Is Adobe ColdFusion Dead?

Published on Author JFLeave a comment

No, some poor suckers are still using this overpriced and difficult to automate “Rapid Application Development” Java based platform.

Don’t get me wrong, CF’s genius is in it’s ability to write some pretty simplistic markup code to create a form and CRUD. It has always been good at that. But is it worth the cost in terms of support, modern development methods, hosting and availability costs? No. No. And no.

Here’s pricing in 2020 from Adobe:

Adobe ColdFusion (2021 release) is sold in two editions: Standard Edition costs US$2,499 per two cores, and Enterprise Edition costs US$9,499 per eight cores. ColdFusion can also be used for development at no cost with the complimentary Developer Edition, a full-featured server for development use only.

-Adobe Inc 2020

Let’s say you run this in a cloud environment. You can handle a small to medium-ish site on 2 cores, maybe. Don’t forget that massive query overhead you get with CF. You best make sure you pipe to your DB server is wide and deep.

But, let’s say you want to host on bare metal. A typical server with two CPUs can be sixteen cores. SIXTEEN.

$19,992 for the license.

Twenty thousand dollars for software that is not integrated, that barely has a support community, that is difficult to automate, that is difficult to scale, difficult to find developers for, and that has been barely touched in the last 10 ten years?

Yes, some new features have been added, but like most of everything that is CF, it’s a black box.

But let’s look at the release schedule:


That’s a TWO YEAR release cycle for licensed product with a lifespan of six years? So, if you keep it for six years and there’s a 2 year release cycle you will more than likely not be eligible for an upgrade license. This is what Adobe did to CF 11 users, some of them who have supported CF since the the Allaire days.

Apparently, you might be able to get a free upgrade from 2018 to 2021, but you have to discuss it with Adobe. I wonder why? Because of the insane licensing costs? It feels like a death spiral: they must stay relevant and keep developing, but they keep the prices going higher and higher.

BTW, a lot of government institutions run CF – guess who is paying for those systems to remain alive? You are. I assume this is the reason for these insane prices — deep government pockets stuck in the CF world that seemed so attractive fifteen years ago.

There are some ardent supporters out there who have created a niche in the CF development world. Good for them.

However, the Open Source world is a far better place for you and your money. If you’re a developer, I’m sure you can find a niche job that will last you a long time. However, your access to newer, better, and more extensible development platforms will cease – CF does not play very well with others.

ColdFusion should be dead.

Alternatively, ColdFusion should free open sourced by Adobe and they should focus on tooling for it. If it was free it AND Open Source, it could make for a very handy, but niche, web development platform.

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