ColdFusion myth-busting

I’d like to introduce myself: my name is Kay Smoljak and I’m a ColdFusion developer. I’m going to be posting here from time to time on topics related to my development language of choice.

I’ve been coding in CF for a while now. I started way back in 1999 – the version 4 days – when Netscape Navigator 4 ruled the web, PHP was at version 3 and the dot com bubble was just starting to get interesting.

Things certainly have changed since that time. Over the course of four versions and a complete rewrite in Java, Allaire ColdFusion became Macromedia ColdFusion and then found a new home at Adobe. What hasn’t changed is that CF is still not well-known in the general web development community, and a lot of misinformation regularly makes the rounds of both individuals’ blogs and large tech publications.

So, I’m going to be doing what I can to dispel those nasty myths (number one: no, ColdFusion is not dead!) and highlight some of the cool things that are happening in the ColdFusion community. There’s certainly a lot to cover: from frameworks to open source projects, from built-in features like reporting, image manipulation and Ajax controls to third party tools and IDEs. Not to mention integration with other Adobe products like Flex, Flash, Acrobat and AIR.

As if that’s not enough, even though version 8 has been out less than three months, at the MAX North America conference just a couple of weeks ago Adobe showed a sneak peak of what’s coming in version 9. For the ColdFusion developer, exciting times lie ahead!

Now, over to you: is there something in particular you’d like to see covered, a question you’d like to see explored or a favourite myth that needs busting? Leave a comment, and I’ll see if I can answer or more likely, find someone else to bug for a response.

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com Simon Mackie

    Welcome Kay! I’m looking forward to seeing some ColdFusion content on our blogs. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on ColdFusion’s future, particularly in the light of the increased popularity of frameworks like Rails and Django.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Kevin Yank

    The big scary for many developers seems to be the fact that you must pay for ColdFusion server licenses. Why is this worth paying, and/or why shouldn’t developers let that stop them from looking at CF?

  • http://www.purecaffeine.com pureCaffeine

    About 7 years ago when I was a junior web application developer my mentor told me not to touch ColdFusion … so I didn’t, and learned ASP (and then ASP.NET and PHP and hopefully soon RoR) instead!

  • tuna

    Use of ColdFusion frameworks for those who are not that familiar to ColdFusion would be a good place to jump right in.

    What type of development projects is ColdFusion the best fit, when is good time to use it when not. What are the advantages of ColdFuson over .Net

    Is it true ColdFusion can’t really be used to develop standards based web sites.

    @pureCaffeine I got told to not touch asp. :)

  • http://www.aggregatedsolutions.com/ funkycoda

    I agree with @tuna’s list of good places to start. Not sure if appropriate, but would be also awesome to do quick tutorials on using CF based frameworks/blogs/galleries/plugins/etc

    @pureCaffeine @tuna when i was starting off, i was told not to touch any sort of high-level language and just stick to 10 languages, either binary or assembly. I’m very happy with the choice i’ve made.

    Good luck Kay.

  • Anon

    Heh… where I work, we’re migrating away from Coldfusion. In all honesty I don’t think coldfusion is bad… but it gets a bad rep at work because it was written sooooo poorly… the view is quite obviously not the place for all the domain logic and data access. ;)

  • tuna

    @Anon This is the main problem with CF, the insertion of the Functionality in the Content. However most Frameworks overcome this problem, and will a little coding discipline CF can be modularised and coded correctly. I’m sure Kay will tell us how.

  • Lisa Herrod

    Welcome Kay, I’m looking forwar to learning something about Cold Fusion from you… I know “Nussink”!

  • stopsatgreen

    I’m not a power user by any means, but I found ColdFusion easy to learn and use for my requirements. I inherited a lot of CF sites when I took over my current role, but I’m moving away from it to using PHP instead – the reason being that CF is too expensive. When its two main rivals are free, charging seems like a suicidal move.

  • Robin Hilliard

    Hey Kay, great to see you out in the Blogsphere – looking forward to your posts, I’m sure they’ll all be worth reading :-).

    Hi @anon, @tuna – nothing about CF requires you to mix your view and business logic, you see the same mix of spaghetti code vs nice MVC architecture in CF that you find across J2EE projects for instance. Most langugages can be productive when architected well – but the nice thing about CF is that when you are dashing something pragmatically ugly out under pressure, at least you can do it succinctly and quickly.

    Disclaimer: Former Allaire and Macromedia employee and among other things a ColdFusion consultant.

    Why I might recognize good architecture if it ran over my foot: Sydney Uni Computer Science graduate, four years Andersen Consulting Technology Architecture Practice, can read GoF without falling asleep.

    Robin

  • http://www.nextbigleap.com bohboh

    I also started coding in CF about the same time. One question i would like answered which i can then reuse for “management” is the performance element of CF. When people in suits search on what CF is, the first and quite often only question i get is:

    “I have heard CF is slow, what will happen if the site receives high levels of traffic, will it cope?”

    That would be a nice one to knock on the head once and for all.

  • kay.smoljak

    Wow – I knew there was a lot I could cover, and now you guys have given me even more! Performance, cost, advantages/disadvantages/suitability and frameworks seem to be the issues – that gives me plenty of material. Thanks everyone!

  • http://www.pixelsoul.net pixelsoul

    Yeah i would be interested on some points why i would ever want to choose CF.. i mean we have all these great opensource free solutions PHP, RoR why would i want to switch? :)

  • http://www.nuclearcreations.com dhoran

    Welcome Kay! Looking forward to reading your stuff! I’m glad there are some more ColdFusion articles & conversations here at SitePoint! Rock on!

