The Modern Age of ColdFusion

Back in September of 2010, Alison Huselid and I traveled to San Francisco to present our plans for ColdFusion X, ColdFusion Builder 2 and the future of the ColdFusion business. It was a culmination of nearly a year of research, design and countless customer meetings. We presented a plan that broke from the norm of how ColdFusion was being developed, sold and marketed. Our plan was overly ambitious and aggressive. Our goal was to aim high and let Adobe upper management cut us down to size. To our delight, we got the full and complete sign-off from upper management!

Once we had the plan in place, the next step was on how to execute and set up ColdFusion for success. The first thing you might notice is that ColdFusion X (Link) will have a release cycle that's a bit longer than usual. Quite simply, we are working on some BIG features for ColdFusion X that just couldn't fit within our previous development timelines. As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.

The other aspect critical to the success of our plan for ColdFusion was an increase in upper management support and focus for ColdFusion. For the last few years ColdFusion has been managed under the Platform business unit along with Flash Player, Flex, AIR, Flash Builder and the rest of the Flash Platform. While there are many advantages in being so closely tied to the Flash Platform, it should come as no surprise to learn ColdFusion was on the lower end of priorities. For our ambitious plan to succeed, we knew we needed a higher level of involvement from upper management.

The decision was made to find a new home for ColdFusion within Adobe. Those who are particularly astute might have noticed in a December 2010 SEC filing (PDF) that the management and development of the ColdFusion product line recently moved to a different business unit within Adobe. Our goal was to find a business unit that was able (and ready) to execute on our plans for ColdFusion X while bringing management and engineering closer together. The only effect this move has on the product team is that all product management and marketing would be moved to Bangalore, India to be closer to engineering.

If I want ColdFusion to truly succeed, I have to give up the best job I've ever had.

Starting now, Alison and I will be transitioning our roles of Product Management and Product Marketing to counterparts in the new business unit. We're currently searching for a new Product Manager and a new Marketing Manager and we expect to have someone hired within the coming months.

In the meantime, I would like to introduce Tridib Roy Chowdhury, Director of Products of the PPBU. Product Management and Marketing ultimately rolls up to Tridib in this new business unit (the new PM and PMM will report to him). In addition to ColdFusion, Tridib is also responsible for Captivate, the eLearning Suite and several other products. Earlier today Tridib shared some of his history of growing product markets and creating thriving businesses with the ColdFusion Customer Advisory Board (CAB). I wanted to mention this specifically, because it's the first time a Director-level Manager at Adobe had time to sit down with the ColdFusion community – the level of focus and support we've asked for is already materializing. I've had the pleasure of working directly with Tridib over the past month and I must say that I'm very impressed. He quickly won my support with quotes like "if a feature is added in version 1 and we don't make significant updates to it in version 2, then Product Management needs to apologize to Engineering for wasting time on an unimportant feature". I expect you will be hearing a lot more from Tridib in the coming months. If you are local to the DC/MD area, I'll be visiting a number of ColdFusion shops to introduce Tridib. If you have time to meet with us, drop me a line at adrock at adobe dotcom.

I'm sure ColdFusion critics will try and say "Adobe doesn't care about ColdFusion, they are shipping it off to India". Let me be the first to dispel that notion. The fact of the matter is Adobe just upped their commitment to ColdFusion in a HUGE way. This change only affects Alison and I. Engineering, evangelism, sales, community team, support, etc. remain completely unaffected. You'll still have access to Hemant, Rupesh and the rest of the engineering team. Terry, Claude and Josh will still be out at conferences supporting ColdFusion. Rachel and Liz will still be supporting ColdFusion user groups and events. There is just no way we could keep this guy away from ColdFusion.

I promise you this. Over the course of this year we will be sharing more about ColdFusion X. We will start with some big announcements at Scotch on the Rocks and roll right into the ColdFusion Builder 2 launch. If all goes according to plan, all will be revealed by MAX 2011 (hopefully in the keynote).

