Coldfusion is a dying technology?

Advocate ,
Mar 26, 2010 Mar 26, 2010

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Not my words.  I've been told this by someone else.

Detecting more than a hint of bull, I figured I'd ask here.  How true (or false) is this statement?  If it is dying, what's replacing it?  Random thoughts on the state of CF's popularity welcome.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 27, 2010 Mar 27, 2010

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Rather than re-hash the same old argument again, how about you google "coldfusion dying" and read the previous incarnations of this thread.

--

Adam

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Advocate ,
Mar 27, 2010 Mar 27, 2010

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A Cameron wrote:

Rather than re-hash the same old argument again, how about you google "coldfusion dying" and read the previous incarnations of this thread.

--

Adam

Why ask here?  Because I want to hear up to date opinions from real users of the technology.  Not possibly far-outdated old Internet posts or threads which may not even be written by people that have used CF.  (As in the case of the person who told me "it's a dying technology".)

And that is a good question to ask--I'm sure I asked him why he said that, but I like "Based on what observations?" better.  My problem here is, since I'm not familiar with CF and it's current popularity, I can't come to it's defense at all.  I have no counter arguments (yet).

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LEGEND ,
Mar 27, 2010 Mar 27, 2010

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My suggestion is to ask the person who made the claim, "Based on what?".

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Valorous Hero ,
Mar 29, 2010 Mar 29, 2010

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As the others of said this is an old, and rather silly argument that many of us just don't care to bother with.

But just to make two quick point about this dying technology, Adobe apparently sells more new CF licenses every quarter and there are now at least four CFML engines for this dying technology.

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Advocate ,
Apr 01, 2010 Apr 01, 2010

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But just to make two quick point about this dying technology, Adobe apparently sells more new CF licenses every quarter and there are now at least four CFML engines for this dying technology.

Ahh, something concrete I can throw out there, this is good.  Hard facts is what I need for this, real stats! 

I found out what the individual who made this statement based it on.  It's easy enough to shoot down the "saw/tried it many years ago", but his primary reasoning was an unscientific observation of the number (and type) of job offers being made by companies.  He has perceived a slow decline in ColdFusion on the job market (but agrees this can't be taken a hard evidence of anything).

I got him to backtrack a little into saying that he'd favor simply creating standard Java libraries, project templates, or otherwise "standard" tools to do the work CF does for you.  My counter was basically - why do all that when you have a well designed, mature, commercial tool out there which gives you these things for free?

He keeps going back to this "market share" argument where of course Java (meaning, Java w/o CF) rules, .NET takes second, and most everything else isn't worth serious consideration.  Very frustrating.

I'm in the J2EE(/Flex) world myself but I feel like I'm much more open to trying something to speed up slow and fragile J2EE development.  Basically a way to do "rapid application development" in Java is what I need to make Flex/Java development in my office competitive with a rather primitive (but very efficient) RAD tool being pushed hard by management.  I've yet to dive into CF deeply, but I feel like CF is exactly what I'm looking for, especially with it's Flex integration.

In the end it doesn't matter (since I have the decision making power) if I can convince this coworker whether CF is worth considering (that's all I'm really saying, since I've yet to do more than some basic CF tutorials).  But still, you want your team to agree on such things if at all possible.  I've a lot of work to do!

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Valorous Hero ,
Apr 05, 2010 Apr 05, 2010

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Ansury wrote:

He keeps going back to this "market share" argument where of course Java (meaning, Java w/o CF) rules, .NET takes second, and most everything else isn't worth serious consideration.  Very frustrating.

Just to add a couple more cents to this topic.  I can say from presonal experience that we do not advertise for "ColdFusion" developers to fill our ColdFusion job openings.  We find we get better canidates by being language agnostic on our job postings.  I suspect there is more of this then one who just watches job boards may realize.

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Contributor ,
Apr 09, 2010 Apr 09, 2010

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Ansury wrote:

I found out what the individual who made this statement based it on.  It's easy enough to shoot down the "saw/tried it many years ago", but his primary reasoning was an unscientific observation of the number (and type) of job offers being made by companies.  He has perceived a slow decline in ColdFusion on the job market (but agrees this can't be taken a hard evidence of anything).

What?

