An Architect's View

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An Architect's View

As one door closes, another opens

April 15, 2009 ·

After a year at Broadchoice, it has come time to move on. I've had a great time working with Ray Camden, Joe Rinehart, Brian Kotek and Luke Kilpatrick - as well as the rest of the team (who don't blog). We created a great content management system (Broadchoice Community Platform, powered by Model-Glue 2, ColdSpring and Transfer, running on ColdFusion 8 Enterprise - now up on the Amazon cloud) and we created an incredible desktop collaboration app (Broadchoice Workspace, powered by AIR, Flex, BlazeDS, Spring and Hibernate, running on Groovy and JBoss - with an iPhone web version powered by Model-Glue 3 and ColdSpring, running on Railo 3.0 and JBoss up on the Amazon cloud). I've learned a lot about Flex and AIR and I've gotten to know Railo as an alternative CFML engine. After working with such a great team on such a great product, what comes next?As folks probably know, I've been a strong advocate of open source software for a long time. I've been contributing to open source projects for about fifteen years. In addition, I have a background in language design and compiler development. I got involved with Open BlueDragon because it looked like it would give me an outlet for those two interests. It didn't work out quite how I hoped, but I've watched the project go from strength to strength and I was pleased to see that they've just managed to get a version of OpenBD running on Google's AppEngine. Last year, when Railo announced at Scotch on the Rocks that they would be going open source as a project, I was very excited. CFML would then have two open source engines, knocking down two key barriers to entry for many people outside the current CF community: price and lack of choice. For others, removing the perceived "stigma" of a proprietary language is also a big step forward (witness the bashing of Flash on Slashdot from a certain portion of the open source community). Recent announcements from Railo have shown that they're building a great team as they move from a commercial product vendor to a services and support organization, with Mark Drew heading up the new UK-based arm and Peter Bell heading up the new US-based arm. As my time at Broadchoice come unexpectedly to an end, an IM discussion with Peter Bell turned into an opportunity to join another great team and work on another great product - and satisfy my open source itch. Starting Thursday April 16th, I am joining Railo US as CTO to work alongside Peter to develop the services and support business here in North America. As I said at the end of my review of 2008 in January:
I think ColdFusion has gone from strength to strength this year. Two enterprise-class CFML engines are now available for free, one of them open source with the other going open source in 2009. Adobe have promised to open up their process and have started with the CFML Advisory Committee and we can look forward to a public bugbase soon, as well as a ground-breaking new release of ColdFusion and a new IDE. ... 2009 will see Railo released as open source with the support of Red Hat and Jboss and that may bring in a substantial number of new developers from the Java world. We will then be in a world where two of the three major CFML engines are both free and open source which will change the dynamic, even if the impact isn't felt for a year or two. Whatever happens, it'll be another good year to be a CFML developer!
Why do I think open source options are good for CFML as a whole? In the database market, commercial products - such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server - have flourished and continued to innovate alongside free open source alternatives - such as MySQL and PostgreSQL - that have themselves grown into established enterprise-level breeds. In the JEE market, it has been the same story - with WebSphere and WebLogic on one side and JBoss, Resin, Glassfish and so on. Vendors implement a common core of functionality and then compete on unique verticals. There is no "one size fits all" here. I've also seen the same pattern in the compiler market for C++, FORTRAN and other languages. Even in the Java community, the increasing availability of open source languages that target the JVM helps to raise everyone's boat because it broadens the appeal of the ecosystem. I'm looking forward to working with Peter, Mark, Gert and the rest of the Railo team as we help a wider community of developers be successful with CFML. And I'm very excited about the possibilities unfolding for CF developers!

Tags: broadchoice · coldfusion · oss · railo

46 responses

  • 1 Johnb // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:23 PM

    Wow, congrats! Great news!!!!!
  • 2 Malcolm O'Keeffe // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:26 PM

    Sean, congratulations on the great news. Railo is absolutely a fantastic product, and the addition of you to lead the professional services team in the US is really quite a coup.

    Can't wait to see what you guys end up doing over the next couple years - it's a great time to be part of the CFML community.

    Best wishes and good luck!

    Malcolm O'Keeffe
    Mura CMS ( - formerly Sava CMS
  • 3 Peter Bell // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:28 PM

    Looking forwards to working with you!

  • 4 O?uz Demirkap? // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:28 PM

    Congratulations and best wishes! :)
  • 5 Peter Tilbrook // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:47 PM

    Once again an out of the blue surprise from Mr Corfield. Congratulations and good luck! The CFML community as a whole can only benefit from these sorts of collaborations and developments.
  • 6 Justin Lewis // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:58 PM

    wow, neat.

