What have you done for me lately?

By Eric Jones
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So… what have you done for me lately? I make your life easier. I allow you to create great web applications, impress your co-workers, wow your clients, and I’m sure you’re a hero to your boss at least 3 or 4 times a week because of me. So what have you done for me lately? Have you stuck up for me during a fight recently? Have you fought for me to move ahead? Have you really pushed as hard as you could to upgrade me?

If you haven’t figured it out by now I’m not talking about me, Eric Jones your blogger incognito. I’m talking about ColdFusion, the CFML language and the CF world as we know it. Many times I hear about a new person getting put off by ColdFusion because they don’t think it’s supported by a large community or they don’t hear enough “buzz” about it or they think the “mind share” is too low. You know what? They are probably right when you look at the circles they run in BUT maybe they are only right because we as CF developers have allowed it to be that way.

I’m constantly amazed how the number of people who know ColdFusion don’t advertise it, or promote it, or shout from the roof tops how much they do love / enjoy it. I’ve been called a fanatic on many occasions for my passionate support of ColdFusion or my endless tit for tat’s with other web programmers. This is nothing new for sure and it’s completely reversible, sometimes with little to no effort at all.

So what can you do? Get active for starters. There is a huge community of active and vocal ColdFusion programmers out there and many many more who just lurk in the shadows. Sure you can hang out at the SitePoint forums but did you also know there are mailing lists for CF Developers (even those new to the language), and for finding jobs? Did you know there is an entire web site dedicated to CF jobs and that Adobe has a great CF community forums as well. Let’s not also forget the multitude of ColdFusion / Macromedia (now Adobe) User Groups spread all across the world and if there isn’t one near you Adobe gives you the tools to start your own! Right now we’ve even got a great resource for open source ColdFusion projects at RiaForge and CFOpen along with a great list of projects over at Remote Synthesis which you can use and contribute to. Of course we can’t forget the blogs, oh the blogs!

Me personally I like to think I do a lot for ColdFusion.

But this is just a small part that I play and there are others out there who do a whole lot more than me. The point I’m trying to make today is that it’s about time we stopped being just developers and show everyone what a community we really are.

So tell me what do you do, or better yet what are you going to do!

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  • Good post, Eric.

    I have come to the realization that my programming skills in “heavier duty” or “enterprise” languages such as Java and .Net are sorely out of date. To get up to date I would definitely need to go through a boot camp of some sort. But, lately I’ve begun to focus less on my technical skills and more on my business development skills.

    As part of this, ColdFusion plays a vital role. I know it very well and I’m able to get things done with (REALLY get things done, accomplished, finished and ready for production) in a fraction of the time it would take me in other languages, even if I were as expert with them as I am with ColdFusion. This gives me plenty of room to spend time on the biz dev tasks that really make or break a business.

    I see the big problem with ColdFusion still being it’s price. When one of my businesses reaches the point where a shared hosting account can no longer support it, I’m going to have to invest a significant amount of time porting the application to BlueDragon. I’m very hopeful that the code I’m writing now can be easily moved to run very inexpensively on BlueDragon/MySQL/Linux (I can rent a Linux server easily for $100/month) without too much re-coding or tweaking. I’m trying to write code with that in mind up front (by familiarizing myself with the differences between CF and BD) to save myself time later.

    I know that Adobe has to make money on ColdFusion in order to continue to support it and I know that there are a lot of companies out there who can very easily afford to drop anywhere from $1200 to $7000 on a license for the server. But, this can be a VERY big hurdle for businesses who are in that awkward growth phase where it’s too expensive to go CF dedicated but shared servers can’t handle your requirements for growth any longer.

    CF is great, I do love it and I will continue to use it. But, I’m definitely starting to get more on the BD/MySQL bandwagon as opposed to the CF/SQL Server group so prevalent in corporate environments today.

