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Michael Smith: TeraTech ColdFusion consulting. David, tell us a little bit about yourself, David. Who are you?
David T.: Hi. Who am I? My name's David. I'm the CEO of Integral. We're going to build FusionReactor, fusion analytics and fusion. I'm working from home today, so this is my home office in the background.
Michael Smith: What a wonderful home office. We're here to talk about the state of the ColdFusion union survey this year. What were the most interesting things you saw in that, David?
David T.: I'd say highlighting some of the most interesting things, what struck me was actually it was the first question, what version of CFML engine do you use? Check all that apply. I think in the past looking at previous state of the union surveys within, sort of let's say a year of releasing a new version of ColdFusion, typically the number of users using that version had pretty much reached the number of users who were using the previous year's, or the previous version.
Sort of what I would've expected is the CF2016 matched CF11. As you can hear, the phone's going in the background. Sorry.
Michael Smith: It's all [Integral 00:01:47] headquarters there, or the home office thereof.
David T.: [crosstalk 00:01:49] world headquarters, yes.
Michael Smith: Yeah. I just shared the screen so people can see what we're talking about here. Here's CF11, the most popular version of [crosstalk 00:02:04].
David T.: Yeah.[crosstalk 00:02:05].
Michael Smith: 2016 is just over half of the number of people. CF2010's still used a fair amount.
David T.: Right, and going strong. Normally what you'd see I think at this point is the sort of CF from two versions ago, so CF10 in this case, would've really been sort of dropping back. You'd probably have around about the same number of users on CF2016 and CF11.
Michael Smith: Slower adoption in this cycle, this release cycle.
David T.: Right. Yeah. Some slower, certainly some slower adoption. There could be a number of reasons for that. I think looking at previous years' surveys and what we'd expect would be that there would've been more people adopting the newer version of CF.
Michael Smith: Well, let's be honest, I think when the race started to get adoption of CF2016 the car had a few hiccups on the starting line. Now those have been addressed, so …
David T.: Right. Yeah, yeah. I mean, yeah. There's always bringing out a product that size is … There's a lot to it. I think this year the last release, 2016, with the [API 00:03:46] manager, that was a very, very large, new component, or a new piece to the … Let's say the ColdFusion family. There was really a lot of work involved with that.
Michael Smith: For those who don't know what the [API 00:04:00] manager is, what does that let you do?
David T.: Basically that lets you connect applications together. I think what the ColdFusion guys want or are looking for with that is provide a platform that enables ColdFusion to be sort of a core component of an architecture that's also connected to other technologies. It's enabling other technologies to be more easily connected to CF, which is a great thing really.
Michael Smith: This is all the ColdFusion versions here from Adobe. I'm kind of surprised how many people are still using CF9, and even some people are using CF8, CF7, and earlier versions, when CF9 went end of life over a year ago now, which means there are no more hot fixes. There are no security fixes being released for that version.
David T.: That's correct.
Michael Smith: Any hacks that are done to these earlier versions, there are going to be no fixes. You are screwed.
David T.: Yeah. We would definitely recommend our customers to move off, yeah, CF9 or below basically. [crosstalk 00:05:27].
Michael Smith: I'm trying to remember what the end of life of CF10 is. That's coming up in a while, isn't it?
David T.: That should be, yeah. That should be coming up. I've not got the exact date in my head. I think end of life of CF9 was already.
Michael Smith: That was December 31, 2016. 2015, I'm sorry. It was over a year ago.
David T.: I was going to say, yeah, almost a year and a half ago now.
Michael Smith: Yeah.
David T.: Probably CF10 potentially at the end of this year. I'm not exactly sure of the date, but …
Michael Smith: We'll check that out and put it in the notes so people can check it out. From a technology perspective, with the new release and the hot fixes being made to 2016, is there any technical reason not to upgrade to it?
David T.: No. No. Not really. I mean, as with all the releases, the very first release of a software, there's always some. I think a lot of customers basically they don't rush out and install the first version. They generally wait for the first patch release to come out before they go out and they install.
