Railo vs ColdFusion vs We are the CF Developers

In my previous post, “Can ColdFusion Survive Under Microsoft?”, a CF fan made a good point about Railo. He wrote “This is the right time to make Railo more popularise...by telling Railo is nothing other than ColdFusion and is FREE”. I couldn’t agree more! If Railo is strong, we don’t have to be concerned about what we, as CF Developers, will be doing in between Olympics.

I can’t remember exactly when I started using ColdFusion (or Cold Fusion, as we used to say those days), but I do remember I was listening to Third Eye Blind on the radio while coding in CF. It was on my 133Mz Intel Inside with 4 Gig drive, hooked to the net with a 33.6kbps modem. The entire time I was screaming, “Holy mackerel! This is Sweet!, So simple! I’m in love!” I haven’t touched Perl since then, and I haven’t been out of work a single day. ASP, PHP, and all the others made me run back home to CFM the first chance I got.

Technology got complicated in between Alanis Morissette and Lady Gaga. Web Services, Ajax, Web 2.0––we can’t expect ColdFusion to maintain the same level of simplicity, however, it still maintains an extraordinary amount of clarity.

I teach Web Development in my free time, and I introduce ColdFusion to my students. I like to see how fascinated they become with <cfloop> and then compare that with their reaction to JavaScript. But what interest me most is that they treat the set up of ColdFusion on their computers as a simple formality––They don’t even take notes!

We are humans before we are programmers. We do not fall in love with functions. We fall in love with characters. ColdFusion and Railo are two different characters that happen to do the exact same thing, somewhat like two MTA bus drivers or two pharmacists. When I installed Railo the first time, I didn’t exclaim, “How simple!” Instead, I cried, “Help!” We buy iPhones because of how they look––we fall in love because of curls, dimples, or lovely smiles.

As seasoned ColdFusion developers, we seem to be fascinated by what’s under the hood of Railo. Any HTML developer/designer is a pupa that could turn in to beautiful ColdFusion developer, a common PHP developer, or something else entirely. It’s equally important, if not more so, that Railo focus on new developers and be extremely friendly kind to them. They also need to provide powerful functions to those of us who are seasoned and boring developers. That’s a fine characteristic that ColdFusion has had since childhood. Railo needs to be more like that. And soon.

Tuesday 10 January 2012 05:37 AM
Have to agree with a post by Chris above - about Adobe burying CF on their site. Heck, the developer version of CF isn't even part of the Creative Suite Web Premium edition product. CF and Web... don't they go hand-in-hand? CF Builder should be part of the Creative Suite (Web) products too for that matter </cf_rant>.

ColdFusion, working smarter, not harder.
Thursday 21 October 2010 07:44 AM
Also strange that Mark Ackerman is using my domain name no?
Mark Ackerman
Wednesday 20 October 2010 10:35 AM
I would never recommend Railo to any of my customers. The product isn't reliable and you can't trust that the company will be around in the future.
Wednesday 20 October 2010 12:03 PM
I guess that is a hurdle any new company has to go through. We can still write Railo CFM and Adobe CFM compatible code. It is quite easy. In that case, Railo and Adobe become something like Dell or HP (brands) and CFM become like the PC (platform), relatively easy to switch at end of the lifecycle.
Wednesday 20 October 2010 01:05 PM
Please give an example of Railo being unreliable as I have moved from ACF to Railo and my clients love the performance and reliability. I can't tell you how many times I had issues with JRUN on ACF that brought my whole server down and that has yet to happen since I moved Railo!
Thursday 21 October 2010 07:43 AM
The product isn't reliable? How so? Also, that is the point of open source software. It is currently being actively developed. You have access to the code at www.github.com/getrailo/railo/ and even if the company goes under there are lots of people that can support it and continue developing it. Not so true with Adobe. If Microsoft buys them (for example, not that it's going to happen) and they decide to kill off ColdFusion server, what happens then?
Friday 22 October 2010 05:47 PM
#Railo In my modest experience (cluster serving huge photo stock application ) Railo itself is great piece of software with even greater potential. Ok, it has it's problems and it can happen that sometimes you have hard time to understand why something doesn't work, but guys there are friendly and willing to support you day and night. More people using it would give us bigger experience and knowledge base, more tips&tricks, more ideas, more up-to-date features and so on.

