ColdFusion is *not* Java


Scott Stroz just posted a great article over on Doug Hughe's site regarding the tendency some people have of rejecting feature additions to ColdFusion because the feature can be done using CFML's Java underbelly. In my 3.5 years of developing with ColdFusion full-time I've seen countless times that experienced developers recommend that others "just use Java" to fill in missing functionality in ColdFusion, functionality typically available in competing technologies like Ruby, PHP or C#.

I started using CFMX6 and was immediately impressed by how easy basic things were. Want a query? Just use one simple command. Want to display your results? Just loop over the results or just start using the query variables on your page - it automatically shows the first record if you don't tell it otherwise. Easy, just like it should be. In addition there was extra depth behind it - CFML's object oriented system, frameworks, etc, allowed those who needed more to do so, while still staying in CFML.

As someone who came from a PHP background it was, however, rather apparent that even back then there were a few things missing - image handling, secure transfers and a database agnostic querying system were obvious ones to me. CFMX7 did not appear to me to further the cause - most of the additions seemed to be aimed at the "enterprisey" market, especially the event gateway feature, and most users weren't going to spend $6000 on that.

The folks that recommended using Java for day-to-day things were IMHO short-sighted and were doing ColdFusion a disservice - what should have been a push from the community to get the feature added to the core system, to have another feature given the "ColdFusion easy-to-use" work-over, the developer was being pushed towards a much, much more difficult technology. People who learn ColdFusion don't do so to use Java, they do it to use ColdFusion, just like you wouldn't learn PHP to use the C++ language it is written in.

Thankfully ColdFusion 8 (the "MX" was disposed of) has brought it back to where it should have been - neck and neck with similar tools, ahead in some cases, and back to making simple websites simple again. No more will we have to "just learn Java" to resize an image, or securely transfer files from other servers, and we gain easier AJAX routines, easier page layouts, and many more tangible and more usable features that will benefit a greater portion of the market, all wrapped up in an easy-to-use package.

So, well done Adobe, ColdFusion 8 is great, and I've got a request in at work to upgrade to the newest version.

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