Michael Smith: Yeah. I mean, that's certainly what we recommend to our clients. Unless you need to be on the bleeding edge, why waste the blood? You know?
David T.: Right. Yeah. Looking at some of the other answers, I think the … On the databases, which [DBs 00:07:09] are used, that's pretty much what we'd expect for the [CMS 00:07:15]. That's something we're also involved with. We've got quite a lot of customers who they're running FusionReactor to monitor their content management systems. Again, I think is definitely the market leader in that space. There's no surprises there.
Looking down at the number of the experience level of the respondents, I think we've got 80% of respondents who are using ColdFusion now for ten years or above. I've not got the 2016 or the 2015 numbers in front of me, I didn't get time to check through that, but I've got a … My inner voice tells me that the age level of the of the experience level is certainly creeping up, which indicates that fewer people, fewer people who are new to ColdFusion, are actually coming into this space.
The people that are there are staying there. They generally aren't moving on. That experience level is generally increasing over time.
Michael Smith: Yeah. Let me see if I can share the response to that one. I don't know if you can see the screen share on your end, David.
David T.: Yeah, I can see that. Yeah.
Michael Smith: Yeah. You can see clearly here more than 15 years is the majority. It's definitely a curve here. Less than one year is very few people. That's something I'd love to see change. I was talking to Brad Wood from. We were kicking around how can we get students in high schools or in colleges learning ColdFusion? Because Adobe has various programs that helps with that. Of course there's the open source Lucee version of CFML. That's free.
From a cost point of view, there's really not a lot of reason why people couldn't be doing it. Maybe some of the listeners could go in the local school and get people excited about ColdFusion. You know?
David T.: Yeah. Well, I think if universities or colleges would like to use ColdFusion I know that there are … Adobe do offer a program for that. I'm sure the software's free for colleges.
Michael Smith: Yeah. It's free for educational use.
David T.: Right. Yeah.
Michael Smith: I think if a college wants to use it in their admin department they have to pay.
David T.: [crosstalk 00:10:06].
Michael Smith: If the students are using it it's free. Of course the Lucee's free for everyone.
David T.: Right. Yeah. Sort of reading through some of the comments, I read through some of the individual, the personal comments from people, there's still a lot of people out there who just love CF. It was very encouraging to read those comments. There was such a lot who said, “We love CF. It's great. Its ability to rapidly develop is just so far beyond so many other languages.” That was great to hear.
Certainly I agree it's definitely more effort required to get ColdFusion out there and into the universities so that students are becoming aware of it, picking it up, and there's some new blood coming into the ColdFusion market.
One of the reasons for not adopting ColdFusion was that it's difficult to find CF developers. I don't have the percentage in front of me, I don't know whether you've got that, Michael, just to see.
Michael Smith: What was the question again? I'll find it for us.
David T.: It was the why would you not adopt ColdFusion? Sort of what's stopping you? That was the gist of the question.
Michael Smith: Yeah, let me find that. There were a lot of questions in this survey, like a cornucopia of information in here.
Michael Smith: Check it out, go to the TeraTech blog.
David T.: I know a lot of people said that. A lot of people said that in the comments as well. I'm just seeing whether I can …
Michael Smith: Yeah, because I think what I've heard from people is it's interesting to see how things are changing, but it's also interesting seeing what are your peers doing? A number of people have told me, “Oh, I didn't even know that technology or that [ID 00:12:22] or whatever even existed. I'm going to check that out.” Here we are. I found the question. Hold on. What aspects of ColdFusion are preventing you or your company from embracing ColdFusion? [crosstalk 00:12:37] share that screen
David T.: Yeah. It's seen as [crosstalk 00:12:37] at 70%.
Michael Smith: That's perception.
David T.: It really is.
Michael Smith: It really is not dying.
David T.: Yeah.