  • tonybone

    I’m looking forward to your blog, Kay. If you don’t mind though, I’d like to respond to some of these comments:

    First there’s the “cost” argument:
    “…but I’m moving away from it to using PHP instead – the reason being that CF is too expensive. When its two main rivals are free, charging seems like a suicidal move.”
    “I would be interested on some points why i would ever want to choose CF.. i mean we have all these great opensource free solutions”

    I started with CF and then tried to move to PHP because I also figured I’d save on cost (higher hosting costs). Boy, I couldn’t go back to CF fast enough!! At least for me, I found that CF is much more powerful and I could accomplish so much more with fewer lines of code. I can be MUCH more productive with CF and to me that makes up for the cost, which isn’t as much of an issue if you get down to it. Unless you’re a huge company, you don’t really need the Enterprise version and the $1200 for Standard really ends up paying for itself if you value your time. As far as CF shared hosting, I found that there are a number of “low-cost” hosting solutions out there if you look. (although very often you end up getting what you pay for when you go with a budget plan, CF or not).
    All I can say is, I just finished a project for a client (small startup, no deep pockets) and they were thrilled with how quickly I got their site done — they had no problem paying a few extra bucks for CF hosting.

    “Is it true ColdFusion can’t really be used to develop standards based web sites.”

    No, that’s not true :-)

    “This is the main problem with CF, the insertion of the Functionality in the Content.”

    That’s just incorrect. Just because CFML is tag based, it doesn’t require you to mix your business logic with your HTML any more than PHP does. With the introduction of ColdFusion components in version 6 (2003?) a developer can write well-structured code in CF with or without the use of a framework. If someone is including queries and logic along with their markup, that says more about the developer than the language.

    Everyone should us whatever language they like best. If you’re happy with PHP or RoR, stick with it. The only problem I have is when people spread misinformation about Coldfusion when it’s so obvious by their statements that they haven’t really taken a close look at it. The stuff that’s in the latest CF release is just amazing.
    I’m glad you’re taking on the myths, Kay. Much power to you.

  • http://www.medlockweb.com/ davidjmedlock

    Good post, tonybone. And, good to see someone taking the ColdFusion reigns at SitePoint. Although, in all honesty, I have to be skeptical about how long it will last here. There are conversations (and outright arguments) all over the web that “x” language is better than “y” language and ColdFusion gets a bad rap most of the time. Perpetual misconceptions that it is “dead”, “not used” or “not as good as…” something else don’t seem to be going away.

    So, I’ve given up on fighting it and just begun to enjoy that fact that my time-to-market on new products is 1/4 to 1/3 of my competitors’. More money in my pocket, more headaches for them. They can keep their PHP and Rails. :)

  • http://www.hypography.com/ kovacs

    Fantastic, I have been waiting for more ColdFusion content at Sitepoint. I am still coding for CF7 and will probably move to CF8 next spring. I have been a CF developer since 1996 (!) but for the past 6 years I have mostly worked as an advisor and thus code only in my spare time.

    For that, CF has proved extremely versatile for me since I don’t have the time to keep up to date on everything, and there is so much functionality built into CF that it is easy for me to build the apps I want.

    What I’d like most to see is strategies/ways to integrate CF apps with mainstream apps like WordPress etc, things I face on a regular basis but have found little help with.

    Looking forward to this blog!

  • Dr Livingston

    Coldfusion? Nah, not convinced. Kevin Yank is right to question why it costs a packet for a licence though, considering that you have open source so why?

    Welcome to Sitepoint by the way. I’m kind of glad someone has started a Cold Fusion blog, as it’s an opportunity to knock it ;)

  • http://www.bluelimemedia.com crondeau

    I’ve just had a request from someone to integrate a blog in their CF website. I’ve never worked with CF as I’m a php coder and use WP for all of my blogs. Is there a CF based software out there?

  • http://www.medlockweb.com/ davidjmedlock

    crondeau: Try BlogCFC by Ray Camden. Good stuff.

  • Raymond Camden

    crondeau – You can download blogcfc here: blogcfc.riaforge.org. Also note you can find numerous other OS projects there.

  • panama

    Hi Kay, good to hear all this things from such an expert, We’re looking for information in how to integrate Autodesk Mapguide 2008 and Coldfusion 8, we’ve been having some problems trying to send mapguide’s viewer some parameters from a CF application.
    Thanks in advance

    Amilkar

  • http://scythe.hu szigeti

    tonybone wrote: “At least for me, I found that CF is much more powerful [than PHP] and I could accomplish so much more with fewer lines of code.”

    Could you provide some examples please?

  • tonybone

    szigeti wrote “Could you provide some examples please?”

    Honestly, I haven’t written any PHP in a while, so I’m not going to spend the time trying to put together concrete code examples. I just distinctly remember when I was learning the language how I kept thinking to myself how much easier it was FOR ME to do the same tasks in CF. (the key phrase being “for me”).
    I’m not sure if you’re genuinely interested in seeing examples or if you just wanted to pull me into a debate. Let me be clear that I’m not knocking any other language or proclaiming that CF is superior. I’m just speaking from my personal experience and preferences. I have a lot respect for the other languages out there and like I said in my original post–everyone should use whatever technology they like. Like David Medlock posted above, I’m not interested in “converting” people or participating in the same old tired which-language-is-better debates. Again, the only thing I have a problem with is the myths and misinformation about CF that have no basis in reality. Hopefully, Kay will address this stuff in her blog.
    So if you’re looking for a debate, look elsewhere. If you’re genuinely interested in learning about CF, I suggest you check up on the blog and/or download a (free)developer version of CF and try it for yourself.