This truly is the Modern Age of ColdFusion! Stay Tuned...

----

PS. Please don't worry about Alison and I. Adobe's given us an incredible opportunity to tackle some new challenges. I'll post some more information about that later... you haven't seen the last of us!!!

Update: I'm the new Product Manager for Flash Builder!

Comments

Scott Stroz

Scott Stroz wrote on 02/11/11 8:31 PM

Adam,

First let me say 'thank you' to both you and Allsion. I have always admired your dedication to ColdFusion.

I know there will be some who will cry 'this is the beginning of the end' for ColdFusion, but it sounds like you and Allison drew up a great blueprint for ColdFusion's future, and that Adobe is committed to executing that blueprint. I don't think I have ever been more excited about a release of CF as I am for CF X.

I want CF X now!!

PS - We will need to hold a special vote to see if you can remain part of the 5Tag clan on COD.
Dave Ferguson

Dave Ferguson wrote on 02/11/11 8:41 PM

Adam,

The work you and Allison have done with ColdFusion and the community is truly inspirational. I wish I was able to use words in a very elegant way so I could express my gratitude here but well.. I am a programmer not a poet.

In any rate best of luck to the both of you on all your future endeavors.

--Dave
todd sharp

todd sharp wrote on 02/11/11 8:42 PM

I'm proud of everything you have done and I wish you nothing but the best in your new role. I don't know of a more passionate and knowledgeable person then you. Thank you for everything you've done for ColdFusion and our community. We'll miss you and Alison.

Viva ColdFusion.

PS - I vote yes Zoid :)
Russ Johnson

Russ Johnson wrote on 02/11/11 8:42 PM

Adam, I know I speak for many of us when I say "Thank You" for all that you have done for ColdFusion during your time on the team.

I am really sorry to see you leave the team though. I feel like you were the first person in your role to really invite the community in and make us feel like we have a voice. I sincerely hope that doesnt change in the future!

Good luck to you and Ali in your new roles! Wherever you land, they will be lucky to have you!
Joshua Cyr

Joshua Cyr wrote on 02/11/11 8:44 PM

I am really excited to learn more at Scotch on the Rocks! My first impression of Tridib is very positive as well. Moving product and marketing to the same group will be a good change.

I can't wait for CF X!

Best of luck to you and Allison. I am certain you will both do well.

Joshua
Vicky

Vicky wrote on 02/11/11 8:52 PM

Adam and Allison, best of luck in your new endeavors. Can't wait to hear what's in store for you guys. Thanks for the CF goodness. :)

~V
charlie arehart

charlie arehart wrote on 02/11/11 8:59 PM

+1 to what Scott said, both to Adam, Alison, and Adobe, as well as to the community (in terms of how they may respond.) It's only a matter of time (hours?) before word spreads and the FUD starts flying. It was a good idea to announce this on a Friday night (US time): perhaps that will give some more time to reflect.

Thanks, Adam, for the explanations. Let's hope folks are patient enough to read them before carping.

And thanks of course for your leadership as PM in recent years. CF has continued to evolve tremendously, and you were a real champion for it both inside and out.

Finally, you've clearly helped lay the groundwork for a strong future for CF (as is especially apparent to those of us on the prerelease programs, and had been increasingly revealed to everyone).

For all that, we thank you and wish you both, and the entire CF team, well.
Sam Farmer

Sam Farmer wrote on 02/11/11 9:11 PM

It sounds very much that X marks the spot.

Thank you for all you have done for ColdFusion. Your passion for the language has always been clear to see and it must be hard to give up managing it. Where you tempted to move to India?
Tim Cunningham

Tim Cunningham wrote on 02/11/11 9:39 PM

Adam, I am torn. Glad that most the things you envisioned will be in X (because that list was pretty awesome). Sad that your involvement is going to be limited. I am sure though, that it will be in the best interests of the ColdFusion legacy. CF has been around a good while, this version may be one that gets the world to take another look and say, "just damn!"
John Mason

John Mason wrote on 02/11/11 9:51 PM

Best of luck to you and Alison, please keep in mind the history here. People not working in San Jose or India typically have a fragile existence at Adobe. Keep yourselves open to any and all opportunities.
O?uz Demirkap?

