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An Architect's View

Farewell Open BlueDragaon

June 8, 2008 ·

Vince's post stirred up an interesting discussion on the OpenBD Steering Committee mailing list and unveiled Alan Williamson's true feelings about the CF community and many of the people I know, like and respect. I had expressed concerns about the CF community's negative feelings for New Atlanta affecting the perception of Open BlueDragon but Alan doesn't care about that because, well, Alan doesn't really care about the CF community. He cares about CFML and he cares about BlueDragon and OpenBD. But he has his sights set on the Java community - his "old neighborhood" - and views the people there as the "real rock stars". He's "sick and tired of hearing about the 'CF community'". He feels the "so called 'rock stars' within the CF community are just a lot of empty vessels". I'm disappointed. I really hoped OpenBD was a fresh start and a clean break from New Atlanta (and it is - Alan was very emphatic that New Atlanta have had no influence over OpenBD and that it's driven entirely by TagServlet Ltd and the steering committee). But in light of Alan's feelings about the CF community, I feel I have no option but to step away from the project.

Tags: coldfusion · openbd

26 responses

  • 1 anon // Jun 8, 2008 at 2:59 AM

    After what Railo announced last week I think OpenBD will be dead in the water pretty soon. The Railo/JBoss alliance is awesome, I think they completely blind sided OpenBD with their announcement and let's be fair, Railo is a way better offering, with an administrator console and some really really neat features, not to mention the fact that is damn nice - oh, and the guys behind it are doing it for the right reasons! And not to mention, Enterprise features that blows Adobe out of the water!

    I give it a few weeks and we'll see a few more of the OpenBD committee stepping down too, realising they went the wrong way!
  • 2 Todd Rafferty // Jun 8, 2008 at 4:53 AM

    "I feel I have no option to step away from the project."

    I feel I have no option, but to step away from the project? Is this what you meant? The other sentence you wrote means something entirely different.

    If you're being held hostage, blink your eyes twice man. We'll send help.

  • 3 Ben Forta // Jun 8, 2008 at 6:00 AM

    Sean, the language advisory group and other steering committees would love to have you on board. And yes, we really do care about the community, promise. ;-)

    --- Ben
  • 4 Hatem Jaber // Jun 8, 2008 at 7:45 AM

    You made the right decision, I personally never liked the idea of giving us scraps from their high end version and limiting what we can and can't do. I just got through reading more on the Railo move and I've talked with Gert on a couple of occasions and from what it sounds like that would be a better fit for the community. I think the openBD thing was just more of a move to get free development that they can add to their paid version. Use the community to test it and see if it's popular enough to drop into their paid versions.

    Glad you got out before you were heavily invested in the project!
  • 5 tony weeg // Jun 8, 2008 at 9:18 AM

    where are these posts? i cant find...

  • 6 Mike Brunt // Jun 8, 2008 at 11:08 AM

    Yes Sean, it is with sadness that I left the OpenBD project too. The level of commitment from all on the OpenBD Steering Committee was incredible to see. I wish all of them good fortune and earnestly hope that the intentions in releasing OpenBD to the CF community were for the benefit of the community. Alan Williamson saw a great opportunity in using CFML in the Java world, even before Allaire, in some ways. But the key here is that ColdFusion-CFML already existed, it was conceived and created from the brilliance and foresight of Jeremy and JJ Alaire and those who helped in the early days and no-one else.
  • 7 Mark Drew // Jun 8, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    Unfortunately, having left the committee I missed the original post... but in the openBD list it all seems rosy.

    Oh well, we shall soon find out the attitudes with a new release (hopefully with community contributions?) and see who they are geared for?

  • 8 Dale Fraser // Jun 8, 2008 at 4:27 PM

    Thats a shame,

    Still its one good reason to have CF community people such as yourself on the project.

  • 9 Gareth Edwards // Jun 8, 2008 at 5:39 PM

    Maybe the lack of appreciation goes hand in hand with a lack of initiative and creativity?

    Adobe are doing fantastic things with Coldfusion and should continue to do so.

