ColdFusion 10 Disaster

So I thought I’d spend my New Year’s Day messing around with some new CF10 features (namely sockets) on my development server with a 30-day-trial/developer edition to see if it’s something worth upgrading to this year, even though I’ve yet to find a single use relevant to any of my clients or any of the applications I’m creating (maybe I’ll find one right?).

Installation Hell!

I’m no IT admin, but I’m very adept with my way around Windows 2008 [R2] having used a Windows/IIS environment since Windows 2000 Server.  I’ve also never had a problem with a CF install… to the point where I was comfortable enough with CF that with CF9 I wasn’t afraid to tinker with settings.  Honestly, I don’t do anything special… I use a standalone instance of CF.

So when the “Cannot configure IIS connector” error popped up, it was no big deal to Google the error, open up the server roles and add the additional .NET services I was missing (I already had CGI installed for use with PHP… was just missing the others)… understandable.

I finished the installation with no problems.  I clicked the done button to launch the configuration wizard and got a 500 internal server error.

I did a bit of my own troubleshooting and quickly discovered the ColdFusion service didn’t start.  I also couldn’t manually start it.  No biggy… server reboot… the service started… same 500 error.

Time for some more Google.  Let’s see… I tried enabling 32-bit applications in my defaultAppPool… didn’t fix it.  I tried the boncode connector… didn’t fix it, although that yielded an error that Tomcat wasn’t starting and I ran around Google for over an hour thinking that Tomcat was a separate service that wasn’t installed and why CF10 was broken, which wasn’t the case.  I also tried a myriad of small setting changes in configuration files all over the place (bear in mind I’m reinstalling for each change… each uninstall was another 20 minutes which only worked when I manually stopped all the CF services AND IIS).  And in a last ditch effort I thought I’d try to download and manually patch CF10 thinking an updated CF10 might just fix itself (I can’t even begin to describe how much of a pain in the butt it was to just find the links to download the patches… Adobe insists updating from the admin… what if you can’t login to the admin… or can’t get an outside connection because you’re on a military base… the feature is useless… so stupid Adobe… the files are here btw (mandatory | patch 1 | patch 2 | apparently patch 3 was bad | patch 4 | patch 5 | patch 6)).  Well after a 45-minute wait staring at a progress bar that said “stopping the server cfusion” and seeing that the CF Windows services were definitely stopped, I gave up.

Judging by what I’m turning up from Google results, I’m not the only one running into these issues… in fact there’s too many installation problems to count, many of which reverted back to CF9.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Adobe, this is exactly why you do thorough beta testing before you release the product.  I was extremely frustrated I wasn’t included in beta testing… but was anybody included in beta testing of this product?

I spent 6 hours trying to INSTALL CF10… yeah I was done.  Sadly (although it was very comforting), I reinstalled CF9 with ALL my custom optimizations in less than 30 minutes.  Since my live server software directly mirrors that of my development server, it looks like I’ll wait for CF11 since there’s going to be a “more rapid release schedule” (won’t hold my breath on that one).  And why would I recommend to anyone they pay for this?  Are you listening Adobe?  You guys assured everyone after the Macromedia merge you wouldn’t turn into them…. HELLO!  I couldn’t even install the product to play with it!

/rant

14 comments

  1. In Adobe’s/ColdFusion’s defense, CF10 uses the isapi_redirect.dll connector which is a massive PITA to install and configure if you’ve never done it before. I spent a couple years supporting it with Railo installations and it’s a big headache. The BonCode Connector is far and away a nicer, easier to use connector. I’d recommend not running the ISAPI connector at all, and just stick with the BonCode Connector in the future.

    • Rick Smith says:

      I’ll keep that in mind Jordan, Thanks. Although I do anticipate upgrading in the future, whether it’s a fixed/stable CF10 or holding out to CF11, I’m Gonna lay off the CF10 Kool-Aid for a while longer after yesterday’s debacle.

