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    Demonic Swordsman DGQB
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    ATTN Experienced (coldfusion) web developers


    I know this forum is partial to PHP, but I wanted to know if anyone would be kind enough to share some thoughts on coldfusion vs PHP or vs anything, really. I've read some nice things about CF, but then again they came from CFM sites, so I'd rather hear comments from regular developers. thanks.
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    I've had pretty extensive experience with both, actually.

    Thusfar, and despite CF's claims to the contrary, I've found that CFML consistantly takes noticeably more coding to achieve the same results as PHP, especially in complex applications, though the same issue applies to even trivial one-page scripts.

    CFML also uses what I consider to be counter-intuitive operators; for instance, CFML uses IS NOT in place of PHP's !=; while language substitutes such as AND instead of && are also available in PHP, CFML uses these to the exclusion of more commonly used methods.

    CFML encapsulates its code within tags, as the original purpose of the language was to allow non-technical designers the chance to use their basic HTML skills in a programmatic setting. Thus, CFML has:
    Code:
     <cfoutput> text #var# text </cfoutput>
    instead of :
    PHP Code:
    echo "text".$var."text"
    as in PHP.

    I find that the tag system can be cumbersome, esp. as most tags need end tags, which just adds to the amount of code you need. Also, by having the language tag-based, it makes it near impossible to separate functionality from layout/content. Such a separation is much easier to facilitate in PHP.

    CFML starts arrays at the number 1, instead of 0, which just screams "this is a language for designers, not programmers", much like the operators.

    I think its nice that Macromedia (MM) is trying to bind CFML to Java. However, much the same functionality is available via PHP.

    The key difference between PHP and CFML in my opinion is the impact it has on your overall skillset.

    PHP is essentially a web-specific descendant of C. If you've studied and used PHP, and it is the only programming language you've had experience with, PHP's syntax at least prepares you for using C/C++ and/or Java, due to various similarities between the languages. Also, in that same sense, Perl and Python are at least readable to you - if not even immediately available to you for use - if you've had experience with PHP. If sometime in your career there is a need for you to make a switch to one of the aforementioned languages, you stand a much, much better chance of picking up on key concepts of programming in those languages - from objects, functions, arrays, database interaction - because of PHP's similarity to other C-like languages.

    ColdFusion is related to nothing, and is based on no prior programming language - and therefore cannot prepare you for working in other languages. There are no other programming languages that are similar in syntax to CFML. If your boss asks you to work with Java, or if you decide to make a career change and learn Perl, or C, you are going to have a much more difficult time, if CFML is the only "programming" language you know.
    Last edited by drgroove; June 6th, 2003 at 04:23 PM.
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    Demonic Swordsman DGQB
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    thanks. I doubted Coldfusion REALLY has advantages over PHP/ASP/Java in the long run. Although, I have to say, I've seen more websites use CFM than those of Perl, ASP, or even JSP.
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    More sites using CFML than ASP? Really? MS-related/owned websites have some 15-20% of all internet traffic, and they're using 100% ASP. JSP maybe - actually, fwiw, over the years I've seen many sites that used JSP move over to PHP or ASP. I don't think JSP works very well (I've always found it to be a royal pain in the arse, not to mention a bit unreliable, slow, buggy...etc; not that I'm a big fan of ASP, either ...)

    Perl is a tough one... a lot of sites that use Perl have pages that end in .html, which basically masks their Perl usage. Hmmm... maybe its time to check Netcraft.
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    Demonic Swordsman DGQB
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    Regarding Perl, is it safe to say that most dynamic pages that end in .html are Perl driven? Consider this page: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/city.html?n=159
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    The Dude Abides
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    They aren't necessarily using perl, you can set your webserver to parse any file extension using whatever (perl, php, etc).

    On my server I setup .html files to be parsed as .php files. All I added was a line to an .htaccess file.

    As for Cold Fusion, I looked into it several years ago and gave it the big thumbs down. For starters it generally runs on Windoze web servers. That alone is enough for me. But I also noticed that busy sites running CF were always painfully slow, and suffered a lot of downtime.

    I'm hoping it will just slowly go away
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    Originally posted by thedude
    They aren't necessarily using perl, you can set your webserver to parse any file extension using whatever (perl, php, etc).

    On my server I setup .html files to be parsed as .php files. All I added was a line to an .htaccess file.

    As for Cold Fusion, I looked into it several years ago and gave it the big thumbs down. For starters it generally runs on Windoze web servers. That alone is enough for me. But I also noticed that busy sites running CF were always painfully slow, and suffered a lot of downtime.

    I'm hoping it will just slowly go away
    What version CFML were you using?