    I think often the perception of Coldfusion and even Flex ( as an Enterprise solution ) is a little off the mark because of the content and solutions that are being worked on behind closed doors, and the general public will often never see it.

  • 10 Peter Tilbrook // Jun 8, 2008 at 6:20 PM

    Don't do that Sean! I was sad to hear you left Adobe but the OpenBD needs someone with your tech savvy and CFML kudos to keep it on track.
  • 11 Sean Corfield // Jun 9, 2008 at 1:54 AM

    @Todd, yes, I'll fix that rather important typo! :)
  • 12 Lola LB // Jun 9, 2008 at 2:38 AM

    Wow . . . I'm just so shocked at the implosion in just under a month! When I heard about Open BD, I was really skeptical that this would really happen, and sorry to see that my skepticism was affirmed.

    I really hope that the ColdFusion community can stay united.
  • 13 Hatem Jaber // Jun 9, 2008 at 6:05 AM

    I don't think it was the community, IMO it was the hidden agendas that just came out to the light. It was nice of the steering committee members to give the project the benefit of the doubt, it could have and probably would have worked if not for the hidden agendas.
  • 14 tony // Jun 9, 2008 at 6:05 AM

    i think we all just dont like New Atlanta, and with their name they screwed themselves with BlueDragon, and therefore OpenBlue dragon was destined to fail...

    charisma, and personality matter... ben and the boys at Adobe/Macromedia/Allaire over the years smoked the competition and built up a great customer base, and all of us are against the crap called New Atlanta
  • 15 TJ Downes // Jun 9, 2008 at 9:32 AM

    I just want to say "Thank you" to Sean for sticking up for the CF community as a whole. It's nice to know that there are people within our community that have ethics and loyalty!
  • 16 df guy // Jun 9, 2008 at 9:38 AM

    i always thought that the "leaders" of the cf community were immature and full of themselves. for once i would have loved to have eaten my words and be proven wrong. the way you and others have put vince and new atlanta on the chopping block is just childish.

    this is the time for our "leaders" to stand by new atlanta's side, calm the community down and explain that what new atlanta said was a mistake, but instead you fuel the fire.

    let's not forget the numerous contributions to the cfml language that new atlanta has made over the years. loving the new cfthread tag? Yeah, bluedragon had it first.

    with the "leaders" that the cf community has to follow, it's no wonder people look at us and laugh. you don't see betrayals like happening within the php, ruby or .net communities. only the intelligence and maturity of a cf leader could do something like this.
  • 17 Todd Rafferty // Jun 9, 2008 at 12:01 PM

    @dj guy: "you don't see betrayals like happening within the php, ruby or .net communities."

    What?! LOL. I think you missed the whole Zed Shaw vs. RoR explosion ( ). If you think anything on the net is free of scrutiny, you're dreaming.
  • 18 TJ Downes // Jun 9, 2008 at 12:19 PM

    @df guy:

    I don't think that other communities have the same issues we do, so I think the comparison is irrelevant.

    I believe part of the problem is that some of the people involved are using it as an opportunity to monetize their services and products while moving those clients away from a platform we make a living on. The other part of the problem is the lack of concern some of people involved seem to have with the community (seems to be downright contention in this case), the people who drive the adoption of the product.

    I don't see NA as ever contributing anything new to the core of CF. The stuff that was added in by TagServlet was stuff that has been requested for by the community for years. I'm not saying we should not have had it sooner in CF than we did, but I see that it would have made it into the product eventually anyway. Yes, competition is a good thing, and I would have welcomed that from NA. However, their mission was not to compete, it was to eliminate CF as a platform by moving customers to .NET. This is evident by the fact that the Java version is open source and the .NET version is not.

    I for one, am happy that Sean made a stand and also pointed out to us that the openBD initiative has nothing to do with the best interests of the CF Community.
  • 19 erik // Jun 10, 2008 at 12:34 AM

    Given there are always two sides to the story, it seems interesting we're only hearing one here, though which is referencing things said by the other, but to which those not on the OpenBD Steering Committee are not privy. Would be nice to hear Alan or someone from the Committee respond publicly. My guess is they're a bit more professional and have responded to you offline. This leaves the explanation of your departure confusing and incomplete. I don't even know what you mean by cf community or its rock stars. Im personally glad there are folks out there who are trying to take us in new directions. iow, Why are you really leaving?
  • 20 Sean Corfield // Jun 10, 2008 at 12:58 AM

    @Erik, if you don't know what is meant by the CF community (mailing lists, user groups, blogs, an organic group of people who are always trying to help each other etc), then I'm not sure that you would understand my reasons for leaving...?

