... I'll be the first one to pimp the open source offerings but I also think there are some misconceptions of costs for ColdFusion. If you consider what the Adobe ColdFusion platform offers this [$1300 price tag] is pretty reasonable. What you or anyone needs to ask themselves, especially now with other CFML engines is, "Does the ColdFusion Platform offer me the features I need for the cost?" It seems more and more folks answer no to this but let's think about this for a second. Can Java produce a PDF? Certainly. You can use Java libraries and generate a PDF just fine. Without a bit of work though and a couple layers of abstraction generating an HTML equivelent and a PDF is tedious and can be costly when supporting an app long term. ColdFusion offers you a very simple and elegant way of generating a PDF based off purely the HTML you are already generating. Any pure Java shop can do this too but they need to either modify some open source HTML parses, write thier own, or purchase icesoft's parser (cost: nearly on par w/Adobe's ColdFusion). So with this feature alone all costs, never mind productivity gains of CFML, are nearly negated. Also consider JMS integration. Once again I could develop a nice abstraction layer in Java no problem but then my team is responsible for integration testing, regression testing, and support for this abstraction layer. Not nearly the same if I just use ColdFusion and it's JMS & ActiveMQ integration points. Testing is a real cost and relying on a commercial product is a huge cost saver. A final example to consider is ajax. Have you ever looked at how much a pain it is to refactor from ExtJS 1.0 -> X.X, or jQuery with the UI widgets? The api for ExtJs (and other js libraries) constantly changes and backwards compatibility is becoming a cost barrier to upgrading on large applications. By using ColdFusion's ajax tags you never have to pay a developer to upgrade your codebase to work with the latest version of ExtJS. Adobe is taking care of that for you behind the scenes. Now lets bring this full circle, these are only 3 examples I thought of off the top of my head, there are numerous other cost saving and value adds in the ColdFusion platform so the question really is are these worth it to you? Maybe they are (we certainly take advantage of some of these at my company) maybe they are not. If all you are generally interested in CFML and not the ColdFusion platform, great there are some awesome alternatives now through some open source offerings like OpenBD, Railo and, to a lesser extent, Smith Project. Each OS offering offers their own platform stuff, Open BD for example has a plugin for JMS. Railo, for example, has some very cool integration with Amazon's S3. ... ColdFusion's price point is very valid in many instances for many folks. I am an advocate for open source CFML, no doubt, but I am also an advocate for ColdFusion as it has solved many problems for the company I work for and done it at a huge cost savings.Hopefully this spurs some good discussion and ideas on how ColdFusion is a money saver and not just from a RAD standpoint.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
ColdFusion Costs too Much
That's a pretty common phrase I hear from folks looking at ColdFusion for the first time. Even scarier I hear it from folks inside the community! Don't get me wrong I love open source and I think there is plenty of room for open source CFML engines/platforms but when it comes down to it ColdFusion's platform for what it offers is a great deal. I get tired of hearing CFML developers tout the RAD of ColdFusion this used to be an okay mostly valid sell but the market has changed yet CFML developers montra hasn't. With a good framework and IDE Java can be pretty RAD these days, besides no one has ever quantfiably proved how much faster ColdFusion, or CFML, really is for development. What follows is an exceprt of a response I sent to a certain "journalist" when confronted about Open Bluedragon, he opened stating ColdFusion's (Standard) price at a mere 1300 was "unbeleivable":