I was reading Kay Smoljak's recent blog entry, ColdFusion – NOT a steaming pile of… in which she describes her experience with Kevin Yank of SitePoint.com. Now, a little while ago, Kevin really stirred the pot by calling CF development stagnant and Ben Forta jumped in to counter his views (well done Ben).
Well, based on Ben's rebuttal, Kevin revisited ColdFusion and came up with some new conclusions but not really a change of heart. The impression that I got from Kevin's new posting is that he still feels that CF is stagnant and that other languages offer better career opportunities. You can see that here:
I think Kevin pointed out some good hard facts that most “statisticians” would certainly use to gauge the level of penetration for a product. I think what he failed to show are the productivity gains that ColdFusion developers reap from using a development platform with a truly low learning curve and amazing functionality. Having been a certified Allaire ColdFusion instructor, I had the rare opportunity to see how quickly students took to the simplistic tag-based syntax ColdFusion offers and how they were productive in short order.
If anything, ColdFusion suffers from a perception issue and not a functionality issue. I have friends that are hardcore .Net, Java & PHP developers and they all perceive CF as a toy; a language for non-programmers. That is until we get into a feature to feature debate. Since I've been developing for 17 years, they can't simply write me off and its amazing how they change their tune after many of their arguments are summarily shutdown. Perception is a huge driving force in this industry and the sad part is that its generally driven by the decision-makers, whom for the most part hear a buzz-word and think that a switch is needed. Don't worry about the migration or upgrade costs. We need to be in line with the buzz so lets either dump our staff and get new programmers or lets retrain everyone and lose a TON of money in both lost productivity and training costs. All to be part of the “BUZZ”.
I have friends that are now transitioning from CF to Java or ASP.Net and while they're happy to be learning a new platform, all of them (yes ALL) wish they were still coding ColdFusion. They find that there tasks have doubled in development time with no incremental benefit in functionality or performance.
So to me, I measure the effectiveness of a language by how quickly I can get a product to market. In this category, I think that ColdFusion still reigns supreme. So no, I don't believe that ColdFusion is dead nor do I believe its stagnant. In fact, I'm receiving more calls from recruiters now than I ever have and I see new CF-based sites being developed all of the time.
So Kevin, while I love your site and your articles, I think you need to look past your stats to really get a firm understanding about what the CF community is about. If the lack of dynamic image handling is a big hinderance for ya, then I'll help you out: