Is Adobe ColdFusion Dead? Programmers and CIOs Often Ask This Question

Michaela Light
12 min readJun 6, 2020

It’s almost impossible to type ColdFusion into a search bar and avoid a pop-up suggestion, so let’s settle it now.

Developers who prefer ColdFusion, and programmers in general, tend to be subjective around this type of topic that calls for the comparison of different programming languages. Young programmers like to compare it with PHP in open discussions. We’re going to lay out some facts, and try to remain objective on this.

Every year, programmers who are using ColdFusion take a survey. The results of such surveys provide essential information about the current state of the CF community. People can view and share the results which among many others confirm. Take a look at the highlights of this year’s survey below.

I am happy to share interesting State of CF survey 2021 results (full details in that link)

  • Lucee 5.3+ is the most popular version this year with CF 2016 in second, just ahead of CF 2018.
  • ColdBox was just beaten out by “Homegrown” as the most popular general framework, followed by FW/1, Fusebox and CFWheels
  • Vue.js has come ahead of Angular since last year as the most popular JS framework. With React in third place.
  • GitHub is the most popular source control, with Git based BitBucket and GitLab coming up behind. Non-Git solutions are way behind.
  • Visual Studio Code overwhelmingly beat Sublime Text and Notepad++ as the most popular editor for CFers
  • CommandBox, AWS and Container deployment has increased since last year but most CFers continue to use their own servers or ISP servers
  • Hardly any CFers had hacked servers this year. Win!
  • Favorite reasons to keep coding in CF: RAD, fast to learn, fun coding, great language features, existing CFML code base

Here’s new, 2021 State of the CF Union survey ​, so please go and take the time to reply.

This last year’s survey pointed out lots of interesting facts. Read the full report . The 2021 report is also available and we’re waiting for new interesting results.

Adobe has been releasing updated versions of ColdFusion for the last 25+ years, constantly adding new features and making sure that coding is faster and simpler with every new version. However, looking at a market share, it’s not as popular as PHP, Java, ASP.NET, Ruby on Rails, Perl and Python.

It has gone through a lot of changes, and it has a lot of history. Some might say that’s a bad thing, but I like to think that this only means it has improved so many times, and for many years so far. Besides my opinion, it has proven to be a quality language to use. It has gotten to be easier and easier to use it. Everything is just a few tags away.

You can create so much stuff with it. It is competitive as any other language. The language itself is very versatile, and (solutions) has invested so much because we believe in it…

One of the reasons for ColdFusion’s success right from its inception is that the platform has been able to pivot at regular intervals to remain relevant for the future. There are very few technologies that have managed to stay in the game for so long and that is something all of us in the community are proud of. ColdFusion 2021, released at the end of 2020, has one such pivotal release in the history of ColdFusion.

Jorge Reyes

The vision for ColdFusion 2021 goes like this:
“To be the modernized platform of choice for building cloud-native microservice applications with absolute focus on ease of use without getting locked to a particular cloud vendor (multi-cloud).”
Attend this session as the Product Manager for ColdFusion unravels every piece of ColdFusion 2021 that leads to the overarching vision.
About the Speaker
Rakshith Naresh until recently, was the Product Manager for ColdFusion and Captivate Prime Content Catalog.

Adobe ColdFusion 2021 is released! It was born a few days before ColdFusion Summit 2020 in November 2020. We look at all the new features for multi-cloud, microservices, llambda, performance, security and more below.

And yes the name did change from CF 2020 to CF 2021.

ColdFusion 2021 Revealing Details on How it was Created with Rakshith Naresh- Rakshith Naresh talks about “ColdFusion 2021 Revealing Details on How it was Created” in this episode of the CF Alive Podcast, with host Michaela Light.

Here’s what we talked about:

While Java, Ruby, and Python all have MVC’s, ColdFusion’s built-in MVC provides a wide span of available features (caching, logging, dependency injection/AOP, and testing). The overall quality, readability and easy-to-maintain code generated through this MVC is as good as any other framework and programming language.

ColdFusion Has Its Place Among Developers

Does ColdFusion suit your needs?

The answer depends on the purpose. You should ask yourself which web development language will help me produce feature-rich Internet applications. Adobe Coldfusion is a perfect tool for creating a dynamic website, thus creating the best advantage for the users. It’s considered to be an innovative tool that can provide maximum results for the clients; whether it’s a small business or a huge company.

“It is a language that makes me the most productive and I can build so many applications with it in LESS time than in other languages… always coming back to CFML for rapid application development.”

Small web development companies could have the biggest benefit from using ColdFusion. However, I have never understood why PHP/ASP appear to be cheaper when they use 2 to 3 times more in programming time. Small companies don’t have big teams, usually up to 6 people. That leaves you with less time to take on another client. If you use ColdFusion, you can save 60–75% in time on any project, starting from scratch. Since it gives you time to spend on new projects even with tight budgets, your profits go up.

