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An Architect's View

Hurrah! CFDJ is dead!

September 8, 2007 ·

Finally, the piece of **** that was CFDJ is dead! I've had a running battle with Sys-Con for years as they spammed me repeatedly, despite my requests to get off their mailing lists. I nearly got into it with Jeremy Geelan, Sys-Con's then editor, at MAX in Anaheim a few years back because of his attitude and his reaction to my complaints about his magazine. They sent me two(!) copies of JDJ that I did not ask for but would never send me CFDJ. The magazines were jammed full of advertising - and the website has been absolutely abysmal for ages with auto-play pop-up videos and what little content there was stuffed tightly into the middle column. The Sys-Con site was what finally persuaded me to install ad-blockers! According to the Sys-Con press release "After ColdFusion became part of the Adobe product line Adobe recently decided to discontinue its support of the magazine." Well, I'm just glad that Adobe had the sense to pull the plug on this feeble excuse for a magazine. Read Michael Dinowitz's take on this news which worries that this looks bad for ColdFusion. I disagree. CFDJ - and Sys-Con's two dozen(!) other magazines - just reflect badly on Sys-Con.

Tags: adobe · coldfusion

29 responses

  • 1 John Barrett // Sep 8, 2007 at 10:05 PM

    I will say going to the site was painful, because of the ads, and especially that video ad!

    I can't say I will miss it, as I have not been going to it lately.
  • 2 Peter Tilbrook // Sep 9, 2007 at 12:45 AM

    Hurrah that CFDJ is dead and Silverlight (which is underwhelming) is a new tome? Looks like they have just lost a huge readership. And their website still majorly sucks too.
  • 3 Dale Fraser // Sep 9, 2007 at 4:05 AM

    Sean,

    I agree 100%. Can you belive I paid to subscribe to this once and never received an issue. I ended up finding out how you could get all the content for free and stopped chasing them.

    I had the same issue with Spam, could not get off it, emailed them a lot of times over years and finally won, but it shouldn't have been that hard.

    As for this being bad for ColdFusion, I'd say its just a $ thing, Adobe didn't sponsor it so they pulled the plug. Micrsoft hands over some $ and presto SilverLight.

    I won't miss it, actually stopped reading it more than a year ago due to the adds.
  • 4 Kyle Hayes // Sep 9, 2007 at 5:22 AM

    The sad thing is, I think people will find it ironic that the magazine is "relaunching" as a Silverlight mag.
  • 5 Rob Wilkerson // Sep 9, 2007 at 5:26 AM

    I stopped going to the site after about the third time I tried to find something amidst the clutter. It was an utterly unusable site. Quite honestly one of the worst, if not the worst, I've ever seen from a group that should have known better.

    Having been an subscriber since about the fifth issue, I opted not to renew my subscription shortly after Charlie left. The content was no longer worth the hassle and I got tired of receiving endless copies of [A-Z]{1,2}DJ (mostly JDJ) that I had never even expressed any interest in.
  • 6 Dave Cordes // Sep 9, 2007 at 6:53 AM

    Sean,
    Yes! I too was not able to get off their mailing list and I agree their content was terrible and filled with crap. Today is a good day!
  • 7 Carlos // Sep 9, 2007 at 6:57 AM

    A less mind-numbing link to the article is the print version:

    http://coldfusion.sys-con.com/read/426141_p.htm

    I'm a bit shocked to hear about all of this. I've subscribed to the CFDJ for years, and also picked up some of their other offerings. I rarely go to the site since I have the print. But, I did notice that their site tends to add density to everything except for the article itself.

    I was a bit oblivious to their alleged lack of professionalism on sys-con's part. So I give credit to the article contributors and the editorial board for making a great journal. I just hope that Adobe plans to quickly replace this legacy and/or promote a more compelling replacement... e.g. Fusion Authority Quarterly Update.
  • 8 Gus // Sep 9, 2007 at 8:57 AM

    CFDJ lost it's relevance to any serious CF developer years ago.

    I think this quote from Engin Sezici of SYS-CON Media sums up sys-cons knowledge of CF pretty well:

    "We have seen a rapid trend and move from ColdFusion to other emerging rich web technologies such as AJAX, Flex, and Silverlight,"

    So, sys-con decided that since there is a trend toward RIA's on the front end, we are going to discontinue our magazine geared to a back-end solution that works with all of these front-end technologies.

    Smart folks over there!
  • 9 Adrock // Sep 9, 2007 at 9:13 AM

    It is what it is.

    In the past few years CFDJ had dramatically cut their distribution. You used to be able to walk in a buy a copy at your local Borders (to avoid SysCon spam). But in recent times, even ordering a subscription had become a chore. SysCon created a pretty negative image within the community and most authors had decided to boycott the magazine due to frustrating past experiences. Finally, CFDJ was _several_ months behind. The last _print_ issue I ever saw (February 2007) wasn't published until May 2007. I don't think I've never known another magazine to just 'skip' months.

    The bottom line is that CFDJ was doing a disservice to the community and was making ColdFusion look bad. It was a hard decision (which did not happen overnight). The CFDJ advisory board felt helpless and that internal problems had gotten too large to 'turn the ship around'.

    I think SysCon's disregard for our community, which helped build their company, is evident in their announcement that they are 'moving the CFDJ to SilverLight'. They aren't really moving anything, they are just starting a new publication in lieu of a failed one.
  • 10 Cody Caughlan // Sep 9, 2007 at 10:06 AM

    I agree, I always thought CFDJ was a total waste. I dont think I ever found any engaging content in it. And of course, the website was a total nightmare.

    Is it just me or does it seem like all Sys-Con sites are total nightmares?
  • 11 Sean Corfield // Sep 9, 2007 at 10:38 AM

    I was persuaded to allow a blog post of mine to be edited into an article and published in CFDJ. There may have been one more such blog-to-article conversion, I don't remember. After I finally got so disgusted with their unprofessional approach, I asked that they remove my articles and remove me as an author because I did not want to be associated with such rubbish. They mostly complied. I was never able to prevent them syndicating my blog under a "Sys-Con Author" banner.

    Just so folks are clear, if they see my blog posts on the Sys-Con site: I am *not* a Sys-Con author and they do not have my permission to re-post my blog entries as if I wrote them for Sys-Con!

    And let's also remember that Sys-Con have, on more than one occasion, appropriated content from other people's sites and republished it as-if it were there own (even going so far as to claim Sys-Con copyright on the article in a few cases).
  • 12 Gary Herman // Sep 9, 2007 at 10:40 AM

    Agreed as well here, CFDJ has been shrinking over the years - I think the last issues was about 28 pages, 15+ of which were advertising... It would however be nice to have a real ColdFusion rag, any chnace this will happen?
  • 13 Sean Corfield // Sep 9, 2007 at 10:46 AM

    @Gary - check out Fusion Authority Quarterly Update.
  • 14 Ian // Sep 9, 2007 at 2:41 PM

    I complained about the magazine's lack of real content a couple of years ago and quit subscribing. I resubscribed earlier this year, never got an issue, was never told that the print edition was dead and after repeated emails was sent a link to two of the online issues without any explanation. The way I see it, they owe me either ten more issues or my money back.

    Yes, the website is horrible.
  • 15 Dale Fraser // Sep 9, 2007 at 4:06 PM

    Ok,

    So for everyone that didn't already know, you can get all their content free. Given the amount of adds, it should be free.

    http://pdf.sys-con.com/
  • 16 andrew // Sep 9, 2007 at 5:20 PM

    From their RSS feeds and advertising, you'd think that it was ADJ (AJAX Dev. Journal). The magazine was hardly worth the read. Occasionally something worthwhile would appear, but not information one couldn't find via google. More fluff than content. Definitely a pain in the ass web site to visit!
  • 17 Jeff Peters // Sep 9, 2007 at 5:41 PM

    As has been noted elsewhere, it's quite ironic that this very post of Sean's appears on the CFDJ home page under the "CFDJ Author Blogs" section.

    Then they have the gall to put a "Reproduction in any form...is prohibited without express written consent of SYS-CON Publications, Inc." warning at the bottom of the page. Oh, the hubris!

    Wait, does this mean that SYS-CON might sue Sean over rights to his blog entry? It's SCO Group v. Novell/IBM all over again! ;)
  • 18 Sean Corfield // Sep 9, 2007 at 5:51 PM

    @Jeff, yeah, it sort of serves them right for all the hassle they've caused that this blog entry is right there on their front page today!!

    Thanx for the PDF link Dale - I now have a complete set of CFDJ PDFs to browse through! :)
  • 19 Aaron Neff // Sep 9, 2007 at 8:53 PM

    Before visiting a Sys-Con site: feeling ok, eyes not strained, no headache

    After visiting a Sys-Con site: want to blast that auto-playing video player, eye-strain-induced headache from trying to find/read the articles amongst all those ads
  • 20 Matthew Reinbold // Sep 9, 2007 at 9:45 PM

    I completely agree with the sentiments expressed here - SYSCON had created an eyesore that did more damage than good for the community.

    What I'm troubled by, however, is all that excellent content buried beneath the ads is simply going to disappear. I know that SysCon made its writers give up all reprint rights forever more and in all mediums to their submissions (I know because I saw the contract and backed out upon seeing it). But is there any possible way (preferably legally) of salvaging that data and making it available again - albeit in a user friendly way - online?

    While it was exploitive to the nth degree it did contain a number of high ranking pieces for certain ColdFusion searches. It would be sad to see those just disappear.
  • 21 Sean Corfield // Sep 9, 2007 at 11:38 PM

    @Matthew, I'm lucky in that the only pieces of mine that they published were previously published on my blog so they'll always be around (reports of the Fusebox 2004 conference and CFUN 2004). You're right tho' that there were *some* good articles and it would be a shame for them to disappear completely. I've downloaded a complete set of the PDFs (see comment above) so if ever the content on pdf.sys-con.com disappears (it's already in Google), we can reinstate it in a searchable form at some point...
  • 22 M@ // Sep 10, 2007 at 3:26 AM

    w00t w00t!!!!!
    w00000000h0000000000
    I kept count, I clicked unsubscribe to there garbage emails 83 times, and I emailed them to several diff email addresses a total of 29 times, and not once did I ever get removed from receiving there spam junk.
    I remember one member of the community once said they got a cold fusion error throw once when they hit unsubscribe link the page dumped out the code which showed it wasn't removing any email address but simply inserting it into the DB.

