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ColdFusion: Article

Where's ColdFusion Headed Under Adobe?

Simon Horwith Speaks With David Mendels, Senior Vice President of Adobe's New Enterprise and Developer Solutions Business Unit

"Adobe has been very successful in selling into the enterprise. This can only help ColdFusion going forward," says Dave Mendels, SVP of Adobe's new Enterprise & Developer Solutions business unit (pictured), in this exclusive interview with ColdFusion Developer's Journal.  'Scorpio' is still on course, Mendels confirms, and the ColdFusion product development team is already hard at work devising the best way to harness synergies between CF and Adobe’s LiveCycle products. 

Simon Horwith: You must be very excited about the completion of the Adobe acquisition.  Can you share your thoughts on what it will be like working at Adobe?  

David Mendels: Adobe is an innovative, exciting company which I’m thrilled to now be part of.  As we’ve worked through the details of the acquisition it has become clear to me that Adobe and Macromedia share a common vision and commitment to customers and technology innovation.  We have overlapping customers, and not that much overlap in technologies. The end result is that I really believe that the new combined company is greater than the sum of its parts.

This is the second time that ColdFusion has been acquired by a new company. The Macromedia/Allaire acquisition ended up being a very positive step in the evolution of ColdFusion, despite initial community fears and misgivings.  What does this acquisition mean for ColdFusion and its legions of dedicated users?

DM: The ColdFusion product team is already working on the next great release of ColdFusion codenamed Scorpio, a project that was started before the merger was announced, and one that has continued throughout the transition. Now that we are part of Adobe, we have many new opportunities to leverage and integrate with other Adobe technologies to bring more power to ColdFusion.  The product team is excited about the possibilities and is currently hard at work evaluating how to best leverage Adobe’s powerful set of technologies for use in Scorpio. In addition, Adobe has been very successful in selling into the enterprise. This can only help ColdFusion going forward.

The developer segment of the market is not one that Adobe had traditionally been involved in.  What do the Adobe upper management and decision makers think of ColdFusion and its users?

DM: First of all, Adobe management and decision makers are a very good mix of folks who have been at Adobe and folks who have been at Macromedia and Allaire—so it is not like you have a whole new team.  Kevin Lynch is still our chief software architect.  I am still running the CF and Flex business (and now LiveCycle too).  Damon Cooper is still leading the CF product development team. Ben Forta is still our evangelist. And so on. The new Adobe is indeed very interested and committed to the developer market. This is in fact one of the big reasons that Adobe was interested in acquiring Macromedia. Adobe recognizes that ColdFusion is an important, healthy part of the business and has a continued commitment to move the ColdFusion business forward.  This begins with Scorpio

Okay, then where does ColdFusion fit into the Adobe product strategy?

DM: ColdFusion fits squarely in the new Enterprise and Developer Solutions Business Unit.  Here we will focus on leveraging the combined LiveCycle, Flex and ColdFusion technologies to provide a rich set of technologies for building and deploying both Web and document-based solutions. The developer market has of course always been a key market for Macromedia and is now also a key market for Adobe. 

Can you offer any insight into potential future integration between ColdFusion and Adobe products and technologies?

DM: We’ll it is too soon to make any specific announcements—we have a lot of work to do. After recently shipping Merrimack (aka ColdFusion MX 7.0.1) the whole CF team has been totally focused on planning for the future.

Having said that, there are two types of integration that we are looking into.  First, there are capabilities in both ColdFusion and Adobe’s LiveCycle products that could provide mutual benefit to each other.  These include reporting, workflow, document generation, forms design, charting and graphing and more.  The respective product teams are now working together to determine how to best leverage these capabilities in both product lines. 

Then there are some obvious areas like PDF document generation.  Given that we introduced PDF document generation, in its most basic form in the last major release of ColdFusion, it will be natural for us to extend this capability to leverage the rich set of capabilities offered in PDF.  Things like digital signatures, dynamic forms, workflow and more.  Adobe also offers a forms designer product that could potentially offer ColdFusion a more productive forms design capability. 

I’m not committing to anything here, but the product team is looking at all of this and more.  And we want your input. As usual, send us ideas at [email protected].

Can we expect any changes to the pricing or packaging of ColdFusion?

DM: No, we don’t have any plans in this area. It is always possible at some time in the future, but you shouldn’t expect any specific changes based on the acquisition by Adobe to current offerings.

Community interaction and involvement have long been the hallmark of the ColdFusion experience. Be it bloggers, user groups, conferences, the community has always enjoyed a close relationship with the ColdFusion team. Will this relationship continue under Adobe, and can we expect Macromedia to nudge Adobe into becoming a more developer-centric company?

DM: Yes. The same people that have been building and maintaining ColdFusion over many years are continuing on with the product.  We are absolutely committed to maintaining continuing communications with the ColdFusion community.  The Macromedia team is now an integral part of Adobe so you can expect that the community focus that you’ve experienced in the past will continue moving forward. When Macromedia acquired Allaire, lots of Allaire customers worried that Macromedia was not as developer-centric as Allaire had been. Those fears proved unwarranted, Macromedia took the best of the Allaire developer experience and combined it with the best of the Macromedia experience, and the end result proved beneficial to all. I expect that same will happen here.  By the way, check out Adobe’s bloggers at blogs.adobe.com.

Do you have any final comments on the future of ColdFusion?

DM: Yes, I do.  ColdFusion and the loyal community of developers who have played such a key role in its evolution for the past 10 years are important to Adobe, today and in the future.  As ColdFusion is acquired and integrated into its new Adobe family, I remain passionate about ensuring that Adobe continues to focus resources on moving ColdFusion forward, leveraging the rich family of products and technologies now offered by Adobe. 

ColdFusion MX7 has proven to be an incredibly successful product. This success is primarily the result of combining a proven solid architecture with features and technologies that solve real problems. Incidentally, the re-architecture that was ColdFusion MX means that ColdFusion and LiveCycle are built on the same Java foundation – the pieces fit together really nicely.

The ColdFusion product team is cooking up some exciting new capabilities for Scorpio and we look forward to once again providing new, critical advancements in what developers can build and how they build them.  And finally, we thank you for your continuing commitment to ColdFusion and we look forward to delivering innovative, groundbreaking new releases in the months and years to come. 

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