Adobe ColdFusion 2016 Released

This post is more than 2 years old.

This morning Adobe released the latest version of ColdFusion, Adobe ColdFusion 2016. Yep, they switched from a simple version number to a year, which frankly I prefer so I think this is a good change. This also applies to ColdFusion Builder as well. So what's new and should you upgrade?

The Good(ish)

You can start off by looking at a broad overview of what's new in ColdFusion 2016. I won't repeat what's there as you can read it yourself just fine, but will point out that the specific section on language enhancements may be of interest to developers. The "Safe Navigation" feature can let you simplify your code a bit, but note that the docs for this in the previous link are poorly done. You can now do both ordered and sorted structs, which I know some folks really want. I always thought of structs as inherently unordered, but I understand that adding order/sorts to them are useful in some situations. Unfortunately, the docs don't demonstrate how to use these features in short notation. I haven't typed structNew since {} was added. I'm also happy to see that you can now disable scope search by adding searchImplicitScopes=false to your Application.cfc file. Unfortunately this feature isn't mentioned in the docs and as we can't edit/comment on the docs anymore, hopefully it gets corrected soon.

In fact, from what I can tell, none of the docs are updated yet. A new function, valueArray, is documented but not discoverable in the search. I'm assuming this is just a temporary issue. You can't even find the PDFs for the CF2016 docs. Update - I see the new docs now - somewhat. The missing item in App.cfc is still missing. I also heard from an Adobian that this should be cleared up by the end of the day. Let's be blunt though. It is 2016. If you can't schedule a product release with documentation then you are failing at doing your job. This may be totally out of the ColdFusion's team hands - but customers don't care whose fault it is. It is ridiculous, unprofessional, and something that should have been addressed years ago.

For a better list of language enhancements, check out the New and Changed Functions/Tags page. querySort and queryEach are especially nice additions.

The other big update is the addition of a CLI, which is nice too. I can't say how it compares to CommandBox though which has been available for a while now. At minimum, CommandBox is free and available to people using ColdFusion 11 so there's that.

Another big update is the API manager. This is something I didn't get a chance to test (more on that later), but it is a pretty impressive feature, much more than CFCLIENT was in my opinion. It provides a large set of features around documenting, handling, analyzing, your APIs. As this is something I'm digging deep into on the Node side, I'm impressed to see ColdFusion support it. There's some good videos on this feature (and others) available here. Just try to ignore the robo-voice and you'll see what I mean.

Finally (and to be clear, I'm just calling out some items I think are interesting), ColdFusion Builder 2016 includes a cool little feature called the Security Analyzer. Right from your editor you can get a scan of your code for common security issues. To be clear, this does not replace a real, very deep, security analysis of your code. However, I think it could be really useful for getting some of the simpler stuff out of the way before the real/deeper scan is done later.

CFB2016

Unfortunately, this feature is tied to your ColdFusion server and only works with ColdFusion Enterprise. I cannot stress enough how much of a mistake I think this is. Yes, you do get 3 copies of CFB 2016 with your purchase, but I can't imagine a ColdFusion team using Enterprise with only three people. I think CFB is worth the price, don't get me wrong, and I say that even though I pretty much despise Eclipse, but I think this upgrade is not worth charging for. It should be a free upgrade to CFB. To be clear, nothing else changed outside of the syntax library.

And by the way, if you are not planning on upgrading to CFB2016, you can download the trial and then copy the library definitions to your CFB3 install following the instructions here. I did a quick test and can confirm it worked for my copy of CFB3.

But it just seems insane to me to make a security feature, one that can help ColdFusion as a product in general, is Enterprise only. It was just two months ago that ColdFusion turned up on a list of insecure languages. This is not how you fight that perception.

The Bad

I was a member of the Pre Release for ColdFusion 2016. Obviously the details of the PR are under NDA. I do not believe what I'm about to say will break the rules of that NDA.

I love the ColdFusion community. I even did a sappy video about my love for this community back in 2014.

In regards to the Adobe ColdFusion team, I know almost everyone on that team and have met them multiple times. I like them. But I cannot describe how deeply disappointed I am in how they behaved on the PR. It got to a point that I had to actively ignore the PR for a month or so because I was so upset, so frustrated, that I felt like I couldn't offer anything positive anymore.

Why?

  • Multiple times builds would be posted with little to no notice to the group, or even release notes. Multiple times members of the PR had to ask for this. That's insane. Release notes aren't "special". That's a basic given for testing a product.

