We are often asked why we utilize Coldfusion for so many projects. In short, Coldfusion is a "Rapid Application Development" language. This simply means that you can get the job done with less code, and less time.
What is ColdFusion?
ColdFusion is a commercial, enterprise level, application server product from Adobe. ColdFusion is designed to be a high availability, rapid application development platform for web applications.
The key points
Trying to provide an accurate picture of the merits of a technology is not easy to condense into bullet points, but as you asked;
- Wide adoption (75% of Fortune 100 Companies)
- Award winning (CODiE, JOLT & Intelligent Enterprise)
- Independantly recommended (Gartner)
- Tight integration with Flex/Flash/PDF/AIR/BlazeDS (Adobe technologies)
- Commercially supported
- Frequent releases
- In-built monitoring tools
What does that mean?
It means that your web site is running on a commercial platform which can be easily scaled as your visitor numbers increase. As a Rapid Application Development language, development time is kept to a minimum, keeping your costs and timescales down.
You've heard that ColdFusion is an old language
This is a common misconception. ColdFusion was launched in 1995 since then there have been eight major releases - that equates to a new version being released every two years. ColdFusion was purchased by Adobe from Macromedia in 2007 and is used by approximately 75% of the Fortune 100 companies. A Gartner report published in May 2009, recommended ColdFusion stating that:
"ColdFusion can provide unique value that is not addressed by any competing alternative technology. Most notably, ColdFusion is unmatched by any competitor for ease of use and technical capabilities"
Is ColdFusion expensive?
Adobe ColdFusion is a commercial product, so if you wanted to buy a licence yourself then there is a cost involved. However, there are numerous hosting companies, including Crisp eBusiness, who can host your application so it is unlikely that you will need to buy a licence. Alternatively, there are two free application servers, Railo and Open BlueDragon, which can run ColdFusion Markup Language.
An interesting point to consider is that the widely adopted free PHP application server, is not designed to run business critical applications, instead you should use the commercial version. To quote from the Zend web site:
"The community edition of Zend Server is a free, simple PHP Web Application Server environment that is ideal for running non-critical PHP applications or just for experimenting with PHP."
It is worth asking yourself if you want to run your web site on the cheapest solution you can find or consider it a sound investment to pay a little bit more. As a commercial product, ColdFusion has to be good to compete against what are perceived as the free alternatives.