    Great addition to the railo team.
  • 7 Mark Drew // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

    Excellent! Another Brit on the team :) Of course, on the other side of the pond :)

    There are good times ahead I see! And I am sure we shall see good things coming from this!

    Welcome aboard the USS Railo ;)
  • 8 Cyril Hanquez // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:10 AM

    Congrats Sean! I didn't have much time to look at the open source CFML engines yet, but I think that I can find some time to follow Railo :-)
  • 9 Big Mad Kev // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:34 AM

    congratulations dude; certainly does seem that 2009 is the year of CFML..

    All the best & see you at Scotch this year
  • 10 John Whish // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:55 AM

    Congratulations Sean. I think what Railo is doing (backed by an awesome team) is great news for the whole CF community. Looking forward to what the future brings!
  • 11 Gary Gilbert // Apr 16, 2009 at 1:11 AM

    Wow Congratulations Sean! This is really quite cool to hear and a Great day for Railo!
  • 12 Andrea // Apr 16, 2009 at 1:18 AM

    Congrats Sean.
    Good choice.

  • 13 Akbarsait // Apr 16, 2009 at 1:23 AM

    Great News Sean and Congratulations!
  • 14 Anuj Gakhar // Apr 16, 2009 at 2:26 AM

    Congratulations Sean, this is great news.
  • 15 Todd Rafferty // Apr 16, 2009 at 3:15 AM

    Congratulations Sean. Does this impact you on the CFML language committee?
  • 16 Dale Fraser // Apr 16, 2009 at 3:20 AM

    Congrats Sean,

    I really like Railo and can see us using it in the future.

    I was wondering perhaps as others why the sudden departure from BroadChoice.
  • 17 Joe Rinehart // Apr 16, 2009 at 4:36 AM

    That's just great news man! CFML needs a fire lit under its rear, and I think Railo's doing a great job stoking the flames.
  • 18 Rick Mason // Apr 16, 2009 at 5:32 AM

    Best wishes Sean.
  • 19 Chrisitan Ready // Apr 16, 2009 at 6:03 AM

    Congratulations, Sean. As you say, one door closes and another opens. Even better, the CFML community benefits!
  • 20 Pat Santora // Apr 16, 2009 at 6:16 AM

    Congratulations Sean. Great move on Railo's end.
  • 21 bill shelton // Apr 16, 2009 at 6:18 AM

    Congrats, on your first day @Railo, Sean. Railo's momentum is quite impressive, and with you and the other talented folks on board, what's in store?

  • 22 Yves // Apr 16, 2009 at 6:30 AM

    Wow.. awesome.

    Congrats Sean.

    My enthusiasm for the future of CFML continues to grow with the developments in the last year.

    Gert and Railo are making some great moves (IMO).... did I mention I'm enthused about the future of CFML????
  • 23 Rolando Lopez // Apr 16, 2009 at 6:46 AM

    Congrats Sean!

    Railo definitely has a great team. I look forward to see the changes (improvements) this will bring to the CFML community.
  • 24 RyanTJ // Apr 16, 2009 at 6:56 AM

    Railo Undead and it wants your brains! Congrats, very exciting for the community.
  • 25 Aaron West // Apr 16, 2009 at 7:25 AM

    I'm a bit surprised everyone is posting 'congrats' when it sounds like your time at Broadchoice (which seemed to be going very well) ended abruptly. Nevertheless Sean, good luck as you move on into new things.

    One last thing.. I might be mistaken but I'm pretty sure you've the Adobe Community Expert badge at the top left margin of your site every since you joined the group. I don't see that anymore. Am I mistaken or should I read into its absence and forecast your resignation from the group?
  • 26 Jim Priest // Apr 16, 2009 at 7:49 AM

    This is great news!!!!
  • 27 Gary Fenton // Apr 16, 2009 at 8:03 AM

    +1 Wow! This means even better things are going to happen. Good timing because I might be starting a big project using Railo 3.1. Best of luck Sean!
  • 28 noname // Apr 16, 2009 at 9:32 AM

    Wow, NICE - CONGRATS! I haven't visited your blog in a while, but I suspect your blog visitor stats will go up :) CHEERS!
  • 29 Doug // Apr 16, 2009 at 9:51 AM

    Congratulations, hope you find long term happiness with Railo.
  • 30 Sami Hoda // Apr 16, 2009 at 10:25 AM

    Congrats Sean. Its always hard working on a product from the ground up and leaving it. At the same time, I've also worked and led a team of SMEs on a complex venture, and it can lead to burn outs and has to be managed carefully. But all the experience you've garnered over the past year will be a great asset to Railo, and the community as a whole. 2009 is going to be a very exciting year!
  • 31 Bill Downs // Apr 16, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Just downloaded (and ran in 10 seconds) railo on my mac. Do Blue D and Railo truly stand up to Adobe CF apples to apples - cost aside?
  • 32 Jeff Gladnick // Apr 16, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Congrats sean, enjoyed your preso last night & hearing about coldbox.

