Thursday 20 December 2012

Positive Communication from Adobe regarding ColdFusion: more thoughts

G'day (again):
I'm following the comment thread on the "ColdFusion: News, Initiatives and Updates from Adobe" blog post on the Adobe blog that got posted a few days ago. I offered my first tranche of feedback a coupla days ago, and here's my second lot.

These are replies to people's comments, and some general thoughts. I'm posting them here rather than there because this is too long for a comment cluttering-up someone else's blog. I'll cross reference this article over there too though. Also I want to get this discussion on the radar of my readers too, in case they're not aware of it, or have not thought/bothered to follow it.

I've worked my way down the comments, and commented / responded as I go. It's a bit stream-of-consciousness.

@jeff c

You mentioned a bunch of good enhancement ideas for CF: LEFT JOINS for QoQ, PDF enhancements etc. Have you raised these in the bug tracker, and circulated the bug ID to encourage people to vote? Having the tickets in there and getting votes does help make a case for getting stuff implemented in my experience).

@Brad Wood

You mentioned negativity coming from Adobe re Railo. In my experience (participating in every CFML community I can find), I find the case to be profoundly the opposite. In saying this, I would like to point out that anything I say here excludes the guys in Switzerland who do most of the work for Railo (Gert, Micha etc), but some people who represent Railo officially and some of their community members take any opportunity at all to denigrate ColdFusion. I find some of the Railo community members downright embarrassing (and would not be surprised if Railo themselves might too), and there's a coupla people who built their names in the CFML community working with ColdFusion and have now "changed sides" to Railo (there should be no sides in this) who very transparently demonstrate they are simply "opinions for hire" given the song they now sing is one of bashing Adobe & ColdFusion if they perceive there to be an "in" to do so. I think are counterproductive to Railo's cause with their attitudes & commentary.

I hasten to add I think Railo is a great product, as are most of the guys actively involved in the project, and indeed most of the community too.  But there are some people who - for me, anyhow - diminish Railo's credibility somewhat.

On the other hand, I have never heard anyone who's more in the ColdFusion camp than the Railo camp ever say anything bad about Railo in the context of "my toy's better than your toy... neener neener neener".

@Andrew Scott

Yeh, LINQ seems cool! I've not used it, but think something like that in CFML would be excellent. I think it's specifically MS technology though (ie: patents or licensing or something... I can't remember what I was reading), so it might be tricky to add that sort of thing into CFML. Have you raised an E/R?

@Andy K & @Rakshith

Regarding Andy's suggesting opening up the pre-release more... I think getting some new opinions / sets-of-eyes in there could be good for CFML. I'm treading cautiously around an NDA when I say this next bit, but IMO you could do with shaking off some of the current "usual suspects" too. A lot of people seem to be on the programme because they are names in the community, rather than because they bring anything to the P/R. Ditch 'em. If people just take it as an opportunity to show off they've got special secret access to the new stuff, rather than actively help out with the testing & discussions, they're a waste of space.

Another idea is to start the public beta sooner before release date, to give the public people more of a chance to participate.  I still think there's a lot of benefit in having a fairly small group of bods doing the alpha & early beta testing though. Provided they actually do actually test.

Re pricing (a lot of people mentioned this)

It's clearly a problem. I get that Adobe are in the business of making money, but unfortunately they're looking to make it in the wrong places, I think. Who else charges for a programming language?  That might have been OK a decade or so ago, but people won't wear it any more. The core language needs to be free. I don't necessarily mean it needs to be open source, but it needs to be free.

@Tom Chiverton

I would not want a <cftwitter> tag (why on earth would it be a tag, anyhow?), but having an interface between the Twitter API and CFML could be handy. Yes, I know there are already third-party ones out there: this is irrelevant to this discussion about what to bring ColdFusion. However the challenge Adobe needs to step up to is to understand these things have shorter cycles than CF traditionally has had, and this needs to change.  If for example some CFML-ready API to Twitter was implemented, it would need to be implemented in such a way that the "gateway" behind the API to twitter could be easily pushed out as an update to ColdFusion if Twitter change their API. The benefit to CF here is that the CF API could stay the same. I see value in this.

Also remember that a lot of people using CFML are not particularly competent, and having something like twitter.getStuff() is going to be far easier for them to get their heads around than using a Java interface to same, or using <cfhttp> to call the REST API, or even locating and installing Matt Gifford's Monkehtweet API (that seriously needs a different name).


Just on your "Cf will never be free and nor should it be. It offers premium features that companies normally have to pay saas licenses for" comment. This is all well and good, but I don't want almost all of those features as I don't use them. And I will be the same as almost everyone in this regard: most applications will not use a fair percentage of these things that CF includes in its licensing. Heck, I don't even use most of the DataDirect DB drivers I'm paying for (I just use the MS SQL one @ work... I dn't use the Oracler ones, the MySQL ones, the DB2 ones, the MS-Access ones... not that it's me paying for the licence).  I say it's fine for them to offer add-ons like Oracle drivers, ORM, PDF integration (which is licensed from themselves, surely?), Solr integration, etc. I don't use it. Why should Adobe expect me to pay for this stuff? I'm all for them being available. And I'd be happy to pay for Solr integration if I started a project that needed it. I believe in paying for stuff I use. But only for the people who want/need it. The core language should be free so that CFML still competes in the language marketplace.

In case you didn't see it the first time, I've offered my own thoughts on ColdFusion modularisation, a few months back, and asked what other people thought about it too.

@ Dave McGuigan


@ everyone on the thread: great discussion!