by Judith Dinowitz
A cheerful but dedicated group met at the State of the Platform panel on Tuesday night, November 13th. The panelists discussed the challenges CFML (ColdFusion Markup Language) faces in the marketplace; ideas were thrown out, examined, and kept or discarded, in a bid to find strategies that would help the language overcome these issues and thrive. The meeting lasted for two hours and the feeling was one of camaraderie and hope.
Official panelists included John Farrar of SOSensible Group, LLC., Michael and Judith Dinowitz of House of Fusion, Gert Franz of Railo and Vlad Friedman of EdgeWebHosting.net, but portions of the meeting were open to discussion from all members. Throughout the evening, John Farrar's slideshow and moderation kept the panel on track.
John Farrar's Idea: WordPress is a thriving "killer" app and drives the PHP market with other similar apps because doing business has more impact on its sales in the small to medium business market than selling to developers directly. These applications are easy to use, accessible, and have led to the language's success. If we can build a framework of applications that will embody all the qualities that made these applications successful, then CFML's name, as well as the platform's attractive traits, will get out there through business use.
Michael and Judith's Idea: There are key services on the web that are widely used by businesses. These services, such as Amazon, eBay, Paypal, FaceBook, YouTube, all have APIs. Yet where are the CFML wrappers or example applications? You'll find many PHP or .NET wrappers for these APIs, but few CFML examples. When businesses are looking to use a language, they don't find much for CFML, and this will often turn them off on the language. By creating wrappers and example applications for the APIs of these popular services, we will enhance the business case for CFML.
Discussion on all of this led to a consensus that this is a two-pronged war. We need to win over the young developers and grow the beginner CFML developer base, while at the same time we need to build things (APIs and applications) that will bring businesses around to the CFML camp. This makes for management on two fronts: the Enterprise and the SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) customer base solutions.
When delving into why high school and college kids are not gravitating towards CFML, mention was made of the new tutorial website, Learn CF in a Week. This community-driven training program is slick-looking and well-received. Gert pointed out that the site is a start, but there's a lack of impressive applications or tutorials that really show off what CFML can do in five minutes, to hook the high school and college kids. Shorter tutorials and cool programs would get them interested, so that they'd look for training like this.
The panel broke up after agreeing to meet again in a few weeks, perhaps in mid- or late January.
Judith Dinowitz is the Master Editor-in-Chief of the House of Fusion magazines and journals, where she enjoys serving up ColdFusion and Flex goodness on a weekly and quarterly basis.