An interview with ColdFusion co-creator Jeremy Allaire

In the latest installment of Computerworld's A-Z of programming languages we chat with ColdFusion co-creator, Jeremy Allaire

Where does the name ColdFusion come from?

It's a long story, but basically, a good friend of ours was a creative type, and came up with the name, in part because it mapped to an existing logo that was built for an earlier name for ColdFusion (it was early on called Horizon and Prometheus, and even WebDB). The "prometheus" logo (hand and lightening bolt) worked well with the name. But we liked the brand - it represented the idea of "effortless power", which is how we wanted people to feel when using the product. It also sounds revolutionary, given the science concept. And it was about "fusing" the Web and data.

Were there any particularly difficult or frustrating problems you had to overcome in the development of ColdFusion?

I think one of the most common and frustrating challenges we faced was the perception that ColdFusion was a 'toy' environment and programming language. Because we started with a pretty simple utility, and a simple language, and at first didn't target the most sophisticated enterprise applications, there was a "knock" on ColdFusion as not being scalable or a robust environment. I think it wasn't until ColdFusion 4.0 that we really shook that, and had a super robust server, really advanced features, and proved it was highly scalable.

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Would you have done anything differently in the development of ColdFusion if you had the chance?

I think we waited too long to embrace Java as a run-time platform for the ColdFusion environment. We had acquired JRun, and had planned to migrate to a J2EE-based architecture, but we delayed and it took longer than we had thought. I think that could have helped grow the momentum for ColdFusion during a critical time in the marketplace.

Are there many third party libraries?

I haven't really kept track of where things stand now, but back in 2002, there was a massive range of 3rd party libraries and custom add-ons for ColdFusion, and a quick peak at the Adobe Developer's Exchange shows a still very impressive base of libraries available.

Has anyone re-implemented parts of the language into other frameworks?

Sure, there are straight ports of CFML into other environments, like BlueDragon for ASP.NET, and of course most of the server-side scripting environments have adopted conventions that we invented in CFML.

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