    Also neat to see framework installation in Railo, perhaps this will become even tighter and morph into a RoR like experience for developing CF in Railo with MG or something similar?
  • 33 Todd Rafferty // Apr 16, 2009 at 11:40 AM

    @Arron West: Moving on up and working for Railo should be congratulated. I would imagine whatever happened at Broadchoice that we're not privy to is in the past and since nothing is being publicly said about the situation we can only assume he left amicably since he hasn't ripped the broadchoice installer from his site yet. ;) The missing Adobe Expert badge is telling (but, not surprising).
  • 34 John Mason // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:05 PM

    Congrats! It's great to see the Railo and OpenBD projects developing. I need to find some time and look into Railo more. Look forward to your future posts on the subject.
  • 35 Sean Corfield // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:10 PM

    @Todd (and others), like many other companies in this economy, Broadchoice is making hard decisions to ensure it can focus resources on its sales pipeline which will allow it to expand again in the future. I applaud the management team for being strong enough to do what's best for the company. So, yes, a very amicable parting. The products are great and, in fact, I'm finishing off a couple of enhancements that were in progress - for free.

    Yes, the Community Expert badge was removed. Hard to remain an Adobe Community Expert for ColdFusion when I work for another CFML engine vendor.

    I also stepped down as manager of BACFUG - my co-manager, Sid Maestre, has taken over the group so it's in good hands.
  • 36 Rick // Apr 16, 2009 at 1:48 PM

    Congrats Sean! I am happy to see you back on an open source CFML team. Please just dont mix up your forward and back slashes while working on Railo ;) (still cant forget that episode:)

    Just as you've mentioned in your opening statement about what has been done at Broadchoice, the cloud is becoming a vital part of scalability planning for many developers / corporations. OpenBD appears to have some beautiful and easy implementations of scalability functionality like built in memcache support, multicast, etc. Through my general research, this is what puts OpenDB on the top of my list for CFML scalability. I know that the commercial version of Railo has some support for clustering but not sure if the open source version supports it too.

    It would be awesome if the open source version of Railo also supported great (and easily implemented) scalability functionality.

    We look forward to greater things happening with Railo this year! Thanks for all of your contributions to the CF community!

  • 37 Sean Corfield // Apr 16, 2009 at 2:59 PM

    @Rick, our plans for Railo definitely include high scalability features such as caching and clustering. Stay tuned!
  • 38 Richard Bennion // Apr 16, 2009 at 4:20 PM

    Sean, you have always had a great passion for Railo. I could not think of a more suitable position for you incredible talents than CTO of Railo.

    The office will not be the same without you, but I am sure glad you found such a great new opportunity.

    Thank you for your leadership, talent and creativity!

    BTW - Is that free stuff done yet. ;)
  • 39 Dana Tierney // Apr 16, 2009 at 7:32 PM

    Sean! You are going to be working with Mark Drew and Peter Bell!?! I am enthused :) Going to have to check Railo out!
  • 40 Nando // Apr 17, 2009 at 6:32 AM

    This post has nearly convinced me to get at least one cat. You land on your feet very well! ;-)
  • 41 Peter Coppinger // Apr 17, 2009 at 1:48 PM

    Great stuff Sean. I'm a massive fan of Railo and I hope you will help take the company to the next level. Best of luck with this move.
  • 42 Javier Julio // Apr 24, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    This is great news Sean! Very exciting and knowing you'll be working with my friend Peter I can only expect amazing things! Best of luck!
  • 43 Andrew Myers // Jul 27, 2009 at 7:18 PM

    Congrats Sean - this is great news. Is there an update on the JBoss involvement with Railo? All has been quiet on that front for a while.
  • 44 Sean Corfield // Jul 27, 2009 at 7:44 PM

    @Andrew, well, JBoss are now hosting our public SVN repository and our bug tracker - or rather, Railo is now part of JBoss's public SVN repository and JIRA bug tracking system along with Hibernate and all the other JBoss community projects!
  • 45 Andrew Myers // Jul 27, 2009 at 8:52 PM

    Thanks for the update Sean. Very exciting stuff.
  • 46 Garth Braithwaite // Aug 11, 2009 at 4:53 PM

    I was way out of the loop so I thought I'd come check out the blog. Congrats. Belated, but still sincere.