  • Anonymous

    We’ve seen CF usage shrink quite a bit in Denver. Why use it when there are perfectly good open source tools. I think we are going to see CF go away in the next three years.

  • LiQ

    I’m talking about ColdFusion, the CFML language…

    Wow, are you really talking about the ColdFusion Markup Language language?

    Come on, we have PHP, ASP.NET, Ruby on Rails… what do we need Cold Fusion for? No really, I’m not trolling, please tell me. I have no idea.

  • First, CF is not going away any time soon. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s sticking around. In fact, there has been plenty of growth in the area of CF shared hosting plans and we’re starting to see CF semi-dedicated and dedicated plans coming around as well.

    For LiQ, maybe YOU don’t need ColdFusion, but there are LOTS of organizations out there who have critical applications, websites and intranets that are built in CF. They’re not going to be spending insane amounts of money to redevelop those in .Net, much less PHP.

    What I think few hardcore programmers get is the business behind programming. Sure, you have PHP, RoR, .Net and Java. But, for those of us who want a fully functional app up and running in a fraction of the time, ColdFusion is a very viable method of doing so. In addition, you can develop front end systems in CF and VERY easily integrate it with back end systems written in Java and custom components written in Java, C++ or .Net. It’s as flexible as any language, but it masks the general complexity of programming in order to allow you to focus on the BUSINESS aspect of your application.

    I can honestly say that I make MUCH more than the average PHP programmer (and I rival many enterprise/corporate .Net programmers) by coding ColdFusion. And the beauty is: I probably work significantly less by doing so. Programming is no hobby for me. I enjoy it, but I wouldn’t do it if it didn’t put bread and then some on the table.

    So, you guys stick with PHP, RoR, .Net. Really, the fewer hardcore CF programmers, the better. That leaves more work for the rest of us. And trust me, the work is more than there…

  • PS – There have been more than enough discussions of this all over the web. You can start in SitePoint’s own CF forum. Quite frankly, I’m a bit tired of the back and forth. If you don’t “believe” in CF, then leave it and us alone. We’ll keep raking in the dough while you compete against a much larger labor pool in the PHP arena…

  • jonese

    Man just when i was ready to come in here and give my seventy five cents David lets loose.

    David i love you man, if you EVER wanna get back into posting on this blog just say the word!

    As for you detractors out there. This posts wasn’t meant to start up the whole “CF is dead / dying” debate. I was hoping to motivate people to do more, and even share what they do now.

    So if you want to talk semantics bring it to the forums.

  • Jason

    This actually interests me, because I was one of those people who thought CF was all but dead.

    When I started learning it, it was just before my first job, and I landed in a company where they had just moved away from Cold Fusion in favor of the free, flexible PHP. Before taking that job I had seen only two or three jobs who were looking for CF developers.

    Now I see ASP, a language group I consider to be absolutely horrible and near enough useless, all the time, PHP all the time, and I never hear a word whispered about CF. Really the odd time when the moon is right and I hear the name uttered for over the cube wall, it is somthing about how quarky it is.

    If CF is still going strong, why does it seem to be out in the cold everywhere I’ve looked? Have Macromedia/Adobe kept the project going on their ends or is the CF community a legacy support group, so to speak. I don’t mean to antagonise, I’m just trying to find out if I should let my CF knowledge tarnish, or if there is something in it for me and my business that I can’t get for less or faster elsewhere.

  • Macromedia/Adobe have still shown their dedication to the project. CFMX version 7 was released last year (as I recall, time flies so I may be wrong) with a host of new features and there’s talk of even more in version 8.

    Actually, Hal Helms posted one of the best blogs on ColdFusion I’ve yet to see here: http://www.fusionauthority.com/Views/4649-A-New-Vision-for-ColdFusion.htm a couple of months ago. He has a great perspective on where ColdFusion fits into the whole puzzle.