      • Out of curiosity, are there specific CF10 features you want to try that are not in Railo 4? Given that you can (re-)install your customized CF9 in a short amount of time, maybe this would be a good opportunity to install Railo 4 and have a play, since you are open to trying new versions and new features?

        I’ve no idea how Railo’s current installer holds up on Win 2008r2 but it seemed to install flawlessly on my new Win 8 laptop (which is not true of CF10) – and I’m certainly no Windows admin (and never want to be).

        And, no, I don’t work for Railo these days (since Wil made a vitriolic – and incorrect – comment about that in a thread on my blog a while back).

        • Rick Smith says:

          BlueDragon left an exceptionally foul taste in my mouth so I’ve been reluctant to even be bothered with other iterations of CF. I understand however I shouldn’t be putting other iterations of CF in the same box as one product.

          ColdFusion’s history tends to demonstrate that alternative CF flavors have died out as quickly as they come in, whereas Allaire/Macromedia/Adobe’s iteration keeps moving along just fine despite making some awkward steps along the way (is it weird I miss using FlashPaper?).

          I’ll admit I did checkout an earlier version of Railo 3, but was immediately unimpressed. It just didn’t seem complete and I had to make far too many modifications to too many sites to get it to work on everything. The product wasn’t up for the task immediately and I certainly wasn’t going to bend over backwards to make all of my live/production websites “Railo compliant” for the sake of using Railo.

          You’ve assisted me over the years many times and have never steered me wrong. If you trust the product, I will make a conscious effort to install and play with Railo 4 over the next few weeks and report back if my opinion is any different.

          • I’ve used Railo 3.3 exclusively since 2009 and, whilst I haven’t used Railo 4 in production yet, I have played with it and it seems to have a more complete implementation of closures than CF10 and it has a lot of other nice features that ACF doesn’t have yet, including a more complete cfscript implementation (well, it’s had that since Railo 3.3!).

            As for “incomplete” and “too many modifications”, it really depends on your code base. If you rely on the UI widgets, yes, your code won’t run on Railo. If you rely on Flash forms, any of the Microsoft-specific integration or PDF form manipulation, your code won’t run on Railo. That said, I believe there is an ACF-compatible cfspreadsheet extension created by a community member.

            At World Singles, we ran trials of our code base on the public beta of CF9 and the full release of Railo 3.2 and it required no code changes – and ran substantially faster on Railo, so we switched. Now our code relies on features in Railo that are not yet present in ACF (including some things that the CFML Advisory Committee _unanimously_ agreed should be core language features!), so we couldn’t switch to ACF now without all sorts of changes – and effectively we’re in the same position viz a viz ACF that you felt you were in ages ago with an earlier version of Railo 3 :)

            As for longevity, I agree about the BlueDragon family of engines but with the recent formation of The Railo Company backed by Blue River (Mura) in the US and four of the largest European CF partners investing in the organization, and a publicly stated roadmap for releases and support spanning a decade, I’m pretty comfortable relying on Railo’s engine being around for a long time. Besides, it’s open source and I can always maintain my own fork of the engine – something I cannot do with ACF if Adobe EOL it…

          • awgtek says:

            I tested out Railo, first thing I tried was cfdump and noticed the “top” attribute didn’t work. That didn’t give me a good impression.

    • Andrew Scott says:

      Problem is that the BonCode works in reverse to Adobes, so make sure you are aware of this fact.

  2. …and Railo is getting better and better!

  3. Wil Genovese says:

    You started with “I’m no IT admin”. I’m sorry to say, but that is where the problem lies. Personally I am and as such I have blogged about setting up ColdFusion on Windows and OS X. I even blogged about the issues you saw. The resources are out there. Yes, I have ColdFusion 10 running for production and dev servers. I find the new installation process to be far better than it has been in the past. The update process is FAR better than before. There is some mandatory reading. Even I had to read the Installation Documentation. It helps.

    • Rick Smith says:

      “I even blogged about the issues you saw. The resources are out there.”

