Over the past few months I’ve ventured out of my cave of comfort to attempt to learn something new or revisit something I used to know. First, I looked at Java. There are a significant number of jobs out there for Java developers. While I have toyed with Java before, I forgot how cumbersome the process of writing, debugging, compiling, testing and deploying really is. I forgot because Coldfusion allows you to write and deploy pretty much all in one step if you work directly on the server. The just-in-time compiler makes life so much easier and you get to write code and deliver products in a few minutes rather than an hour or so.
Next, I revisited my old friend PHP. I learned PHP before I learned Coldfusion (in 1997). I’ve used PHP on a regular basis at work and home, but mostly just for doing some task on a server that didn’t have Coldfusion available. One reason I choose my hosting companies are because they offer Coldfusion and because trying to parse PHP caused me to chew off my left index finger. Yeah, it was painful. XML in Coldfusion can be as simple as executing a query against a pseudo-table that you create on the fly out of XML. Speaking of queries, I like being able to just insert a CFQUERY tag with two other parameters (name and datasource) and my query and it’s done. Setting up the datasource in the CF Administrator tool is easier than blowing your nose. In PHP, you have to track down the right config file and edit it. It’s not that hard to do, I know, but it’s also not as easy as Coldfusion.
I looked at other tools that were supposed to make creating a dynamic website simple. Ruby on Rails and other MVC-based tools suck the life out of you by implementing more requirements and constraints and generating code. No thank you. I’ll generate my own code. And with CF, you can build incredibly dynamic websites with two simple tags, CFQuery and CFOutput.
I’m not saying that other technologies don’t have their place as obviously they do. WordPress is written in PHP. But, I didn’t write it and most of the code modifications I’ve done within WordPress have been either minor cosmetics or unduly painful. I know, Coldfusion isn’t free, but in this case, you get what you pay for and then some.
Of course, that’s just my $0.02.