Marcos Placona Blog

Programming, technology and the taming of the web.

CFUnited is dead!

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CFUnited is dead, but ColdFusion is alivePhoto by: cote

It came to my attention today that one of the most famous ColdFusion conferences, CFUnited,  will cease to exist from 2011 onwards. While the fact that one of the most important and longest running ColdFusion conferences in the world will not be around next year deeply saddens me, but at the same time I see it as a door opener for the new and more modern conference models.

I have never been to the American version of CFUnited myself, and believe everyone that say it’s a Summer Camp for developers. On the other hand, I have been to the European Version back in 2008, and have to say I wasn’t impressed at all. After talking to people during the conference who have actually been to the American version, I was left underwhelmed by their comments about it being 50% marketing. My first impression about the whole thing was the companies would pay a top price to have their stands around and offer their products while we tried to get something out of the conference itself. While I understand conferences aren’t cheap, i’ve been to other conferences before, and marketing wasn’t so aggressive.

Anyway, the objective of this post is not to slag CFUnited off, but to bring some hope to the hopeless, and happiness to the sad.

The end of CFUnited DOES NOT mean the end of ColdFusion (CFUnited.dead() NEQ ColdFusion.dead()). ColdFusion is alive and kicking, and after CF9, it’s been livelier than ever. Ever since Adobe bought Macromedia, ColdFusion has never been in a better situation than it is right now.

ColdFusion currently has an entire team of engineers working actively on it, and a really capable team working on it’s evangelism. Better than all that, this entire team can be easily reached by anyone willing to do so.

Some examples are:

And many others. That is without mentioning the great community the CFML language has. Some people there will remain my friends, even if I one day decide that ColdFusion is not the main technology I’ll be using.

That said, what really triggered me to write this, was a blog post by Hal Helms earlier today, where he tries to somehow tie the fact that CFUnited is only halting because ColdFusion is not strong enough, and that although people should not over-react, they should not under-react either.

This in my opinion (with all the due respect to Hal Helms) is just plain FUD, and was intentionally posted to generate flame. While I truly believe someone like Hal Helms would not need this sort of “notorious popularity”, I fail to understand what exactly his point was on posting such a thing.

I believe knowledge is the key to everything, so you should keep learning constantly, and try your best to keep on top of everything on your domain, and agree that Hal made a good point by saying this. It’s just that it doesn’t really seem like the same person who wrote this just the other day.

Now, in terms of conference, there are tons of good ones around, and just to mention some of them:

And many others as Terrence Ryan mentions here.

With that said, we still can’t forget that the CFML community got recently a tremendous addition when Railo was made open-source. This takes CFML to a whole new level, where developers coming from other languages can’t complain any more about ColdFusion being too expensive, or it’s source being too strict. There is no excuses not to use CFML. It’s got a great community always willing to help, some excellent resources all around, development of complex systems is made a breeze, and more and more companies are adopting it.

Long live to CF!


  1. Thanks for the post. Yeah, I was a bit surprised by the the Hal Helms post myself. I have a lot of respect for him and what he has done but the tone of the post was sort of Abandon Ship! IMO.

  2. I posted a comment explaining my motivation on my blog, so I won’t echo it here. I’m not saying “abandon ship!”. But imagine if, say , Python announced that this was PyCon’s last year. Would it not — honestly — give a Python programmer cause for some, slight concern? And wouldn’t it, then, be prudent to just start investigating something else — as insurance, if you will — insurance one hopes one never needs but buys to guard against an unwanted end?

    That is exactly — and all — I said. Sadly, some people have chosen to attack the messenger and ignore the message. I’ve seen people I know and counted as friends ascribe the darkest of motives to me without any explanation as to why in the world I would do something, having some inkling of the reaction (although the personal attacks did astound me). Why would I be willing to take on the kind of hatred that post engendered. Was I getting paid? Am I such an attention hound I needed some — any — attention? Yet some of these people know me. Well. I was their friend — and overnight, I’m this despicable human being? Is that really believable?

    Or consider this: if I were to write a post saying I though Ruby on Rails is in decline, what would the reaction be? Some people would assume it was a joke and laugh. Others would think I’d possibly lost my mind and feel badly for me. But I certainly wouldn’t have been accused of every evil motive imaginable. What the comments show is a terrified mob wanting to kill the monster who dared say what must not be said.

    But if I’m wrong (and I genuinely hope I am), no harm has been done. The idea that ANY individual could “kill” ColdFusion is absurd. I’m not even a blip on the radar as far as the larger tech world goes. I said what I did out of my concern for CFers who I do (still) consider my friends and who I hope will, when they calm down, simply consider what I’m saying. If it’s good advice, take it. If not, ignore it.

  3. There have never been fewer ColdFusion roles available in London (and therefore the UK). The three companies I worked for over the past 6 years have all migrated to .NET. I’ve spoken with recruitment agents who confirm that CF is an increasingly small niche. Colleagues and contractors I’ve worked with in the past are all (bar one) now working with something other than CF – mainly .NET.

    I’ve reluctantly accepted that ColdFusion is not the future, and am now taking time to learn other languages.

    CF enthusiasts protest that CF is not ‘dead’, yet posts declaring just that keep appearing. Such articles are lambasted by CFers, who defend CF and enumerate its benefits; this should really sound alarm bells – if I posted a ‘.NET is dead’ article, it would just be dismissed as the work of a loony, but with CF there must be something in it, given the reaction such articles provoke.

  4. The good thing is that the more smaller conferences there are, the cheaper they will be or even free. CFunited was simply too expensive for a lot of people, I certainly could never afford it, which is why I started CFDevCon, which is now sadly dead, but SOTR more than makes for it 🙂

  5. Great post. Thanks for taking the time and energy to create it. I’m committing my company’s success to CF and Adobe for the next 5 years… We’ll see what happens.

  6. Marcos Placona

    May 12, 2011 at 06:47

    Awesome news John. Best of luck for you and your company.


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