  • The bug tracker (specifically, the one used for the PR) would not send notices to the people who filed the bugs. So unless you monitored your own bug, or unless Adobe pinged you back for a comment, you were never notified of an update. This is unacceptable. The bug tracker is a ColdFusion app. It could have been fixed by Adobe in an hour. (Ok, I've not seen the code myself so I'm taking a guess here. But based on my own work on my own bug tracker and having built a similar feature, I've got an idea of how complex it is.) If there wasn't enough time to fix this, then my God, how small is the team and how little concern is there for such basic functionality to help the people testing your product - for free. Speaking of bugs, multiple times now, and both on the PR and publicly, I've asked Adobe to share their test suite. When they fix a bug, we assume they write a test for it, and seeing the test we (again, the folks doing this for free) could find issues with how they confirmed the fix. This is something I've never gotten a response on.

  • It was the norm, not the exception, for forum posts to be ignored. This is what truly sent me over the edge. Just yesterday I saw a thread created four months ago that specifically requested Adobe input and had been ignored. To be fair, not every thread needed Adobe input. And yes - sometimes if Adobe were asked multiple times to chime in they would. But damnit, you shouldn't have to freaking beg to get a response. And again, this isn't "special" - the ColdFusion PR testers aren't "needy", that's basic freaking community management.

I'll tell you a secret. I'm probably borderline autistic, like a lot of programmers. While I love being on stage, one on one conversations with people, even my friends, is stressful. It's not that I dislike people. I love people. But I stress over holding up my part of the conversation, saying the wrong thing, and, well, every single aspect of the relationship/communication. It's difficult for me and I recognize that. So I've trained myself to try to combat that. If you ask me about my job, I want to answer you and then I want to be quiet. I don't do that. I ask about your job back. I have to force myself to do it, but I know it is the right thing to do.

If the members of the ColdFusion team suck at community management, and frankly, they all do but Anit, then recognize it and work on it. Force yourself to look at the threads and respond to every single one whether you want to or not.

What's sad is that I know others will bring this up. I know members of the CF team will promise to improve communication. But we've had this same discussion time and time again. They either need to promote Anit and clone him or hire someone to help because I do not see it improving. Nor will I participate in the next pre release unless things are 100% better.

Wrap Up

So... should you upgrade? Unless the API manager really sells you on it, I don't think it makes sense to do so. I'm at a point now where I recommend Node for future development, but if you're a ColdFusion shop, then by all means, continue with ColdFusion, but I don't see the 2016 release as being worth the price. You certainly want to wait till a few hot fixes have been released. As for CFB, again, I like CFB, but I wouldn't bother upgrading. If you don't own it, go ahead and buy it, but if you have CFB3, I'd stick with it.

Finally, I'll leave you with a link to Adam's post, which has an epic title: ColdFusion 2016: Adobe finally abandons CFML.

Raymond Camden's Picture

About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA https://www.raymondcamden.com

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by George Schaffer posted on 2/17/2016 at 5:04 AM

Sigh... Event though we migrated to Node after more than 10 years CF development a couple of years back. A fantastically easy transition by the way, even for a very large platform. I always kept my soft spot for CF. It had its flaws and quirks, but overall most people that gave CF an honest try could see it as good tool for building web apps and I could counter to misconceptions about CF with conviction.

Sadly like you and Adam, I no longer believe in CF or it viability over even the next couple of years. I think by now Adobe has managed to isolate every CF single supporter through years of horrible product management. My theory is that Adobe is fully dedicated to milking the final value of the government / Defense Contractor install base. Couple years back I had conversations with some of their business folks and they were making a hefty profit off CF. Since those orgs move at snails pace Adobe will keep pretending to release new versions with the least amount of effort until those licenses dry up before giving up the ghost. But for the rest of us CF is dead.

Comment 2 by Jul posted on 2/17/2016 at 7:55 AM

"It was the norm, not the exception, for forum posts to be ignored." It seems like a trend... ...and about the doc... oh my... well.
I started downloading coldfusion yesterday (I'm in the middle of the process of trying new tools). But I was fresh out of an installation VS2015, and then I realized that... no. CF is so "niche". Basically what I want to do (moving to a new workflow) will be easier out of the Adobe ecosystem. And that's a sad statement.

Comment 3 by lolajl posted on 2/18/2016 at 4:08 PM

The Akamai Download Installer . . . ummm. Whiskey tango foxtrot?

"The Akamai Download Manager has encountered a fatal error:

Access denied.

To download the files directly, click here.

File 1 of 1"

When they make it difficult to install the free version . . .

Comment 4 (In reply to #3) by Raymond Camden posted on 2/18/2016 at 4:24 PM

They've used that for a while. Me saying that doesn't help you. Just saying it isn't new. :)

Comment 5 (In reply to #4) by lolajl posted on 2/18/2016 at 5:19 PM

Ahhhh, so I gathered. Poked around in Google for answers, stumped for now.

