By Raena Jackson Armitage

ColdFusion 9: Why You Should Pay Attention (Yes, You!)

By Raena Jackson Armitage

It’s fun being in this business—there are so many new, shiny technologies and techniques cropping up all the time. A cool new Rails-based CMS? Awesome! 3D trickery with CSS3? Even more awesome! An update for ColdFusion?

Er… ColdFusion?

Yeah, I’ll confess I initially found it hard to get excited about ColdFusion. It seemed to be all the rage in enterprise some years ago, but now that all the cool kids have jumped on board with PHP, Rails, or even (gasp!) ASP.NET, I’d kind of forgotten about poor old ColdFusion—until our latest article, What’s New in ColdFusion 9, crossed our desks. There have been strong improvements to PDF and spreadsheet handling, object relational mapping (ORM) built right in, tight integration with Flex, new and improved Ajax features, and a brand new, Eclipse-powered ColdFusion IDE. Don’t look now, but I think you might actually be able to build something neat with all that.

I’m sorry I ever doubted you, ColdFusion; you actually seem kind of cool.

You’ll find a good overview of what’s new in CF9 in the article. There’s a quiz at the end to test your knowledge, and a free ColdFusion evangelism kit for the first 200 people who register their details—perfect if you need to convince your boss to give ColdFusion a try. Check out the article and take the quiz!

  • Mark

    Why ‘even (gasp!) ASP.NET’? – I personally have found ASP.NETto be be by far the most productive and flexible framework that I have come across in 14 years of web app development. I know others will have their preferences but I’m not sure it warranted a gasp :-)

  • Matt

    So, you’re saying ColdFusion is cool because it NOW does a bunch of stuff that RAILS, PHP, and gasp! ASP.NET (thank you very much) have been doing for a couple years or more?

    No thank you. So it does about as much as PHP but costs as much as ASP.NET. Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t see the attraction before.

  • Eclipse based IDE? Well there’s one reason to steer clear…

  • Adobe is all Eclipse based now… basically

  • I smell a paid endorsement. Is anybody else suspicious about SitePoint’s remarkable enthusiasm for ColdFusion 9?

  • Chong (A CF developer)

    I think people have to remember each language has its own advantages and disadvantages… .Net is slower to develop in but it has great hooks if you want to write applications which need to talk directly to MS enterprise tech… PHP is free in the most basic version etc…

    However where Coldfusion (as a language) sets itself above the other two IMHO is the fact that it is much easier to hook it up with any other tech due to its Java base… and the speed of writing an CF web app over another language… And now the libraries to hook straight more seamlessly into Flex (especially CF9 and Flex 4)

    If cost is a major issue, one can always pick up the free CF engines (Railo and Blue Dragon) if you do not need the vendor specific tags, besides most of the non standardised tech, have Open source or free libraries which can achieve similar results.

    Competition is always good for the developer, keeps the platform vendors innovating.

  • BrianM

    Holy bitter developers batman. Didn’t your mother ever teach you that you can express yourself constructively without sounding like a butt?

    I am excited to see what it can and will do. Don’t be so quick to give Adobe the ten count. They still have a fighters chance.

  • Pintar

    I agree with Mark. I would really consider you playing with ASP.NET before going on to say (gasp!) ASP.NET. I started doing web dev using PHP and MYSQL, but I will have to say ASP.NET is way more powerful then you may think. I would personally rather developep ASP.NET then PHP or Rails. Especially with ASP.NET MVC. Do you just hate ASP.NET because it is Microsoft?

    Besides the fact, I don’t think cold fusion 9 will gain much popularity, it doesn’t give developers any features that already exists today with other languages.

  • Anon

    This has nothing to do with the buckets of cash adobe have been throwing your way recently?

    please. at least try to retain some journalistic integrity.

  • Hi Raena,
    I took the quiz, got all questions right and have according to the response page qualified for the book with the following greeting:

    “You’re one of the first 200 to complete the quiz, which means you’re eligible for a printed copy of the Adobe ColdFusion Evangelism Kit.”

    There were (are) 65 books available when I finished the quiz but when I submit the form, I get a blank page in my browser.

    Any idea of how I can find out if the form went through successfully?

    By the way… Good article


  • Hi Andrew,

    Unfortunately I don’t have access to the quiz responses, but I’ll pass on your concerns to the people who do. :)

  • Holy bitter developers batman. Didn’t your mother ever teach you that you can express yourself constructively without sounding like a butt?

    Well I couldn’t have said that any better myself ;)

  • Thanks Raena,
    I’ve got a screenshot of the results page, if they need it for confirmation.

    +1 on the bitter developers comment too.

  • @awasson: Sorry about the technical hiccup—the quiz should be OK now.

    This has nothing to do with the buckets of cash adobe have been throwing your way recently? please. at least try to retain some journalistic integrity.