I'm a member of the CF developers Facebook page, and it's packed with posts by companies looking for CF developers.  I live in DC, and most government agencies (including the one I work at) use CF and have no intention of switching to anything else.

One of the contractors in my agency lost its CF developer two years ago and has still been unable to find a replacement.  I'd say that if you're a CF developer, you're probably more in demand than ever.

The people who bash CF are usually the ones who don't know a thing about it.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 29, 2010 Mar 29, 2010

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That a look at this link - http://www.iscoldfusiondead.com/ (it will give you your answer).

Have a read of this too - http://ria.dzone.com/videos/adam-lehman-coldfusion?mz=13077-coldfusion - (just something I can across one day - although there are probably a lot more out there too).

As Ian mentioned above too, there are other CFML engines out there too (free or paid) - Railo, OpenBD, BlueDragon...  I don't think these companies and people would be investing their time and money into a dying technology.

I think you will find that a lot of the stuff you google where people make comments have either never used Coldfusion or if they did, they used way back in the 90's.  A dead giveaway (I feel anyway) is them referring to it as "Cold Fusion" (2 words) which went out with version 3.1 (around 1998).  Since version 4 it's been know as "ColdFusion" (one word no space).  Typo on their part???? I don't think so.

Another thing you will find in googling - is the other people that compare CF to PHP, ASP.NET, ASP etc...  They all seem to compare CF4/5 to the latest version of asp.net or php.  Their not really comparing apples with apples.  It would be just like me trying to compare the latest version of CF (v9) to php3.

Anyway, I've finished.

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Engaged ,
Apr 05, 2010 Apr 05, 2010

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I agree with Ian.

As for the "dying technology" bit ... computer software does not "die."  A piece of computer software might have a lifespan of twenty years or more.  Companies go to great lengths to evolve their technology strategy without replacing (almost) anything about it.  The software is a mission-critical investment of many millions of dollars.  And, it works.

Experienced practitioners switch languages as easily as they change their hats, and they pick-up new technologies on the fly (as I did) because they have accumulated a depth of prior experience to which "the latest thing, whatever it is," always relates.  Sure, you might spend your days at a particular company working with whatever technologies they've decided to use ... and yet, you flip back-and-forth among several technologies without thinking too much about it.  ("Is a woodworker limited only to a chisel?")  ("It isn't what you got ... it's what you do with it.")

You know the game:  times change, accountants do what accountants (often) do "to cut costs" and ... oops!  buh-bye!! ... and-d-d you twist in the air and land on your feet and this time it's an altogether different set of technologies, so you read a manual over the weekend and start right in.  So it goes.  From one "dying technology" to the next ... and, lo!, ain't none of 'em dead yet.

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Engaged ,
Apr 06, 2010 Apr 06, 2010

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Nobody in the history of the planet has ever said that CF was dying. It is ALWAYS second or third hand information.

There was an article penned a few years ago by a non-programmer citing that CF was dead. Nobody had ever heard of the author. There was no evidence that the author had ever programmed in any language, let alone CF. The article was cited all over the web as the death knoll of CF. An unknown author with unknown credentials with unfounded statements, and the story went viral.

Here we are a few years later having the same conversation. There is obviously not a DNR order in place.

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Advocate ,
Apr 06, 2010 Apr 06, 2010

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Interesting indeed.  (I had not thought of the simple fact that some companies may not advertise for specific technologies.)

I think I've put the debate to rest.  I don't think I'll get him to try and learn or research CF any time soon, but I'm fairly sure I've shot quite a few holes in the "dying technology theory".

Thanks all, for tolerating apparently another "one of many" discussions on the topic.

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New Here ,
Apr 06, 2010 Apr 06, 2010

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I heard this a couple years ago from a bum that was trying to pushing for Visual Studio 2008 (CF8 was still a new releas).  Considering all the products that work with CF, I would suggest that anyone who claims that it is "a dying technology" is either misinformed, lying, or using some very "interesting" (and most likely illegal) substances.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 08, 2010 Apr 08, 2010

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Ansury wrote:

Not my words.  I've been told this by someone else.

Detecting more than a hint of bull, I figured I'd ask here.  How true (or false) is this statement?  If it is dying, what's replacing it?  Random thoughts on the state of CF's popularity welcome.