      After Googling and finding your blog (there was nowhere in Google or instructions from Adobe anywhere identifying you as the definitive resource on troubleshooting my CF10 install) you did indeed cover one out of the many issues. I was able to find that answer elsewhere, amongst many others as I indicated in the post. I agree, the resources are there… and I looked for them… and the pieces just never came together.

      Seriously… it’s just a ColdFusion install. This is something I’ve been doing for over ten years. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes… an hour tops… for both IT admins and non-IT admins alike, which is why after 6 hours I said enough was enough.

      I congratulate you on having a running production and dev CF10 servers and I’m pleased to see someone is actually able to get the product to work. However, I believe the overwhelming abundance of users having problems with CF10 speak for themselves, as it seems we are not in the same position as you. Clearly I wholeheartedly disagree with you in regards to the installer… if it’s better, I most certainly cannot share that experience after 6 hours of troubleshooting a single install, and neither have the many others who’ve spent days, even weeks trying to get it to work and reverted to CF9.

      You’ve simply boasted [with an underlying derogatory tone] that you are an IT admin, I am not and you have operating CF10 servers, and I do not. You provide no insight, help, condolences, sympathies, empathies or constructive criticisms. Thanks for establishing that, but what good is your comment [rhetorical]? Maybe the appropriate way to respond would have been… “hey dude, I am an IT admin and have setup many working CF10 servers. Checkout my blog which might answer some of your problems. If you think you still need help beyond that, shoot me an e-mail.” Really… how hard was that [also rhetorical]?

      Sheesh.

  4. itisdesign says:

    @Rick,

    CF10’s wsconfig.exe tool configures IIS7+ differently than CF9’s. Some questions:

    1) Regarding “on my development server”, was CF9 ever previously installed on this same server? Also, what version of Windows? (I see the “2008 [R2]”, but just want to be sure which version is being ran on the server in question.)

    2) Regarding “same 500 error”, what was the error message?

    3) Does a web.config file exist at C:inetpubwwwrootweb.config?

    4) When using wsconfig.exe to configure for CF10, was the “All Sites” option selected? And if CF9 had previously been installed, was it configured via wsconfig.exe using the “All Sites” option or were individual sites configured/unconfigured one-at-a-time?

    Thanks!,
    -Aaron

    • Rick Smith says:

      1) Yep… CF9 had previously been installed on the machine, but I had completely removed it from the server (uninstalled, rebooted, deleted folders and checked for any leftover services… none). And yeah… Win2008r2 was the victim.

      2) Don’t know… would have to reinstall to find out. If I can find the time to do it again I’ll be sure to post it, although it may take twisting my arm to even try at this point. The CF10 uninstall is almost as unbearable as the install (takes FOREVER).

      3) Nope… each website has its own directory in the wwwroot, which of course each has its own web.config file.

      4) Yes I used “all sites on CF9”, works like a charm. I used the “all sites” option on CF10 and no worky. I also tried doing sites individually as well and that didn’t work either.

      • itisdesign says:

        Hi Rick,

        CF10’s wsconfig.exe writes/reads all IIS7+ configuration settings to/from the C:WindowsSystem32inetsrvconfigapplicationHost.config file.

        CF9’s wsconfig.exe writes/reads _some_ of II7+ configuration to/from the same file, but writes/reads the rest to/from a web.config file in each site.

        Reason I say this is: I’ve seen cases, after uninstalling CF9 or after running CF9’s wsconfig.exe to unconfigure a single site or all sites, where the web.config file in any or all sites was left in an invalid state (ex: sometimes it left entries for some settings, instead of removing the settings completely).

        Since IIS7+ loads web.config *after* applicationHost.config, there is a possibility that the web.config file is conflicting w/ the applicationHost.config (ex: the web.config entries would cancel-out the matching settings from applicationHost.config).

        One way to check is: Just rename the site’s web.config to web_config and then try loading the site again.

        Also, the site’s IIS log should still contain the 500 error entries even after uninstalling CF10 (in case you want to see what the error messages were).

        And, just so I’m clear, there is no “Default Web Site” or at least no site that has a site root of “C:inetpubwwwroot”?

        Thanks!,
        -Aaron

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