Twitter: raymondcamden

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Coffee Talk: New Atlanta Announcement

03-11-2008 6,801 views ColdFusion 23 Comments

So I'm a good day behind on this, but I'm curious as to what people think of the New Atlanta announcement:

New Atlanta announces free open source BlueDragon edition

I haven't found any official Adobe reaction, although Damon gave his opinion, and I really liked Sean's post on the matter as well.

Personally I'm not quite sure what to think. A free alternative is always nice as it is useful argument against the idiots who think that software cost is the only thing that matters (sorry for the idiot term, but it really bugs me, these people tend to think that development time must be next to nothing if all they can focus on is the cost of the software), but as Sean posted, the Smith Project (another free, open source alternative) hasn't gotten much press.

I'm also a bit unsure about how much good open sourcing the server does. I mean, I'm obviously pro-OS, as I've released a few applications as open source, but the amount of people who submit back code modifications is far smaller than the people who use the products. How many PHP developers contribute back patches to the server?

Any one planning on switching to BlueDragon? Any one out there actually using Smith now?


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  • Randy #
    Commented on 03-11-2008 at 8:43 AM
    I use Bluedragon on my VPS because BD7 came out before cf8 and had the cfthread feature I needed, otherwise I probably would not have used BD7. I think one of the main reasons that Smith has not taken off is because of bugs and features missing. I need certain features and if those features are not in Smith I cannot use it free or not.

    Another thing I wonder about is hosting. With BD being open source will more hosting companies install it and offer CF hosting to their clients?

  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 8:58 AM
    >but the amount of people who submit back code modifications is far smaller than the people who use the products

    Ah true. But quite often very little time is spent by developers to create an easy to use procedure (if at all present) for submitting code modifications.
  • Chris H #
    Commented on 03-11-2008 at 9:33 AM
    I've tried Smith and after the long install and setup, it didn't run my Model-Glue app at all.
    I'm really interested in this for clients who want to host their own site and can't or don't want to afford a ColdFusion license, since I don't want to switch to PHP for certain projects. Can't wait 'til June to see how this turns out, I have no experience with BlueDragon...
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 9:38 AM
    I think Randy's asking the right question. If we see a lot of hosting companies take up BlueDragon and offer it to customers, that will make CFML a viable option for the main group of developers for whom the price of ColdFusion was a barrier: developers working for small companies or as contractors.

    But like I said in my own blog yesterday, will we discover that price really wasn't the barrier to CF adoption that we thought it was? And if so, then why isn't CF being picked as a web application platform?
  • Gary F #
    Commented on 03-11-2008 at 9:42 AM
    I had to learn PHP over the years because sometimes smaller clients don't want to spend much on hosting or ask "Why are you charging me MORE to host the site just because you decided to program it in CFML"? (Okay, no one asks that specific question but they would if I insisted on coding in CF only.)

    Most hosts use CPanel or similar and that gives you a cool interface to control the site and install "free" software. PHP is installed as standard but there's often a button on new hosting plans to deploy Ruby On Rails for example. Why shouldn't there be a button to deploy BlueDragon too? Then clients can pay the tiny sum of $50/year for buckets of disk space and bandwidth and CFML compatability.

    Sometimes it's nice to work on a few quick "cheap" websites where clients don't have much money but their ideas, designs, or potential is intersting. PHP lets me runs those sites cheaply and the clients are very happy.

    Then there're students of all ages who think "I'd like to program a web site but that PHP/Ruby/.NET looks too complicated for me". If there was CFML hosting for the price of PHP hosting (or combined on the same hosting plan) then students have nothing more to pay and nothing to lose by trying out CFML.

    So that's where I see BD open source doing well. Increasing the CFML market share.
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 9:43 AM
    I think BlueDragon's success will hinge as Sean's post pointed out on the community support and how BlueDragon chooses to integrate those things back into the source.

    I also think BlueDragon has several advantages over Smith - it's already a mature, proven product. Smith if I understand correctly started from scratch?

