Friday, 19 February 2016

You need to consider the ColdFusion 2016 release as a public beta

I've been looking at what Adobe has released as ColdFusion 2016 over the last few days, and I can only conclude that it's really only "first public beta" quality. I figure it's worth making this observation, and warning people to not treat it as production-ready, and - unless you're basically installing it for testing purposes - simply don't touch it yet. Wait for a coupla updates even before trying it.

Adobe (and Macromedia before them) have always had public betas in the past, but for some reason they chose not to this time. If one looks at the duration of the pre-release cycle, ColdFusion 2016 was released very early compared to other releases. If one also bears in mind there's usually a small-audience alpha even before the wider-audience pre-release, and they didn't have that closed alpha round this time, it demonstrates it's been in a testable environment for an even shorter period than usual.

Given that... what they have released is pretty much the quality one would expect perhaps half-way through the pre-release cycle, which makes it perhaps 2-3 iterations more untested than the public usually experiences.

So in effect it's not even a beta. It's an alpha. It's OK for an alpha, but that doesn't make it production ready.

We also have to bear in mind a few factors contributing to the quality of the product here:

  • the ColdFusion Team's understanding of CFML is poor (ie: that's as distinct from Java, which they might be quite good at; but they don't understand the language they are creating);
  • their attention to detail is notoriously bad;
  • their testing is superficial;
  • they generally ignore input from the community. This was especially bad this time round, as described by Ray in his recent blog article about the ColdFusion 2016 release;
  • and as stated, this was all just a rush job.
If you bear all that in mind, do you really want to be investing your time trying to get your applications working on something that can only optimistically be referred to as beta? No.

Also stop to think about what you're gaining here: there is bugger-all in ColdFusion 2016 anyhow, feature-wise. I guess they have fixed a bunch of bugs, but most of those ought to be back-ported into ColdFusion 10 and 11 (as appropriate) anyhow. ColdFusion 10 is supported until mid 2017, and ColdFusion 11 until Q2 2019 (ref: Adobe Support Lifecycle Policy).

In addition to that there seems to be some question marks over licensing changes which might make ColdFusion 2016 substantially more expensive to run (or upgrade to) than ColdFusion 11, so that's something else to consider. I do not quite understand the details of this, but perhaps ask around.

Just steer clear of ColdFusion 2016, at least for the time being, until they get their act together. If nothing else, don't reward them for doing substandard work.