We all recently attended Scotch on the Rocks - Europe's longest running Coldfusion conference, which this year returned to Edinburgh. Immediately following the conference, I tweeted the following:
"Some incredibly useful and well timed insight for all @atomised from #sotr2011. Highlights for me were @gert_railo and @seancorfield"
While I still feel these were the best talks, this post was inspired by something that's taken a bit longer to sink in and will have more impact on our working lives. During Friday's keynote from Railo, Mark Drew began by discussing the CFML community and how we as developers often felt the need to apologise for CFML being our chosen language. When asked their language of choice, PHP, Ruby or Python devs will proudly declare the magic of their language, while a Coldfusion dev will turn their head and mutter the answer under their breath.
Now while what Mark was saying struck a chord, the possible reasons he gave for this situation didn't really provide the answer for me. It wasn't until a few days later I realised why, for me at least, there can be this embarrassment. Adobe.
Since we started Atomised in 2008, we've struggled a bit with the fact that we feel Coldfusion is a great platform for building web applications but at the same time, we love to offer opensource solutions wherever possible. For us, Coldfusion has always meant Adobe. Adobe generally means significant cost (and very restrictive licensing). We were never comfortable with this.
The best thing to come out of Scotch on the Rocks for me was the confirmation that there is a real and thriving open source CFML community out there. Engines like Railo, content management solutions like Mura and application frameworks like FW/1 (we were already using Mura and FW/1, but powered by Adobe CF) mean that we can leverage opensource solutions, without giving up the advantages we feel CF gives us.
So now when we deem Coldfusion the best fit for a project, these will be our tools and choice. I'll no longer feel the need to explain myself, and we (or our clients) will never again be burdened by the cost of Abode Coldfusion. The future of CFML is looking very interesting, mainly due to the fresh ideas being advanced by Railo and the growing support for the opensource engines. More on that another time though.