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March 10, 2020
Adobe ColdFusion Alternative Decides to Open Source

Apparently, in the second declaration as "winner" in just this last week, (Adobe ColdFusion 8 won the coveted 18th Annual Dr Dobbs "Jolt" award...see esarly post on that), New Atlanta has essentially conceded to Adobe ColdFusion and has decided to open source it's BlueDragon product and essentially get out of the business, from what I can gather from the announcement today.

We knew many years ago that language constructs and putting DB data on a web page was a commodity and that's why we focused every ounce of strength and energy on adding higher-level features that customers said they needed, making the product unbelievably easy to install, use and administer, and making it the fastest thing this side of the firewall.

"Innovate or die!" was the mantra the ColdFusion team lived by.

I do wish Vince and the folks at New Atlanta absolutely every success in whatever direction or focus they turn the bulk of their attention on next, however. They're super smart, very in tune with their customers, provide exceptional customer service, and they really did one heck of a job for such as small company.

In retrospect, I guess this was inevitable, and I had a bit of a clue of how things were going (and truly felt bad for them) last year at CFUNITED when their exhibit hall booth was all but deserted. Personally, I'll miss them as a friendly and passionate ColdFusion competitor, but I have no doubt they will be around and have great success for many years to come, delivering great products and services.

Here at Adobe, though, we're going to keep doing what we're doing: focusing on innovation and solving our customers problems. The next major release of ColdFusion is shaping up to be incredible!



I think 'conceded' is a bit strong, as NA do say "We will continue to develop, support, and market a commercial edition of BlueDragon/J2EE". Also, Railo (another CFML engine with a free version) seems to be going from strength to strength. I was got the impression BD was much heavier and resource intensive. The advantage of a free BD, of course, is that it doesn't have the same restrictions as Railo Community (i.e. only one virtual host). That's going to be a much more interesting fight, though I'm not sure a race to the bottom benefits anyone.

Damon, I am not sure I read the same thing in the BD post as you. 1) They did claim they were planning on continuing to support it commercially; 2) they still sell the BlueDragon .net CFML server and say they intend to continue to maintain that and 3) since when has the open-source model become a sign of "giving up"? Has MySQL given up? Apache? Is BlazeDS a sign that Adobe gave up on LCDS?

I have and continue to support *Adobe* CF and have not been one of the people publicly pressing for an open-source version but sometimes I think these kinds of comments play into the hands of ColdFusion's critics by making CF seem out of touch with current thinking in IT (and I clearly don't think that is what is intended here). Adobe as a company is daily becoming more and more entrenched in open-source, so why would the ColdFusion team see it as a white flag?

I have to agree with Brian here. I did not see their announcement as a signs of giving up, just as a manner of providing one of their products under an open source license.

Damon, what specifically in what you read did you think they were not going to continue on?


I've have to agree that simply making available an open source version of a product doesn't imply any particular weakness in a company. Indeed, with Adobe as an example, it can be considered a strategic move.

So, are there other factors that you're considering when you say that NA isn't doing well? If not, I don't think your conclusion is warranted. And personally, I welcome an open-source entry into the CFML engine arena.


I've have to agree that simply making available an open source version of a product doesn't imply any particular weakness in a company. Indeed, with Adobe as an example, it can be considered a strategic move.

So, are there other factors that you're considering when you say that NA isn't doing well? If not, I don't think your conclusion is warranted. And personally, I welcome an open-source entry into the CFML engine arena.

I don't know Tom - "concession" was one of the first words I thought of when I heard the announcement. I'll be honest though, I haven't studied in detail NA's announcement, and thoughts on their future direction.

Given what Adobe did with CF8, it was always hard to see where NA was going to go with Blue Dragon. They'll be a great option for those that want to "legacy" out their CF 7 installs.

Will the "community" respond and create in BD open source, features that compete with Adobe CF8? (or CF9 for that matter). It seems to me this is "put up or shut up" time for those in the CF world that are constantly calling for Adobe to open source CF. Please, show us all what can be done - make me a believer!



FUD. You must have missed this bit:

"We will continue to develop, support, and market a commercial edition of BlueDragon/J2EE under a dual-licensing model such as that used by MySQL. We are reviewing our pricing model for the commercial edition of BlueDragon/J2EE and will announce any changes in the next few weeks."

Doesn't sound like giving up to me.

I agree with David however that now the CF open-source community will need to step up and support this...

And stepping up and supporting this is the big issue. "We" haven't done it for CFEclipse, "we" haven't done it for Smith, and I really can't see "us" doing it for this.

Prove me wrong :)

I really appreciate what you say. You're really innovative there at Adobe. I couldn't believe we've got HALF BAKED ecma script style array an objects initializers as ONE OF THE BIGGEST FEATURES of CF8. Just make sure guys CF9 will be working 101% before shipping.

This is less a victory and more an opportunity. You guys need to embrace New Atlanta and support this initiative -- it will be good for sales all round in the long run. http://blog.daemon.com.au/go/blog-post/bluedragon-is-dead-long-live-bluedragon

geez, Damon, that's a bit rich ...

"and has decided to open source it's BlueDragon product and essentially get out of the business"

wot, so Adobe are getting out of the Flex business? BlazeDS?

C'mon, get real. While a POSS business model is still (relatively) new, more companies are turning to it for their future.

Geoff Bowers is right - it's an opportunity because it'll cause a growth market. Nothing stoping Adobe selling ColdFusion server licenses, compelling features do that. Blackboard LMS is an expensive product, Moodle is open-source PHP free download. They both have large install bases. They are both winning.

"Here at Adobe, though, we're going to keep doing what we're doing": being short-sighted, taking cheap shots at competitors who contribute to the industry as a whole, and coming across as totally indifferent to small customers and the vibrant community and future they help generate.

Wait a second...are we remembering the context in which this announcement was made? For years, NA wanted to compete with Adobe for the CF server space. They were creating competing features in their product, and forcing Adobe (or Macromedia, as it was) to keep up. Then ColdFusion 8 came along, and NA decides not to compete any more. You can talk about "community" and "business models" all you want, but the bottom line is, New Atlanta has decided not to compete with Adobe in the ColdFusion space. That can be seen as nothing other than conceding the fight for customers.

New Atlanta are now leaving it up to the CF community to create competing features with Adobe's ColdFusion - and I think that's great. Instead of canning the product completely, they are letting us take on development of this engine. Kudos to New Atlanta for that - we (the CF community, collectively) now have an open source CF engine that so many have been asking for. In true New Atlanta fashion, it is up to the people who wanted that to go out and make this a total success, and convince Adobe that this is the way to go - by really making BD (open source) kickass!

I'll be honest, I'm skeptical that will happen - but my mind is here to be changed. I do hope that Adobe keeps their eye on the ball and moves forward with better versions of ColdFusion to come.



Damon is bear baiting, trying to get a debate going on his blog, and flying the pro-Adobe flag. Good for him, but I think it was mean to paint NA as losers. They are a mighty fine team.

If MM/Adobe had customer service & support that was half as good as NA they would have sold far more CF licenses. (More repeat customers, recommendations, etc.) I really hope something big happens out of open source BD. If it attracts 5000 new CFML developers (especially students) and 1000's of new CFML powered sites it will be an amazing achievement.

@Gary F: That is anoher problem with Adobe - just compare Macromedia partner certificates with Adobe ones. Or Adobe partner certificates with Microsoft packages. Adobe ones are te ones to be hidden in te drawer forever! Adobe seems not to care about compeitors and even their partners. That is my opinion...

Oh - and forgot to mention about Adobe Consulting which applies for the same jobs as their customers who are paying for being their partners. Basically Adobe sells us tools and then takes our jobs :)

Well, Damon is rightly proud of the fine work done with ColdFusion. No wonder the Adobe doesn't ship a free version of ColdFusion if they see that as "conceding"!

With that said, New Atlanta has a bought in (cash investment) to CF Europe and they are also ticketed to be a vendor at CF United in June. My bets are on New Atlanta doing what has been done with a company called Zend. They build, update and ship the current management of PHP. Yet, they make other products that make money off it. New Atlanta doesn't need to do things the Zend way for sure. My guess is people will start out with the free CF. Then like they do at Zend they will want some of the extra features and buy in. We will see what Adobe does when (yes, and if) New Atlanta gets traction with this.

you're a fool Damon.

once bluedragon is available for download, i'm ditching adobe's version and strictly working with bd for here on out.

adobe has made cf a complete mess. half ass implicit creation, the ajax tags that suck beyond belief, the slowness and bugginess of cfdocument and the product in general.

i'm hoping that more and more people ditch adobe and go with bd which will force adobe to tighten up the next cf release and fix the bugs that plague the product today.

open sourcing bd was new atlanta's was of giving adobe the finger and stealing market share. guess what... i have no doubt it's going to work.

The sky is falling....on Adobe's head! C'mon, lets get real here - BlueDragon has either been free, or cost less than ColdFusion for years now, and it hasn't sucked the life out of CF yet. While some may not like the new CF 8 features, they seem to be in the minority. Won a Jolt award, finalist for a Codie, "strongest sales ever" according to Adobe insiders - that adds up to people liking what they see, and willing to pay for it. Maybe it's not for everyone, but let's not predict an end game quite yet.

Truth is, this is probably something we'll all need to revisit in a year or two. I've read the New Atlanta blogs about the possibilities, and I admit there are many - but that needs to be matched by action. If the open source fanboys think this move is the answer to all our woes, then have at it. I expect nothing short of rabid support for this project, over the long term. MAKE this product a competitor with ColdFusion - feature for feature.

Will it happen? Will it work? Will it keep pace with CF 8.x and CF 9? Time will tell. The opportunity is there, the action needs to follow.



"strongest sales ever"? The "insiders" may say that in private, but that's not what they're saying in public. Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen says CF sales are the strongest "since Adobe took over the reins from Macromedia" (http://www.fusionauthority.com/community/4729-community-chronicles-0-2.htm). Kristen Schofield repeats this line saying, "Under Adobe, we saw the strongest quarters we've seen yet with ColdFusion since the (Macromedia) acquisition"; but, "She could not comment on actual revenue figures for ColdFusion" (http://www.infoworld.com/archives/emailPrint.jsp?R=printThis&A=/article/08/03/11/Adobe-ColdFusion-warming-to-64-bit-OSes_1.html).

But what about sales *before* the acquisition? Why don't they say "CF has had best quarter ever" or "CF sales have grown since the acquisition"? The great thing about public companies is they can't lie in public without getting sued, but they sure can spin things to mislead you, and that's what they seem to be doing here.

If sales were higher *before* the acquisition than *after* the acquisition, then CF sales are shrinking--not growing--and CF8 was a bust (it was released by Adobe after the acquisition). This is probably the truth they don't want us to know, and the reason why "She could not comment on actual revenue figures for ColdFusion".

Open source BD isn't going to help CF sales. Why would anyone pay $7500 for CF Enterprise when you can get basically the same thing for free? Maybe Damon should be the one to consider what he's going to do next, maybe follow Tim Buntel and Tom Jordahl to work on Flex and AIR?

Hey TJ - thanks for the links to the Adobe "insiders" I'd read them before. Any chance you could post links to "what they're saying in public"? I haven't actually read those.

I listened to an analyst briefing by the company-formerly-known-as-MacroMedia, and they stated that CF was "the most profitable" product in its portfolio. Now, since then, sales have increased, so maybe there IS a mathematical way for sales of CF to have declined since the merger - I'll leave that for others to explain.

