Wednesday 1 July 2015


According to Adobe, ColdFusion is 20 today. I tried to track down the exact release date a while back but couldn't find an online press-release or the like, but Anit assures me it was 2 July 1995.

Interestingly, this makes CFML just one month younger than PHP, which was released 20yrs ago last month. I now use PHP daily, but know CFML a lot more, and I think CFML has the edge on PHP in the "quality of language" dept. This is only true as of ColdFusion 11, that said. PHP 7 doesn't make up much ground there.

Ruby, btw, came out in 1996. Python way back in 1994! CFML even pre-dates Java, which didn't show up until 1996JavaScript dates from 1995, so says Wikipedia.

I started doing web stuff in 1996: being the IT guy, I maintained our web site. It was flat HTML, which I coded by hand in the code-view of FrontPage, and I think I emailed to our ISP to be uploaded to the web server, or some similar nonsense. Who cared, as web sites really didn't matter so much then. Indeed after 1996 I didn't touch web stuff again until 2000. I first experienced CFML via the "FastTrack to ColdFusion" course I did that year. I shifted jobs in 2001 and started as a CFML developer, full time. And this was what I continued to do until last year. Now it's PHP.

ColdFusion has paid a lot of bills for me over the years. It's also helped me make a bunch of new friends, and I've had good experiences, and I've learned a lot whilst using it.

I started my professional programming career using ColdFusion 4.5.2, but we upgraded to 5 fairly soon after I started. I can recall being pleased that CF5 added functions to CFML (ie: user-defined ones), but annoyed they were script-only (but only cos Macromedia wasn't supporting the language properly in CFScript, rather than me being averse to CFScript, per se... I've always used CFScript in my code as much as possible, which was a mixed blessing back in those days).

I was an lurking member of the CFMX prerelease, and had our app mostly converted to CFCs before CFMX6 was even released. And then by the time 6.1 was released, CFCs even worked properly. Albeit slowly (this was not really fixed until CF9, IMO).

From there I've used CFML daily... and I mean daily. So about 5000 days or so. I love programming stuff, and CFML was easy.

But... despite being 20yrs old, and despite version 12 being on the horizon (and Railo/Lucee etc existing), CFML is in decline as a language. That's cool: shit happens. Before moving away from CFML entirely (except for the community and this blog), I was desperately trying to upskill in these "new" languages like... erm... Ruby and Python. And Java. Hmmm. And now I'm doing PHP and JavaScript. Heh.

I think CFML finally started coming right in ColdFusion 11, just last year. It finally got the scripting side of the language on par with the tags, and it also started moving its built-in functionality to OO from a traditionally procedural bent. It's too little too late though, even if we have ColdFusion 12 coming, and CF13 "promised" in... 2-4yrs time, I'd guess.

Historically, my favourite "new" features of CFML have been CFCs (CFMX6.1 version), full CFScript support, and member functions (both CF11). Railo really helped CFML in the last couple years, and now there's Lucee (my personal jury is still out on that one though).

It's been a bit of a curate's egg through these years, but one I seem to be content with chewing on, nevertheless.

Happy birthday, ColdFusion.