    @Anon: we’re very upfront about Adobe being a sponsor for any of our recent giveaways and quizzes. Take a read of the tutorial and make your own mind up. That’s what Raena did here. She might have a different opinion to you of ASP.NET based on her experience, but hey, that’s her opinion, not the “SitePoint” opinion. It’s funny how we let people think for themselves like that.

    Btw, all of you ASP.NET guys—if you’re keen to help me publish some more ASP.NET tutorials, I’ve been trying to commission some for for a while now. Contact me here if you’re actually serious about helping us increase our catalogue of ASP.NET articles, rather than just sounding off.

  • @Matthew
    Thanks, I went in, took the quiz again and it worked, no problem.


  • Sarah

    Looks like people need an edumacation. :-) CF has been on par with all other languages, and surpassed PHP/.Net in many areas. CF 5/6 had a few issues for sure, but that was many years ago. The big thing it was missing was a proper IDE, which it has now. Thew new features are all about pushing the RAD envelope in all areas. Not to slag other languages, but CF is THE best server tech for Flex. Even more so with version 9. Give it a look.

  • Lord of the Flies

    Having experience with .Net, PHP, Java and CF I can honestly say that CF is amazing in terms of developer productivity.

    A metaphor I have heard concerning CF goes like this: If you want to open a bottle of wine, with other languages you have to build the bottle opener before you can even open the bottle. With CF you just open the bottle, often times with one or two lines of code. The whole language is like that. For 90% of what web developers do, CF has built in features/ functions /tags to get you there in 1/2 the time it takes in any other language. Out of the box.

    It is true that MacroMedia neglected CF big time and let it languish while .Net and RoR picked up serious momentum. But under Adobe’s stewardship the language/platform has really taken off and is playing a serious game of catch up ball.

    CF 9 (and previous versions) has DEEP hooks into Hibernate, Java, .Net, Flex, Action script, MS Office, PDF’s, Adobe Air, MS Exchange and SharePoint Server that makes it ridiculously easy to work with those technologies. More so than any other platform or language.

  • Scotty

    Nice article CF9 and CF in general under Adobe is doing much better.

    It is now worth considering language for new students. CF has it all out the box for most of the projects people are doing out there day to day. Not to mention it’s open source (and developer) community is finally taking off now. I think CF will have growth, the Adobe badge is a big selling point when it shows commitment to a product.

    I don’t think there will be waves and waves of converts as PHP, MS and Java has many users who can do what they need there. However CF is now very attractive to certain types of NEW students coming into the game.

    CF9 can theoretically do all most of it’s competitors can…So there is no reason for new students not to take a look at PHP, MS and CF side by side before deciding. If your going to be a skinner yeah PHP is for you but if your going to write code I think CF deserves a look.

    Its hook up to flex/flash is sweet also. New features of CF9 are good and taking CF up a notch.

    Keep up the CF9 articles please as many of us use CF for our work and we want to come and read your site just like PHP users do. Okay there is more of them so you can make them more articles, I guess, but don’t forget us! CF is a growing community again.

  • Scotty

    Eclipse steer clear – why? If your inexperienced with eclipse yes it runs like toffee and you will be very confused (but that is you not it). It might not even be for you. But to run away from CF because the IDE is built on Eclipse is a silly one line comment.

    If you work at it and learn about the product it is amazing what it can do! You can have it handling so much out of one product! Why need 10 IDEs when you can use one on all platforms. Yes some of us use OSX and Windows and even Linux at times. You think we can afford to buy, support and learn multiple IDE’s.

    You really think an IDE based on Eclipse is worth running away from. *head shake* IMO it is the opposite. I have used the new CF IDE and it is very, very, well done without reinventing the wheel. It is also a smooth jump for those using eclipse already.

    Maybe your computer is slow I dunno but on my Mac Pro Eclipse runs sweet and I am a big fan of it in all it’s varieties and the fact it has so many projects running tells me I am not the only one. I am sure other IDE’s have value, but to not use CF because of Eclipse is crazy, I am repeating myself because I cannot believe you typed that! Do you work for MS?

    It is not a reason to not use CF it is a reason TO use it because it means you can develop CF properly on ANY platform. You change jobs and platform and bang straight back in with your same IDE. So what if it is Java based that is why I use it not why not. Besides Java on a fast computer is not that noticeable from native applications now.

  • @Scotty:

    Maybe your computer is slow I dunno but on my Mac Pro Eclipse runs sweet and I am a big fan of it in all it’s varieties and the fact it has so many projects running tells me I am not the only one.

    I agree!

    I’ve got Eclipse running on a couple of computers and it’s great… A little sluggish on my Windows PC but I’m due for a hardware upgrade. It’s lightning fast on my 3 month old Linux laptop. It will likely be fastest on the Mac as I understand it runs Java faster than others.

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