Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Coldfusion does not do Ecommerce Well??? - Blog

Go down near the end of the page, and you'll see the comment by Ben Forta on ecommerce.

I work for an ecommerce site, so hearing that ColdFusion is not a good solutions, really just hit me through the roof.

To make it easy, here's the Ben Forta quote:

Craig, the e-commerce space has never been where CF does well. Sure, it did ok there in the .COM era, but that was an exception, not the rule. Most of CF development happens on intranets and extranets and portals, internal stuff, and that is what CF is best at.

How can I deal with this? Can Ben Forta be wrong, or have we as coders just not persuaded the world that we can create stable, profitable ecommerce sites?

Perhaps, if you understood my personal work situation a little bit, that may add to your understanding.

For the last two years, I have been working for an ecommerce company. From day one, my job has been to clean up the horrible coding that was put in place, by a company using a packaged ecommerce system.

Every day, for the last year, I have been fighting with my boss, to help finish the cleaning process, to both clean up the code, database, files, folders everything.

Only each year, we never get it done, and he keeps coming up with reasons, why any other technology would automatically solve all our problems.

So here I am, trying to fight for my sanity, and wonder what can I do?

I am not a quitter, so every day, I work on different ways to improve the quality and stability, just so we can cleanly add new features and functionality.

And the funny thing is, each year, my boss finds a new technology, tries to get bids for pricing and either the prices are way out of our reach, or they really are not good solutions.

In other words, when you have a complicated site, it's unrealistic to just buy a package, and expect to easily deploy all your custom needs and features.

Also, it was way more expensive than coldfusion was.

So that adds to my relief and frustration, trying to save my job, trying to do the right thing no matter what.

And then this year, we decided to finish the clean up work, but instead of asking me to help finish it up, or to hire some desperately needed additional personnel, he decides to outsource all the final cleanup work.

Now during all this time, I have been starting my process of writing my first CFDJ article, hopefully to come out in june. All about why coldfusion is a great solution for ecommerce.

I get more and more fired up, I had presumed, that the reason coldfusion was so down-trodded upon, was that we really hadn't done good work.

I mean the kind of good work, that doesn't require you to come back a week later, and fix all the errors, you never fixed in the first time.

Have we as an industry done really good, high quality work??


I mean I still hear of people, that do not see the need to comment their code, or think worrying about performance is lame.

So here I am, my boss just left for 3 weeks in France like he usually does every year. Summer is a our slow time, which is the perfect time to finish cleaning up the code, and totally revamping our ecommerce coding, database and all.

But instead, it's much more important that he goes to France.

Anyways, I don't mean to get on his case.

But I am on fire here, and wanting to show and prove why coldfusion is a great answer for Ecommerce.

But if Ben Forta doesn't believe it's good for Ecommerce, what am I to do?

That's why I get upset about all this flash, oo, java talk, because I am not sure, that as cfer's we've really mastered the basics?

I mean, are the customers happy with the work you did, has it improved their profitability,because you did it, or it was done in ColdFusion?

My point of all this, is that this is a fight, not some hoping things work out right.

I am dedicating this blog to prove to the world that ColdFusion is a great solution for speedy, stable and profitable ecommerce sites.

But that means, that we all, have to be coding at higher levels of quality.

Project Management
Correct SQL Coding Stability and Performance
Bug Tracking
Error Proofing

Whatever it takes to prove that Coldfusion is not dead, nor dying.

That's my humble freaking opinion.


  1. Anonymous4:13 PM

    You are completely misunderstanding his comment!

    He was simply saying that ColdFusion has not traditionally sold well into the market of developers that build e-commerce sites. He is *NOT* saying that ColdFusion is not good for e-commerce.


  2. Anonymous4:52 PM

    Craig, I understand your frustrations about things. However your frustrations are what every developer goes through no matter what language they are using.

    Sean is right, Ben was not saying that CF can not be used successfully with an E-Commerce application. He was simply saying that the main market for CF is on Intranets, Extranets, etc. And that CF does not have that much of a market within the E-Commerce market place.

    Mostly because the E-Commerce market place is and has been flooded with reasonable solutions already.

    CF is marketed to and does very well within the private behind the scenes work. There is a lot more respect for CF than you realize. I can tell so many stories of wonderful applications that I have done and that others have done, but am bound by NDAs on them because they are private systems for very large corporations and government agencies.

    The problems you are facing is because you know how an application _should_ be, but can't get it there because it is too much work for one person and that your boss does not understand or does not care.

    Your boss hears you say that this needs to be done, and this needs to be done that really doesn't show him anything visually or show him the benefit immediately. He then thinks it's not worth the time and money involved in paying you to get it to a position where you will feel conformable about the application.

    I've been there, I know it sucks, but remember it's his application you are writing, not yours. It's his money, his time. You just have to do the best you can do with the resources that you have.

    And just because you don't see or hear about Enterprise CF applications, doesn't mean they don't exist.

