ColdFusion is NOT dead, it's just NOT marketed well!

Goog Feed, ColdFusion    Comments (14)

"ColdFusion is pretty much a dying language," said the customer service rep for a very popular hosting company, which I will name later.

Alright, enough of this! I know this has been a touchy point for ColdFusion developers for years, from the days of Allaire, to the purchase by Macromedia in 2001 which everyone thought would be CF's demise, to the purchase by Adobe in 2005 which we hoped would push CF to new heights in the coding world, but hasn't really came to pass as of yet.

In thinking this through, I have come up with a theory as to why CF after 10 plus years is still, a "dying" language...

So how did this come to pass?

A buddy of mine here at work recently called in regards to their hosting package, which currently offers CFMX7. He asked the rep if they had any plans in the works to upgrade to CF8. His response was "hold on a minute, let me check on that for you...," a couple minutes later he comes back on the line... "I just talked to our developers and they say that ColdFusion is 'pretty much a dying language' and we have no plans to upgrade at this time."

This coming from one of the biggest hosting providers in the world doesn't sit well with making me feel any better about the future of CF.

So, here is my theory. I think CF is awesome, I think it offers so much to the developer, it is easy to use and program in, it is very robust, BUT it's one drawback, the PRICE TAG!

Listed at $7,499.00 by Adobe for the Enterprise Edition of CF doesn't exactly make CF an attractive option for going the route of CF. Why would ANY company want to pay $7,500.00 bucks just to set the stage for a developer to write and deploy code, when there are FREE alternatives, namely, PHP, JAVA, ASP, etc...

This is our livelihood, CF is how we get paid, you would think that Adobe would make CF a more attractive alternative to it's competing languages. If Adobe make purchasing CF something that was NOT a financial burden, then more companies would use it. If more companies used CF, more CF jobs would be created. When more CF jobs are created, our futures become more secure, pay goes up and Adobe shines.

Maybe my perception is off, but this is just my perception of this whole situation. What do you think?

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I think this is why projects like Railo ( are starting to form. They saw the barriers & potential of CF adoption. Essentially CF is now free to deploy with railo.

What's dying is shared hosting - these days so easy to deploy your own VPS and configure however you'd like (CF, Railo, Etc.).
# Posted By Evan | 5/6/09 3:40 PM
Joe, you pay $7.5k for an enterprise edition of ColdFusion if you need to deploy an enterprise J2EE solution. Don't compare that to ASP or PHP, compare it to other J2EE solutions like Websphere/Rational developer suite or Orcale Web Logic and their developer suites. Price those out and you'll find REAL value in CF.

# Posted By David | 5/6/09 4:03 PM
You have to look at the amount of time that CF can save you over many of the other languages out there. Having coded some PHP I can tell you it takes a lot longer to write your DB interaction in PHP then it does in CF.

Paying 7500 may seem like a lot... but: if it saves 100-200 hours of programming it starts to be very cheap if not free. Always important to look at the ROI.
# Posted By Daniel Sellers | 5/6/09 4:15 PM
Well put Joe. There was a great link on Ben Forta's blog to a post on the Adobe forums by a new CF developer. He loves CF, but pointed out how poorly marketing it is.
# Posted By Tony Brandner | 5/6/09 4:26 PM
GoDaddy's CFMX7 hosting is terrible anyway (it's secured to the point that the language is crippled), so it comes as no surprise that they also don't know what they're talking about in regards to CF.

Railo and OpenBD are doing great things to provide a CFML platform at zero up front cost, and at the moment Adobe probably figure they don't need to compete for $0. Plus they still have a bunch of features that are worth paying for, and would probably cost *more* to purchase implement on other competing development platforms (PHP, Ruby, et al).
# Posted By Justin Carter | 5/6/09 4:37 PM
Fwiw, I wouldn't base anyth opinions on what GoDaddy hosting does or doesn't do. GoDaddy's CF hosting gave CF a bad name. They disabled nearly everything so that nothing worked. Here's a close friend's experience with them (and its nothing but horrible) -
# Posted By Brian Rinaldi | 5/6/09 4:38 PM
I have to agree with Brian. GoDaddy is horrible, and probably one of the most pathetic CF hosts around. Given what they just did to one of my clients (, I don't see how they can stay in business.

