Software Development, Web Design, Training


ColdFusion: Now and Next Recap

Last night was the "ColdFusion: Now and Next" meeting at the Adobe headquarters in San Francisco. There were some scheduling issues causing the meeting to start late, but overall I think that ended up making the meeting more valuable. Initially it was to be Rakshith Naresh and Elishia Dvorak speaking on on the roadmap for ColdFusion. Elishia had a personal matter come up and was unable to attend at the last minute (I hope all turned out well).

Rather than Rakshith giving the talk by himself, he graciously agreed to answer any questions the attendees had about ColdFusion, Adobe's plans for the future and so on. I know at times the ColdFusion product/team get a lot of "less-than-constructive" feedback thrown their way, but I must say I really appreciated the time Rakshith took to speak with us all last night. Clearly he'd already had a long day (he mentioned starting the day at 5am and our meeting didn't finish until 9:30pm) but we were able to get a lot of valuable information, and had a very candid conversation with each other.

I was able to get an audio recording of the meeting, but didn't ask everyone's permission to post that. So instead, below are some transcribed highlights of the discussion. Besides, this way you don't have to listen to the bits where we ramble on about pizza and such. :)

(Sidebar and personal reminder for my own user group when ordering food make sure to get a VEGGIE option, and make sure to get water and/or soda...not everyone eats meat, and not everyone drinks caffeine or alcohol.)

Notes from the convo are below...

Some scheduling confusion at first, began mtg with Carl and the group going over various CF things happening of late -- Dev Objective conference, new version of Mura, Lucee, etc.

Adobe is backing CF for sure. It's just not as "high profile" as, say, the Creative Cloud stuff. Adobe has 300+ products. Impossible to give all of those products a high profile.

How do we get people to recognize CF, come into the fold and use CF instead of PHP, etc?

Historically, 1 of the challenges with CF is that it does MORE than just a programming language. So to compare it to PHP isn't a true apples-to-apples comparison. Tougher to market CF than a "free" language like PHP. DOTNET isn't free, you just pay for it at a different point in time (when you buy the Windows license).

Ability to be able to find a strong developer base in CF is hard. #1 issue ISN'T the licensing feel. When compared to the cost of a developer, the CF license fee doesn't compare. The issue is finding qualified developers.

Adobe's Education Initiative is getting a reasonable response. 15 colleges now that are doing it. A few companies have said they're willing to hire interns via this CF program. This is good news. It's causing a cycle feeding into itself -- more CF developers = more colleges using the CF curriculum, etc. One HIGH SCHOOL in Australia has implemented a "web development" curriculum; the server-side portion of the class is done using ColdFusion!

What would really help is the CF Community working with Adobe. If we have ANY contact at colleges or high schools

40 hours of instructional videos available now for the courseware, so college instructors can get a full fledged curriculum for teaching CF in their class.

Adobe needs support from the community, to get introductions to instructors at the colleges. Once we can make the "intro", Adobe can take it from there. But they need help talking to the right people at the colleges.

Coming soon -- ColdFusion based hackathons and contests with a "reasonable reward" (no specifics were given) to show people how easy it is to build cool things in CF.

Lots of colleges are doing courses on-line nowadays (either the instructor records a lecture or some are thru a third party trainer entity). Finding out who the third party trainers are, and selling CF through them might also be a viable option.

Adobe has internal database of customers, broken down by "type" (i.e. is this customer a web developer, etc). Dedicated Marketing Mgr for CF (Kishore -sp?) does marketing campaigns for CF customers. The goal for the Marketing team to "reach out more and sell more".

Dealing with the negative perception all around about CF. For example, some companies don't build NEW things in CF, but they do maintain their older apps with CF. This year and next year -- reaching out to 600 of the biggest CF customers and telling them about new-ish features (CF 9 and later) so they're aware of what they've already paid for and how they can use it...many customers already bought CF 10, but haven't realized what the new features are, thus they're not taking advantage of anything.

Why isn't CF used for ALL of Adobe's web properties? -- dealing with "perception" issues inside Adobe as well. Each team wants to pick the right tool for their app, they don't just "drink their own champagne" and use CF just because it's an Adobe product. It's up to each Product Owner to pick the stack and make the pitch for what they're using. (CF is used for lots of internal Adobe apps.) It's an uphill battle even inside Adobe.

Why isn't CF Builder in the Creative Cloud bundle? -- Trying to fix that. It MAY happen some time this year, but no guarantees. (Working on a new ColdFusion Builder update to fix some issues as well.)

Sublime Text Editor and Brackets are gaining popularity for CF developers too.

The big need for CF developers is a big issue. Not specific to CF. "9 to 5 developers" aren't ever going to change their behavior.

Potential new ColdFusion User Group meeting idea -- "ColdFusion Speed Dating". Invite companies hiring CF guys, and invite CF devs looking for work. Make it a "mixer" of sorts for everyone.

Adobe team wanted to create a "ColdFusion Job Portal" on the Adobe site, but the Adobe Legal Dept said no.

The CF University courses are available to anyone. They're not publicly accessible, but email Rakshith and he'll coordinate getting you the info.

More CF Speed Dating mixers and more CF Hackathon 1-day events -- everyone seems to like these ideas.

Is there an opportunity to bundle ColdFusion with other products. Allaire CF used to be bundled with things (GIS software, for instance). Can this be done present day with other software? What about ordering servers from Dell, etc, with software pre-installed. Can we get ColdFusion as a pre-installed option when I order a server?

There were hosting companies that were bad at hosting ColdFusion servers, and that was a negative issue for a while. Fortunately/unfortunately there are fewer companies hosting CF now, so there are fewer bad hosting companies than there were in years prior. Adobe is reaching out to the bigger hosting companies (RackSpace, etc) to inquire about doing more ColdFusion hosting.