    And I do want to comment on your post about MVC also.

    I was there too, I thought the way you did. Like it didn't matter if my business logic was in with my display. As long as it was properly documented.

    I found out the hard way. And when I finally started doing it like everyone suggested, development has come so much easier. It is easier to document, it is easier to reuse, and it is easier to maintain, when you're separating your business logic.

    I used to think at the time that no separation was just fine, I said "I'm doing large applications with no problems, so why should I separate it and change the way I'm doing things". Then what happened was that the "large" application that I was working on, really did well for my company and we sold hundreds of them. Now about 70 or so wanted custom pieces done. And I was overwhelmed, it was just me. Then a bug would come in that was part of my so called framework and I was tasked with implementing the fix in all the systems. Now when I would, that fix that I thought was a fix, actually broke other things in the custom applications.

    Now years after that incident, I have all of our applications with their business logic separated from the displays. Now when we sell, one and since there is a standard way of implementing features, it's a button click for me.

    If I need documentation, I run my framework spider and it automatically creates the documentation. If I want to provide something as a webservice, I drop in an xml file and it works, no matter how many additions have been added to the different applications.

    Trust me, and others when they tell you that the MVC is the way to go. It's difficult to realize it before something happens, but it will.

    Bryan F. Hogan

  3. Anonymous5:36 PM

    something about this blog just rubs me the wrong way. looks like the author is just looking for some attention.

  4. Anonymous6:39 PM

    The title and second sentence/paragraph of your post presume that Ben Forta has said that ColdFusion does not do e-commerce well. Nowhere in his writing do I interpret any indication of this. ColdFusion is as capable as any other platform for creating an e-commerce site, obviously you know this. Ben knows it too.

    Three weeks off in France sounds like a great way for your boss to clean up and optimize the code residing in his wetware(his brain).

    I admire your passion. But you won't be productive if your ambissions are clouded by resentment. Perhaps you should take a break, get some perspective, and have a heart to heart with your boss on his return.

    NOTE: I don't care to post anonymously, but I don't have a blogger sign in and i'm not about to create one just to avoid being anonymous.


  5. You've already received some pretty good advice from previous posts but one thing i'd like to add is the need to make your boss understand the value behind good conding practices and frameworks.

    Your boss, like most bosses and clients, don't really care about how well a job you did on the programming as long as you deliver on time and on budget. I shouldn't say "don't really care", but rather, they think they've hired a good programmer to do good programming, so they don't feel the need to explicitly come out and say "hey, did you do a good job in the programming?"
    Rather, it is up to you (us programmers), to make sure that our code is up to snuff, whatever the language.

    To get back to my original thought, make sure that your boss understands that "good code" takes time to write. It requires a lot more planning and it requires deep understanding of business processes in order to actually solve the problems the application is aimed at. I've written a lot of applications in my 6 years of CF dev, and I can tell you that the late phone calls I get when something breaks is due to applications that I either didn't think through or built as quickly as I could without using some sort of methodology like MVC for example.

    In other words, spend time planning or spend time fixing. My personal preference is the former.

  6. Thank all of you for your very good feedback.

    And I also thank you for allowing me to vent a little, learning these kinds of things is very hard, when you are self-taught, training is expected but not supported.

    I was even amazed to go to my first company-supported convention two years ago.

    Here's my question now, if all these great ecommerce applications/sites were created, but we can't talk about them because of nda's, then how do we prove to the rest of the world that we're really that great?

    I apologize to those who I rub the wrong war, but if i see something as truth, and i say it, it's not because I am trying to insult you or shock you.

    Sometimes we have these assumptions, that may be completely invalid unless they get challenged.

    And sometimes I get challenged and learn something that i thought was wrong.

    I just don't take it personally.

    Most of all, my drive is to learn, which is a pain, since I can't afford to go to conferences, and it's rare that any company would pay for conferences or any other training.

  7. Anonymous1:56 AM

    I posted several comments on your personal blog ( ) and you simply deleted them... You're a bit of a right-wing loony aren't you?

  8. Anonymous8:34 AM

    "Here's my question now, if all these great ecommerce applications/sites were created, but we can't talk about them because of nda's, then how do we prove to the rest of the world that we're really that great?"

    It's not only commerce sites, and few are. The answer is, I don't know. But remember word of mouth in IT backrooms, and board meetings is better than any advertising anyone can do.

  9. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Well, Craig, I'm back. I've put you back on my Goog feed. This blog is very entertaining, hilarious even!

  10. Anonymous2:59 PM

    I don't think you were TOTALLY misinterpreting Ben's remarks. After all, he said "....that is what CF is best at", which to me, clearly implies that it is not as good at ecommerce. And if you read between the lines knowing Bens position at MM, you realize he could probably not make a stronger statement about CF's suitability for an application for which it's been used alot.


  11. Anonymous10:23 PM seems to think cf does ecommerce well

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