Michael Smith: Both you and I know there are thousands of people using ColdFusion in great apps. Some of them mission-critical apps because I know you guys make FusionReactor which helps keep ColdFusion service up. You probably have stories from customers like, “We've got a mission-critical enterprise app here and it needs to stay up [crosstalk 00:13:11] ColdFusion.”
David T.: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, we hear that all the time. I think it's seen as dying is sort of the this is the word on the street. It is peoples' perception, as you say. They've been saying this for, I don't know, five years, ten years [crosstalk 00:13:36].
Michael Smith: Ten years. We're writing an article about why we, TeraTech, think ColdFusion is alive. We did a search of other articles is ColdFusion dead or whatever? Yeah, there's stuff, there's threads back from ten years ago. It hasn't died. I think the reports of its death are over-exaggerated to misquote, I believe, Shakespeare.
David T.: Yeah. Yeah. The other main reason is it's difficult to find [crosstalk 00:14:14].
Michael Smith: CF developers.
David T.: [crosstalk 00:14:16].
Michael Smith: It's interesting one of the other popular questions, it was difficult for some of the people who are freelancers to find CF work, which the two sound contradictory.
David T.: Right. Yeah. I guess it depends on the location. I mean, we see from where our customers are the ones that are using FusionReactor for ColdFusion. There are sort of certain hubs or certain states where there are a lot of CF development going on. Obviously depending on where the contractors are then it may or may not be easy to find work.
Michael Smith: Sure.
David T.: It's only what we hear when we're talking to people and people are expressing that one of the reasons why they don't adopt CF, or maybe why they want to change away from CF, is the fact that they do find it difficult to find CF developers.
Michael Smith: Yeah.
David T.: Obviously if demand's high, supply is small, then they're are also going to be more expensive.
Michael Smith: Sure.
David T.: [crosstalk 00:15:32].
Michael Smith: That's no different than Ruby on Rails. I have friends who run Ruby shops.
David T.: Yeah.
Michael Smith: They find it incredibly hard to find good developers and they're even more expensive than ColdFusion developers. This isn't a ColdFusion alone issue. I mean, this is a general software development issue.
David T.: Right.
Michael Smith: It's not to say you can't find developers in any language. If you go on Upwork or wherever you can find developers that maybe are not the world's best, but if you want good developers you've got to pay for it.
David T.: That's right. Yeah. That's exactly right.
Michael Smith: One question we added this year because that question we just looked at, what's holding you back on ColdFusion, we also added why you keeping using it? What do you like about it? You mentioned rapid development earlier, but there's a lot of great reasons for ColdFusion here, which I found quite inspiring from it's fast to learn. Even it's fun to code in, lots of cool built-in features.
David T.: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there's definitely some inspiring answers there. Yeah, the is the prior investment, which you'd also expect, right?
Michael Smith: Yeah.
David T.: People invest in technology, but that will be the same for any technology.
Michael Smith: Oh, yeah.
David T.: If you've invested then you'd expect that to be high. I thought it was a nice spread of answers. Easy to integrate, fast to learn, it's less code. These are all the reasons why people adopted CF whenever it was, whenever it came out, 22, 23 years ago.
Michael Smith: I heard it's going to be 21 this year, so that means in some American states it will be legally allowed to drink.
David T.: No, I think it's even more than 21. I think [crosstalk 00:17:48].
Michael Smith: Really?
David T.: Yeah, I think it must be … Somebody will correct me on this, but I think it's maybe … I think it's 23, 23 years.
Michael Smith: 23. Wow. Yep.
David T.: Yep.
Michael Smith: Any other interesting things you noticed in the survey this year, David?
David T.: I thought it was great to see that 50% of respondents are using FusionReactor. That's definitely great to see. We appreciate that very, very much. It was also sort of a little alarming to see I think it was about 20% of respondents actually don't use a monitor at all, which is a little alarming.
Michael Smith: Here's this question. Let me see if I can just scroll it slightly. This is talking about server monitoring for slow statements, slow sections of code, or a server going down or whatever.
