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An Architect's View

Hal Helms on ColdFusion

December 5, 2006 · 5 Comments

Fusion Authority has published an interesting editorial by Hal Helms, scheduled for inclusion in FAQU 3. The editorial is based on the keynote piece Hal did at cf.Objective() 2006 and also echoes views he has expressed on his Out Loud podcast (episode 32 I think). Hal was an early advocate of adding Java-like features to ColdFusion but has changed his position for a number of reasons and thinks ColdFusion's success depends on allowing developers to innovate quickly, which means providing unique features that help get certain types of job done quickly. I like the article but I don't think it's really a "new vision" (as its title claims) because ColdFusion has always been about providing unique features that help developers innovate quickly. For a contrasting view, read Vince Bonfanti's evaluation of Hal's article - and Hal responds in the comments (in fact, the whole comment thread is very interesting!).

Tags: coldfusion · faqu

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Brandon Harper // Dec 5, 2006 at 4:27 PM

    Now if only you had permission to participate in discussions on Vince's blog...
  • 2 Sean Corfield // Dec 6, 2006 at 8:01 AM

    *smile* Well, I'll just have to participate remotely from my own blog...

    Vince's final comment (as of 12/4/2006 8:12 AM) shows to me that he has missed Hal's point completely: "*Your* focus seems to be on figuring out a way for CFML to compete with Java and C#; and, presumably, to attract people who currently aren't using CFML to choose it instead of Java or C#."

    The entire thrust of Hal's article is that ColdFusion should *not* be competing with Java or C# - instead ColdFusion should push hard into areas where those languages aren't really suitable. Essentially Hal is saying something similar to what I've touched on occasionally, namely that ColdFusion excels in the areas that Ruby and Python et al are picking up 'buzz'.

    Add Java-style OO features to ColdFusion does far more to push ColdFusion into direct competition with Java and C#, despite Vince's protestations to the contrary.
  • 3 Hal Helms // Dec 6, 2006 at 2:15 PM

    Well, Sean, it's nice to see that YOU got my points! On the "new vision" thing, I think I succumbed to a bit of excess there. Rather, it's a return to CF's original position. Or maybe it's just MY new vision of CF. Anyway, thanks for your feedback.
  • 4 Jaime Metcher // Dec 6, 2006 at 5:02 PM

    I think Hal is right about the matter of focus, and about where it should be for CF. However, I have to say that right now my biggest problem in pushing "version 1" systems out the door is lack of OO features! Never mind static methods, I want true class methods. Instead I'm spending precious time building a palette of baroque workarounds.
  • 5 Sean Corfield // Dec 6, 2006 at 5:22 PM

    @Jaime, if you feel the lack of "true class methods" is holding you up then I suspect either there is a problem with your application design or your understanding of OO *smile*

    No offense intended but it's a semi-serious comment: people build stuff without those features all the time without running into problems... and only a very, very small percentage of the overall ColdFusion developer community even know what a static method is (which is also known as a class method - a method that can be called without instantiating the class, usually using just the class typename as a prefix).

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