  • http://www.bluelimemedia.com crondeau

    Thanks davidjmedlock and Raymond. I will take a look at this.

  • less1die

    Lots of people going on and on about cost. LOL. CF is and always has been free for developers. I have been reading SitePoint for years now Kay, and have watched CF bashed by this forum too many times sporting all the myths and mis-conceptions. It seems you have driven some closet CF developers out of the closet. I love it. Continue on, I look forward to it. Not sure you will ever convince these “hard-core” “freeware” developers but if we can get at least one it is worth a try. I will pitch in some help here and there if you need it. Just so everyone knows, 2K one time fee for server software that can run on Unix/Linux or Windows or even integrated into IIS is dang cheap and developers can use it for “FREE”

  • http://nervecentral.com Nerveman

    I’d put my 2 cents in, but I’m to busy making money developing with CF.

  • dcordes

    8 year ColdFusion vet here. The price of ColdFusion is irrelevant in my book. The developer edition is free plus there are good, low cost hosting options. If you run a ColdFusion Web development shop like I do you can recoup the cost of the standard version within weeks or months because of the rapid development inherent to ColdFusion. It’s a complete NON issue.

  • David

    Kay,
    “Cost” and “Expensive” are relative terms – a Bank and .Com startup would have different interpretations for each. I’d like to see you explore the Total Cost of Ownership for ColdFusion versus other technologies. I’m constantly told that .Net is “free” by .net people, but then their statement is qualified with add on’s like Visual Studio expenses, and MSDN subscriptions. It’s so hard to get a straight answer on the subject.

    Cheers,

    Davo

  • MMoyer

    dcordes:

    10 year CF vet here and price still plays a huge role in it. Developer edition is free….great…but you can’t deploy anything onto it. Plenty of low cost hosting options…well, as long as you don’t mind sharing all your application variables with other programmers on that server. I’m sorry, but CF was never designed as a shared host setup. Plus, the move nowadays is to deploy apps to their own virtual machine. That gets awfully expensive the more you scale out, yet, I can do it all day with RoR without any additional cost.

  • Rick Mason

    I’ve been working with Coldfusion for nearly 8 years now. I don’t even try and argue with people or convince them that’s it’s worthwhile for them to look at any more. They are happy with what they have and don’t know what they are missing out on. And that’s ok, I’m happy working with CF on a daily basis. I find it’s so much faster and simpler to do things compare to friends working in other languages. Plus, as I’m asked to do more and more Flex and Flash work, Coldfusion is so dead simple to use as with them I couldn’t see myself going any other way.

    In all the time I’ve been working with CF the cost has rarely been an issue whether it’s for shared hosting or dedicated servers.

    @MMoyer CF may not have been great on shared hosts 10 years ago, but it certainly isn’t an issue any more. As for virtual machine hosting, there are plenty of great and highly affordable options out there for virtual hosting with CF already installed.

    Glad to see you taking this blog on Kay! I wish you luck. Looks like you are going to be put to work here.

  • Chong

    1. PHP serverside performance cannot compete with CF out of the box, I believe PHP has a few add-ons that Zend markets heavily. .Net is slow compared to CF as well.
    2. The speed and ease of development easily beats any other web languages (at least those that I have dabbled with mainly PHP/.Net)
    3. Out of the box, CF also has an extensive (and useful) bunch of functionality.

    For me the time saved in CF compared to any other ‘free’ language, easily covers the costs of a license for a production server. Remember learning(i.e. developer edition) is free, don’t take my word for it, try it out yourselves.

  • MMoyer

    Rick:

    As far as I know, and correct me if I’m wrong, but the Application scope is still accessible to anyone else who is on that same server instance.

    will dump the contents of everyones app on that server.

  • MMoyer

    that didn’t come through correctly

  • MMoyer

    one more try :)

    <cfapplication name=””> <cfdump var=”#application#”>

    this will dump every applications application scope on that server.

  • http://www.aquinasandmore.com athanasiusrc

    10 year CF vet and you didn’t know how to create a unique name for your app to avoid sharing variables? You only share application variables if you aren’t smart enough to name your application. Are you sure you’re a 10 year vet. Maybe I don’t know something about application variables that you do. I’ve only been using CF for eight years.

  • Anonymous

    I went from making $45,000 to $100,000 because I learned CF. I love CF with all my heart.

  • TJ Downes

    Kay, kudos! It’s great to see CF spreading out into other communities.

    I’ve been developing CF since v2.0. CF was my first foray into web application development. Since then I’ve worked with numerous languages including PHP.

    I like PHP. Good stuff. If I ever had to build something with no budget, I would definitely go with a LAMP stack.

    But given that I always have a budget I can choose to work with ColdFusion. Why? Because it is faster. Because it’s easier to grasp the overall workings of the language, mostly due to syntax. Because it’s multi-threaded. I can also leverage the underlying Java platform by utilizing Java functions in my CFML. And because there are so many tools built into it that save me time, like cfgrid and cfexchange (two new things in CF8). I could name a number of reasons my preference is ColdFusion.

    The one thing that bothers me most about critics of ColdFusion is they refuse to actually take a look at the language from a serious perspective. Countering their arguments results in disbelief. I think if many of these folks actually took the time to really examine CF they would be shocked at how it’s changed and grown in the last 5 years.

  • fiasco

    As of CF 8 (enterprise) you can now create multiple server instances so on a shared host you can just assign a different instance to each customer meaning that things like the application scope and mappings will belong only to that customer.

    and if budget is a primary concern there is also the option of using railo to serve your cfml sites. it’s built with hosting in mind, is cheap and is incredibly fast to boot. http://www.railo.ch

  • Andrew

    Kay,

    Good for you to start this discussion. I’ve been in the web development areana for 9 years and I tried .NET, PHP, Java, RoR, and CF. CF was by far the best for me and I have convinced two programming shops to make the switch to CF with remarkable results. Most people that bash CF do so because they don’t want to see CF take off. For them, it’s a matter of “marketability” not because CF is a bad language. Why would anyone want to spend on average 3 – 5 time longer coding the same functionality using another language vice CF? Now, don’t get me wrong, CF alone is not going to be the best solution for every aspect of your application. However, with the ability to leverage other languages like Java and .NET within CF as custom tags, the Java and .NET developers shouldn’t be afraid of CF. In fact, they should be happy that their skills in other languages will help make them even better CF developers…talk about marketability!! The applications I work on use a lot of graphs and out of the box CF is LIGHTYEARS ahead of the others. I could go on about how much I appreciate CF but the bottom lines is that only you can choose which language is right for you.

  • Britney Spears

    >>why i would ever want to choose CF.. i mean we have all these great opensource free solutions

    You should cover the non-Adobe options in an early article. Adobe IS expensive, and it IS an issue as you’ve already seen bythe bumber of people telling you it is an issue. And cheap hosting IS a problem also.

    For those interested, there are the other CF engines such as Bluedragon, Railo, and the open-source not-ready-for-prime-time Smith project, but still not a lot of cheap shared hosting.

  • tonybone

    “Plenty of low cost hosting options…well, as long as you don’t mind sharing all your application variables with other programmers on that server.”

    More misinformation. Any self-respecting CF host is running CF enterprise which can be configured to prevent this sort of thing (that plus the aforementioned best practice of giving your application a unique name). By the way, the ability to deploy multiple CF instances precedes CF8.
    There will always be pitfalls to shared hosting because there’s always the possibility of other people’s bad code bringing down the server, but that’s not unique to CF. I’ve had a site on a shared server which crashed because of someone’s bad PHP code and I’ve heard about it happening on a CF shared host as well.
    I think everyone would agree that if the budget allows, a dedicated box or a VPS account are the best options no matter what language you use. If not, you have to take the good with the bad with shared hosting.

  • MMoyer

    @tonybone

    Maybe I’m not phrasing this right, but say you name your application something unique. I tend to use base64 encoded directory names into my app names to make sure it’s unique. Say that someone else on that same server decides they want to go snooping. They upload the aforementioned script with the blank application name. No matter what unique name you use, they will be able to see your application name.

    This has nothing to do with the best practice of using unique application names. Believe me, I kinda know things like that after using CF professionally for 10 years.

    So you say cf enterprise will fix this. Great, but “self respecting cf host”‘s aren’t going to be cheap as in $5 a month for hosting I pay for my rails sites. I’d imagine they’d be more like $20 a month on up.

    I agree with you though about shared hosting. It’s got it’s security risks. I just feel that CF’s reliance on app variables tends to make it more of a risky proposition than php, ruby, or python since they don’t have an application scope.

  • Ryan TJ

    We get 50m page views a month. Run 14 CF 7 instances on 7 servers and get an average response time of about 2 seconds from Gomez, which monitoros our site from 30+ locations in North America. The local response time is about 600ms. ColdFusion can be fast. It all depends how you build your app. Development time can be even faster if you use a framework like FarCry, Model-Glue, Mach II, Fusebox and take advantage of other tools like ColdSpring.

    Cost – yes I think that there needs to be a different price model in order make a developed application more deployable to hosted environments or J2EE environments. Seems like a rip off to get charged the full license for running a WAR file.

  • Dan

    and do not forget that ColdFusion now is J2EE product. So all the
    Java web components are ours too. E.g. we’ve used a lot of tag and filters from http://www.servletsuite.com
    where components are natively JSP’s, not CF.

  • DanielSKim

    There are many variations of the 80/20 rule – one is that 20% of all developers are “alpha” programmers, the 80% being the rest of us. Not that there aren’t those in the 20% that use and promote ColdFusion, but I believe CF provides a viable, and often, the optimal business solution for the web development that will be done by the 80%.

    I was a developer at two Fortune 500 companies that used, and are still primarily using ColdFusion as their web development platform, that are not listed here:

    http://www.adobe.com/products/coldfusion/customers/
    http://www.forta.com/cf/using/
    http://www.gotcfm.com/

    I believe the widespread use of ColdFusion is not visible because a lot of it is behind corporate and government firewalls, and a lot of development is done by “career” developers – those who enjoy what they do, do it well, but aren’t necessarily vocal or active in the CF community, or the web development community at large.

    Most companies, whether big or small, will not be able to, or need to, staff their development teams with the 20%. ColdFusion is a great platform because it allows both new and veteran developers to provide applications that meet business needs rapidly. It is flexible enough to be used anywhere between the only server side application platform or the presentation layer framework for a J2EE environment.

    I won’t ever argue that ColdFusion is the “best” language, the “best” platform, etc., (there are so many variables that go into what is “best” for a particular company, customer or developer), but I would argue it as a very good solution (the best for some). The discussion of how to increase the product’s visibility is a separate issue (hopefully this blog will help!) but there is no doubt that it is used considerably more (and for good reason) than its lack of buzz seems to indicate.