    At some point I'd like to find some time to configure some kind of VMWare appliance using this... I looked at doing it with ColdFusion but the licensing issues were always there and I didn't want to use the Developer edition.
  • jonese #
    Commented on 03-11-2008 at 9:45 AM
    You know my hope is that those running these alternative CF servers along with Adobe will actually do something with BlueDragon. SmithProject has had a good run and they have had their issues but now they have another code base to play with. Maybe a melding of minds here? Same thing for Ralio? And Adobe if they are serious about OS this is a great way for them to test out the waters etc like Sean mentioned.
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 10:10 AM
    Others have mentioned it, but I see this helping those of us who have/trying to get smaller clients up on the web but they may be ok paying up front development, but not so much hosting. I have a friend who we've talked about going into business together and when I told him of the possibility of having an open source CF server that's pretty functional, he got really excited so I see this as an opportunity for those of us maybe want to start our own businesses using CF with little capital (i.e. next to nothing). Just my $.02.
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 11:25 AM
    I primarily work on projects for my own purposes, but I've had opportunities for client work that have passed because there was no way to talk a small business into eating the cost of CF on top of my bill. BD going OS changes that.

    It also renews my desire to build packaged apps in CFML, since there is now there's a realistic target... I don't have to sell someone on the underlying platform, just the app itself.
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 12:49 PM
    I hope Brian doesn't mind, but I thought I'd post a link to his write up as well:
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 12:56 PM

    You said "<em>amount of people who submit back code modifications is far smaller than the people who use the products</em>"

    Do you think it's an education/awareness thing here? Do people know that they can submit changes?

    Sean, over in his blog, wrote that the CF Community has not exactly stepped up with help with CFEclipse, Smith, etc. Did the CF Community know that they can? What's the bottleneck keeping them from doing so? Not sure how one can complain and say no one helps when you haven't given people a grocery list of things of HOW they can help. Can you? Have they?

    I'm using you as an example here (so, don't think I'm out for blood, I'm not), but how do you handle your open source projects? You're the general controller of BlogCFC/Galleon/Lighthouse, if the CF Community were to push changes at you, what would they have to do? Do you have anything / anywhere that states what should happen? or should everyone just magically understand subversion?

    Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking it's lack of awareness / know-how or even just a general page on how to get involved IMHO. I don't think it's fair for anyone to say that the CF Community hasn't been involved.
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 1:32 PM
    Well, taking it off me for a second and going back to CF - considering that CF is written in Java, even if folks understood the process to make mods and submit them back, a good portion cant because they don't know Java, they only know CF. (I believe this would impact PHP as well.)

    So going back to me - I do not have a real process outlined anywhere. I believe most of my readmes say something like "Suggestions/etc, email ...." and RIAForge projects have a issue tracker for making suggestions and reporting bug fixes.

    But there is no clear "I want to add X, how do I."

    So I think for my projects, going forward, I'll try to document that. I also get asked from time to time if folks can even mod my code which surprises me.
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 1:41 PM
    Great points Ray! I need to look at adding some kind of "How to help" section to the CFEclipse site or wiki.
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 1:43 PM
    I was using your projects as an example, nothing more. Hell, who knows, I might have some time to put stuff into Galleon, but I know nothing about the project other than where to download it and where to submit / view bugs. I'm not 100% comfortable with subversion yet, but I am using it locally at home. I think I'm making my point clear though, no one, and I do mean no one, has a clear directive of what they want, their roadmap / vision, etc. Everyone has donations, no one has directions. Yet everyone complains that no one contributes. Wonder why.

    Food for thought, nothing more. It's not even personal. I've also pressed the same question to Sean (as soon as he allows it to be seen on the site).
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 1:47 PM
    Oh Todd, no worries. I didn't take it personally, I thought it was a good example actually.
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 1:53 PM
    The announcement from Blue Dragon is perfect in any sense. There is no (free) alternative for any hosting company that wants to offer CF to its customers.

    I truly believe that one of the reasons (among others) why PHP/MySQL is so well know and spread, is not because it is the best language, but simply because it is offered with every hosting package and freely available to everyone.

