CF! Force Adobe to become what Zend is to PHP! Force Adobe to realise there is more money to be made using this model. If you donâ€™t believe me just look around! Many people think PHP is free â€˜IT IS NOTâ€™ itâ€™s a very low entry point to development. I have spend more on products and services for PHP than CF over the years.
Please, please Adobe either commit or change your model, before there is not come back!