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!
As one door closes, another opens
April 15, 2009 · 46 Comments
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 JBoss.org 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: