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working with the web

Opening up the ColdFusion community

There’s been a long thread on the CFAussie mailing list this week: recruters say “CF on the way out”? … FFS! not FUD from them too?

The discussion has been at various times hilarious, inspiring, boring and tiresome (often all at once) and has moved from how recruiters are out of touch, to how the whole world is moving to .NET, to how Adobe is not doing enough to promote CF, to how we should be converting PHP developers to CF en masse, to how Scott Barnes is the devil.

Talk moved at one point to things that we as developers should be doing to ensure the longevity of our platform of choice. Gary Barber posted some thoughts and then followed up with a blog post on the state of ColdFusion with some ideas and a bit of a dig at the ColdFusion community for being too closed. Gary’s post spurred some strong reactions – Mike Henke posted ColdFusion is dead (yet again) and claims it was a carbon copy of other “CF is dead” articles. Really though, Gary was trying to spur people into action, which Jim Priest recognised in his post The Closed State of the ColdFusion Community.

For the record: I agree with Gary. He’s based in Perth too, and this topic is one we’ve spoken about at length, over beers at Port80 meetings. Port80 meetings where there are PHP, .NET and Ruby developers, graphic designers and front end developers, search engine optimisation experts, recruiters, business owners and students of web development all networking and sharing knowledge (and free pizza). But there’s never any ColdFusion developers other than the two of us, and Gary doesn’t really count himself as a CF developer, for the most part.

This may not be the case in other parts of the world, but it’s definitely the case in Australia.

I responded in the thread, but what I said was things that I’ve said before, many times. Because I’m sick of typing it out again and again, here’s my take.

ColdFusion developers, in my personal experience which now spans nine years, do not participate in the web community outside of their own circle. Many do not participate in the community at all, but that’s an entirely different problem which we’ll leave for another day. In Perth, a city of merely 1.5 million people, we have Port80, the web industry networking evening run by AWIA, which has been held every  month since 2002. In the past year have had our first BarCamp, Australia’s first PodCamp, a WebJam, installment 4 of the Ideas seminar series, and the third annual WA Web Awards. Although not of interest to everyone, there’s also monthly blogger’s meetups, which have been running since 2004, and last night was the third PTUB (Perth Twitter Underground Brigade). When I first started going to Port80 back in 2002, many of the people I spoke to had never met a ColdFusion developer or didn’t know of anyone using CF. Some had never heard of the language at all (I always explain with “it’s like ASP or PHP, but better”).

So here’s my call to CF developers who want to convince the world that CF is alive and well: get involved in your local web industry community. If there’s a healthy contingent of CF developers at these events then CF must be thriving, right? But don’t go because you want to convert everyone you meet to a ColdFusion programmer… go because it’s fun. You’ll meet people outside of your circle (and if your city is anything like Perth, you’ll drink beer with them), and if you get an opportunity to present, your love of and enthusiasm for CF will shine through and people won’t be able to help but take notice. It will make you a better developer, a better networker, a better business person. There’s absolutely no downside.

Go for it!

8 Comments

  1. Hi, Kay,

    I like that idea. Programmers these days tend to tune out other programmers who argue that their language is better, but they are open to networking and collaboration.

  2. If you were the manufacturer of a product, be it a car, ice cream, or software, why should it fall to your customers to promote the product?

    A big strength of CF is that it’s very easy to learn and therefore is most impressionable and useful to people who want to learn server side scripting. People with HTML, design, and Flash skills but lacking back-end scripting skills would probably like to know there’s a simple HTML-like language out there that can be run on a server that can make their ideas come to life, and it can be done quickly without having to be a tech-head.

    Adobe should create a new ColdFusion Express, but with a small footprint, and bundle it with Dreamweaver and all their web/design software packages along with a few video tutorials. It will get a new generation using CF who may go on to require more powerful features found in the full blown product.

  3. I like this idea…its a positive and proactive. We tend to preach to the choir at CFUGs. However, I broadened some CFUG topics to cover CF and AIR or CF and Flex and managed to bring in folks from outside the CF world to my meetings on occasion.

  4. @Brian ever considered taking the talks to groups other than CFUGs and talking about CF, AIR and Flex to say a Web Standards Group (which have all sort of topics) .

    @Gary maybe Adobe is targeting the wrong group and should be looking at the front end devs

  5. @Gary: I don’t know if we have something similar to the WSG here in the United States, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for something similar in my area.

  6. Alrighty Kay, sit down, I’m outing myself on your schmancy blog.

    *deep breath*

    I’m Judd… and I’m a ColdFusion developer.

    There, I said it. Heh, I’m not really anymore, but I sure used to be back in the day. It was the first language I learned, so therefore my favourite. I’m not even a developer any more, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for CF.

    If it ain’t dead though, it’s certainly on life support, as when I migrated here a few years ago, there was nada for CF developers, now heist is trying to tell me that there’s heaps of work.

    Not sure about that, but good on ya for keepin’ it real yo.

  7. I’ve been saying the same thing for ages – CFers need to get out and interact with other communities and talk CF up. Instead they turn in on themselves and complain about how everyone picks on CF and how Adobe doesn’t do enough and how all the other technologies are so much more popular. Boo hoo!

    I was glad to see Jim pick up on the real meaning of Gary Barber’s post – I suspect a lot of people stopped reading Gary’s post before they got to that part (Mike Henke clearly did – although he later recanted).

  8. Well said Kay :)

    I think its a two prong effort. I think if the community gets out there and puts its heart and soul into the equation, it needs to be meet by Adobe in parrallel with equal amount of effort.

    Just for the record, I am the devil :)


    Scott.