    Let's hope the whole syscon goes down
  • 23 Liz Frederick // Sep 10, 2007 at 6:10 AM

    I agree there were some good articles there. CFDJ was nice to CFUnited but they never came to the event. I thank them for pushing some ads for us and sending the attendees free copies. The magazine was a great concept. I know most of the gurus of this community and it is a little difficult to get articles or interviews. I think a bigger commitment to obtaining that content would have been more beneficial than finding advertisers. I wonder... is the CF community hungry for a new magazine or is it more worthwhile to spend all day searching and reading blogs?
  • 24 Matthew Reinbold // Sep 10, 2007 at 7:59 AM

    @Liz,

    You bring up a very good point - with the proliferation of people sharing information via blogs I think a magazine needs to take a substantially different track than ten (or even five) years ago.

    For quick how-to's or presentation of concepts the web works better. For more in-depth, expansive material I still think paper has its place. From what I've seen of the Fusion Quarterly (admittedly, not much) they're taking this tact - longer, more in depth material closer to the guidance you'd find in a book's chapter than a 500-word roundup.

    It would be a tricky task - it most definitely would take the right kind of right to present things in a timeless, entertaining, yet educational way - to give voice to the CF community and provide some kind of consistent ongoing narrative; that is what's needed to give a print publication a personality, a focus, and keep it from being disposable when the next version of CF comes out.

    There are very few technology publications that do this and it would require much more human involvement (and thus cost) than what SysCon was willing to do - which very well may make it unfeasible. But my dream publication would be the monthly transcripts of a Hal Helms/Ben Forta boozer - entertaining, educational, and filled with personality of authorities
  • 25 Mary Jo // Sep 10, 2007 at 8:36 PM

    I was a subscriber to CFDJ for several years and greatly miss the quality magazine it once was. I won't miss at all the piece of junk it has became. Their blaming Adobe for the lack of funds makes no sense to me at all. Seriously, if Adobe wants to put marketing dollars into expanding the CF user base, advertising in a magazine that only current CF users would buy is hardly a good use of funds. Sys-Con alone is to blame for their poor management of their magazine, web site, etc. which drove users away in droves. It's particularly interesting to me because one of my first customers runs a magazine that has become better and better with every passing year. In large part because the content and quality became even better, the magazine totally packed with info, contributors paid well (I get $20 and a free copy for just a single thumbnail photo being used), etc. They even now offer a great digital version at half the printed version price (annoying DRM protection aside). They also use additional content on the website to attract customers to their store which has likewise expanded and become a $100K+ a month business. Not bad for what started as a simple 10-page newsletter. Sys-Con could take some lessons on how to do things right from her.
  • 26 Jensa // Sep 11, 2007 at 2:07 AM

    I wholeheartedly agree. The amount of ads and especially the videos makes it a pain to use the site. I try to avoid it the best I can.

    I've also paid for subscriptions that I never got and since there's no customer service, I never got what I paid for. What a way to run a business. I wonder how they get by...? Ads probably? ;)
  • 27 J // Sep 11, 2007 at 2:32 PM

    Horror Story: I tried to buy a book from sys-con and take advantage of the "pre-publishing" price. Even when it was published I never got it. In the end I had to go to the author's blog and leave him a note. If it was not for his intervention I would never have got my F**x book (5weeks after release date). Incidentally, it was also meant to come with a DVD which (hmm) ...

    From a CF perspective, I stopped subscribing a long time ago (4yrs +). As for being bad for CF - not sure. I used to subscribe to other mags/journals and must say rarely find articles of genuine use. Not to say there aren't some out there - but it seems to be few and far between. This includes .NET ones too.

    Echoing previous comments - blogs/online websites have have taken over. Then again, I could just be cynical. :-)

    p.s. FAQU seems a credible replacement.
  • 28 Matt Robertson // Sep 14, 2007 at 12:46 PM

    I'll echo the issues with receiving print editions back in the day when there was one, and you had to pay for it. They had problems delivering content -- that was paid for -- for years. Likewise agree the web site is a blight no matter how much Sys-Con tries to paint you (Sean) and Michael as anti-capitalist cranks. Given their many ineptitudes, Sys-Con has always struck me as a struggling entity barely able to survive, with the end just over the horizon.

    I enjoyed writing the few articles I wrote for them, back in the early days when a lot of us looked forward to our next issue arriving in the mail. But those days have been LONG gone.
  • 29 Jensa // Nov 28, 2007 at 12:41 AM

    Sean? I just got a CFDJ newsletter? Any idea why? There's a couple ColdFusion articles in it as well (if you just dig through all the ads)