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Sys-Con's Sour Grapes

I want to highlight one little gem from Sys-Con's press release concerning their decision to stop publishing CFDJ:

"We have seen a rapid trend and move from ColdFusion to other emerging rich web technologies such as AJAX, Flex, and Silverlight," said Engin Sezici of SYS-CON Media. "We have been observing this migration most recently in the last twelve months."

Anyone who listens to Sys-Con as an authoritative source with respect industry trends is making a big mistake. The fact that Sys-Con is saying people are moving away from CF to other technologies such as AJAX, Flex, and Silverlight shows quite well that they don't know what the hell they're talking about, since these other technologies are not even the same type of technology as CF, not to mention the fact that CF plays extremely nicely with AJAX and Flex. Pure genius, Sys-Con. What's the matter, having trouble finding people who know what's going on who are willing to work with you?

Adobe, if you're listening, pull any funding from Sys-Con for Flex Developer's Journal that you may be giving them, and take any necessary action to keep them from publishing any Adobe-related products. This is a relationship you don't need. It's nothing but a bad image for your products.


When will CF developers see what's happening, there have been so many clear signs in the last year or so. Just because you and a handful of others might be more and more into CF, the overall trend is not so and publishers are a very good indicator for this, offering an accurate third party view that isn't biased.

It is quite possible that these developers *are* switching from server to client. Maybe they got bored, maybe they were after the bigger bucks, maybe we are actually changing how we develop rich applications now after however many decades. Particularly when you can do a lot of what the server used to do, now in Flash, on the client. That includes creating files from scratch, speaking with databases using SQL, even encoding videos in real time.

Hi "Anon"--I don't disagree that there's increasing functionality being developed on the client side, but that doesn't obviate the need for server-side development, and for what does still need to happen on the server side, CF is a great choice, particularly where Flex is concerned.

And I don't buy the "publishers being a very good indicator" bit. Publishers jump on whatever's hot at any given moment in order to make money. It's no indication other than what buzzword is selling.

Not that I really feel the need to apply to 'Anon', but just for the record:

The ColdFusion community is larger today than it ever has been and it will be even larger tomorrow. Although ColdFusion 8 has a lot to do with that, I'm seeing _a lot_ of new customers coming from the Flex (client-side developers who use ColdFusion because it's extremely productive and is deeply integrated, giving them more time to focus on the client-side).

Also, lets not forget, the Flex Devleoper Journal is just a 'relaunch' of the failed 'MX Developers Journal'.

Hi anon: Publisher here. Publisher who sees both a rich back-end in ColdFusion as well as a rich front-end in Ajax, Flex and even plain CSS. I do see a trend and that's to the back-end that does the job quickest and cleanest. A trend to ColdFusion, not from it.

Sys-Con is just trying to justify their actions rather than say plainly that they want money from Microsoft. It's not called publishing, it's called whoring for dollars. When they care more about the technology than they do the money, then I'll believe that they have a 'good indicator'.

I wouldn't take any stock in anything an anonymous poster had to say anyway.... were are the credentials? I smell troll...

Great post Matt, spot on.

Anyone who doesn't bother to post their name is not worth responding to. I'll happily debate the benefits of CF with you any day, Anon, but at least say who you are.

I am not that "anon", but I do agree with him (except for the publishers part). Here are some observations, from my perspective.

1. More and more applications are moving to the Internet. What used to be exclusively desktop client software, or even server level, is trending towards the Internet. "Compiled" languages are not going away, and the never will, but more and more people are choosing the Internet as their platform.

2. ColdFusion /is/ seeing some growth, due to #1. That's just natural, as CF is one of the platform choices for Internet based apps.

3. Given #1, ColdFusion should be seeing a LOT more growth than it is. But the growth has been fairly modest when compared to the competition. And by competition, I don't mean silverlight or ajax. I mean ASP.Net, PHP, JSP, etc.

I think there are very good reasons for #3, but I don't want to rehash an old issue here. Go read my open letter to Tim Buntel on my blog, if you want an earful of my smelly opinions on the matter. :)

"there have been so many clear signs in the last year or so"

Ummmm, like the new kickass version of ColdFusion that was released?

Stop talking out your ass.


@Jake, unless you can provide numbers to back this up ("ColdFusion should be seeing a LOT more growth than it is. But the growth has been fairly modest when compared to the competition. And by competition, I don't mean silverlight or ajax. I mean ASP.Net, PHP, JSP, etc."), you're just stating an opinion as if it were a fact.

I think the CFDJ is one of their longest running magazines, and the way they treat authors they probably can't find anyone willing to work with them any more. It's the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel for writers, and they have already scraped it.

@Brian, You are right that I was stating an opinion, but I'd call it and educated guess. Because I do read a LOT of news, and not just ColdFusion news. You don't hear a lot about ColdFusion in the general news these days, except for the occasional "ColdFusion is dead" article. Also, do you disagree that the Internet has seen an explosion in mashups and other browser based apps in recent years (Google apps, Yahoo apps, amazon, ebay, etc.)? I'm not just talking about websites, but real applications that normally would appear on the desktop.

That said, to satisfy your call for numbers, how about this. I did some job searches to see how many CF jobs there are in the popular job boards, when compared to other languages.








Here are some numbers from a year ago:







Sources of year old data:,1759,2016415,00.asp

I realize that Java is mostly used for compiled programs, so that number is listed for reference only. That said, it is clear that there are a LOT more jobs available in those other languages, and their job numbers increased (some languages are missing from the year old data, sorry). And over the last year, CF job listings have NOT increased, but rather they decreased!

Another data source could be the Tiobe Community Index. Here are the current numbers:

Tiobe community index position (they don't list ASP, because you use a language like C# or VB to program ASP pages):





CF-29 (that's below Cobol, Fortran, Pascal, and even Action Script)

In May of 2006, ColdFusion was #16 on the tiobe list:

So in the last 17 months, ColdFusion has dropped completely off of the chart (the chart shows the top 20), down to a fairly pitiful location. Is the Tiobe survey trustworthy? Maybe, maybe not. But I do think the numbers are similar to the job numbers I posted above.

So there, I gave you some numbers. ;b

These are highly dubious results. If you actually look at the results for PHP and ASP.NET you'll see that huge numbers of them are multiple postings in different cities by staffing agencies and recruitment firms. Essentially, they're spamming job sites to get resumes. TIOBE is also extremely suspect, since all they do is use some goofy search algorithm looking for the number of times the word shows up in search results. That blip where CF went up to 16 was a one month fluke. It's always been in the twenties.

There is no doubt that languages like PHP and Java have more people using them than ColdFusion. But it has always been like that. And I disagree with the assertion that the "other languages" have seen a huge boom while CF has not. I'd say things are about the same as they've always been.

Brian, you ask for numbers, I give you numbers, and then you say the numbers are dubious. Now it's your turn. If you think my numbers are false, give me some numbers to prove it. I'll be glad to entertain any market studies or surveys you can produce that show differently than the numbers I put together. In fact, I TRIED to find more definitive (read scientific) studies on the subject, and I couldn't find anything.

That's the point, there are no valid sets of numbers to show the popularity of one language over another. It's not my turn, it's still your turn. Since you made the statement, you have to back it up with valid numbers.

It's not up to me to disprove your assertion, it's up to you to prove it. You haven't done that yet. And the secret is, I knew when I wrote the initial response that there was actually no way for you to prove your point.

So what we're really back to is that you have an opinion. Which is fine. It's just not my opinion.

I'll agree that the tiobe index is suspect, but what if you were a Java developer (it's #1). Would you say, "There's no way Java is the most popular programming language, I think it's probably ColdFusion". I doubt it, you'd probably trumpet those numbers as evidence of your popular programming language.

And you said that the jobs numbers were false because of spammy recruiter listings. Guess what, the same thing can happen with ColdFusion job listings. But even if there are a lot of spammy listings, you have to consider that those listings are not free. "Spamming" job boards would cost a LOT of money. I don't think the majority of those listings are spam. So the trends should still be valid.

That said, I think you and I are going to have to agree to disagree. Matt probably doesn't want to see this flame war continue on his blog, and we're off topic anyway.

We can surely agree to disagree. However, let me be clear, I never said ColdFusion was more popular than Java. All I said was that the differential in the boom for web development languages and platforms is not much different than it's always been. I think CF is doing fine relative to the other languages in the field.

Hm... but I think ColdFusion more popular because of it owner


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