Comment 6 by Charlie Arehart posted on 2/19/2016 at 4:34 AM

Ray, thanks for the writeup, including the pros and cons.

George: sorry but you're "theory" is wrong (that the only folks still using it are "the government / Defense Contractor install base", and that for "the rest of us it's dead"). I know you sincerely believe that, and others parrot such sentiment. But it's just wrong.

How can I say that so confidently? Am I a misguided Adobe shill?

No, I'm a consultant who serves CF folks all day every day as an independent consultant, serving folks something like a doctor helping them solve problems and make the most of CF (just like there are such consultants in about any IT field).

And on top of about a thousand clients the past 10 years, I can report that I have had at least a hundred new clients in the last year alone, who are not only using CF (and it's significant to them), but they're using or have upgraded to CF11 (just to show it's not all just people "keeping it alive on old versions that they don't want to pay to upgrade").

But the key point, in reply to your theory, is that NONE of them are defense contractors, and only a few are in federal govt. The rest range from small to huge, commercial to non-profit, and everything in between.

So please stop perpetuating this myth that somehow those two groups you mention are the only folks using CF anymore. It just is NOT true.

Anyway, I don't begrudge people who choose to move on to something else, but I wish they would all slow their roll in wanting to pronounce to the world that CF is dead, or even dying. It's definitely not dead, and even whether it's dying is just an opinion (and really, just a matter of perspective).

Is it maturing? Sure. All technology does. Heck, some are declaring PHP's long in the tooth, or that Apple is in trouble, which again is just about perspective. But the people asserting such things believe it to be absolutely so, whether it truly is or not.

Is CF facing challenges for the reasons Ray pointed out? Sure. And it's troubling, but not enough to be the "final nail in the coffin", whatever prognosticators think. I say this as someone on the ground, interacting with more CF shops than about anyone out there.

And should that day ever come that Adobe DID abandon it (which I don't see coming, because as you said it is profitable for Adobe), or for those who don't like giving money to Adobe, there are of course the other open source CFML engines. And there are certainly many other platforms to choose from if people do finally get totally fed up with CFML. You guys are there, and that's cool.

But please just don't make it like "nobody uses CF" anymore. It just is not true. Or that "the only people using it are stuck doing so". That's also just not true. Plenty of people either love it (but don't feel compelled to shout it from the rooftops) or they just do it as their job (and go home at the end of the day, also making no noise about it).

What we hear from mostly these days are people, often who have moved off of it, ringing the death knell. It may be "dead to you" (in the relationship sense"), or even "dead to the world" (in terms of overall IT popularity), but it's not dead in the sense that "no one uses it", or as you say except only lumbering federal agencies and contractors. That is just a myth, and an unfair one to perpetuate. And my contemporary experience absolutely counters it.

Comment 7 by Gary F posted on 2/19/2016 at 1:09 PM

For the first time I was not accepted into the closed pre-release program. I was disappointed but having read yours and Adam's blogs I'm pleased Adobe saved me a lot of bother.

Comment 8 by ayhan yildiz posted on 2/22/2016 at 5:52 AM

I don't work for IBM and still I give 2 thumbs up for Node.js. We had great adventures with Coldfusion, helped a lot but now he is like 40 years old man who doesn't want to live parents home. Time to leave buddy :)

Comment 9 by woad2112 posted on 2/22/2016 at 4:21 PM

Does it work with Windows 10? As Adobe never updated the CF11web interface configurator to work with IIS 10, which has been a huge issue for me with development, was this addressed in the new version?

Comment 10 (In reply to #3) by Charlie Arehart posted on 2/22/2016 at 4:37 PM

Lola (and Ray), good news on the Akamai downloader. That was yanked out the day after you guys discussed it here, for both CF and CFBuilder. For more, see my post from that evening:

http://www.carehart.org/blo...

Comment 11 (In reply to #10) by Raymond Camden posted on 2/22/2016 at 4:40 PM

Of course, if you still have to fill out a form, that kinda stinks.

Comment 12 (In reply to #9) by Charlie Arehart posted on 2/22/2016 at 4:42 PM

woad2112, yes, CF 2016 works with Windows 10. See the support matrix here:

https://helpx.adobe.com/pdf...

And yes, Adobe did in fact update CF11 to work with IIS 10, though it seems you missed it (in Nov 2015). It was CF11 update 7 and CF10 update 18. More at:
http://blogs.coldfusion.com...