Never mind. Here's a scene from Woody Allen's Annie Hall.

Those that have been going on about Coldfusion's impending death remind  me of nine-year-old Alvy. Like Alvy, some stopped doing homework for their employer.

Doctor in Brooklyn: Why are you depressed, Alvy?
Alvy's Mom: Tell Dr. Flicker.
[Young Alvy sits, his head down - his mother answers for him]
Alvy's Mom: It's something he read.
Doctor in Brooklyn: Something he read, huh?
Alvy at 9: [his head still down] The universe is expanding.
Doctor in Brooklyn: The universe is expanding?
Alvy at 9: Well, the universe is everything, and if it's expanding, someday it will break apart and that would be the end of everything!
Alvy's Mom: What is that your business?
[she turns back to the doctor]
Alvy's Mom: He stopped doing his homework!
Alvy at 9: What's the point?
Alvy's Mom: What has the universe got to do with it? You're here in Brooklyn! Brooklyn is not expanding!
Doctor in Brooklyn: It won't be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy. And we've gotta try to enjoy ourselves while we're here!

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Engaged ,
Apr 08, 2010 Apr 08, 2010

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Well, if you want to get all philosophical about it...

Right now, at this very moment, YOU are closer to death than you have ever been before.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 08, 2010 Apr 08, 2010

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tclaremont wrote:

Well, if you want to get all philosophical about it...

.

Right now, at this very moment, YOU are closer to death than you have ever been before.

I don't get the resonance.

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Engaged ,
Apr 12, 2010 Apr 12, 2010

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Like I said ... ColdFusion works.  In fact, the CFML approach is an extremely clever one ... and its implementation (here/s to you, Adobe, and/or to whomever you bought it from ...) is downright "shrewd."  If you want to quickly implement a web-site or an application server that will handle a lot of users and that will "scale-up" without having to be reimplemented, you'd be hard pressed to find a better solution.

It isn't immediately obvious at first glance why this should be so.  A ColdFusion page, after all, looks a whole lot like PHP or something similar.  But here comes the great-big difference:  how the CFML page is used by the ColdFusion engine.  Also:  ColdFusion is fundamentally designed to be an application server, not a web-page server.

A CFML page is, effectively, "an XML document."  It does not use XML namespaces in the now-accepted way because (uhh...) it was invented and on-the-scene before that idea came about.  But that's what it is, and it's used as an input to a just-in-time (JIT) compiler.  The CFML code is an XML tree-structure which is (very quickly!) parsed and understood so that the JIT compiler can on-the-fly generate the appropriate code for fast execution.

The ColdFusion application server(s), far from being "a general provider of any ol' web-page," (is|are) keenly aware of what each page is doing.  ColdFusion provide a wide variety of features ... threads, shared storage, load balancing, fulltext indexing, links to surrounding programming environments ... some of which are made available implicitly.  That is to say, without demanding a substantial change to the application code.

The CFML text is, to some degree, declarative.  It has a certain over-arching sense of "timing" which flows generally from the top of the source-file to the bottom, but a <cfinput> tag (for example) declares what behavior is desired at that point.  The <cftransaction> tag stipulates that all of the code that it encloses should abide by certain characteristics at execution-time.  There are many other examples.  And what the ColdFusion system does with that information, at execution time, in order to accomplish the specified result, is not entirely spelled-out step-by-step in the CFML.  It's determined on-the-fly, based not only on the source-code but also on the context.

That is "what all the fuss is about."  You can deploy pages very quickly, into a very robust programming environment, and know that they will work on both a small internal site and a very large multi-server enterprise site, "right out of the box."  As a tool to do what ColdFusion is designed to do, it is very hard to beat.  There is a tremendous business need out there for "doing precisely what ColdFusion is designed to do."  It might or might not be glamorous in the eyes of a fourteen year old , but it is crucial.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 12, 2010 Apr 12, 2010

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All the rest of what you write is great, but...

A CFML page is, effectively, "an XML document."  It does not use XML namespaces [...]  But that's what it is, [...]  The CFML code is an XML tree-structure [...]

Aah... no it's not.  CFML is mark-up, sure, but it's not XML.  It can't be coded in an XML-compliant fashion, was never intended to be XML (as you say: it predates XML), and shouldn't be considered in the same "mindset" as any thoughts about XML.  The similarlity between CFML and XML is fairly superficial: they both have the idea of "tags".  That's about it.

