Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Adobe: Observations on Rakshith's recent blog article

I've just seen Rakshith's Twitter update pointing us to a new blog article from him, "ColdFusion: News and Updates from Adobe".

This seems to be a response of sorts to Cutter's blog entries recently:
I'm just jotting down my thoughts. I'm typing this as I'm reading the article.

Rather than viewing Adobe and community as two separate entities, we are keen to work with the community with a common goal of reviving ColdFusion. And in that context the feedback that we have been receiving is extremely valuable.
Well this is good news. I was beginning to get the impression that Adobe didn't really care or pay attention to the community, because... well they seldom seem to, and I think they get a lot of licensing revenue automatically, just as large US companies and govt agencies automatically re-up their licences no matter what Adobe to with ColdFusion. So in that light... perhaps they think they don't need to engage with us developers. We don't pay their bills, after all. This is just supposition, but the impression I get sometimes.

I have to say though, that I think the Adobe team need to put their money where their mouth is. This is the first sniff I've heard from them for weeks. The last entry on the official blog was two weeks ago, and prior to two posts then... a month before that! That's no good. And where are their developers in the community? They need to be part of the community.

The last entry on Rupesh's blog was in 2010! The penultimate entry is entitled "ColdFusion Survey : We are listening". I note Rupesh's blog runs on PHP, btw.

Shilpi... the "security tzar"... the last blog entry on her blog was in July: "Slides & Recording of e-seminar on Security Best Practices for ColdFusion".

Ram? March 2012 was his most recent ColdFusion blog article (taken from "Ram's Blog: My ColdFusion Blogs".

I could go on, but you get the point: they're invisible. It's the same on the ColdFusion forums, Stackoverflow, Twitter. They are not part of the community. Time you joined in, people.

We do hear news about an organization moving away from ColdFusion. How about we start by talking about how many new organizations are adopting ColdFusion? Nearly 2000 new organizations have chosen ColdFusion as their web application platform over the last one year. And this not a random number being thrown at you. There is data in our system to back this claim.
Sorry, but unless you can back that up, they might as well be random numbers. Who? Why have you got thrown 2000 case studies our way? Or even 10% of that: 200 case studies. 1% even. Where is it?

[...] we only had 22 active User Groups at the beginning of this year, [...] we now have 74 active ColdFusion User Groups that meet at least once a quarter

That is good news. Were there announcements on the ColdFusion portal that these 50 new / revived UGs were active? (I don't know, it was a genuine question). Which Adobe team members have been attending the user groups? What did they have to say? What did they hear?

CFSummit [...] is the first ever dedicated ColdFusion conference from Adobe.
And that's cool. Wish I could be there, but so be it. But I am looking fwd to going to CFCamp at much the same time anyhow. Cool.

Next Rakshith mentions the ColdFusion Community Portal - a good start, but needs more content; and some case studies. The case studies he links to irk me, and is a good example of where Adobe are disconnected from their community. There are marketing brochures. They're for IT managers, or to languish in a stand at a conference. They're neither use nor ornament to the developer community. We don't want gloss, we want... code. We want problem solutions. We want to see an example (a code example) of how a real world problem for a real world client was solved using web sockets. Or image manipulation. Or, hey, <cfform>. We don't want or need marketing shit. It's good that you've got that stuff, because they'll be handy for your client visits, or your resellers, but it's got nothing to do with the community.

We at Adobe already have designed a brand new [education initiative] curriculum titled 'Introduction to Web Development', focusing on the latest in Client-side Development, Mobile Application Development and Server Side development through ColdFusion. [...] I can even challenge that there is no other web application development curriculum available for education that provides such a complete learning of all concepts related to modern web application development. All of this is made available free of cost along with the licenses required.
I'd like to see this stuff, if poss. How do I get it? It is, though, good news. But where is this being taught? Which educational institutions have picked it up? How do they become aware of it?

There are quite a few language improvements such as full script support and member functions that are already a part of the upcoming version - Splendor. The goal of Dazzle, the version after Splendor, is to transform ColdFusion into a high performing nimble platform that is truly modular, powered with revamped language constructs and an enterprise class package manager to encourage an ecosystem around the platform..
Well that's all interesting stuff. I look fwd to checking out the non-smoke-and-mirrors features coming to CF11 (can we please dispense with the stupid code names? It's gonna be ColdFusion 11 and ColdFusion 12, right? Let's just call 'em that).

ColdFusion support launched a new alias through which the community can directly reach support for free and instant support regarding all installation issues via the cf.install@adobe.com email alias.
I've recommended this to people, and all the feedback I have heard has been positive. But that's just corporate responsibility. It's not "community". Rakshith, you guys need to be helping on StackOverflow as well. Hey... helping on the Adobe forums would be a good start (and no, I do not mean your junior guys who don't know what they're talking about basically wasting people's time... the guys on the team who actually know stuff).

I'm glad you're acknowledging there's an issue with the community here Rakshith, and it looks like you're scratching your head as to what to do about it... but I think your blog entry comes across more as lip-service and a "corporate" sort of response (it's a positive response, don't get me wrong, I'm just meaning the tone). You need to get your guys engaging with the community. Basically: participate.

I'd also like to hear from you or your guys more directly on the issues Cutter (and the people responding) raised in his blog articles. This too is community engagement. It'd be great to see some more.

Cheers for making a start on this.