  • nylarch

    tonybone wrote: “At least for me, I found that CF is much more powerful [than PHP] and I could accomplish so much more with fewer lines of code.”

    Could you provide some examples please?

    is worth its weight in gold. I also use PHP and Java and the way CF interacts with databases is absolutely a joy to work with for rapid development. I wouldn’t use it for Enterprise level (but then again Ruby on Rails isn’t necessarily Enterprise ready yet) but I work in an Enterprise and still 80% of what we do fits CF like a glove. CFC’s are a great way to write a nice OO-ish backend for any AJAX (or Flex) front end.

  • nylarch

    sorry “cfquery” was stripped from my last comment as the CF construct that’s worth its weight in gold.

  • http://www.dunkirksystems.com zivo

    Hello Kay – Welcome! I have subscribed on and off to the CF blog here as it seems SitePoint hasn’t taken the interest to “understand” ColdFusion. Heck, I had to point out to them a while back they had named the blog “Cold Fusion” incorrectly!

    To begin with, you can do anything great or poorly in any language. You can code PHP without standards as easily as you can with CF using FuseBox. As for the cost… everything costs something! Sure, you pay up front for the server license, but you make up for it in your development time. What you can do with a few CF tags takes you lines of code in any other language, and there in lies its beauty.

    I hope this blog does not become a place where those who use CF have to repeatedly justify it, and for those who don’t understand it to bash it and promote their preferred language. I hope it does become a place to highlight and discuss the present and future of the language within the diverse SitePoint community!

    mp/m

  • Anonymous

    How about we compare this code:

    Code from Kevin Yank’s PHP Sitepoint tutorial & book which simply pulls back jokes from a table and displays the joke’s text along with a delete link (http://www.sitepoint.com/article/publishing-mysql-data-web/3):

    Unable to connect to the ' .
    'database server at this time.');
    }

    // Request the ID and text of all the jokes
    $result = @mysql_query('SELECT id, joketext FROM joke');
    if (!$result) {
    exit('Error performing query: ' .
    mysql_error() . '');
    }

    // Display the text of each joke in a paragraph
    // with a "Delete this joke" link next to each.
    while ($row = mysql_fetch_array($result)) {
    $jokeid = $row['id'];
    $joketext = $row['joketext'];
    echo '' . $joketext .
    ' ' .
    'Delete this joke
    ';
    }

    endif;
    ?>

    Same functionality built in ColdFusion:

    SELECT id, joketext FROM joke

    #joketext# Delete this joke

    I’ll take 5 lines of code over 28 lines of code any day.

    Rey…

  • Anonymous

    Resubmitted since the comment system stripped the code:

    How about we compare this code:

    Code from Kevin Yank’s PHP Sitepoint tutorial & book which simply pulls back jokes from a table and displays the joke’s text along with a delete link (http://www.sitepoint.com/article/publishing-mysql-data-web/3):

    Unable to connect to the ' .
    'database server at this time.');
    }

    // Request the ID and text of all the jokes
    $result = @mysql_query('SELECT id, joketext FROM joke');
    if (!$result) {
    exit('Error performing query: ' .
    mysql_error() . '');
    }

    // Display the text of each joke in a paragraph
    // with a "Delete this joke" link next to each.
    while ($row = mysql_fetch_array($result)) {
    $jokeid = $row['id'];
    $joketext = $row['joketext'];
    echo '' . $joketext .
    ' ' .
    'Delete this joke
    ';
    }

    endif;
    ?>

    Same functionality built in ColdFusion:


    SELECT id, joketext FROM joke

    #joketext# Delete this joke

  • reybango

    Since the comment system doesn’t like posting of code, I’ve pasted the code here:

    http://snippets.dzone.com/posts/show/4679

    It’s code from Kevin Yank’s PHP Sitepoint tutorial & book which simply pulls back jokes from a table and displays the joke’s text along with a delete link (http://www.sitepoint.com/article/publishing-mysql-data-web/3). I’ve included the ColdFusion equivalent in there as well.

    As I said before, I’ll take 5 lines of code over 28 lines of code any day.

    Rey…

  • http://www.casedesign.com deliteness

    Kay, thanks for stepping up – and good luck with the tough crowd! It’s great to see SitePoint actively covering ColdFusion again.

    I think a lot of developers who haven’t looked at ColdFusion in 5+ years are just assuming it hasn’t progressed along with every other platform (IE PHP, .NET), that it hasn’t changed since they looked at it years ago. But CF has had many more major releases than both of those products (version 8!).

    In 2000′ish when I started doing web development, not many developers were concerned with MVC, DRY, OO, design patterns and all the other enterprise development acronyms that are spouted everywhere now. So why do they look at CF 4.5 applications and assume that modern CF applications still look the same?

    Web development in general has come a long way. ColdFusion has continued to stay on the cutting edge while remaining ultra simple to write, and it does everything and more that those other languages do.

    Also it never ceases to amaze me how many people, in the same breath/blog post/comment will say that CF doesn’t meet their “Enterprise” standards, while complaining about the cost of a CF license or hosting. No smart “Enterprise” will make the mistake of choosing a software platform based solely on sticker price. Hundreds of major enterprises and Fortune 500 companies have identified the TCO of ColdFusion to be worthwhile.

    Just try to understand what you’re criticizing before you go flaming.

  • reybango

    Just try to understand what you’re criticizing before you go flaming.

    I could not have said it any better myself.

