Dear ColdFusion Denier

So, hey, how are you doing? You’re here because you said something about ColdFusion, and questioned if anyone uses it, or something to that effect. If you’re genuine in your questioning of ColdFusion use and not just flamebaiting, let’s talk.

I work for Adobe, and I am the evangelist for ColdFusion. I can say categorically that people do use ColdFusion.

But what are the hard numbers that we can quantify? From our sales, community and web teams I can grab the following numbers:

  • 12,000+ companies are customers of ColdFusion
  • 350+ ColdFusion user groups are in existence
  • 11,000+ copies of ColdFusion Server and ColdFusion Builder are downloaded every month.

Number of developers is a trickier issue. There is no direct way of tracking this. We can look at sales, but there isn’t a typical ratio of server to developer. So we have to rely on estimates. We have recently had some conflicting data here. Third-party numbers that we have access to say one thing; our internal estimates based on older models say another thing. Both agree that we’ve gained developers, but the numbers are too far apart to be useful. We are in the processes of doing a ColdFusion developer census using a new method, so if you are a ColdFusion developer please participate.

Numbers are great, but let me introduce you to the community of ColdFusion developers.

First, you probably met some when you dissed ColdFusion on Twitter. As you discovered the ColdFusion twitters are passionate, but you may not have seen how helpful they are. Ask a real question about ColdFusion on twitter something like:

  • Do #ColdFusion Excel features let you work with xls files only, or does it handle xlsx?
  • Does outer joining work for objects work in HQL in #ColdFusion?
  • What’s the CFscript equivalent of cfquery tag in #ColdFusion 9?

I assure you, you’ll get the best responses 140 characters can buy.

Also check out the community on StackOverflow. We also have one at Dzone. And at github. We’ve got a small but growing presence in all of them.

Now, you might notice that participation is constant, but not a tremendous amount. That’s because the ColdFusion Community tends to be a bit insular. As a whole the community is working on it, but when you look at ColdFusion only resources like CFTalk and ColdFusionBloggers.org you’ll see constant volume.

Finally, if you look at the number of open source projects available at Riaforge.org, you’ll see again that there are definitely OS collaboration around ColdFusion.

Finally check out the list of ColdFusion conferences. A third of them are new conferences and have popped up over the past 3 years. We’re seeing a shift from huge national conferences to smaller regional conferences in the US, as well as a few more international events and activities mostly in Europe.

All of these point to a vibrant community that is engaged and loves using ColdFusion. Are we the biggest community? No, and no one will dispute that. But we are a community; we’re evidently still growing in numbers, and still branching out into new social networks. We use ColdFusion, and we love it.

To sum up this long answer to your short question: Do people still use ColdFusion?
Hell yeah.

Now, you might be changing your argument, from “no one uses it” to “well it’s not good because…” Well if that’s the case, I have another blog post for you to read.

4 thoughts on “Dear ColdFusion Denier

  1. You’re giving blood for every Adobe’s penny, mgghh? 🙂

    Random ranting (dont read if you love Adobe AND/OR you are filthy rich 🙂 ):

    If for nothing else these are posts like self-respect energy bars, I like to think that I really do something good for myself and my family by not switching to back Java or to something else.

    Truth is, Adobe is not really happiest place for CFML to grow, at least not at the pace it needs to in order to make more money to me and to Adobe. But all of us are hoping for better and we’ll always want more: more marketing, more respect, more efforts, more innovation, more ideas…so generally more! And yes, there are also CFML developers in Europe (not only UK). We are still making money out of pure coding, not by 8h/day blogging/twitting/consulting. I’d say to your employer “Help me, to help you!” I also want to spread the good word about CF, I want to get respect from my colleagues working with other technologies, I want to show students how great CF is.
    How can I do that?

    Like

  2. As a CF developer running a small RIA development business in the UK and following many recent conversations at CFUnited 2010 I wanted to add to the above posts:
    ColdFusion is brilliant, great, fast, efficient, my preferred choice for development of many RIAs. However…

    Who knows about it?
    I pitch to small and medium businesses and they don’t trust something they’ve never heard of.
    If someone can tell me of a new campaign to spread the word about CF “OUTSIDE” the existing CF community then I will cheer! If it stays within the community without Adobe or other support then awareness will fall and demand for CF with it. Training will not be requested/undertaken and the existing community will start to dwindle.
    In fact; from my perspective, this sounds very much like where we are now and that is worrying.

    Where are the new programmers coming into CF development?
    CFUnited’s declining attendee numbers (all estimated) are possibly an indicating trend:
    2008=1200+ 2009=850+ 2010=400+ 2011=not viable
    I know that many will shout RECESSION and there are other CF conferences out there, but I have been trying to recruit employees for various CF projects and the lack of junior developers in the UK market is jaw dropping.
    The experienced CF’ers are mostly overemployed (or increasingly turning to consulting on legacy enterprise systems) as there are so few new developers out there and recruiting from within the community is both costly and impractical for long term employee needs.

    One blessing in the mix is Railo where the good folk are raising the bar and creating a challenge which is the best provocation to Adobe to push forward with development of CF.
    Sadly Railo lack the resources to singlehandedly evangelise and raise Railo/ColdFusion brand awareness globally (although they should be praised for all they are doing).

    So who is doing CF evangelism?
    In answer… the existing CF community, don’t get me wrong, this is great and as it should be… but the token effort and resources put in by Adobe to push forward the global awareness required to carve more than minute niche in the development market is shocking. Without this we as a community are destined to struggle and will ultimately have to diversify over the coming years as awareness, confidence and CF take-up fall by the wayside.

    As a keynote title last year said “ColdFusion is dead. Long live ColdFusion”. At present ColdFusion definitely isn’t dead, but we should be very worried about its longevity.

    Like

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