#CFML About js in backend...I think it's great idea, javascript, as3 or any other ECMA like syntax is fine with me. I love CFML, but after 5 years I still have mental breakdowns when I try to understand things like this one http://goo.gl/4Z3w or seeing struct key on screen and exception that it's undefined below or when I read famous WACK books. MAN same piteous sentences almost decade later!!!

#Emotions I love CFML community and developers around!!! Java and .net guys don't have this! Personally that's why I moved away from Java and still work with CFML.
I'd do Perl if Mark, Sean, Ray, Matt, Mark (Aussie), Aaron and others switch to it! :)
I feel bad that I'll not have money to be in Edinburgh this spring :(

a CF fan
Wednesday 20 October 2010 04:44 AM
Hi Saman,
Thanks for considering my point. I have more supporting points regarding this as below.
I think most of the web-developers who ignores ColdFusion is because they still think that ColdFusion is an old technology, they are even not aware of the latest CF versions and about the current stuff it had now...Maybe they will not believe if someone saying that the current version supports ORM feature...And I think why they ignore CF is because the name of the technology "ColdFusion" is old...they are still keeping their old impression about CF, its quite natural.

The same thing will happen to Microsoft if they didnt change the name Asp to Asp.net after integrating with the .net framework ...Now RubyonRails is famous and not Ruby because of this. So if Adobe did the name-change, the end-result will be something different...this is just a business tactic...
And I think this is the right time for Railo to hit this goal with the more advantage that it is free.

Thanks for reading...
Wednesday 20 October 2010 11:55 AM
That’s true! They ask things like “Is ColdFusion still around?” and something like “wow!” or “really?” follows. Then there is another group that looks at the simplexity of CFM and ignores it as “too simple”. They all are seasoned and boring developers like us.

I think that’s why beginners matters the most. I say, brainwash them – well. in a good way.
Wednesday 20 October 2010 02:57 AM
How do you suggest for Railo to focus on new developers? And also be extremely friendly with them? I think we achieve that through our community, which is both.


Mark Drew
Wednesday 20 October 2010 11:35 AM
Hi Mark,
When I say beginners, I do not mean Entry level CF programmers, I mean HTML Developers/Designers, most of us once were. Railo community have to actively think about them too as (adobe) CF did. It should be part of Railo’s character – you know.. like Santa Clause (but not as fake as that). I can introduce my students to IIS/apache and (adobe) ColdFusion in a 3 hour class day and get them to write and understand their first cfm page – that including answering the question “Why cfm and why not php”. Let’s start by making installation simple as in CFM for them. Then we can start writing real Railo for Dummies posts.
Thursday 21 October 2010 07:47 AM
Of course it is. But Railo Server is an open source server. So the community (i.e. you? me? people that use it) should be doing that too. The difference is that we are not as big as Adobe as a company. We don't have the marketing dollars to be going into all the universities and colleges. Installation is simple if you want to develop locally, download, unzip, click start.bat .

Thursday 21 October 2010 11:26 AM
There are more Chinese joints in US than all the big budget fast food chains combined, Chinese Restaurants are "open source". I don’t think Open source CF would go down because of lack of marketing dollars.

Thursday 10 February 2011 12:25 PM
@Mark: "we are not as big as Adobe. We don't have the marketing dollars to be going into all the universities and colleges." I beg to differ. I am a Coldfusion programmer and love it, but I have to say that Adobe doesn't really care about Coldfusion. They don't promote it at all. You have to dig through their site to actually find it to download.

Adobe cares about Flash and Photoshop. Their bread and butter. Yes, CF is the mortar that holds *can* be the hub of all the Adobe products, but they do nothing to market it or promote it. Just look at their homepage..any mention of CF? Go to their product page..you have to scan for the word, "coldfusion".

If Adobe puts as much effort into pushing CF, then I doubt there would be much concern for it's popularity and enterprise penetration.

just my 2 cents :)

Tuesday 19 October 2010 09:32 PM
I had the same feeling, I really wanted to see Railo adapt to the growing trend of JavaScript as a first class language and support it via CFJS http://railo.uservoice.com/forums/21016-general/suggestions/402998-cfjs?ref=title

But not to be, I think the first enterprise level server to properly support server-side JavaScript, and promote itself to jQuery fans for example, will be HUGE. I'd love that to be Railo...