It was also mentioned in the update mechanism, for those that keep an eye on that. But it would be in the interest of anyone running CF to follow that Adobe blog, as they do share such info (and not much other fluff) there.

Hope that's helpful.

Comment 13 (In reply to #11) by Charlie Arehart posted on 2/22/2016 at 4:46 PM

You do (still need to full out the form). You know there's just no pleasing everyone. :-)

Someone at Adobe obviously regards that info as key to permitting download, even of the trial (and other companies do that as well, of course). Still, perhaps the rocks around the door to completely open access to installers are being chipped away, albeit slowly. :-)

Comment 14 (In reply to #12) by woad2112 posted on 2/22/2016 at 5:23 PM

Yes, i did miss it. Thanks Charlie!!! That is good they finally fixed that...that took entirely too long to get resolved.

Comment 15 by Scott Stroz posted on 2/22/2016 at 5:51 PM

*ColdFusion 10.5.1

Comment 16 (In reply to #6) by Shannon Hicks posted on 2/22/2016 at 7:37 PM

Given what I've heard from my friends who still do CF development and what you've posted here, I've come to the conclusion that you personally have about 98% of the non-Gov US CF market. 😂

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'm glad to hear that CF isn't in the dire straits that I thought it was in.

Comment 17 by milan posted on 2/23/2016 at 6:09 AM

Only Ordered structs are available(not sorted) and docs are in a good shape now.

Comment 18 (In reply to #17) by Raymond Camden posted on 2/23/2016 at 2:01 PM

Thank you for the update - and I see the shorthand notation is discussed now.

Comment 19 (In reply to #16) by Wil Genovese posted on 2/23/2016 at 7:41 PM

He wishes!!! CF Webtools has a decent chunk of that non-Government CF market too! The ColdFusion market is strong and in spite of what many think. There are NEW applications being built in ColdFusion and new ColdFusion servers being setup. I setup a lot of them. We have even converted clients from Railo to ColdFusion. It's not a one-way street where everyone is leaving ColdFusion.

Comment 20 (In reply to #11) by Wil Genovese posted on 2/23/2016 at 7:44 PM

I filled it out and then downloaded every installer so I don't have to go through the process again.

Comment 21 by Michael Charbonneau posted on 3/31/2016 at 2:26 PM

so CF2016 adds NTLM support for a handful of tags, but not to CFHTTP ?
I filed a bug report on CFHTTP almost 5 years ago that it didn't work with NTLM.
this is also true of scheduled tasks.

why can't they fix simple issues that have been around for years ?

Comment 22 (In reply to #21) by Charlie Arehart posted on 3/31/2016 at 5:15 PM

Michael, good news for you: ntlm support for cfhttp was in fact added to CF11.

See https://helpx.adobe.com/col... (which is the docs for 2016, but which indicates that ntlm support was added in CF11).

It's also discussed in the Developers guide (https://helpx.adobe.com/col... but not with as much detail.

Instead, see this article from Adobe, on CF11 security changes, which did discuss it (among other things) in a little more detail:
http://www.adobe.com/devnet...

Does that help get you going?

Comment 23 (In reply to #22) by Michael Charbonneau posted on 3/31/2016 at 8:23 PM

yes .. good to know.

now we just need to get Dreamweaver to support Cold Fusion files again.

Comment 24 (In reply to #23) by Raymond Camden posted on 3/31/2016 at 8:29 PM

That ship has sailed man - I'd not hold your breath. ;)

Comment 25 (In reply to #23) by Mark Fuqua posted on 5/27/2016 at 11:46 AM

I just switched from Dreamweaver CS6 to IntelliJ....love it (that doesn't seem strong enough...I LOVE it).

Comment 26 (In reply to #23) by dawesi posted on 5/30/2016 at 2:07 AM

One of the marketing team said it has been raised recently to 'quietly' turn CFML support back on for DW.

Comment 27 (In reply to #7) by dawesi posted on 5/30/2016 at 2:08 AM

ditto. although I didn't apply... as last time the writing was on the wall.

Comment 28 (In reply to #16) by dawesi posted on 5/30/2016 at 2:10 AM

Most of us still here moved to Lucee... so you'll find us hanging in those spots these days, but on a CF upgrade for AU govt dept ATM.

Comment 29 (In reply to #12) by polemix posted on 6/9/2016 at 9:22 PM

i'm a little late here but still want to ask if somebody knows about this:
I installed Coldfusion 2016 (developer edition) on Windows 10 / IIS 10.
I setup the websites as usual and created the CF virtual directories with the "CF Web Server Configuration Tool".
Also I modified the hosts file with my local hosts..
But now I still can't access the websites in the browser. I receive either error 401.3 (that i have not enough rights) or 500.19..
Does somebody know what I can do? maybe something is missing in "Windows Programs and Features" for CF2016. Does somebody know the requirements there? thanks!

