ColdFusion: Did we misjudge you?

By Deane Barker on July 13, 2007

Cold Fusion: Enterprise ready?: We tend to dump on ColdFusion around here a bit, but I’ve been interested in this discussion over at LinkedIn Answers. It started off with someone asking if ColdFusion was “enterprise ready.” I’m surprised by some spirited and well-reasoned answers in ColdFusion’s favor.

CF has been fully enterprise capable for several years now. Anyone that tells you any different either has no idea what they’re talking about or has another agenda (probably their own product).

You should also be aware that for several years, the ColdFusion server itself has been written in Java and can simply leverage the power of Java objects you might have or wish to use.

[…] In the past several years my opinion has shifted after personally working with and consulting for a number of companies who had elected to use ColdFusion as their solution. These companies all have solid products with large volumes of users and transactions per day. Their applications are well designed, have high performance metrics and have scaled to meet growing business needs.

It would be interesting to approach ColdFusion as just a templating layer for a set of business objects implemented in Java. I’m sure this is done, and I have to imagine it would work out quite well. Java is great for backend stuff, but my experience with it to generate and manage an HTML layer has been poor. ColdFusion is the exact opposite — it’s designed for presentation, but I’ve never cared for when it comes to backend stuff.

The thing with ColdFusion is a lot like the Camaro’s and PHP analogy I presented last year, just to a much greater extent. ColdFusion is so easy to use that people learn ColdFusion before they learn to program, and they often never bother to learn anything about programming in general because ColdFusion will let you do a lot without having to be a “programmer.”

The problem is, once you get past a certain level of complexity with an app, you really need to draw on a deeper level of programming knowledge than just throwing CFOUTPUT tags on a page. And this is where you see some really crappy ColdFusion, and where it probably gets a bad rap.

(Let me say too that my experience with ASP.Net — an “enterprise-y” platform if ever there was one — has been such a wicked pain in the butt that I’d be willing to try ColdFusion over .Net next time if I had the choice.)

What This Links To


  1. I am primarily a ruby developer but every year I decide to learn 1 or 2 new languages. This year the two are PHP and CF. CF is extremley easy to maintain and understand. PHP is also easy to understand, but its just less rapid and harder to maintain. CF also has great feautres that save a lot of time : Verity engine, Javascript field validation, dynamic pdf and flash generation, dynamic content cache, event gateways. CF is worth the price if you need all those features, but most people don’t so PHP is suitable. Personally I would only use CF as a Flex/Flash backend. (AMFPHP is just not the same).

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