I would put zero stock in anything their customer support or "developers" have to say.
# Posted By Eric Cobb | 5/6/09 5:02 PM
It doesn't really matter what CF developers think or know. The perception is out there. Many developers and other IT folks who are not familiar with CF think that and are happy to repeat it. At some point, perception becomes reality. I just had a situation where a group would rather abandon a perfectly working application and start over from scatch in PHP because they were told CF was dying and didn't want to put more money into it. Repeat that enough times and CF really will be dead. Somebody needs to make the effort to change the message in an effective way.
# Posted By Magnus | 5/6/09 8:21 PM
I'm not sure how the offhanded opinion of someone at at GoDaddy (a terrible host to choose for CF, they disable everything including createObject) equates to bad marketing. And it seems your primary complaint is about price, but the Standard version (which does everything PHP or ASP do and more) is only $1200. Perhaps CF does have a perception issue, because you seem to have fallen victim to it. There are plenty of excellent CF hosts out there, many of whom even run betas. And if you can't see the value CF brings even at its price, then I can't help you.
# Posted By Rachel Lehman | 5/6/09 10:04 PM
First off, GoDaddy really don't know what they're talking about, as others have said here - and as noted in the gigantic comment thread on this post on my blog:

Nearly 160 comments, all complaining about GoDaddy's hopeless technical support and how poorly they've implemented ColdFusion. It is probably fair to say that GoDaddy's incompetence has contributed to ColdFusion's reputation in a very negative way!

As a few others pointed out, $7.5k is a drop in the ocean for many enterprises, esp. compared to WebLogic / WebSphere and similar level products (which is where ColdFusion Enterprise competes). There is always ColdFusion Standard at $1,300 which is what many people buy. Independent research from Evans Data shows that the number of CF developers continues to grow and is somewhere around 700k / 750k these days. That's a huge increase since Adobe acquired Macromedia and a testament to how successful Adobe's marketing has been.

And, yes, there are free alternatives... in Railo and Open BlueDragon. Two Free Open Source CFML engines. Railo offers professional support and consulting, just like MySQL and JBoss so that companies can adopt Railo with no upfront licensing costs and then pay for whatever level of support they feel most comfortable with.
# Posted By Sean Corfield | 5/6/09 11:14 PM
I too wish Cold Fusion were more affordable. Even though it is being marketed as a competitor to other J2EE technologies, our company invested in it make it easier for our web design dept to develop powerful websites in the design tools we need AND still integrate with a .NET back end for data services. So it really IS competing with ASP.NET in many regards. I wish Adobe were keyed in to this fact.
# Posted By Chad | 5/7/09 11:21 AM
Real world example:

lets say I have orders for small ecomm stores and I just got a new ded box and need cfm on it.. well at this point I would go with railo but for this example I am using adobe and using set prices for sites.


I use php:

cfm standard lic: $1300

each site is 10k

say an average small web ecom store
php time to complete: 4 weeks
cfm time to complete: 3 weeks

over 1 year I can do:
php: 12 sites for a profit of 120k
cfm: 17 sites and 1/3 of another for a profit of 173k

subtract the $1300 from cfm for a total of: $171,700

So with cfm I just made $51,700 more profit over php.
# Posted By dave | 5/7/09 4:38 PM
Multiple encryption libraries, built in. Verity. CFDOCUMENT.

Three features that I use almost every day that are difficult and/or expensive to implement in other languages. I mean verity alone costs $100k or more if I'm not mistaken.
# Posted By Sean Coyne | 5/7/09 6:00 PM
CFers need to stop being so defensive, and believe in ColdFusion. It really does sell itself to those who will listen to accurate information. Those who will not listen won't be talked into it - so be it. All we can do as evangelists is show those who are interested, what CF can do. It will sell itself, price and all. I would rather Adobe offer top-notched tech support rather than more marketing for ColdFusion. I would bet they have lost more customers, because of a bad tech support experience than they have gained from a CF advertisement. It would be better to keep the customers they've got with solid tech support, imho.
# Posted By Jim Pickering | 5/11/09 4:51 PM