I have personally been developing web applications using Adobe ColdFusion for more than 20 years. That’s not to say that ColdFusion is the only tool in my development toolbox, but it’s one that I’ve maintained as my primary development language while augmenting it with other technologies. In that time, I’ve heard a lot of naysayers telling me “ColdFusion? Oh yeah, that’s a dying language.” Or, “You’re still using ColdFusion? Why? Nobody uses that any more.” Some companies I have worked with will speak of switching technologies to the latest and greatest platform out there. They feel that ColdFusion may be going away, or it’s too difficult to find the right ColdFusion talent. Despite what you may have heard, ColdFusion is not a “dead language.” Again, ColdFusion is not dead! I disagree with these assessments. In fact, now is an excellent time to invest in ColdFusion as a platform.
Fashionable Programming “Trends”
Like many things in the world, programming languages can endure “trends” of popularity. A new language comes out and developers flock to it because it works a little differently or it advances a technology just enough to the point it becomes interesting, or sometimes it solves a particular problem a developer is experiencing.
Developers can be fickle, ego-driven beasts. Developers are heavy thinkers. They work in a medium that not everyone has the capacity to work in, and what they create takes time, talent, and a whole lot of intellectual process. As such, some developers get… how can I put this politely? Let’s say “big heads to fit those big brains.” They can get competitive.
Adobe, Inc., the producers of ColdFusion have pledged development and support for the platform for at least the next 10 years. That number has stayed consistent ever since Adobe acquired ColdFusion through the purchase of Macromedia in 2008. At that time, they said, “we will guarantee continued development and support for ColdFusion through 2018 at least.” As if the time of this writing, Adobe has committed to the same timeline… the current talking point is, “we will guarantee continued development and support for ColdFusion through 2028 at least.” From an enterprise support level, ColdFusion isn’t going anywhere.
Strong Customer Base
Here’s some interesting statistics (source):
- 70% of Fortune 100 companies actively develop applications using Adobe ColdFusion.
- 70% of ColdFusion customers rate CF as most important for their organization.
Those are strong numbers, and with an active customer base of over 35,000 customers (which does not include customers who use hosted ColdFusion solutions), ColdFusion continues to grow as a platform.
Performance and Security Improvements
The modern versions of ColdFusion are the fastest application servers ever produced. ColdFusion 2016 received a 30% performance improvement over ColdFusion 11. ColdFusion 2018 increased this to 45% faster than ColdFusion 11. Meanwhile, ColdFusion enjoys the title of a platform with the least number of vulnerabilities; fewer than Ruby on Rails, less than half as many as .NET, and 90% fewer than PhP.
And, Adobe continues to improve the software, adding more features than ever before. In 2012, ColdFusion 10 brought a change to Apache Tomcat as the Java runtime as well as native support for HTML5 and REST services. 2014’s ColdFusion 11 brought a mobile framework to the platform and native enhancements to dynamically creating and manipulating PDF documents. ColdFusion 2016 (note the version-naming convention change) brought forth the ColdFusion API Manager, support for running ColdFusion from the command line, and massive performance improvements. ColdFusion 2018 introduced the Performance Monitoring Toolset, security enhancements including server auto-lockdown, and a REST development playground. The (as of the time of this writing unofficially announced) ColdFusion 2020 will include major cloud vendor support, a streamlined installer ideal for containerization and more.
Those are simply the major, “selling point” features. I could write volumes on the nuances of each version, and features that have been introduced in each.
ColdFusion is a platform that is easy to learn and develop. It offers incredible cross-platform support. It has high runtime performance and easy integration with other IT environments. And finally, it’s the most secure language. Based on all of this information; a strong group of dedicated developers, endurance through development trends, the introduction of new features and technologies, and enterprise support for the next decade, I can confidently say that ColdFusion is not dead.