Adobe ColdFusion Review

A mature, reliable, consistent platform, which offers outstanding customer service and product support

What is our primary use case?

I have been developing (and teaching) ColdFusion for more than 20 years. I have used it for almost any possible web-based application imaginable (and even some non web-based), but my main use case was to develop CMS (Web Content Management Systems), including solutions for Haymarket Business Publishing and the Brazilian Post Office. ColdFusion is a multi-platform, so it does not really matter what environment you are deploying. Among the most valuable features are an almost unlimited set of tags (ready-to-use components), which accelerate development in at least 50%, compared to other development languages that I have used (PHP, JavaServer Pages, .NET, and Node.js).

How has it helped my organization?

Apart from providing a mature, reliable, consistent platform, Adobe also offers outstanding customer service and product support. It is a shame that Adobe does not provide ColdFusion Training anymore, but there is a network of Training Partners where you can find basic and advanced ColdFusion training anywhere.

What is most valuable?

No need to import libraries from outside the environment.

ColdFusion and CFML (ColdFusion Markup Language) provide almost everything that a web developer needs, which is  probably a lot of things that they do not even know that they need, such as integrated Solr, ORM, the capacity for creating APIs, the frictionless integration with SMS by the ColdFusion SMS event gateway, and so many more: cfmail, cfftp, cffile, cfhttp, etc.

What needs improvement?

  • Be able to inject Python, Java, Groovy, or PHP code into a CFML page.
  • CF Git, CF Ant, and maybe CF Subversion would be nice to have.

Most of what I wanted seems to already be built into the new Public Beta (ColdFusion 2018 release):

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Anything that I might have found over my years as a ColdFusion instructor and software architect was due to bad code or bad practices. Some issues were easily fixed with the help of Adobe ColdFusion enterprise support, which was expensive, but worth every dollar.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not at all. I used ColdFusion to run the Brazilian Post Office website, and it serves many millions of pages really fast.

How are customer service and technical support?

When needed, the Adobe Support team was helpful, quick, and solved our problems (mainly cluster configuration issues) really fast.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used Perl and some others. However, ColdFusion proved to be faster and more reliable than anything else.

How was the initial setup?

Next > Next > Next, and that was it!

What about the implementation team?

We implemented using an in-house team, which I led.

What was our ROI?

It is hard to calculate this, but considering a US$400K project cost where 80% of the cost was coding ($320K) and considering a very modest 15% increase in learning/productivity over the main competitor (PHP), you can easily get to US$48K which pays for the developers' tool (CFBuilder) plus training and support, and even the software (3 x US$8.499/2 CPU servers).

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you really want to save money, there is a free open source CFML engine (former Railo, now Lucee) out there. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated .NET, PHP, Node.js, Ruby and Python.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend trying it for a little bit. It is not for the classical Java/.NET developer though, since it is more like developing in PHP without all the syntax confusion and lack of consistency. However, the learning curve is smooth and fast that you will be hooked very quickly. 

The OO features are a must and the best you can get in any web server-based technology.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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