Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ColdFusion 8 is Here

Adobe released the much anticipated ColdFusion 8 yesterday.

Most of the new features of CF 8 were announced in various presentations and analyzed in numerous blogs, so the biggest news besides the announcement itself was the pricing of the Standard and Enterprise editions (U.S. pricing): $1,299 for Standard ($649 if upgrading), $7,499 for Enterprise ($3,750 if upgrading).

I was hoping that maybe Adobe would make the Standard edition free in the hopes of drawing developers away from PHP and Java. However, Adobe has always said that they sold more copies of ColdFusion 7 than any previous release of ColdFusion, so I can certainly understand why they wouldn't want to give up that revenue: they are a business, after all.

A number of ColdFusion developers were upset about the pricing, especially the pricing of the Enterprise edition. They're concerned that they'll be unable to convince their potential clients to go with ColdFusion when languages like PHP and Java are free in terms of initial cost.

My hope is that Adobe will take some of the revenue generated by CF 8 sales and put that money into a solid advertising campaign, something that will bring attention to CF in the business community and in the larger Internet company. Ideally, such a campaign should include demonstrations of just how easy it is to accomplish certain tasks in CF. And they shouldn't be afraid to make comparisons between how CF lets you accomplish those tasks and how PHP or Java does those same tasks (if they even can!). I also think those demos should be publicly available on Adobe's web site, along with other marketing materials, so that these developers who are trying to convince clients to go with ColdFusion can point to these examples to make their case.

Maybe Adobe can even provide some technically-savvy marketing staff whom these developers can call for help with convincing clients. One of the strengths of ColdFusion is that there is a company that is solidly behind the development and support of the product, and that strength should be leveraged to the utmost.

As for attracting more developers to ColdFusion, that's more of a problem for Adobe to tackle than it is for ColdFusion developers. A strong advertising campaign will help generate interest, but Adobe may need to come up with new ways to make ColdFusion appealing to potential developers who probably feel they'd have better job security learning PHP or Java. I guess time will tell.

There is one other thing I'd like to see happen...the removal of that Warhol-esque portrait of Tim Buntel on the Adobe ColdFusion product page. The fact that it's a portrait of Tim is okay; the fact that it looks like a browser image rendering error is not. Please, somebody fix that!