O?uz Demirkap? wrote on 02/11/11 11:05 PM

Adam, Alison, thank you guys! You did a great job for ColdFusion and best of luck in the future!

I am really looking forward to hear great news/features on ColdFusion X. Very excited!

Go ColdFusion!
Brian Meloche

Brian Meloche wrote on 02/11/11 11:51 PM

Adam, best of luck to you (and Alison) in your new endeavors.

The new product manager is going to have huge shoes to fill. You led the ColdFusion and ColdFusion product teams with a true vision that it will be difficult to find elsewhere. You did a terrific job taking over for Jason Delmore, as he did when he took over for Tim Buntel.

I'll post more on the subject on my blog.
Brian Meloche

Brian Meloche wrote on 02/11/11 11:57 PM

That was supposed to read ColdFusion and ColdFusion Builder product teams... :-)
phill.nacelli

phill.nacelli wrote on 02/12/11 2:07 AM

Adam,

This is a bitter sweet news. I'm sure I speak for many when I say we have all enjoyed working with you and Alison and are very grateful for what you both have done for involving the community and taking ColdFusion to new heights.

Although we hate to see you both no longer involved in this role, we are excited to see the ColdFusion path you worked so hard get the kind of support it deserves.

I'm sure we'll hear about some great news coming from your new roles at Adobe. Looking forward to seeing you around at the User Group and other community events. Congratulations and best of luck.

Sincerely,

Phill Nacelli
Senior Software Architect - AboutWeb, LLC
Adobe Solutions Partner
Adobe Community Champion
Capital Area ColdFusion User Group Manager
Travis

Travis wrote on 02/12/11 7:56 AM

Adam,
You've been an amazing Champion. Thank you for everything you've done for ColdFusion and the ColdFusion community. I am glad to see Adobe is smart enough to keep you around. I hope your new challenges are fulfilling and rewarding.

With deep appreciation,
Travis
Mike Collins

Mike Collins wrote on 02/12/11 8:20 AM

Thanks to you and Alison for all you have done and accomplished with ColdFusion. You always had the answers no matter what came up.

Knowing the veteran development managers Hemant and Rupesh will remain and possibly increase their roles gives me confidence for the future.

I for one did now notice this in the December 2010 SEC filing :).

See you around. Somehow I feel your new track will merge down the road with CF X.

Mike Collins
SupportObjective.com
Jacksonville User Group Manager
Shirak

Shirak wrote on 02/13/11 2:02 AM

Adam,
Your leadership as PM, your positive friendly attitude, and your wise vision made ColdFusion stand between the giants’ . You guys build strong foundation for CF language and community. Thank you guys and our best wishes to you and to Alison for the new journey.

Shirak Grigor
Sr. ColdFusion Developer
Cyril Hanquez

Cyril Hanquez wrote on 02/13/11 6:58 AM

Adam, Alison, you will be missed! A big THANK YOU for your dedication to ColdFusion. Hopefully you're staying at Adobe with surely new great challenges, which means that there are chances that we will meet again!

Let's have a drink at SOTR2011 and good luck to you both!

Cyril
Peter Bell

Peter Bell wrote on 02/13/11 3:55 PM

@Adam,

Thanks for all of your hard work and passion for ColdFusion - it will be missed. You did an amazing job as product manager and I'm sorry to see you move on from that role. Best of luck with whatever the next steps are for you.

Best Wishes,
Peter
Darren Pywell

Darren Pywell wrote on 02/13/11 7:12 PM

Adam and Alison, you guys have done CF (and Adobe) so proud! I wish you both continued success in your next steps...
João Felipe - Jotaefe

João Felipe - Jotaefe wrote on 02/14/11 7:53 AM

Adam and Alison,

Just one more post of thanks for all work on the evolution of ColdFusion.