    CF / MX runs on Unix, Linux, or Windows equally as well; has a respectably fast load time; and its debugging messages are actually pretty good... those are essentially the only 3 things I like about working w/ CFML.

    Otherwise, I'm w/ you- big thumbs down, hoping it will just go away.
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    The Dude Abides
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    I don't remember what version, it was about 5 years ago. I knew it worked on several platforms, but the majority of hosts at the time only offered it on Windoze.

    The biggest flaw I saw at the time was the number of sites I saw that were having problems with it. Especially when they got busy.
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    Hopeless Romantic
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    I do a lot of web coding with coldfusion. I'm definitely not a designer, btw I'm not going to argue about syntax because that's purely a matter of taste, however a lot of the other common complainants about coldfusion are no longer valid with 6/MX. Performance is (a lot, lot) better, no more ODBC means everything comes and goes from your DB a lot faster too. In my opinion coldfusion's biggest weakness is that it is neither open source nor well supported by macromedia. If either of those two points where true, if it was open source or macromedia backed it to the hilt like MS does with ASP, i think you'd see coldfusion running in a lot more places - it really does have a lot going for it with regards to rapid application development.
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    Would you guys think creating a Cold Fusion board would be a good idea?
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    Originally posted by Jcaputo
    Would you guys think creating a Cold Fusion board would be a good idea?
    Believe it or not, as much as I prefer PHP over CFML, I wouldn't mind seeing a CF/MX board on Devshed. I have to code CFML for work, and as Macromedia's documentation on the language is just terrible, having an online resource to hit a community up for questions would rock.

    Macromedia has a CFML forum, but the type of users on there can be a little basic... DS seems to attract more advanced/experienced programmers.

    You got my vote.
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    Originally posted by cfgeek
    I do a lot of web coding with coldfusion. I'm definitely not a designer, btw I'm not going to argue about syntax because that's purely a matter of taste, however a lot of the other common complainants about coldfusion are no longer valid with 6/MX. Performance is (a lot, lot) better, no more ODBC means everything comes and goes from your DB a lot faster too. In my opinion coldfusion's biggest weakness is that it is neither open source nor well supported by macromedia. If either of those two points where true, if it was open source or macromedia backed it to the hilt like MS does with ASP, i think you'd see coldfusion running in a lot more places - it really does have a lot going for it with regards to rapid application development.
    cfgeek - I didn't mean to offend you (or anyone else) in any way w/ my comment that CFML is a language for designers, not programmers. To clarify, what I think I was trying to get at with my comment was the history of the language - the original purpose of CFML was to provide a lightweight, easy to use scripting language for web developers/designers whose only coding experience was HTML. Hence why CFML is a tag-based language... sorry if I stepped on your toes.

    I completely agree w/ you about MM's backing; CFML has been their red-headed step child ever since they bought Allaire; fwiw, MM used .jsp for their own website until just recently. The documentation for CFML is the pits - books, training materials... I haven't seen anything that approaches whats available for PHP or other web scripting languages.
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    Hopeless Romantic
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    Originally posted by drgroove
    cfgeek - I didn't mean to offend you (or anyone else) in any way w/ my comment that CFML is a language for designers, not programmers. To clarify, what I think I was trying to get at with my comment was the history of the language - the original purpose of CFML was to provide a lightweight, easy to use scripting language for web developers/designers whose only coding experience was HTML. Hence why CFML is a tag-based language... sorry if I stepped on your toes.
    You didn't! You're 100% correct.

    Originally posted by drgroove
    I completely agree w/ you about MM's backing; CFML has been their red-headed step child ever since they bought Allaire; fwiw, MM used .jsp for their own website until just recently. The documentation for CFML is the pits - books, training materials... I haven't seen anything that approaches whats available for PHP or other web scripting languages.
    I always got the impression that CFMX was traditionally geared more as an intranet solution. This seemed to be reflected in many aspects of the product, including support and pricing. It's changing, though. I, for one, hope that CFMX doesn't just go away
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    Hopeless Romantic
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    Originally posted by Jcaputo
    Would you guys think creating a Cold Fusion board would be a good idea?
    I'd like to see that. I have no delusions about it getting a lot of traffic, though.
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    Originally posted by cfgeek
    You didn't! You're 100% correct.



    I always got the impression that CFMX was traditionally geared more as an intranet solution. This seemed to be reflected in many aspects of the product, including support and pricing. It's changing, though. I, for one, hope that CFMX doesn't just go away
    Interesting... we actually use PHP for our internet sites, and CFML for our intranet sites where I work. Never made that connection, though...

    Hey! Check out the CFML forum! JCaputo doesn't waste any time, does he???
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