Macromedia, Blackstone, and the Little Guy

Well, as is no doubt now common knowledge, CF 7 (Blackstone) is
out.  Let me be one of the first to congratulate Macromedia on a
solid product update with some nice enhancements.  Let me also be
one of the first to say I don't consider it worth the upgrade from CFMX
(6.1), unless you're using Enterprise edition.  Some of the
features are quite nice, some have a real wow factor, and there are
even a handful that are quite useful.  But it seems that the
beneficial ones are mostly Enterprise-only, and not worth the extra
$4,800 compared to what you get for $1,200 with Standard edition.

Application events are the single greatest enhancement in the
release.  Without question, the new forms stuff is nice, but
mostly the fact that they now generate decent code (why this wasn't
fixed before is unclear), not all the skinning/Flash crap.  The
Administrator API could prove handy, and the fixes to QofQs is also
nice to see.  Still not a whole lot for your $650 upgrade fee, if
you ask me.  Now if Standard edition came with async processing
(with or without the rest of the gateway stuff), that would have made
it much more reasonable.

The company I work for (an ASP with CF-based products) runs CF on seven
different servers: a production cluster of seven machines of which
three run CF, another standalone production box (different apps), one
staging server (used for both the cluster and the single box), and two
shared development servers.  The development servers run the
DevNet Enterprise edition with a handful of instances each, and the
rest run Standard edition.  Unfortunately, since DevNet is going
away, we're going to end up having to fork for at least one Enterprise
license, but that's a whole separate rant.  I certainly wouldn't
consider us to be a large user of CFMX, but we're not a tiny little
company either, and CF 7 is obviously targetted WAY over our
heads.  Bottom line, CF 7 is cool, but I know we won't be
upgrading any time soon unless circumstances change significantly.

Macromedia is shifting to the enterprise market with their whole server
line, and seemingly without much regard for the little guy, and that
pisses me off.  ColdFusion is a great product, and while it
integrates very nicely into enterprise environments, one of it's
hallmarks has always been it's combination of simplicity and
ease-of-use, without having to sacrifice power.  It seems almost
like Macromedia is mocking that concept by offering all the power to
the large client (who needs to be even richer with CF 7 than CFMX), and
offering a lot of eye candy to the smaller user.

And now, without further ado, let the flames begin….

5 responses to “Macromedia, Blackstone, and the Little Guy”

  1. Geoff Bowers

    Seriously mate, talk about glass half full. Application events are worth 650 alone, let alone all the other schwag.

  2. Ray Buechler


    How about the reporting features? Those are huge and in my opinion the single greatest enhancement in Blackstone. They are also included in the standard edition.


  3. Barney

    Ray, the reporting is pretty cool, that was pure oversight that I missed it in my post. I can't say I've ever had much problem making reports with HTML/CSS, but having a GUI to do it is nice, and saving to PDF might be useful too. But keep in mind that it's windows only, and since I run Linux, it's of no use to me.

    Geoff, yes, app events are very valuable, and if you're starting new apps that can leverage it without reworking, probably worth the cash for that improvement alone. But when you've got a bunch of servers to upgrade, and a small number of large applications that won't be immediately rewritten to leverage the new features, it's a big expense for reasonably little benefit. And since we're already going have to buy an Enterprise license for our development server (for no additional functionality, just to deal with their changed licensing), there's no rush to send Macromedia another $5000 without real benefits.

  4. Steve Bryant

    Note that the reporting feature will run on Linux. It is only the desktop tool to generate the .cfr that runs on Windows only (as does HomeSite).

  5. Maxim Porges

    I'm with you on the licensing, Barney. Luckily, dropping $60,000+ on CF 7 licensing and support is a barely noticable expense to my employer (you should see what our Oracle licenses cost…), but if I was an ISV or small shop I'd certainly be feeling the pain.

    I too wish Macromedia all the best, but going from $1,200 to $6,000 between two versions is kind of extreme. It would be nice if they had a la carte pricing for users to pick and choose between features for their own custom version.

    - max