Congratulations and good luck,

[]
Guust Nieuwenhuis

Guust Nieuwenhuis wrote on 02/14/11 9:07 AM

Thank you very much for everything the both of you have done for ColdFusion!
Tim

Tim wrote on 02/14/11 3:28 PM

I won't decry this as the beginning of the end for ColdFusion. I'll decry it as the end of the end. I try to be agnostic towards technology, but definitely see trends.

I know groups I'm involved with are all looking towards other technologies now, and without features like proper array functions (yes, I know, you can write UDFs, but that's beside the point), routing, and things as simple as splitting a string by a more than one character delimiter without awful hacks, CF will always lag far behind. I also find it incredibly distasteful that you still have to pay to report a bug, when it should be the other way around.

It has been a fun ride, but time to move on.
Jesse

Jesse wrote on 02/14/11 3:36 PM

It's good to hear Adobe is at least considering doing something with CF for a change but this still does not make me any less glad I switched to the .Net platform in mid 2010.

Longer release cycles? Off Shore developers are engineering CF now? LOL!

I'm with Tim though, I wasted too many years of my professional life working with CF, it's just a dead end at this point. Microsoft is by for the most aggressive towards it's platform development and I am so glad I finally made the switch.
Brian Kotek

Brian Kotek wrote on 02/14/11 4:15 PM

@Tim - Have you submitted any of those ideas as ER's in the bug tracker? Also, I'm not sure what you're looking at, but it definitely dosn't cost anything to report a bug. http://cfbugs.adobe.com

@Jesse - I hate to break it to you, but the folks in India have been the ones building CF for many years. The only thing this changes is that the product manager will also be based there.
Michael Grant

Michael Grant wrote on 02/14/11 4:21 PM

It's sad you won't be able to get your hands dirty with CFX, but it's great that CF is getting more focus.

Adam, thanks for pitching an idea that gets CF more individual attention.

Vive le CF!
Mary Spencer

Mary Spencer wrote on 02/14/11 5:11 PM

Adam and Ali thank you both so much for all of your wonderful interaction and support with the cold fusion developers out in the "Real" world...
All of us wish you both the very best of luck and good fortune wherever you land...

Wishing You Both Blessings,
Mary S. Spencer, CIO
Electreonic Medical Solutions, LLC. (EMS)
Snake

Snake wrote on 02/14/11 6:25 PM

Fingers crossed for ColdFusion x then, i'm sure it will all be positive and good news for the community and I hope your plans give CF a big boost in PHP land.
Tim

Tim wrote on 02/15/11 10:19 AM

@BrianKotek - thanks for the reply. I've tried to be positive over the years, I'm just at the end of my rope, and can't wear rose-tinted glasses any more. Many people in the CF community with larger names than me are saying the same sort of things about this change; see John Mason's blog, for one. Of course, I wish Adam and Alison the best moving forward, I don't want to seem to be dancing on anyone's grave here. Trying to put a positive spin on these developments, however, is a fool's errand.

That said: I have made many suggestions over the years, even directly to Adobe evangelists. Several come off the top of my head: the lack of basic array functionality (ability to see if a value is a member of an array, an array "diff" function), full implementation of RegEx (like supporting POSIX), fixing the bug in CFFILE that has been around since 2005 (it still returns the filename in place of the directory when action="write"), patching the "Session is Invalid" errors that pop up every few months on all of our CF apps for years (upgrading to 9 will fix it... but what else will it break), fixing Verity (again, don't tell me to upgrade unless you're going to patch stuff that's been broken for years)... the list goes on and on, and I'm just at my wit's end with CF.

There are many better options out there today which will make your development experience richer, easier, more fun, and more rewarding. CF has continued to wrap outdated software, like FCKeditor, POI, and YUI, that is already out of date upon shipment, and tries to put forth the image that Adobe developed these products themselves... when in fact, they're just a wrapper to open source products. CFAjaxQuery still being around is a joke in the era of jQuery.