David T.: Yeah.
Michael Smith: FusionReactor's the number one monitor used in front of the one built into ColdFusion.
David T.: Yeah. I think we do have as well when we're talking to customers sometimes they'll say that they do look into the CF monitor for some things. CF monitor's just available on enterprise, but, like I said, what's alarming is that we don't monitor our servers at all is staying at the bottom at 20%.
Michael Smith: Yeah. I'm not sure. Maybe they don't have critical apps or perhaps their code is so wonderful it never goes down.
David T.: That could be. Could be the case.
Michael Smith: Yeah.
David T.: What we always tend to say is it doesn't really matter which monitor you use. It's important to have a monitor what's happening.
Michael Smith: Yeah, I'd agree with that.
David T.: Monitors do two things. They monitor, so they measure stuff, and they alert you. Those are the core features of every single monitor. I could go into why FusionReactor's different and give you a string of things that FusionReactor does additionally that other monitors don't do, but I'm not going to go there because that's not what we're talking about.
Michael Smith: We'll do that another day, David.
David T.: We'll do that another day, yeah.
Michael Smith: Yes. Yeah.
David T.: Another day.
Michael Smith: I will say to folks, modern ColdFusion monitors don't just tell you when your server's down. They'll even prevent it from going down and proactively restart it for you.
David T.: Okay.
Michael Smith: It's amazing.
David T.: [crosstalk 00:20:33].
Michael Smith: I wasn't going to mention the name.
David T.: Oh, don't. Sorry. Yes.
Michael Smith: Yeah, there's amazing things you can do there with monitoring. Worth checking out. For those who haven't checked it out, I think it used to be you had to buy FusionReactor, but now you can get it on a monthly subscription or something if you just want to check it out.
David T.: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we offer a 14 day free trial. If you need a little bit, you need some more time, that's not a probably to extend the trial license.
Michael Smith: Can't you just pay month to month for that?
David T.: Yep.
Michael Smith: Yeah.
David T.: Just pay month to month, yeah. We've had that for quite a while now. I think it's been at least a year and a half. No, a couple of years now that we've had the subscription license. We introduced a new addition with FusionReactor6, which is FusionReactor. We've also got FusionReactor Cloud now, so that's a new addition.
Michael Smith: You don't have to clog up your server with all those log file kind of things [crosstalk 00:21:52].
David T.: It will still happily clog up your server with all those log files if you configure it like that. That's a configurable element. What it does do is it extends the on-premise version. It's basically we've turned FusionReactor into a hybrid monitor now. We're not just on the on-premise, installed on the server itself. You can get user interface through FusionReactor Cloud. There's a bunch of features that have made available on the cloud to enhance the whole monitoring experience.
Michael Smith: For $1.35 a day you could be monitoring your server which is way less than a cup of coffee costs in most places.
David T.: Yeah. Is that $1.30? Yeah, probably, actually. We start at $39 a month.
Michael Smith: Yeah.
David T.: I think that's, yeah, less than a coffee a day, isn't it? [crosstalk 00:23:01].
Michael Smith: Way less than a coffee. Last time I bought a coffee in a Starbucks I didn't get that much change from 5 bucks.
David T.: Yeah. Exactly. I did. If you buy a cake with it as well you're in for 10 bucks.
Michael Smith: Yeah. You have to get a home equity loan if you're not careful.
David T.: Absolutely, yeah. I think for the price for what you get and the value for money it's … FusionReactor's a great option.
Michael Smith: Right. Well, thanks for talking about the ColdFusion state of the union survey. You can find that at teratech.com on our blog. We'll talk with you another day, David, about how you're going to be at the conference and maybe we'll come back and talk more about some other analysis you made of this survey and some of the trends.
David T.: Okay. Great. Okay. All the best. Thanks to you for doing it. That's also the last point is it's great that you do this, Michael, and thumbs up. Keep up the good work.
Michael Smith: There we go.
David T.: Okay.