Luis Majano, @ IntoTheBox Conference chat

Can Adobe Coldfusion Assure a Higher Value and Meet Any Performance Demands?

There isn’t any better programming language for handling the development of complex applications. Some developers are calling it a “Swiss Army knife.” Easy web services implementation, dozens of functions, image and PDF tools; it’s a power with ease. Speed is the key for small and medium-sized companies. With ColdFusion, you’ll get more done in less time and by putting in less effort, especially when it comes to ongoing maintenance.

is very important. Is it fully capable of delivering any web development project regarding prototype’s design, integration, implementation, testing, launch?

What can we expect in 2021?

Adobe, Ortus Solutions, CF Camp and everyone else seem to be pretty quite for now. Maybe they’re like me, hoping that things will settle down and we’ll be able to travel and hang out again like we used to… (cry)

Anyhow, I am really looking forward to that time again.

Previous years

The place that gathers the entire CF’s development community, where the registered visitors can talk about everything related to ColdFusion with their colleagues and speakers. Las Vegas was chosen to be the epicenter of the Adobe Members of ColdFusion’s development team are often among the keynote speakers, and you could hear about the changes they made and plans for this programming language. Last year’s workshops focused on security and API development .

The reason why so many developers still love/won’t give up ColdFusion is that the most usual web application tasks are easy to create in ColdFusion because those applications require a simple syntax. A built-in iterator with grouping offers fewer lines of code than PHP. Working in CF requires only 20–30% of the PHP code to write the same thing.

Many developers have shared their experience about having spare time as they finished coding earlier with ColdFusion. They can then test and improve user experience, instead of typing rest of the code’s additional lines in PHP.

As we already pointed out, the maintenance is easy because less code means fewer bugs to fix. A clear benefit is that you could invest your team’s time and your money in adding new features, instead of frequently maintaining it.

Adobe tries to indulge everyone offering standard, developer, enterprise, or express version of ColdFusion as far as the price and the purpose goes. Then we have PHP and all other open-source languages that are free. Price is the primary factor of why all other programming languages are sharing the biggest percentage of the market. Also, the market share doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of ColdFusion because it’s not in the same league. CF has more of an elitist status. Market share doesn’t tell the whole truth about the revenue based on ColdFusion sales. Adobe is constantly showing an increase in sales of various language’s packages in the last several years. Someone spending that money on a programming language is aware of its capabilities and benefits. The true niche of ColdFusion lies in enterprise buyers who spend $100k+ on various other software (Windows, Hubspot, MS SQL Server, etc.).

Simple Facts Why ColdFusion is the Most Secure Web Language

Hey CFers, I am working on proving that ColdFusion is (was and still is…) the most secure Vs. other programming languages. Here’s something I found recently

Solid third-party support comes from several sources for different purposes within the language. FusionReactor works on providing a superb Java server monitoring tool, which helps you detect any flaws in your code and work on improving its performance and user experience.

offers great tools for applying ColdFusion hotfixes and blocking attacks on your servers. Right now, you can use their free web service called , that can scan your entire server and points out security weakness that needs removing.

Ortus Solutions

Ortus Solutions is an amazing source of ColdFusion box products, open-source, and commercial support. Between these three companies for third-party ColdFusion support, there isn’t much you can’t get.

The Rise in Popularity of Lucee

Asking the right question can lead you to the answer you’re looking. Several crucial points related to this popular discussion can shed light on this topic.

Many programmers see Lucee as a platform that offers modern coding of a good old CFML. The stats from the last survey developers took to show that Lucee is more popular than ColdFusion 10 or 2016. Of course, stats refer only to the people who filled out the survey. However, we take it that many people within the community will read about the popularity of the Lucee 5 and start using it themselves.

It’s interesting to see which versions are compatible.

  • Railo at this point has no support.
  • Lucee 4 has support only for security fixes, but it does not see enhancements, that’s all going to Lucee 5.
  • Adobe stack, CF 9 was still a decent chunk of users, that’s already outside of the support window, and
  • CF 10 is coming right behind.
  • And CF 9 went end of life on 12/31/14, over a year ago now. That means no more security fixes.
  • CF 10 is just a very short period away (5/16/17), so very soon there’s going to be quite a chunk of Adobe CF users that are outside of the support window, which is a little scary. That means not just the support, but also no more security hotfixes are like driving a car with no brakes and praying that nothing comes on the road that you need to stop for. (see Adobe Lifecycle table for all versions)

Gert Franz has an interesting answer to a question “ why are you proud to be using ColdFusion?” He started from Java Delphi and decided it needs improvement. You can listen to the whole answer

Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups are also very good for the same thing. Twitter hashtag is #CFML and #coldfusion, but #Lucee is also mentioned a lot. There are more than a few CFers that are very active, and you can get a lot of great information from them. Brad Wood, Charlie Arehart, Raymond Camden, are only some of the people that are on my top list. For a full list, you can read this article

“A lot of companies don’t want to modernize and are still in “legacy hell.” Modern tooling, introduction to micro-services will propel CFML into the next level.”

