I had a meeting today with a new client who has been through the ringer. Over and over again. Several years ago he had an idea. And the idea was a good one. So, he spent not- insignificant money to pay a developer to turn the idea into a real website. That worked for a while, but eventually that developer quit working for him.
So, he found another guy in a basement somewhere who said he could do the work. And, again, that worked for a while. But eventually that guy quit too.
So, he found a firm with a lot of developers. This company sounded like it was reputable and sound. But, one day he gets a message from the company saying their last ColdFusion developer quit and that they no longer want to work with him.
All this time, unbeknownst to him, his site has been being hacked together from a mess of other systems and sites. All of this was done via ColdFusion. It’s not pretty under the covers, but it works. Mostly.
Then, his hosting provider, without warning, shut off certain features of ColdFusion on which his site depends.
Now he’s got a poorly built, not completely functional, buggy, ColdFusion site and no developers to help him fix it.
What are his options? He can shut down his business or he can figure out how to make his business work. Well, that’s easy. He decided to make the business work. But, to do that, he has to either fix his website or build a new one.
To make an educated decision he talked to many developers. Each developer he spoke to gave him a different story. The PHP guy pushed PHP. The ASP.NET guy pushed ASP.NET. Etc, etc. Now, of course, developers pushed their technology of choice. It’s what they know. For example, I’m not going to go push Python as a platform. I don’t know it. Why would I? I do, however know ColdFusion, Flex, and other Adobe tools. So that’s what I push.
But, what I admire about this client are the lengths to which he worked to get educated. He talked to many, many developers about the problems he’s having and discussed many different solutions. As would be expected, he also got a lot of misinformation. For example, one developer told him that ColdFusion has a specific upper limit on the number of connections it can have open at once. Anything beyond that, and the server blows up.
Most people reading this blog will know that’s nonsense. But, the thing is, he didn’t know that. Thankfully, he didn’t take it at face value. Instead, he went to the Adobe forums and asked if this was true. And you know what happened? One of us, an Adobe developer, the same class of people who put him in the untenable position he’s in, called him an idiot for even asking.
Meanwhile, he looks to the PHP crowd to learn about an open source CMS that the community has really rallied behind. And his reception there was with great warmth if not great inconsistency.
So, my gripe is this: We’re constantly fighting the impression that ColdFusion is dying. (It’s not.) And we’re fighting the impression that all ColdFusion applications are garbage. (They’re not.) But, when a customer is trying to learn something to help him decide if he should keep using ColdFusion or not, we publicly knock him down a rung? What are we trying to accomplish here?