This is a bit of a long-winded post... but I think the juice is worth the squeeze.
I've been asked many times recently... "Why doesn't Adobe open source ColdFusion?" In return I always ask, "Okay, if Adobe open sourced ColdFusion but still charged the same amount, would that work for you?" Which always gets a chuckle. The person asking the question really meant a different one for which open source is a euphemism... "Why isn't ColdFusion free?.. All these other languages are free."
The answer... ColdFusion is not a language... but it does provide a language.
The answer... ColdFusion is not an application server... but it does include one.
- ColdFusion is not a reporting tool but it provides a lot of built-in reporting capabilities.
- ColdFusion is not a PDF generation or Forms tool... but it generates PDFs and handles PDF Forms.
- ColdFusion is not an RIA environment, but it allows you to quickly and easily build RIAs.
- ColdFusion is not a server monitoring tool but it provides one.
- ColdFusion is not a debugging tool but includes a line-level debugger and all of the infrastructure to support it.
- ColdFusion is not a search engine but it includes a full featured search engine.
- ColdFusion is not encryption software but it comes with almost every encryption algorithm.
ColdFusion is not just another language... ColdFusion does not fit into that mold!
Well, let's go through the features I just mentioned and you can feel free to tell me where my math is wrong:
- Basic CFML (you know... loops, iterators, yadda yadda.... The stuff that's free with some other languages) - sure... let's call this FREE... I'm not sure I agree the other guys are FREE... so much as the price is built-in somewhere else or you need to pay for support... but either way, let's just say the core language is free.
- Application Server - $1798 - The cost for a Jrun 2-CPU license (already more than the price of ColdFusion Standard...)
- Reporting Tools - $4500 - Jasper Reports Developer Gold for 10 developers (your cost will vary)
- PDF Generation and Forms - $1399 for just the basic 3rd party tool... lots more for comparable products (especially ones by Adobe... after all, there is no better company to get PDF from)
- RIA Development - EXT JS is $6,999 for Enterprise license and Support... It's hard to talk about the price of Flash and Flex these days... but there is a cost there too
- Server Monitoring - FusionReactor is $599
- Debugging - Fusion Debug is $249
- Search Engine - Prices vary... but Verity would probably cost you tens of thousands on your own
- Encryption Algorithms - Prices vary here too... but I believe RSA BSAFE will also cost you tens of thousands
So what would all this cost you? Just these 8 features would cost you 20-50 thousand per server just to start... we've negotiated, implemented, integrated, tested, and support all of these features and so many more. What's it worth to you to know all of the components of your application are compatible? What's it worth to know that hundreds of thousands of developers are building their applications using the exact same set of libraries? What's it worth to you to be able to call one company and get support for anything and everything you are using to build your applications?
To me... the answer is a hell of a lot. And I'm not saying that because I work for Adobe... I've always believed that CF was worth many times what I paid for it.
So, I have two questions?
- For those of you using CF... do you see these tools and services as the value? Or is it something else?
- For those of you that may stumble onto my blog that use a different technology... if there was a package out there that had all of the services and tools that CF has (and I really only named a handful of the hundreds), but you could use your favorite language... wouldn't you want it? Would $1,299 really be too much to pay for all of that?
Because really, when it comes down to it... the language syntax is unimportant. The important part is being able to focus on developing great software.
ColdFusion is... a solution to most of your application development needs.
As always, I'd love to hear your comments,