While you can submit bugs to the voting system which will be systematically ignored, to get any attention, you do have to pay:

http://www.adobe.com/support/programs/developer/incidentbundle/

I've used many web programming languages, dating back to the early '90s with Perl. I used CF in the mid-90s, and it was pretty cool then. I started using PHP/MySQL in 1998, as well as a custom written scripting languages written in C. In 2008, I joined a new organization which was a CF shop, and was frankly quite surprised how far behind CF had fallen to other technologies, given the head start it had.

I don't think the Adobe acquisition of Macromedia helped at all; CF is clearly being put in the same pile as Shockwave, rather than Adobe's wheelhouse of Creative Suite and PDF-related products. The CF community has always been friendly and helpful, and I'm not going to judge anyone who loves it and wants to still use it, but the days of me making excuses for CF's many visible shortcoming have long passed.

Regards,

-Tim
charlie arehart

charlie arehart wrote on 02/15/11 1:33 PM

Goodbye, Tim and Jesse. You're free to write off CF, of course. It seems you both were leaning that way before this. Again, despite the comments of some, many of us do feel that this is just a modest change and not a harbinger of doom. We may not yet have blogged about it, but we're commenting here and on the blogs of others.

We'll all of course just have to see how it goes, but those pronouncing its doom should not be presumed to have "the answer" that the rest of us somehow "just don't see" because of our rose colored glasses. Instead, some of us have experience to see this recent tempest as simply a storm that will pass.

You're entitled to your opinion, and we ours. Best wishes in your new direction. Please clean out your lockers and leave your lettermen's jackets on the coatrack as you go. :-) There are others who will be happy to wear them proudly.

I'm sure someone would say, "see, that's just you being a cheerleader". I'll speak more pragmatically: there are plenty of us who know that we will have many successful and happy years with CF, regardless of what may happen in the near future. Even so, we don't see the sky falling. The haters can move on, and will feel their need to defend their decision and deride those who remain, and we will defend ours. This is nothing new in IT.
Brian Kotek

Brian Kotek wrote on 02/15/11 1:40 PM

@Tim, a few comments for you:

John Mason is about the only person trying to whip up a frenzy over this. And to be honest, he does this about every 6 months, so he was due for another conniption. Basically, trying to turn this small change into some doomsday scenario is the fool's errand.

I didn't ask if you had suggested something to the Adobe evangelists, I asked if you had submitted issues for them. And I'm sorry, but the list of "many visible shortcomings" you reference is a really sad list. These minor things are what make CF "lag far behind"? ArrayContains() locates an item in an array. ArrayDiff would be nice, but it's THREE LINES OF CODE, and there has been a UDF for this forever. The regex support appears fine for 99% of users, and you can always use the full Java regex at any time with exactly the same amount of code. Verity has been replaced by the much more capable Solr. If you want to use jQuery, use it.

Do whatever you want, but if this is the list of grievances that drove you to another language: good luck. Every platform has its issues, and if these are the kinds of things you think are so terrible you switch platforms, you're going to be a reading a lot of books.
Jesse

Jesse wrote on 02/15/11 7:51 PM

@Charlie,

I had no choice but to write off CF. It was a survival move, with the CF job market in a steady 5 year decline here in Florida I got tired of moving my family around every couple years just to keep a job.
charlie arehart

charlie arehart wrote on 02/15/11 9:52 PM

Fair enough, Jesse.

But it's one thing to say you left CF because you had a hard time finding a job in your area, and another to say (as you did earlier), "it's just a dead end at this point".

One is a statement of a local challenge (during a time of general economic upheaval and tight times in Fla due to the real estate market there especially).