  • Sassy

    CF is not dead as a technology, but is dead as a career choice. There’s just no jobs there. It’s as technically capable as anything, but everyone hates it. CF still suffers from it’s reputation back in the days.

  • tonybone

    @MMoyer,

    You say:
    “Great, but “self respecting cf host”’s aren’t going to be cheap as in $5 a month for hosting I pay for my rails sites. I’d imagine they’d be more like $20 a month on up.”

    Fair enough. I only pointed out that there are “budget” CF hosts because people seem to claim that you can’t get cheap CF hosting. However, I would only put non-critical, personal sites on cheap hosts and I would never host one of my clients’ sites on a $5 per month host, be it for CF, PHP, RoR or whatever. My feeling is that you get what you pay for and I would never entrust the reliability of my services to cheap hosts with their overcrowded servers.
    Frankly, I’ve always been puzzled why so many people are so stuck on the whole cost issue. I guess I’ve been lucky in that I tend to get clients who expect quality, expect to PAY for quality, and don’t mind paying $20 monthly or more for hosting.

    “I just feel that CF’s reliance on app variables tends to make it more of a risky proposition than php, ruby, or python since they don’t have an application scope.”

    I like how you take a feature that CF has (the application scope) and present it as a liability compared to languages that don’t have it. I happen to think CF’s application variables provide developers with an advantage. But in any case, I wouldn’t say CF has a “reliance” on them. If you don’t like them, don’t use them.

  • Edgar

    If you are complaining about the cost of CF, you should definitely try Railo 2.0. We used to have MX6.1 Enterprise, but because CF8 was a bit too expensive for us, we switched to Railo. It’s a good alternative.

  • Edgar

    CF is not dead as a technology, but is dead as a career choice. There’s just no jobs there.

    Have you checked Monster.com lately? Or are you just a troll?

  • Mr. Colorado

    My mentor told me to use CF because I could code a site in half the time or less.

    So now I code my sites in half the time or less, which end up producing robust, Java-powered applications. :)

    And the costs? I don’t pay a dime to develop in CF, and most of my clients use shared hosting anyway, which costs $16.95/month.

    Oh, and the code is pretty too. :)

  • Sassy

    As long as you are willing to move around or fight over 7 jobs in your city I guess it’s fine. Personally I don’t like those kind of odds.

  • reybango

    @Sassy: I agree with you in that your choice of career direction should be based on what your geographic location dictates. With that said, there’s a tremendous amount of ColdFusion work out there, both local and telecommuting and I think you’re underestimating the amount of work available. I have consistent calls for CF work and the CF-Jobs list churns out requests on a daily basis. If you’re a good developer (CF, PHP, .Net) you should have no issue finding work. If you are having trouble, then you’re not doing your best to promote yourself. After ~20 years in IT, I’ve learned how to promote myself to ensure my own security and I don’t rely on the want ads to dictate my future. So far, I’ve done a hell of job ensuring my own stability, have not had to move once (as you’ve asserted) and have had the pleasure of using ColdFusion for the last 9 years.

    Rey…

  • Ajay

    No Coldfusion is “NOT DEAD”, It might be the
    Myth of the past, CF MX 7 does wonders to dynamically
    print pdfs, flash papers and charts(on the fly/offline) without any help from any third party tools (apk tookkit), Wait for ” CF 8″ (SCORPIO) which can create pdf objects and awesome wonders with ajax, I think the way CF is making progress it will definetly make people give a good look irrespective of the cost factor.

  • reybango

    @Ajay: CF8 has been out for about 3 months already.

  • dave

    @sassy
    “CF is not dead as a technology, but is dead as a career choice. There’s just no jobs there.”

    There are plenty of jobs out there. But here is the kicker… here in Colorado people won’t take a cf job if its below $45 an hour at the same time there is a TON of php/.net/ror jobs available but you are looking at maybe $20 an hour. I dunno bout you but I will take the higher pay myself. It’s like anything.. if there are a ton of developers available then the pay goes down.

    Personally, I don’t worry about someone paying me, I get-r-done myself and I am certainly not short on business, actually my waiting list is well over a year long wait.

    @others
    More Fortune 500 companies use Coldfusion than any other language. The Gov uses more Coldfusion than any other language.

    @cost
    I have been using Coldfusion for over 6 years and I have never spent a dime to use coldfusion. It will only cost you money if you are using your own servers and if you are using your own servers then cost isnt an issue and you’d certainly be saving a TON of $$ on dev time.

    Hosting might be a few bucks more but there is no way in hell I would put one of my clients on a cheapp azz $5 a month hosting…. get real cheap skates.

    @the application scope
    Any decent host will be running each site in its sandbox and its a non issue.

    Personally, the problem with CFM is all the misinformation out there and if someone is dumb enough to believe someone else’s false info then they are ignorant fools, at least take the time to investigate it properly. I started with ASP, then did some PHP then went to Coldfusion and never looked back.

    Use what you want to use, whatever makes ya feel good but don’t bash something when you dont ACTUALLY know sh*t about it.

  • jeffgtr

    I work at a community college, there are two of us that do all of the web based applications both design and development. We’ve used some open source php solutions (phpbb, wordpress and activecolab) but the meat of our work is in CF, there is no way we would be able to run the show otherwise. The cost for a license is of no consequence, especially when you consider the ease of integration with things like ldap. There is plenty of work out there for CF developers. When I do the occasional freelance project it’s always CF, I wouldn’t have time otherwise. In the end all the client cares about is that the site works and they get a return on their investment, their eyes glaze over when you discuss things like cf, php, asp.net. I suppose it would be different if you cut your teeth on php, but I would bet a months supply of beer that all things being equal, the cf site would be finished in a minimum of 3/4 the time as a php site, and over time the spread between the two would be of a greater distance.