However, we digress. And I'm glad we do, because now we're talking about some of the finer points. You are 100% correct, and I agree with you totally. "Open source BD isn't going to help CF sales. "

The only thing that will help CF sales is better products, better marketing. Adobe, amongst others, believe that charging for the product is the way to deliver a better product. New Atlanta believe its open sourcing (I think?).

We can talk until we're blue in the face, but an open source project will require action from the community. Consistent contribution to make that product one that can compete with the Adobe offering, pound-for-pound, feature-for-feature. I've said before, and I'll say it again - I don't think that's going to happen. I think BD will remain, as it always has been, a great free option to support simple CRUD or legacy CF code. My mind is here to be changed - please, prove me wrong.



"Why would anyone pay $7500 for CF Enterprise when you can get basically the same thing for free?"

couldn't you say the same about FlashMediaServer compared to Red5?

@barry.b: of course you can. Red5 is even more powerful in daily use. Real time connections with other services with JMS, direct DB access, web services, ability to access Red5 apps from the browser and send data to clients directly from the browser without writing some strange code, converting movies, audio from other formats using ffmpeg - thats just to name few advantages over FMS. So who wants to pay $$$ for Flash Media Server limited functionality? FMS doesn't compare to Red5 at all!

Davo, the quotes I gave *are* the things they're saying in public, which is the only thing that can be trusted.

Have sales really increased? They don't actually say ever that. Ever. According to Ben Forta, Macromedia's fourth quarter fiscal year 2005 was the best quarter ever for ColdFusion (http://www.forta.com/blog/index.cfm?mode=entry&entry=A61BC743-3048-80A9-EF5D2AB761B7FB9A). Actually, he didn't even say that, he said it was "the best ColdFusion quarter in the past 4 years." Was there a higher quarter before that? when it was with Allaire?

Here's a simple question: when was the best coldFusion sales quarter ever? under Allaire, Macromedia, or Adobe? If not under Adobe, how can you say sales are increasing? If not under Adobe, how can you say CF8 was a success?

No one who knows will answer that question. They'll only say, "best quarter in 4 years" or "best quarter since the acquisition." Why won't they say "best quarter ever"? No one will tell the real truth about ColdFusion: sales are declining, development is being moved to India where it's cheap, and any employees with any talent are leaving to work on Flex and AIR.

TJ - seriously, you aren't quite as smart as you seem to think you are. So, the only options are "best quarter ever" or its dying? They have clearly stated that it has been and remains profitable and that is the key. The fact that sales are improving only improves the standing. Primary development has been in India for quite some time and that was something started by Macromedia AFAIK. The process of offshoring has nothing to do with killing off a product and is much broader than a single product Every large company is moving certain amounts of development offshore to places like India...does this mean they are all accepting they are failing? Your logic is, as usual, flawed - as displayed in your statement "any employees with any talent are leaving to work on Flex and AIR." Flex and AIR don't exactly compete with ColdFusion. Many of these people (myself included) are expanding their skills and not leaving ColdFusion.

I guess there have been and always will be naysayers.

OK, so let me get this straight....CF 5 outsold CF 8 - is that what you're saying? Look dude, you're trying to make news that doesn't exist. But why is that new? People like you have been telling us for the past 8 years that CF is dying and "they" are going to dump CF. There's always been an event, or a reason, or something else to justify or predict the end of ColdFusion - it was acquired by Adobe, CFDJ is shutting down, Tim Buntel moved to the Flex Builder team, and most recently it has been the open sourcing of BlueDragon. Yet here we are...talking about his version of CF, and preparing for the next.

Talk, talk, talk, speculate, rumor mill, ridicule and talk some more. That's all we get. If open source BD is going to be a giant killer it's going to take more than talk, its going to take action. Hey, it's something I'll be looking at closely - I always do, I'll drop CF as soon as a better solution comes my way. I hope you make a believer of me TJ - I hope to see your paw prints all over the new open source BD, and its a wild success.