    And, Eric, hey when somebody messes with your livelyhood, you tend to get a bit defensive. :) One of these days I may take you up on a couple of blog postings here and there. I’ve been a bit pressed for time lately, although, I’ve got some things I’ll be blogging about related to CF at [shameless-plug] http://www.webdevsuccess.com. [/shameless-plug] :)

  • Quite frankly, I’m a bit tired of the back and forth. If you don’t “believe” in CF, then leave it and us alone.

    That kind of attitude really would result in the death of the language I’d say. I think the fact is that while work isn’t disappearing for this language neither is awareness of it spreading. It may not be dieing, but it really doesn’t feel like its progressing. (awareness wise) A language can only remain out of the spot light so long before companies start converting to what is “in”.

  • Clark Valberg


    Great post! If you’re really looking for a dedicated source of ColdFusion jobs, and not just a branded portal, just out http://www.developercircuit.com. You can install our little flex widget on your own blog and let your readers peruse the latest openings right from your site.

  • John Ramon

    David your right on the money keep the CF jobs on the downlow, I can’t keep up with the work coming in. hehe

  • Hi Eric,

    I’m still waiting for this article to appear on the front page of SP…

    Learn Cold Fusion: the Ultimate Beginner’s Tutorial
    By Eric Jones

  • John,

    I know the feeling. I’m overloaded already and looking to hire soon…

  • I have been using ColdFusion for almost 8 years and can’t fathom not having it at my disposal. I also do projects in ASP.NET & PHP. I’m not a fan of ASP.NET but quite like PHP. I also like to dabble in Python and occasionally tap into ColdFusion’s Java underpinnings. But if I need to get a project done quickly (who doesn’t sometimes) and the client doesn’t already have a specific platform requirement, I use CF. I haven’t done as much as I could have to evangelize CF, but I’m starting to change that. I have built a Yahoo! Answers style site strictly for ColdFusion, but it is still in it’s infancy and isn’t quite the information source I hope it will become someday.

  • emmasmygirl, can you pm me the link through the forums for your site? I’m working on a complete overhaul of one of my sites and we might be able to link share.

  • link sent. for anyone else that might be interested, the site is cfanswers.org.

  • I have used ColdFusion since 1996 and for a few years made a living as a CF developer. I moved into consulting and later into full-time work as a web editor and content manager (that is, writing rather than programming). I still have a dedicated box with CFMX for my hobby projects, but one thing that is forcing a move from CF to PHP is the complete lack of CF cowboys. It’s so amazingly easy to get PHP help – for free, which is important to large hobby projects (my portal is 7 years old and has 4,000 members) – and we save a lot of money going away from CFMX. I really wish Adobe had taken up the BlueDragon challenge and offered a cheap (as in a few hundred bucks) CFMX license so that I could keep it on my server for my old projects. Instead I’m forced to go with shared hosting some place, with all the incompetence that brings with it. Yes, CF pops up at shared hosts but when the hosts know little or nothing about hosting CF sites, and lock down all options because they believe their server will die if the all CFFILE, then what good does it bring? ColdFusion has gone from something with great potential to something that will die a slow death in the hands of diehard experts. I am very, very sad to see it go.

  • …sorry, that should read “if they allow CFFILE”…PIBCAC.

  • Rey Bango

    @Eric Jones: I recently posted precisely on this issue


    and it seems to have gotten the attention of Aodbe:


    While CF developers need to be vocal (God knows I can be), Adobe needs to do much more to get the word out. From my conversation with Tim Buntel, it looks like they’ll be reworking some stuff to do just that.


  • John Grubbs

    I have been developing an application in CF since 1998 and have deployed it at three successive employers. Besides my working with the language full time, I now have the opportunity to give back to the CF community by hiring 2-3 full-time developers over the next 2 quarters. If you know a CF developer looking for a full-time opportunity in the SF Bay Area (Palo Alto), direct them to grubbs@vmware.com (the first of the job descriptions is in draft form…I am seeking a Senior Developer to support the care and feeding of our Learning Management System (LMS).



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