Blog post

I Continue To Be Impressed With ColdFusion

By Mark Driver | October 06, 2009 | 14 Comments

ColdFusion has been around practically as long as the web itself .  Today it retains a loyal but relatively small developer base (Adobe counts it at around 750K developers compared to my own estimates of about 48 trillion for .NET). 

Overall CF has lost market share percentage to competing technologies for years (ASP, Java, PHP, etc.)  and in virtually all cases when a developer tool loses momentum like this, it results in an inevitable march to oblivion — albeit sometimes a very slow one.  AD tools generaly dont make a market turn-around, instead developers migrate to the next big thing and rarely look back.   But if it CAN happen then it SHOULD happen with ColdFusion.  It is far to easy to pigeon-hole CF as a ‘legacy’ toolset but if you did you’d be wrong. 

Adobe has just released version 9 with an impressive list of new features that stand toe-to-toe with anything you’ll find from Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, or any of the elite open source options as well.  

Yes, CF is still very much a proprietary toolset — despite growing OSS options.  But many web developers are also finding that sometimes a little proprietary (emphase on “little”) is worth it if you can cut your development time by an order magnitude. 

Here’s the bottom line: no other web development toolset available today gives you an equal balance of flexibilility, scalability and  out-of-the-box RAD experience for dynamic web applications than ColdFusion.  There are plenty that do a better job one of these areas; there are few that do a slightly better job in two out of three; but there are none that match CF in all three areas. 

Have you looked at ColdFusion recently?  If not then start with my recent research note (assuming your a Gartner client of course)and then check out the newest version at

p.s. looks like Adobe has a copy of the report here as well.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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  • Rachel says:

    Glad to see CF9 getting the attention it deserves. I <3 ColdFusion!

  • Fred B says:

    “CF is still very much a proprietary toolset — despite growing OSS options”

    I’d go with the free and open-source Railo CF engine over the proprietary version any day.

  • Rich F says:

    Bravo Mark, CF is really one of the best frameworks ever designed. Nice to see Gartner keeping above the open source fray

  • James White says:

    Great Post. I’m glad to see someone who can objectively see that there is more to application development than PHP, Java, and .NET. These are great technologies, but CF Developers stay CF developers for a reason. Nothing beats CF when it comes to getting productive in a hurry. I have no problem with the bigger players in the Application Development Industry, but CF deserves a bigger piece of the pie and CF 9 is a good step towards getting it.

  • Jeff says:

    I’ve run Coldfusion sites since CF4. With the exception of CF6 (which I believe is when they switch to java), it has been an incredibly stable and reliable platform for development. I am always amazed at the ease of development and management.

    Adobe has really done a lot with CF8 and CF9. I find I am once again excited by new projects just so I can play with the new features.

    You can count most CF developers in the trillions of .Net developers. You use .Net because you get paid. You do Coldfusion because it’s fun.

  • CF Rocks says:

    Coldfusion is awesome!

    Sure you can chase the next big thing, but what does it really get you? My investment in Coldfusion 10 years ago has really paid off and continues to do so.

  • Curt Eckhart says:

    “(Adobe counts it at around 750K developers compared to my own estimates of about 48 trillion for .NET)”

    There are only 7 billion people on the planet… what is being compared here?

  • Matt Gutting says:


    I think it’s hyperbole intended humorously.

  • ColdFusion allows Automate processes and improves communications with ease.

  • Prashanth says:

    I love coldfusion alot and I am looking forward to work on CF9. I am really worried the CF is loosing its market.
    CF is simple superb and awesome technology

  • dongzky says:

    CF developers are elite! 😀

  • Tom Minderson says: has marketshare because it is Microsoft, not because it is good. PHP has marketchare over CF because it’s cheaper up-front and this is partly why it’s popular on the intERnet. However, IntRAnet and B-to-B apps are still a strong niche for CF. I find its libraries are better designed than PHP’s, which appear rather arbitrary at times. And the “dot” associative array syntax of CF is cleaner and more natural. I use a lot of associative arrays for complex reports, and the cleaner syntax saves a lot of eye and finger time. Viva ColdFusion!

  • Avi says:

    How can the .net users be greater than the population of the world?
    48 Trillion VS 6.5 Billion?