Comment 30 (In reply to #29) by Raymond Camden posted on 6/9/2016 at 9:27 PM

"Does somebody know what I can do?"

I guess saying, "Install Node" would be kind of a jerk thing to say, right? :)

I believe Adobe provides free tech support for installation issues. Although technically this isn't installation - it's configuration.

Comment 31 (In reply to #30) by Charlie Arehart posted on 6/10/2016 at 1:48 PM

Great point about the free Adobe install support, Ray. Yep, polemix, you may get the solution you need from them. For more, see these resources:

http://blogs.coldfusion.com...

http://blogs.coldfusion.com...

https://helpx.adobe.com/con...

And polemix, if that doesn't get you going, and you're willing to pay for assistance, I would think I could help you solve that problem quickly. I'd even say that if I couldn't solve this problem in less than an hour, you would not pay for any of the time. I'm afraid I can't propose all the possible explanations here.

This would be done via safe, secure shared desktop access (no need for you to grant me remote access, nor create an account, nor open any firewall holes). If you're interested, see the www.carehart.org/consulting. I offer there my rates, approach, satisfaction guarantee, and more.

If somehow that's not appealing, you could also post your problem at forums.adobe.com, in either the general CF or the CF admin subforums, where you may get still others proposing ideas.

Apologies in advance for those two paragraphs on my services, to those who "hate sales pitches". I started and ended with free resources. I only posed the direct help because some problems are simply too complicated (too many variables, and likely something very environmentally-specific) to resolve easily in blog comments like this.

Comment 32 (In reply to #31) by Raymond Camden posted on 6/10/2016 at 2:05 PM

As author of this Blog, I 100% approve of Charlie mentioning his commercial services and 200% recommend his services as well.

Comment 33 (In reply to #32) by Charlie Arehart posted on 6/10/2016 at 7:46 PM

Thank you very much for that, Ray. Very kind, on both counts! :-)

Comment 34 by Pedro Morin posted on 7/19/2016 at 4:34 PM

Ray, you're whole article is worth the read, however, I wanted to comment about "your little secret". I don't know what that was like for you to make that public, however, thank you for doing so. My son is borderline autistic (some say "on the spectrum") and you just helped me understand him a little better. I would encourage more people to speak up about things like this, because it brings us all a bit closer.

Comment 35 (In reply to #34) by Raymond Camden posted on 7/19/2016 at 4:55 PM

Thanks Pedro. I didn't mention this above, but I have a child who is 100% diagnosed autistic as well. It is difficult for sure, but something you learn to manage over time.

Comment 36 (In reply to #34) by Apptronica posted on 6/9/2017 at 3:21 PM

I know this post is a year old, but I just have to second this. As a career CF programmer with Asperger's, it's refreshing when members of the community with higher visibility than me are open about their neurodivergence.

Comment 37 (In reply to #36) by Raymond Camden posted on 6/9/2017 at 8:05 PM

You are most welcome.

Comment 38 by Mayra Tananta Espinoza posted on 9/26/2017 at 9:52 PM

S.O.S.
I get stuck with the HTTPD CF9 > CF2016 release
<virtualhost 10.28.123.220:80="">
...
JRunConfig Serverstore /usr/local/homeaway/cf9/lib/wsconfig/au/jrunserver.store
JRunConfig Bootstrap 127.0.0.1:51000
JRunConfig Apialloc false
</virtualhost>

I have the following server instances
- trips_ha 51000
- trips_vrbo 56000
each one run multiple sites

Can anyone tell how the HTTPD config should be for apache 2.4 / cf 2016 release

Comment 39 (In reply to #38) by Raymond Camden posted on 9/27/2017 at 1:48 AM

This is not a general support forum for ColdFusion. Please use StackOverflow for questions like this.

Comment 40 (In reply to #34) by Michael Miller posted on 10/15/2019 at 3:09 PM

I remember reading this a while back, thinking it explained a lot, about myself. Though never diagnosed in my family, I and my son have what appears to be social anxiety. His has been crippling. He is better as a 35 year old adult. The diagnosis of high functioning autism didn't really exist then. I never heard of Asperger's until I saw Boston Legal.

There are many work tasks I struggle with. I work in a cube environment with interruptions every 15 minutes while I try to code. I had one just now, and derailed the frustration by looking for this old blog post I read. I took one of those online autism test yesterday and scored pretty high. Who knows, you might have something there about coders being on the spectrum. :)