    You know, you can get Gimp for free (nothing against Gimp) but most people I know that put food on the table with their work use Photoshop.

  • jeffgtr

    As far as an article, I would love to have some advice on using CF to query a unidata database and dealing with multivalued fields. That is my current challenge.

  • Sassy

    I agree if you are good and can self-market you will find work. However not everyone is good or can self-market, especially people who are just starting out.

    If you are going to invest 5+ years in a technology career, you might want to learn the languages with all the jobs.

    http://www.indeed.com/jobtrends?q=coldfusion%2C+ASP.NET%2C+PHP&l=

  • dave

    @sassy
    well that depends on what you want to get paid. Like I said previously… there ARE lots of .net & php jobs and they are very low in pay and if that’s what you want then have at it.

    The other thing to remember (especially with php) is that there is a lot of market share of them but a good portion of their usage is “below par” coding levels. For example, there are a TON of PHP developers but most of them have no real clue to what they are really doing and of those huge php developer numbers only a handful are very good. A lot of the PHP numbers are sites where their “dynamic” content is nothing more that a email submission form.

    If you are just starting out then I would learn a few languages and see where it takes you. But if you are just starting out I wouldn’t go to php as it “should” be done more so in an OOP manner and if you are just starting out you will have no clue what OOP is. That’s why you have so many “crappy” php apps.

    I would say that if you are coming out of school and have a decent foundation of c, c++ or java then go to java, .net, php or ror. If you are not schooled in coding then start with Coldfusion and learn how to properly code then get into OOP but what you will find is that after a few years and you really start to learn to code well that there is no reason to leave cfm at all since it will do everything you need it to. And then if you have a job that requires one of the others then it will be easier because now you have a decent base.

    BUT before you even get to a language IMO is that you lean how to PROPERLY make xhtml and css-p sites and then move onto a dev language. Most of these sites out there are so poorly coded in html 4.01 that its repulsive. As to anyone who says that you cant make a standards complaint site in cfm… you are an idiot and shouldn’t be coding at all if you actually think that.. that’s just completely stupid.

    “If you are going to invest 5+ years in a technology career, you might want to learn the languages with all the jobs.”
    They all have jobs but like I said before, if I was starting out I would go for the ones that I could make the most money with. There are tons of .net jobs and tons of people who do it so why would an employer pay high dollar when if you demand more $$ they will pass you by because someone else will take bottom dollar.

    If you were smart you’d start to learn flex, those developers are making bank…. and of course whats the easiest to get data into flex??? Oh yeah… that would be Coldfusion

  • DanielSKim

    Take this as something between anecdotal and a testimonial, but I believe there is a greater demand for ColdFusion developers than there are developers. Our Los Angeles based company has found it difficult to find developers because there is such a high demand in the area compared to the number of quality candidates. In speaking with hiring managers in other companies and staffing agencies in the area, as well as discussions with others in different locations on cf discussion lists, this seems to be a common theme.

    There has been a lot of talk in the cf community as to how to better promote ColdFusion, and one very practical benefit would be to increase the size of the developer base to fill the demand that exists in the ColdFusion job market. Again, each location will be different, but I think this is a great time to be a ColdFusion developer in respect to finding work.

    The other side of this coin is the fear that this situation will continue, and that this will be a determining factor in companies choosing other platforms than ColdFusion because of the difficulty in finding developers. In addition to increased efforts by Adobe, I do hope there are both CF and broader web development community driven efforts, such as this blog, to communicate the strengths and uniqueness of ColdFusion as a platform.

  • http://www.aquinasandmore.com athanasiusrc

    Well, learn something new every day. My apologies. I wasn’t aware of that neat little application scope trick.

    Like others have said, this shouldn’t be a problem on a shared host that actually is worth hosting with.

  • Brian

    CF is not dead as a technology, but is dead as a career choice. There’s just no jobs there. It’s as technically capable as anything, but everyone hates it. CF still suffers from it’s reputation back in the days.

    That has not been my experience at all… in fact, I just got a full-time gig as a ColdFusion Developer, doubled my salary, and shortened my commute to 10 minutes.

    There is plenty of ColdFusion work out there.

  • Devon Burriss

    I have not read all the comments but I can see why so few people use Coldfusion…so many people have never checked it out for themselves. Comments like high level, purely written and someone told me not to touch Coldfusion so I didn’t…you don’t know what you are missing.
    Coldfusion mixes logic with view just as much as any other language when written by a poor developer but as a language it promotes OO concepts, is easy to learn, more power and functionality than most and a small but extremely adept and helpful community.
    Don’t take my word though…there is a free version so check it out yourself.
    Oh did I mention that CF8 is multiple times faster than the last(which really was not slow) and if you really can’t find what you want in the hundreds of functions, just call the underlying Java API.

  • Anonymous

    “Our Los Angeles based company has found it difficult to find developers because there is such a high demand in the area compared to the number of quality candidates.”

    This is true all over the country. But it’s not because the demand for ColdFusion developers is going up, it’s because the supply of ColdFusion developers is going down. There’s plenty of demand for COBOL developers, too, if you can find any…

  • jpcrews1

    Thanks for bringing CF to SitePoint. Can anyone tell me more about how much CF 9 was discussed at MAX? Management at my company is convinced that CF is going away, and I would like some evidence to the contrary to bring to the table.