    As a informal announcement I can tell you that my company will release its Enterprise Digital Asset Management, previously only available in closed source and with a price, soon to the public in a open source version and based on Blue Dragons J2EE offering. We are rewriting all CF8 code to fit BB code (mainly the ExtJS Ajax stuff). This will then be the Alfresco alternative but written in CF.
  • ziggy #
    Commented on 03-11-2008 at 9:27 PM
    Ray is right, the big weird problem with CF is the server is written in a language most people who use it can't contribute to. But a free server will help with small projects, cheap hosting, and build a larger community - I hope.

    >>and RIAForge projects have a issue tracker for making suggestions and reporting bug fixes.

    Well, I sent in a note about the RIAForge comments themselves being very hard to read and distinguish the way they are currently formatted, then nothing happened at all, no auto reply or anything, then when making a comment on a blog - here or the Camden blog - was told to code it myself and send it in, then I actually did that, maybe 1-2 months ago, I forget, then again nothing happened, no reply, nothing. Only a small waste of time, and just letting you know but I think it points out that we generally don't run very good open source projects in the cf world yet. Most are one man shows. Hopefully a free server will help enlarge the community and improve that over time.
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 9:31 PM
    @zigy: I remember your comments. I'm sorry I didn't reply - I thought I had. Basically I disagreed with your comments on the UI. I should have at least told you at least.
  • ziggy #
    Commented on 03-11-2008 at 9:49 PM
    I was just coming back to reply, hopefully before you did. I suddenly remembered I changed my email address at riaforge before and I just found your reply to the code change I sent in. So my mistake on that, you did reply, sorry. I haven't even read it yet but will now. Maybe I can explain the change better.
  • Commented on 03-11-2008 at 10:03 PM
    I once asked the CEO of a tech startup how he would manage to stay away from lawsuits and licensing issues. His answer was to lead with the technology and get beyond it before it was an issue. Adobe has been doing such a great job of adding features and technology and harnessing things they already have it would be difficult, frustrating even, to take a step back and use the more limited feature sets of the Open Source or free software Products.
    I don't know how successful that CEO has been with this strategy but dominating and maintaining the lead has sure worked well for Adobe and MS.
  • Commented on 03-12-2008 at 5:25 AM
    @Nate Smith
    I have been thinking sort of the same in the past. But looking what Adobe has added to CF8 and what BlueDragon 7 has to offer the difference is "almost null". Yes, sure CF8 integrated the extjs stuff really nice, but I am right now in the middle of using extjs by itself and it is easier to use then you would think. What other benefits are there compared to CF8 then to BB7 J2EE?

    In any case, I don't want to go into the "compare" thing or anything alike.

    My point is that there is a platform, a solid language that works well for most of us. Making BB available to other developers or lowering the entry point (money rules the world and so people do judge a lot when it comes down to price) is a good move. In the end, I even state that Adobe benefits in every way from New Atlanta's move to open source the J2EE edition.

    If they would open their minds and see the benefit of a community driven model, as they have since Adobe is also making their other core technologies available to the community, they will see it the same way.
  • Commented on 03-12-2008 at 6:39 AM
    @Nitai: My guess is that Adobe won't change course on ColdFusion anytime soon. By all reports, ColdFusion 8 was a huge success in terms of sales. Why abandon that revenue stream if it's flowing like a river?

    If Adobe DID have any plans to offer a free version of ColdFusion (whether open source or not) to try to increase market share, I think BlueDragon's move would actually put that plan on the back burner: they can now let New Atlanta try out the experiment and see if it works.

    If BlueDragon does increase its presence in the marketplace because of this move, then Adobe may react in order to hold its dominant position. We'll see.
  • Christoph Schmitz #
    Commented on 03-13-2008 at 6:51 AM
    Let's not forget that NA already has a free version of BlueDragon. And a couple of years ago you could even use that edition for commercial projects. Then NA changed their license and the free version could not be used for anything "undertaken to make a profit" any more.

    Now, while OS should be about everybody being able to contribute, for most people it really is about a software being free. For the majority of developers the OS edition will simply mean there is a free edition available for commercial purposes.

    Actually I wonder if BD going OS isn't like trying to revert something that may have been a mistake, at least for some part. Plus, I think, the fact that Adobe OSed Flex may have played a role in the decision to OS BD, too.

    Just my 2 cents.