    Alan's words were taken from an email he sent to the steering committee complaining about some members of the steering committee voicing concerns raised by the CF community.

    FWIW, Mike Brunt also resigned. I believe Alan is replacing me with a Java guy rather than a CF guy which seems more in keeping with the direction he is trying to take the project.
  • 21 Hatem Jaber // Jun 10, 2008 at 2:33 AM

    @Erik, If anything said was wrong in this post, I'm sure Alan or other members of the steering committee would have spoken up and responded. Knowing Sean, he wouldn't have blocked their comments and allowed them to pass through for us to read.

    @Sean, If i'm not mistaken, I believe Mark Drew also left the committee from the sound of his response above.

    The bottom line is that openBD was not the solution to save us, it was another option for us to choose from, if we wanted.
  • 22 Filip // Jun 10, 2008 at 2:33 AM

    This must have been a hard decision to make.There are time though when one has to go against the greater good in order to improve it. So what Alan is fed up hearing about the CF community? So what Alan thinks so poorly about the CF developers? I think that you could have "sacrificed" this loyalty towards the CF community and keep working on the OpenBD and help its development... But you didn't and I think you knew very well all about the aspects to this problem, far better than what I have tried to explain here. So I can only say "I take my hat off to you Mr. Corfield". The trade off to your actions is that now the community will have even greater expectation from people like yourself, you are a victim of your own success :).
  • 23 Rick Smith // Jun 10, 2008 at 8:53 AM

    It's a shame this project is coming to such a quick demise as I truly respected those involved (my opinion of BlueDragon in its past and current state goes without saying). The only reason this project sparked any interest for me was the fact that there were key community members paving the way. It's unfortunate these key figures have left the project in such a short period of time. My best wishes to you Sean and the others who've felt compelled to abandon the project. I imagine you'll continue to have the respect of the ColdFusion community no matter where your endeavors take you. Thanks for making the effort on our behalf.
  • 24 Brad Wood // Jun 10, 2008 at 9:43 AM

    Wow, that's crazy. I'm a little saddened by the news-- but I trust you did what was right. I commend you for standing up for the community.

    Do you have any plans to help with the Railo project?

  • 25 Sean Corfield // Jun 10, 2008 at 4:41 PM

    @Brad, yes, I expect I'll contribute to the Railo project once that's all set up on

    A note to others: OpenBD is far from dead and Alan and his team will continue working on it and try to bring in new CFML developers from the Java community. I'm sure it will also see loyalty from within the CF community. If nothing else, it's already here and freely downloadable.
  • 26 ike // Jun 11, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    Wow that's gotta be frustrating. I know I personally am always a bit frustrated when I hear people make comments like "a real language", generally indicating that they've decided pre-analysis that ColdFusion (or any other language for that matter) is a cheap tinker-toy and just stuck with that decision rather than considering what actually is there.

    Am I guilty of doing it? Probably. I don't know anything about FileMaker Pro other than that I'm probably biased against it for having once dealt with the frustrating problem of having to massage old FM Pro data into an XML packet and discovering that the data contained vertical tabs left over from FM Pro which are illegal in XML and were not actually part of the content.

    I know everybody does it... doesn't really make it any less frustrating... but it's also an interesting topic related to my comments about being "technically incorrect"... I need to get around to writing that article. Right now I'm too busy fleshing out the details of DataFaucet, which IMO is a good example of a powerful and easy solution that's not likely to have been produced by any of the "rock stars" in the Java community. It's not because they're deficient in any way, but simply because Java doesn't lend itself to this kind of solution and hence Java programmers wouldn't tend to create this kind of innovation that would be rather difficult in their language.