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ColdFusion: Article

Who's Using ColdFusion?

Who's Using ColdFusion?

I actually look forward to the question, because I enjoy seeing their surprise when I list some of them. I don't have a definitive list, but it's enough to impress most who ask.

How Can You Tell It's a CF Site?
Have you ever noticed (or wondered) if a favorite site uses CF? Actually, you might have a bit of trouble trying to tell. Why? Well, perhaps they use frames. If so, you won't see any .cfm URLs at the top of the page, since such a site nearly always shows just the main site URL in the browser address window.

Still you can get around that problem by rolling your mouse over a hyperlink to see the page it would go to, shown at the bottom of your browser in the status bar. See if you find any CFM file links. Another resource: if you look at the source code for a form submission page, the form's ACTION attribute may refer to a CF file.

Even then many high-volume sites are now using static HTML pages for much of their more frequently visited static pages (though they might get equally good performance and still benefit from CFINCLUDE, etc., if they used CFCACHE, but that's for another article).

Hertz's site is an example of this. Most links on the front page are to .htm files, but there are some to .cfm files if you look closely. Same too for VoiceStream's site. You have to dig even deeper into Motorola's site. Bank of America's front page shows a few cgi files, but keep looking. They're all using CF if they're on my list at left.

Is Anyone Keeping a List of CF Sites?
Actually, yes. Ben Forta keeps a list of CF sites, to which you may freely add any you find, at www.forta.com/cf/using/. It's quite an amazing list, broken down into nearly 30 categories.

One problem I find is that it doesn't break out the "big name" sites from mom and pop or hobbyist ones. If you're trying to impress your board or IS department with a "who's who" list, you need to know the big players (CattleSale.com really is a lovely and well-done site for its market, but doesn't have quite the prestige of BMW USA or TAG Heuer).

Also, perusing the list is a little challenging because some sites have listed themselves multiple times to gain extra coverage. For instance, ForTheFarm.com is listed in numerous categories such as automotive, careers, education, health, and recreation. That may make sense to them but with many sites cross-posting themselves this way, it becomes hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, if you'll pardon the pun.

In essence, I've done the hard work for you here, and also added a few not listed at the time of this writing on Ben's otherwise deep and much-appreciated resource (Bank of America, Campbell Soup, FDIC, Hertz, Logitech, Motorola, Swiss Army, Symantec, U.S. Mint, and VoiceStream).

Allaire also offers a small list at www.allaire.com/products/coldfusion/CustomerSuccesses/eCommerce/, as well as a few case studies elsewhere on their site.

The List, 03/2001
This is by no means an exhaustive list. I've concentrated only on names that I think most people (in the U.S.) would recognize. Even then, I also tried to limit it to sites that demonstrate large-scale use (sure, some sites may be about familiar subjects like Tolkien-Online.com, but it's probably not a highly trafficked site. No offense to fans and the site designers!). I also haven't listed some that are identified as using CF (on Ben's site or elsewhere).

If I couldn't quickly find a Web site's use of CF (even if someone said the site uses it), and instead saw the site using some other approach for the pages that should be dynamic, I dropped it from my list, figuring they'd probably converted to another server technology since being identified. I've tried to focus on sites that are committed to ColdFusion in a big way.

Also, while there are some organizations using CF for internal sites, I've chosen not to list them. I figure if we can't verify that they're using it and observe it for ourselves, then it's best not to list them.

As such, it's an arbitrary list, and I may have left off something that's quite noteworthy. I welcome feedback. I've also confirmed that each site is still running under CF. (Some noteworthy ones from the past, such as ToysRUs, are no longer CF sites.)

Finally, I've also dropped the http://www from each, since we know it's expected, except in cases where visiting the site without it would fail (such as www.casio-usa.com and www.mclaughlin.com: yes, that McLaughlin Group).

In a category of sites not listed are those using JSP: AT&T Wireless and FunCoLand. I should clarify. These may indeed be Allaire customers running JRun, but there's no way to know that, and anyway this is "Who's using CF." If they're still using CF on some part of their site, it wasn't apparent.

My Favorite to Share
Finally, I'll close with one of my favorite sites to share with students and others asking "Who uses CF?" It's often asked in a defensive way, asserting they've not heard of any, or wondering why a site wouldn't use some other technology (sad, really, because it seems that the question of CF's productivity and enterprise scalability has been answered by now).

So I love to point out a pair of sites (related to each other) that you'd think, if the site owners wanted to, could easily choose "another technology" for their Web application server. But they didn't. Check out sqlmag.com (SQL Server Magazine) and its sister publication win2000mag.net (Windows 2000 Magazine). Hmm. Using CF instead of ASP! That always sparks some chortles.

Oh, and while you may not be surprised to learn that our very own ColdFusionJournal.com is a CF site, you may be intrigued to learn that the same goes for its sister publications: Java Developer's Journal, XML-Journal, and Wireless Business & Technology.

I hope this list proves useful to you. Please do send me (and Ben) any significant sites to add.

The List

Bank of America


Campbell Soup

Casio USA

Catholic University of America

Computer Warehouse


Deluxe Check

Dirt Devil


Foot Locker




Hofstra University

Mail Boxes Etc.


MacMillan Computer Publishing



PeachTree Software

Pepperidge Farm
(pepperidgefarm.com) -no "s"

Sams Publishing

San Diego Chargers

Simon and Schuster

SmartMoney - Wall St. Journal

Swiss Army Knife


TAG Heuer Watches

The McLaughlin Group

US Bank

USDA Graduate School

US Mint


Walter Reed Army
Medical Center

More Stories By Charlie Arehart

A veteran ColdFusion developer since 1997, Charlie Arehart is a long-time contributor to the community and a recognized Adobe Community Expert. He's a certified Advanced CF Developer and Instructor for CF 4/5/6/7 and served as tech editor of CFDJ until 2003. Now an independent contractor (carehart.org) living in Alpharetta, GA, Charlie provides high-level troubleshooting/tuning assistance and training/mentoring for CF teams. He helps run the Online ColdFusion Meetup (coldfusionmeetup.com, an online CF user group), is a contributor to the CF8 WACK books by Ben Forta, and is frequently invited to speak at developer conferences and user groups worldwide.

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Most Recent Comments
Aimee 12/09/08 10:12:50 AM EST

Could it be possible that my favorite site TheColor.com is a CF site. I am not particular of any sites when I look for one.

charles arehart 02/23/02 09:33:00 PM EST

Folks, I've learned of still more sites using CF. If you're interested, check out my site at http://www.systemanage.com/cff/who_uses_cf.cfm

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