Luis Majano, Ortus Solutions

There was a lot of buzz in the CF community about CF 2018. First, they announced the availability of public beta for Adobe ColdFusion (2018 release) and Adobe ColdFusion Builder (2018 release).

ColdFusion is sometimes considered a less cool and less “sexy” to code in, unlike some other languages like PHP, Java, etc. That is a very big part of re-establishing CF as a leader. Developers often have shame-y tone when talking about CFML. It is the reason, the main point that is changing. Hopefully, once the developers start being the evangelists of their products, and of the ColdFusion, their apps and other stuff they’ve created gets promoted better, louder, CFML will also become more popular. It is wrong to think that one should be just humble and do their thing without self- promoting and similar stuff. You’re promoting not just yourself but also advocating for the CF, and thus making sure ColdFusion stays alive. Unless you have good skills in other areas, you might want to think about promoting your skills. 😉

Some of the features debuting now in the Adobe ColdFusion 2018 family are so very cool!

  • Adobe ColdFusion 2018 Standard Edition
  • Asynchronous Programming
  • REST Playground
  • Server Monitor
  • Modern Admin U/I
  • Comment Exchange across Files
  • Standardized PDF Metadata
    Adobe ColdFusion 2018 Enterprise Edition
  • Auto Lockdown
  • Code Profiler
  • Multi-latency Support
  • Distributed Cache
  • Performance Monitoring Tool Kit
  • CLI and Read-Print-Eval Loop
  • Brand New Built-in Functions
    Adobe ColdFusion Builder
  • Intelligent Code Assist
  • Professional Coding Support
  • Security Code Analyzer
  • Integrated Debugger

ColdFusion 2021 Revealing Details on How it was Created with Rakshith Naresh

Rakshith Naresh talks about “ColdFusion 2021 Revealing Details on How it was Created” in this episode of the CF Alive Podcast, some of the challenges the Adobe CF team overcomed with corona virus lockdowns In India and the complexities of implementing multi-cloud and containers which are totally new features for ColdFusion.

CF 2021 new features and lot more, and you can watch the full podcast here

Adobe ColdFusion Vision for the Next 10 Years, with Rakshith Naresh

I was happy to catch Rakshith Naresh, Adobe ColdFusion Product Manager, and sit down and talk about the next 10 (and more!) years of ColdFusion. He gave an amazing talk at CF Summit East 2019, about cool new features of CF 2018 and what the future brings.

So often it happens that I come across a CIO that thinks CF is dead or dying in a legacy land. One of the reasons why is that is CF is in its 24th year! This means that most of the languages didn’t even exist back then.

One more reason is that legacy code is still a big issue for most of the companies. What this means, is that so often companies don’t keep their CF regularly updated, which means, less security and more spaghetti code. But, this is easily solved by keeping your CF up to date, modern and secure.

And to continue learning how to make your ColdFusion apps more modern and alive, I encourage you to download our free ColdFusion Alive Best Practices Checklist.

Because… perhaps you are responsible for a mission-critical or revenue-generating CF application that you don’t trust 100%, where implementing new features is a painful ad-hoc process with slow turnaround even for simple requests.

What if you have no contingency plan for a sudden developer departure or a server outage? Perhaps every time a new freelancer works on your site, something breaks. Or your application availability, security, and reliability are poor.

And if you are depending on ColdFusion for your job, then you can’t afford to let your CF development methods die on the vine.

You’re making a high-stakes bet that everything is going to be OK using the same old app creation ways in that one language — forever.

All it would take is for your fellow CF developer to quit or for your CIO to decide to leave the (falsely) perceived sinking ship of CFML and you could lose everything-your project, your hard-won CF skills, and possibly even your job.

Luckily, there are a number of simple, logical steps you can take now to protect yourself from these obvious risks.

Modern ColdFusion development best practices that reduce stress, inefficiency, project lifecycle costs while simultaneously increasing project velocity and innovation.

No Brainer ColdFusion Best Practices to Ensure You Thrive No Matter What Happens Next

Easily create a consistent server architecture across development, testing, and production

A modern test environment to prevent bugs from spreading

ColdFusion Alive Best Practices Checklist

√ Automated continuous integration tools that work well with CF

A portable development environment baked into your codebase… for free!

Learn about these and many more strategies in our free ColdFusion Alive Best Practices Checklist.

Originally published at on June 6, 2020.



Michaela Light

ColdFusion development, security and optimization. CEO at TeraTech. Host of CF Alive podcast.