    We recently spoke with CF support at Adobe, and they said that they only had 5 people dedicated to supporting CF. This convinced my boss that Adobe is getting ready to stop development. How much information is out there on Adobe’s continued investment in the product / CF 9?

    Thanks in advance for the help,

    – Jim

  • David

    Jim,
    I’ve met the CF development team, and it’s bigger than 5 – there are a few dedicated sales reps, marketing, evangelism and product management on top of that. So, 5 is not the right number.

    I’d get in touch with Jason Delmore at Adobe if your boss is internalizing this. http://www.cfinsider.com/ is his blog – he’ll get you the correct information.

    Look, I don’t know what else to say – People have been sounding the death knell for ColdFusion for about 7 years now, and they’ve been consistently wrong – maybe they just like being wrong?

    CF 8 has been a massive success, Adobe is planning for CF 9, and ColdFusion has been rolled into the “Platform” Business Unit – along with Flex, Flash and AIR, so it’s being positioned as an integral part of Adobe technologies (http://blog.digitalbackcountry.com/?p=1070).

    Post back if you want more resources (maybe give your email address and I’ll ping you off-line).

    Cheers,

    davo

  • AJ

    CF is a blight. Why in the world would I want to “leverage the underlying Java platform by utilizing Java functions” when I can simply use JAVA. CF is the dumbing down of programming. And before anyone tells me to use it, I have been using CF since version 4.

  • Sassy

    The reason CF developers are so hard to find is because fewer and fewer people are learning it.

    Fewer and fewer people are learning it because it’s dying as a viable career path.

    If you doubled your salary recently, you couldn’t have been making that much to begin with.

    Accept reality and move forward, always. There is nothing wrong with CF but there is something very wrong with the marketing strategy of everyone who’s owned it since Allaire.

  • dave

    @sassy
    “Fewer and fewer people are learning it because it’s dying as a viable career path.”

    You just don’t get it and that’s fine.. just don’t waste your time on something that is above your head. It’s a damn fine career path, I bring in WELL over 6 figures a year, so you just remember that when you are filing your taxes for your messily pay that you will get with the others. Either way you go you aren’t going to make good money until you are good at whatever language you choose and no offense but it sounds like you got a long ways to go.

    Fyi~ most coldfusion developers I know make around 70k – 120k a year, most php and .net developers I know make around 40k – 70k a year.

    But yet you keep coming in here knowing absolutely NOTHING about Coldfusion and try to tell the people here that are in the Coldfusion community “how it is”… This IS the problem with Coldfusion.. meaning people flapping their mouths with no knowledge… I got $10 that says you are a blonde ;)~

  • dave

    “Accept reality and move forward, always.”

    ok sassy this just proves that you are just plain dumb. Im sorry but comments like this are ridiculous.

  • Sassy

    I worked in a CF shop for a couple of years. I have repeatedly said it is a good tool. Technically, there is nothing wrong with it. That doesn’t change the rest of what I’ve said.

  • idkfa

    Folks, don’t pigeon-hole yourselves to one language. There are many other languages/environments out there. Focus on language-agnostic patterns, OOP principles, and proper software architecture. The syntax of your particular implementation should NOT matter. For instance…

    I began using CF back in the 4.0 days and loved it. So quick and easy to solve the problem. The fact that it solved the problem made it the RIGHT solution.

    Then I got into enterprise portals, search engines, and content management systems. In that world (at least in my experience) CF solutions were almost always considered legacy. I preached CF till I turned blue.

    One portal in particular was a .NET solution so I decided to pick up ASP.NET. This lead me down the path of ‘Gang of Four’ and Martin Fowler methodologies (I suggest Learning Tree #511). CF supports most of this now that it finally supports interfaces (at least I think so).

    Now, a few years later, I find myself working for a start-up company creating augmented reality situational awareness solutions for the military. Sorry folks, there is absolutely no room for CF in this world. Just managed .NET / Java or unmanaged C/C++.

  • Anonymous

    I have been coding CF since 1998 and I have to say that it has gotten me a big house, nice 401K and a six figure salary. Not to mention that I make from 30 to 45K doing CF side work on nights and weekends. CF has been very very good to me even now, almost 10 years later. I brought it into the company I now work for and they made me department manager. I work for a public company so I’m not talking about a small operation. If you believe in the technology don’t let anyone change your mind.

  • MrBaseball34

    @sassy:

    The reason CF developers are so hard to find is because fewer and fewer people are learning it.

    Fewer and fewer people are learning it because it’s dying as a viable career path.

    Accept reality and move forward, always. There is nothing wrong with CF but there is something very wrong with the marketing strategy of everyone who’s owned it since Allaire.

    I have been saying exactly the same about my primary GUI development language, Delphi, for a long time. Borland/Codegear have been dancing the same marketing dance as Macromedia/Adobe have been with CF and it has reaped the same results. People have been saying that Delphi is dead for a number of years and there has not been one shred of marketing to refute it. Jobs are few and far between and if you’re lucky to find one now, it is usually a Delphi->.Net conversion gig.

    I got started in HTML markup languages with a product called IHTML back in 2000/01. I then moved to CF (v4/4.5). It was really nice back then but lacked a lot of features. After a brief layoff from web development, I have moved on to PHP. I would love to go back to CF, as a developer friend of mine has claimed that CF8 is WONDERFUL. BTW, he has no PHP experience.

    I don’t use CF or ASP.net now mostly because of the lack of affordable hosts. If anyone can show me otherwise, I may switch my thinking and move back from the “dark side”..