First Impression of ColdFusion Zeus/10

So the public beta of ColdFusion 10 is out… and man am I stoked!  Every version of ColdFusion for me has been nothing short of revolutionary, and after waiting for nearly two years I couldn’t wait to take it for a test drive.  So after little sleep and tinkering for 24 hours, here’s a first impression.

Zeus comes packed with a myriad of updates.

I immediately noticed Tomcat.  Maybe it is faster (I can’t really measure that too well over my local network on my development server which really has no measurable traffic), but everything just seems zippier and more responsive.  I don’t know whether that’s Tomcat or new, hot ColdFusion goodness, but I really appreciate that.

My favorite part by far is the exceptional detail and enhancements to security.  I rely on ColdFusion to be on top of its game with security so I don’t have to.  But because it is in fact security, I personally feel ALL of these security features should have been released in increments over the past two years with ColdFusion 9.  I’m a little irritated at Adobe with the decision to market security as a feature set instead of keeping all it’s products secure all the time (you know, like everyone else… norton, mcafee, php, java… just to name a few), but I’ll play along and say job well done because there’s great stuff here.

I think closures are cool, but I still can’t figure out where I’d use them… or rather, how frequently I’ll use when I find a use for them.  I imagine my favorite bloggers (Camden, Corfield, Nadel, Forta) will cover them more in depth and eventually get me hooked.

We’ve had Java integration for years now, along with .NET integration and PHP integration, which is awesome (used it extensively on a few government projects where we had to tie together several applications that were coded in different languages).  So Adobe made java integration better… cool!

RESTful web services… yep… needed badly as SOAP and WSDL are slowly getting pushed to the side.  Nifty, but also expected.

And I am watching coldfusionbloggers.org avidly to see all the the stuff I’ve overlooked and missed altogether… already hopped on Ray’s demo dump (awesome stuff) and getting lots of oohs and aahs out of me on the implicit CFC constructors.

I haven’t really gotten around to playing with all the language enhancements in the past 24 hours.  Really, most of what’s there is stuff that’s to be expected.

In the end, I find ColdFusion 10 is an evolutionary release and not a revolutionary one as I’ve found with previous releases (like Windows Vista was to Windows 7… or rather… Wrath of the Lich King was to Cataclysm).  Yes, under the hood there are a ton of updates, but none I feel are compelling enough for me to want to upgrade this very minute.  This isn’t to say that what’s there isn’t good, because that’s not the case; what’s there is excellent. There’s just not a single feature that will affect my current client base to persuade me (and in turn persuade them) to update.  And that’s exactly what makes CF10 kinda sad [so far]… there’s really nothing for me to go to my clients to sell… “CF10 just came out and has these cool new features… want em on your site?”  YES!  MORE MONEY!!  IF this is all CF10 has to offer over CF9 (I say if, because this is only the first beta… we could see more), I’ll upgrade eventually, but not upon release.  Maybe I’m bitter because I wasn’t invited into the alpha and private beta as the previous four releases, but CF10 seems to sell itself short across the board.  Then again, maybe my opinion will change as demos and more information trickles out.

In previous releases it was HUGE when AJAX was added… XML forms, Flash forms, cfimage and so on.  Yeah, some of that stuff has died out… but it was cutting edge.  Where’s the jquery stuff that we’d all rather use?  How about adding a qrcode option to cfimage?  We already have an easy way to get Google Maps into ColdFusion, how about Google Calendar, Facebook and Twitter too (in case you didn’t notice Adobe… social media kinda went viral)?  How about anything that makes ColdFusion cool and hip for my clients, instead of stale and boring like [insert other language here]? How about an easier way to send text messages from a website to a phone instead of going through the gateway process which is a royal pain in the butt?  ColdFusion has always been about taking what’s cutting edge and making it damn easy to implement (or did I miss the TPS report memo stating that is no longer the case… I’m getting the impression there was an unofficial meeting that concluded CF will remain archaic until further notice, and somewhere a decision was made to let 3rd party frameworks do all the cool stuff (because it’s cheaper (AND a helluvalot buggier!))).  It wasn’t long ago when CF switched to SOLR… it was a huge evolutionary step, but clients never really got to see it, however there were plenty of other HUGE features in that release for them to see.  Now I know there are plenty out there that will disagree and are going to post their ummm… disagreements… in my comments, but there’s just nothing HUGE in this release (alright, Tomcat’s huge… but reference my sentence on SOLR above).  I’m just left underwhelmed compared to what I’ve come to expect from a ColdFusion release and I know my clients will be too… to the point where they don’t care whether it’s the latest and greatest (and before you ask if they ever did care… the answer is a resounding yes for EVERY release… new features allow me to revisit with the clients who want to offer their clients the latest and greatest… my clients know, just as well as I do, how much ColdFusion rocks and why we chose it).

I hate to bring it up, but this type of lackluster update is exactly what Adobe was known for before the Macromedia merger and why there were a great many of us concerned when it happened.  I just feel there’s stuff missing in this update.  And this is ColdFusion TEN!  This is all we got in 20 months?  Where’s the bling?  Maybe this release should be CF9.5, but honestly, I’d wait another 20 months for bling… CF9 is doing just fine.

As for the Cf Builder update, I’ve been a naysayer of CF Builder from the beginning (I understand the product remains in its infancy with its sophomore release).  I’d like to change my position on CF Builder and point out a few things for anyone still holding back like I was:

  1. If you’re having problems adding a server on your LOCAL network, make sure you use port 80 (not 8500) in the server settings.  If you’re still not connecting and you’re running a Windows server, make sure you check the firewall on your server.  You might need to add an Inbound Rule for port 80.  And once it’s created, change the protocol from TCP or UDP (whichever you selected) to “Any” in the rule’s properties.  You also only need the profile to be public, although having all three checked won’t hurt.
  2. Because my development files are on the server and I share those files across multiple computers, my only gripe at this point is that I want the Eclipse .settings directory and the .project file moved out of the root of each one of my projects.  Inheriting nuisances from other programs is what happens when you build on top of someone else’s work (that’s not a derogatory statement also directed at frameworks at all – sarcasm of course).
  3. No one could possibly dislike Eclipse as much as I do, but if you think you do, grit your teeth like I do and appreciate the fact that cfscripting and CFCs are awesome in CF Builder, although they could have been awesome in Dreamweaver too, they’re just not. 😉

One comment

  1. n-smith says:

    Adobe ColdFusion 10 – What’s new and what can we expect from an upgrade?…

    ColdFusion 10 is the new application development server due for release this year by Adobe. What’s new in the server offering and is it worth a upgrading?…

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