If one was comparing CFML to another tag-based technology, JSPs would be the closest (because CFML - broadly speaking - is a JSP library).  Cue someone to say "no it isn't..." in the same fashion I just have re XML 😉

This doesn't detract from anything else you said, that said.

--
Adam

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 12, 2010 Apr 12, 2010

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jobTrends.png

The graph displays the percentage of jobs search terms in the simplyhired.com job listing. Since August 2008, the following has occurred:

    * Asp jobs increased 15%
    * Jsp jobs increased 56%
    * Php jobs increased 83%
    * Ruby jobs increased 158%
    * Python jobs increased 152%
    * Coldfusion jobs increased 37%

(Courtesy of www.simplyhired.com)

Mark Twain: "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated"

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LEGEND ,
Apr 13, 2010 Apr 13, 2010

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So this graph demonstrates that CF jobs have increased from "f*ck-all" to "slightly more than f*ck-all", compared to the other technologies...?

--

Adam

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 13, 2010 Apr 13, 2010

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A Cameron wrote:

So this graph demonstrates that CF jobs have increased from "f*ck-all" to "slightly more than f*ck-all", compared to the other technologies...?

Yep. I feel a haiku coming.

Going down's dying

Going up's living, at least,

Rising from the dead

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Engaged ,
Apr 13, 2010 Apr 13, 2010

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Well, the fact of the matter is that it takes fewer programmers to get the job done with ColdFusion, so it stands to reason that there are fewer jobs listed!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 13, 2010 Apr 13, 2010

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tclaremont wrote:

Well, the fact of the matter is that it takes fewer programmers to get the job done with ColdFusion, so it stands to reason that there are fewer jobs listed!

Oh, I like that.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 13, 2010 Apr 13, 2010

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BKBK wrote:

tclaremont wrote:

Well, the fact of the matter is that it takes fewer programmers to get the job done with ColdFusion, so it stands to reason that there are fewer jobs listed!

Oh, I like that.

Indeed.  Nice one.

--

Adam

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Engaged ,
Apr 13, 2010 Apr 13, 2010

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Thank you for the clarification (regarding XML).

There are several aspects which these graphs do not consider:

  1. Where, and how, are the applications being deployed.  ColdFusion makes certain tasks considerably easier, which therefore drives its adoption more strongly in some areas vs. others.  The Wild and Wooly Web (WWW) is chock-full of "I wanna have a great big blog for my iddy-biddy business oops I'm broke! buh-bye!!" sites, and "let's do e-commerce to sell the bars of soap that I make as a hobby" sites.  Anything can be used to do that.
  2. The entire concept of "legacy code."  An application might be in-service for a very long time:  originally built long ago, and evolving ever since.
  3. If you are measuring job offers, you are not considering how many people are "happily employed and have been so for many years."  (Yes, it really does happen that way sometimes. )  In a corporate environment, a ColdFusion app might be in service, that has been in service for a long time and supported all that time by the same group of well-paid developers.
  4. How much do the jobs pay!   Let's face it...  competition does drive price, making a lot of "wild and wooly web" development a race to the bottom.  But to be really good at writing CF-based internal applications, you've got to be really good at a lot of other things too.  And, very likely, you will find yourself being well compensated for those skills.
  5. That (especially in ColdFusion shops...) there are many technologies in use at the same time by the same people.  A CF programmer might have other responsibilities and therefore have a job-title that does not say, "CF Developer."  (One of the best developers around here has the title, "CIO."  Seriously.)  When you get ten or fifteen years (or more) "in," you're swapping between technologies like you're swapping hats, and you're doing that every day.  A CF site might be presentng data from a COBOL program that you are also responsible to maintain.  A dot-Net tool might be facing one way while a CF-based tool is facing another way, and you're tasked with both.  Nothing to it.  Par for the course.

I don't mean to be entirely crass when I observe that there are a great many junior-programmers out there who basically know "how to write the language" but do not know what to do with it.  The job-pages are stuffed with those people, and with requisitions for them (because they're so darned numerous, they're both cheap and disposable).  ColdFusion is not nearly so likely to be attracting and retaining that demographic.

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