I suddenly have this drive to mess around with every obscure piece of content management and Web scripting software I can find. In this vein, I set up ColdFusion Express 4.5 tonight. This is a stripped down version of ColdFusion that Allaire (now Macromedia) offered for free for a while. I don’t think they have anything like it anymore with ColdFusion 5.0 or MX.
With ColdFusion Express, they disabled about two-thirds of the available CFML tags, but they left the dozen-and-a-half core tags that let you do about everything you need. Some of the disabled tags where silly ones like CFFORM, CFINPUT, and CFTABLE and really hardcore stuff like CFREGISTRY, etc. They left more than enough, however, to build about any application you need.
Looking at Cold Fusion, it’s kind of Escapade’s big brother. At its lowest level, ColdFusion is awfully simple. However, unlike Escapade, there’s somewhere to go — ColdFusion can get about as complicated as anything else.
I wonder about the future of ColdFusion now that J2EE is making big inroads. ColdFusion’s big claim-to-fame was always its tag-based syntax. But with JSP custom tags, I’m fairly sure you could re-write ColdFusion yourself (though at $799, it’d probably be cheaper to just buy it).
When I programmed ColdFusion a few years ago, I wrote it off as simplistic because I was heavy into Visual Basic COM (and now that looks simplistic…). But I find myself in a very pragmattic mood these days. My platform elitism has gone away, and I’m thinking that the best platform is that which lets you get working software in the hands of the client. That may be ColdFusion, Escalade, or HTML in Notepad — whatever. I’ll program in about anything these days, so long as it lets me build good apps that serve a purpose and help people.