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

Why was the choice made to have HTML-like tags for the language, rather than something that looks visually different such as PHP, or ASP?

We believed that a new breed of developer was emerging around the Web, and that they were first users of HTML, and that it was critical to have a language that fit within the architecture and syntax of the Web, which was tag-based. This had the inherent advantage of being human readable and human writable, with a more declarative style and syntax. This allowed CF to be the easiest to learn programming language for web applications. It's been really rewarding to see the ascendance of XML as a framework for languages and meta-data, it is really validation in the core idea of tag-based languages.

A lot of people seem to think that ColdFusion's days are over. How do you feel about that statement? Do many new projects still get created in ColdFusion?

It's very far from the truth. I happened to attend part of Adobe MAX this year, and learned from the leadership there that ColdFusion has had its strongest revenue and growth year since 2001-2002, and that for two straight years the ColdFusion developer community has grown. It's still the fastest and easiest way to build great web applications.

I think one of the most common and frustrating challenges we faced was the perception that ColdFusion was a 'toy' environment and programming language.

(Jeremy Allaire)

Allaire was acquired by Macromedia in 2001 - did you have any concerns about the deal?

I was primarily responsible for this merger from the Allaire side of things, and was incredibly excited about it. We saw a really unique combined vision, bringing the world of content and design and media together with the world of applications, programming and developer tools. It was a great vision, and we executed on that vision, and it was tremendously successful.

How do you think being part of a bigger corporation helped the development?

Well, as CTO of Macromedia I had to focus on a lot more than just ColdFusion, and in fact my primary focus was on the development of our broader integrated platform (Macromedia MX) and the evolution of Flash into being a real platform for applications on the Internet.

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