Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

What Kind of ColdFusion Developer Are You?

How CF 8 can change your profile

My editorial last month was a high-level overview of all the new features in ColdFusion 8. Many of these features were generally divided into one of two categories: features that address developer productivity and those that focus on integrating with other products and technologies.

Categorizing all of the new features into one of two categories is a high-level generalization but necessary when attempting to explain such a long list of features and enhancements in only two pages of text. This month I'm going to talk about ColdFusion developers and how CF 8 can change the landscape of the developer profile - and I'm going to generalize again because there's a lot to say on the matter.

The days of one developer or another having complete mastery over everything that can be done in a CF app appears to be fading quickly. There are far too many server features and technologies for one developer to be expert in every one. As I see it, developers will most likely specialize in one (or more) of five areas.

UI Experts - ColdFusion 8 now supports creating Flash, HTML, and AJAX interfaces, generating output as Flash, PDF, and HTML, and creating/manipulating images. In addition to supporting output in different formats and reporting with the report builder, there's a powerful charting/graphing engine built into CF. Coupled with the fact that Web browser CSS and JavaScript support is more consistent and robust and that good CSS layout and skinning has become the norm, we have a unique class of CF developers who specialize in creating user interfaces and other output for the Web.

Business Logic Experts - CFML has decent support for object orientation, XML, server events, conditional logic, threading, and so many more server-side features that are transparent to end users. The need for developers who specialize in architecture and in server-side logic and processes is unlikely to ever go away - in fact, more complex Web applications are being built today than ever before, and there's a strong demand for developers that can do these tasks.

Integration Experts - ColdFusion has long had support for communication/integration with external technologies and products such as Verity, Java/COM/CORBA, mail servers, LDAP servers, and RDBMS (databases). Between ColdFusion 7 and 8 support for several new databases were added as has integration/communication support for .NET, lifecycle data services, SMS gateways, Flash Communication Server, and Exchange servers. In fact, event gateways allow integration/communication with external applications/technologies via pretty much any protocol supported by Java, so integration with anything is possible. As more companies choose to make CF the middle tier in their organization, a need for integration experts will arise.

Configuration Experts - Since ColdFusion moved onto the J2EE platform with the release of CF MX, only a handful of us felt comfortable rolling up our sleeves and configuring/optimizing the underlying Java Application Server or even the EAR/WAR settings for the CF server itself. The demand for developers competent in troubleshooting and optimizing CF and its underlying engine is definitely growing. With the release of ColdFusion 8, there is now a very robust server monitor built into CF, which gives administrators access to server metrics and allows for more accurate and quicker performance/stability troubleshooting to be done. ColdFusion 8 also lets CF run on much more current JVM versions, and with new JVM versions comes changes in how to optimize the underlying engine. CF 8 also introduces some new CF admin features for optimizing threading and request performance. More and more developers will have serious expertise in fine-tuning and troubleshooting CF servers in the near future.

RIA Experts - The last category of developers who use CF and specialize in a specific field doesn't actually specialize much in ColdFusion itself. They specialize in creating Rich Internet Applications with Flex/Flash/AJAX, and/or specialize in developing Web-enabled desktop applications using technologies such as Java, .NET, or more likely, AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime - formerly known as Apollo). These developers spend most of their time building slick, smart clients but use ColdFusion to provide services - server-side logic, database, mail server, and other product/technology integration. Though they don't specialize in CF per se, these developers will be familiar with ColdFusion Component syntax and most likely with how to configure the communication channels between Flex and CF using lifecycle data services, event gateways, and/or the Flex 2 gateway. They will also know enough ColdFusion to do what they need in the CFCs to leverage their applications - I'd imagine that, if nothing else, they'll be familiar with how to query databases and send e-mail.

Missing Categories - When I put this list together, I was torn over whether or not specialists in reporting and charting should be considered a sixth category of specialized developers, since there's definitely potential for such a group of developers. So far it appears that true specialization in reporting/charting doesn't appear to be widespread but I'm seeing demand more and more for people who specialize in this, and it wouldn't surprise me if such a class of developer did arise. Besides developers who specialize in CF server features, there's another category of specialist: frameworks specialists. Whether they choose to specialize in one framework or several of them, many developers are now focusing much of their attention on gaining expertise with CFML-based frameworks. This trend will likely grow, as more frameworks are released - and the CF developer community becomes more mature - the market for framework experts grows.

It's important to keep in mind that ColdFusion makes it easy for developers to achieve results, so most CF developers will be fairly comfortable moving around between the various areas of expertise whenever they need to, but personalities and business requirements combined will encourage them to specialize to some degree. Many developers will specialize in several of these areas, but it's unlikely that anyone will have time to become a true "expert" in all, given the diversity of these categories and the rate at which features are introduces as well as the rate at which the industry is evolving. While well-roundedness is never a bad thing, also remember that specialization can often make you more marketable and a better developer, so don't be afraid to ask yourself what type of developer you are, but perhaps set your sights on becoming a specialist in an area where you're currently not.

More Stories By Simon Horwith

Simon Horwith is the CIO at AboutWeb, LLC, a Washington, DC based company specializing in staff augmentation, consulting, and training. Simon is a Macromedia Certified Master Instructor and is a member of Team Macromedia. He has been using ColdFusion since version 1.5 and specializes in ColdFusion application architecture, including architecting applications that integrate with Java, Flash, Flex, and a myriad of other technologies. In addition to presenting at CFUGs and conferences around the world, he has also been a contributing author of several books and technical papers.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Saikat 10/03/07 05:30:57 AM EDT

It's good to know about the charting/graphing component of CF. However, FusionCharts, the Flash based charting solution, is also a simple yet powerful tool to create attractive and interactive charts using CF. FusionCharts online documentation has a separate section for CF developers. You can get more info at: [http://www.fusioncharts.com/]

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.