Friday, December 10, 2004

J2EE's Growing Pains

Given the discussion some of us in the CF community have been having lately about the affect alternative CFML engines have on CF as a whole, I thought this article about what's going on in the J2EE world these days was pretty interesting:

Alternative Frameworks: Bad for J2EE ... or Good?

On one front, the commoditization of things like app servers may lead to the big J2EE players to abandon their commercial offerings if they're no longer profitable. (I don't agree with this argument at all, but it's one that's frequently made.)

On another front, many in the Java world are challenging the complexities of J2EE and coming up with alternative frameworks such as Spring (dev framework) and Hibernate (persistence framework). These alternatives are more lightweight and easier to use than their heavier counterparts, but some argue that it starts to water down the standards.

On the CF side of the world, these arguments are very analogous to the situation with Macromedia's ColdFusion and New Atlanta's BlueDragon. Some think having alternative CFML engines makes CF less proprietary and strengthens CF overall, while others feel that it bifurcates CF and therefore weakens it. What are some of your thoughts?


I work for a very large non-profit health organization in the midwest and having an alternate engine has helped CFMX when it is called a proprietary technology. Especially when compared to .Net and J2EE, not that it should be but it happens.

I think competition is good in pretty much any arena. If you've got a viable product, you can be profitable, if you don't, then you won't. Especially in the enterprise software market, there is SO much more than the actual software to consider. One example is product support (paid or community). One thing that is missing from the CFMX/BD issue is a spec. J2EE is a formal specification, as well as a certification process for the spec. CFML, on the other hand, is whatever Macromedia makes CFMX do. Thus, you can't say what a "CFML runtime" really means. That, I think, hurts both Macromedia and New Atlanta, though the latter far moreso. Until there's a spec, CFML is absolutely a proprietary system, whether there are copycats or not. If one of those copycats can make a product that competes with CFMX, more power too them, but they're still a copycat. MM doesn't want competition, and why would they? Hence to CFML specfication, because they know that always playing catch-up will eventually beat every copycat product into the ground.

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