The other is an assertion about CF, as if to declare your truth as one that applies to all. Two very different things, and I was calling you out on the latter, along with the sentiments Tim was expressing.
David McGuigan

David McGuigan wrote on 02/16/11 12:51 AM

I'd like to apply for the job please. Thanks.
Jesse

Jesse wrote on 02/16/11 3:02 PM

@Charlie... Even though I had to move away from CF, I am still glad I did. And as far as the "Dead End" comment I did not mean that for everyone, just ~80% of ya. Fact is unless you live in one of about half dozen markets in this country where CF is still hot it's not the best career choice if one wants to have any job opportunities. And that's what it all boils down to, you can like CF all you want, and they can promise all the bells and whistles you desire but if there are no jobs whats the point? At this time one cannot blame the economic conditions for the lack of CF jobs in Fla as there are currently plenty of .Net and Java jobs in this area. I think it would be more accurate to say that the diminishing market share is more to blame for the lack of CF jobs than anything else.

I just think Adobe could have done alot more for the CF platform, with rising licensing costs and the lack of features, tooling and community support to go with it is what's holding back CF. I don't expect it will get any better any time soon either but like you said we will just have to wait and see.
Hem Talreja

Hem Talreja wrote on 02/17/11 2:30 PM

Hi,

Mixed bag of feeling here guys, I got introduced to the power of .NET and MVC (yes, a total rip from ruby on rails) but I think we need the following capabilities in CF (supported by adobe) with a very very aggressive timeline.

Better threading support with all database calls being async (the worker thread is returned to the thread pool, while waiting on the database or web service to respond)

Better messaging integration, and tools to view the messages in queue including AMF Messages

I have not user the ORM implementation in CF9 so I cannot talk too much about it, but we need a "Adobe" provided architecture that introduces CF Developers to MVC similar to what Microsoft has been implementing.

Yes there are community wide implementations of the same but what adobe can do is integrate it within CF, technologies such as Spring, Jog4J, etc...


Ultimately I have to have my systems up and running even in adverse conditions such as when the database takes 400 seconds to respond, and I have to make a living, if .NET provides me with the capabilities to have a system running then .NET it is.


Also about tooling, really take a look at visual studio that shit rocks, and this is me being really pissed that I have to use cfdump for debug.

Thanks
-Hem
Phil

Phil wrote on 02/18/11 3:24 AM

I also feel a lot of Tim's pain towards CF and am glad the company I work for is systematically moving away from it.

@Hem, ColdFusion Builder has nice debugging features as does CFEclipse and I have to say that cfdump is one of the only things I actually like about CF.

I don't think these changes will kill CF--it has a community who will continue to use it--but it does seem apparent that the language isn't gaining any popularity. Lots of cool things are happening in the web world such as Node.js which has a community growing around it that CF could only dream of.

ColdFusion has some benefits, it also has some warts, but I don't think it has enough to be a major part of the future of web application development.
Dale Fraser

Dale Fraser wrote on 02/19/11 12:21 AM

Adam has done a lot of great work for ColdFusion and he will be missed.

But I dont see this as a good or positive move, I see it in fact as the opposite. It feels like all the good ColdFusion people are looking for other more secure products to work on within Adobe.

We continue to use ColdFusion, but I can honestly say that in Australia we are very much a very very small minority group.
Lance

Lance wrote on 02/20/11 1:46 PM

Adam and Alison--congrats and thank you so much for your dedication to CF and everything you've done over the years. You both have always been great and done a lot to move things forward. Hopefully, your replacement(s) will be just as great.

Of course, this had to inevitably turn into a "CF bashing" session from someone (happens every time), and that is one thing that just drives me absolutely crazy about the tech community.

For those of you who say "there are plenty of jobs for .Net, etc."...YES, there are. That also means everyone and their brother is also out there competing against you for those jobs. I'd much rather have a niche and be a top-notch CF developer. If you like a technology, USE IT! If you don't, DON'T! And for you naysayers, my company is doing a TON of new development in CF, and it's not going anywhere. We also have a .Net side of the house, so we truly have the best of both worlds!

Now, let's get working on CFUnited 2.0.