This is a blog post I have been contemplating for a long time, and I want to make sure I pick my words carefully so as not to send the wrong message.
I am currently an Adobe Community Professional and have been involved in the ColdFusion community for some time. I have been seen by my peers as an Adobe Fanboy, and, for the most part, I have been OK with that. I still like Adobe, I still support Adobe, and I actively use Adobe ColdFusion. But the part I need to get off my chest is that I am NOT against the Open Source CFML alternatives (specifically Railo and OpenBD). In fact, I believe that Railo and OpenBD, along with other open source projects like Mura CMS, ColdBox and ContentBox, FarCry, Slatwall, Razuna, and many others are vitally important to CFML's future.
Let's face it. ColdFusion and CFML do not have a great reputation. It's unfortunate that so many ignorant assholes spout off about ColdFusion because they once had a bad experience, or because they used it 10 years ago and assume that nothing has changed but them. But however you slice it, ColdFusion is looked down upon by much of the rest of the web development world. I believe that much of the disdain over Adobe ColdFusion is because it is a commercial, proprietary, closed-source system. I also believe that much of the reason our current community is becoming divided is for that same reason.
Now, I don't think that ColdFusion being commercial, proprietary, and closed source is necessarily a bad thing. But it is also not a great thing. It is what it is. Thus far it has not affected me, but I have to wonder if someday it could. If Adobe decided to sunset ColdFusion tomorrow, what would I do? What is my plan?
The answer to that is in the available open source engines. Both Railo and OpenBD are impressive, robust, production-ready systems. They actually compete quite well with Adobe ColdFusion, and for many are a better alternative already. It's comforting for me to know that even if Adobe ColdFusion ceases to be, that there are solid alternatives to turn to. And that's not to say that I would not consider using either of them now if I felt they were appropriate to the situation. I would use them.
In the past I have been disheartened by those that seemed to turn against Adobe, and actively encourage people to leave ACF for one of these alternatives. I do believe that some in those other camps wish ill of Adobe and ACF, but I believe most are just enthusiastic and excited about these stellar projects. It is not my intent to try to convince anyone to switch from one platform or another. you kids can make those determinations on your own.
My intent in this post is to try to heal some of the wounds that have divided our CFML community. Here I am, one of the Adobe fanboys, putting support behind Railo and OpenBD. There, I said it. I do support these projects and I hope that they succeed. I also hope that Adobe succeeds in bringing ColdFusion to a wider audience and continuing to support the needs of their enterprise customers who do need some of the things that only ACF can provide.
I believe there is room in the market for ACF, Railo and OpenBD. They each offer things the others do not, but are all based on the language (I'm glad TIOBE finally realized it is a language) that we all know and love, CFML.
Let's quit fighting in our community. Adobe fanboys (myself included) need to realize that competition is a good thing and that the Open Source alternatives are not going to stop existing, nor should they. And the Adobe bashers need to get over their neckbeard hate for anything proprietary and closed and just accept that ACF is still great and that they don't need to try to convince everyone they know to switch. Those in between (most of the community) need to keep on loving each other.
I don't want a divide between us anymore. It is painful. I have many community members that I consider my friends on each side of the proverbial fence, and I don't like it. I want us all on the same side of that fence, chucking rocks at those that would bash CFML.
We won't accomplish anything divided. I don't know if the CFML community can grow again. Perhaps it will keep shrinking. But it certainly won't grow if it dies from within through infighting and working against each other. I will no longer act like there is any kind of a wall between me and my friends because of which engine we use. And I will not hesitate to recommend Railo or OpenBD to someone if I feel it is a good fit for them.
To those I may have offended in the past with any of my Fanboyism, Gert, Matt W., Mark D, Denny, Todd R., Sean or any others I have forgotten to mention, I apologize if I was ever a jerk about it. I consider you guys my friends, I enjoy your company, and I look forward to working more with you in the future. In the past I let my enthusiasm for ACF combine with my frustration that it seemed like people were jumping ship only to turn around and bad-mouth the platform that kept them strong for so many years and I took things to personally. I am over that now.
Finally, to my fellow Adobe CF supports. I hope you do not see this as me turning on Adobe. Like I have said, I still support Adobe and ACF, even if I support the others too. I don't want to lose you as friends either.
The CFML community is the greatest in the world. I will not see it divided over something like this. It's too valuable to me and to you.
Please feel free to leave comments, positive or negative. If you feel I am off the mark on anything, then give me the chance to explain. Writing a post like this is hard and it could certainly be misinterpreted.