ColdFusion Matters, And Your Responses

    September 25, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

In my last article about ColdFusion, I asked developers to tell me why that development platform still mattered in the age of LAMP, Ruby on Rails, and Ajax.

I received what I expected to see in emails and forum comments from readers: thoughtful, well-written responses to the previous article, and I thank everyone who took a moment to respond.

Let us get the less-favorable stuff out of the way first.

While most of the responses favored using ColdFusion, there were a couple of dissenters. On our forums, poster SEOforGoogle wrote, “As much as I love CF, and use it as much as I can for all of my sites, I would still use .NET for a very “high-end” site,” and cited a perceived greater hardware need for ColdFusion than .NET.

Another poster, Orion, weighed in that developing in ColdFusion would cost a lot more in development fees, about triple on average. Orion also noted seeing “many issues with sites coded in” ColdFusion when it comes to search engine optimization.

One reader who shall remain anonymous provided a lengthy email on shortcomings he’s seen through several years of working with ColdFusion. Among the observations: an intolerance for anti-ColdFusion ideas.

(To those critics on HoF safely nestled behind their anonymous posts – you’ve got nothing on the Linux/Mac/anti-Microsoft crowd when it comes to attacking the messenger. Please try to do better.)

Now the bad stuff is out of the way, like eating the broccoli before carving into the prime rib. The ColdFusion-supportive messages in emails and forum posts from some truly intelligent developers.

One fellow, under the handle CFMunster, evidently signed up for our forum just to respond to my request for comments. The opening paragraph to his nicely crafted reply summed up strengths for ColdFusion that its proponents might wish to use when asked about it:

ColdFusion is more than just a language. It is a development platform that bundles database connectors, clustering, search, PDF creation, Flex integration, and asynchronous gateways including connectors for JMS and SMS. How many of these “free” languages offer so much functionality integrated into the core platform in such an easy-to-use package? CF also gives you the power to dive down into Java and do things that CF doesn’t handle.

An emailer also cited Java as a strength of ColdFusion, and echoed another person’s comment that developing in ColdFusion proves a faster process than when working with other alternatives.

Another emailer cited one of the websites with the heaviest traffic on the Internet, MySpace, runs on ColdFusion. It’s a fair point and one that I missed. MySpace had its roots as an entirely different application before it became what it is today, love it or hate it. Despite some well-publicized downtime, MySpace has mostly held up under the demand.

For those who use ColdFusion and love it, alternatives do not hold any appeal to them. The issue as I am seeing it is the likelihood of ColdFusion staying in a small but solid niche, while the future of online applications, Software-as-a-Service, and web services all are developed in or support everything but ColdFusion.

Maybe that isn’t a fair fate for ColdFusion. Unfortunately, life is seldom fair.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.