Before continuing, I am aware that the likelihood of this every happing is remote at best, but that won’t keep me from dreaming. If I could choose 1 thing – just 1! – for ColdFusion 9, it would have nothing at all to do with new features. In fact, it would actually mean less features in way.
What is this wish?
… a totally stripped down free version of ColdFusion.
Why would they do this? It would make ColdFusion far more accessible to the masses and would encourage a much larger user base. If Adobe was to offer a stripped down version for free, then the natural progression would be for people to build more mature applications that need more of the advanced features that would then be only available in the non-free versions, Standard and Enterprise. Small shops might be able to get away with the stripped versions, and as more applications are developed, more developers are created. More developers mean bigger and better applications, all pointing to the eventual goal of more Enterprise licenses sold. In addition to the potential upgrades to pay versions, this would open up a new stream of revenue for the pay-support that Adobe already offers.
So what changes should be made in the free version? Let’s start with a Standard license version as the comparison point. Obviously non-of the Enterprise features should be available. Here are the other changes I would recommend in my imaginary world in which a free version of ColdFusion would exist.
- Limit the number of datasources that can be added. Heck, even just allow 1. I think that this limitation alone would keep Adobe from losing a majority of its pay customers to the free license. It would still make it a useful server and could definitely encourage an up-sell.
- No <cfdocument /> functionality. There is no need to offer this powerful tool for free, and again this would be a good up-sell point for people who need that functionality.
- No <cfsearch /> functionality. It is my understanding that some fraction of the consumer cost of ColdFusion goes to pay for Verity licensing contained within ColdFusion. Strip that out and make it a pay feature.
- No <cfajax /> functionality. I they want to use Ajax, they can roll their own.
- No <cfchart /> functionality
- No Flex Remoting support
- No LiveCycle integration
- No Event Gateways
- No scheduled tasks. It they want to schedule something, they can always make a cron job.
- No WebService support (I am on the fence with this one, but let’s throw that in for good measure)
Am I crazy or couldn’t taking this approach be a smart thing for Adobe? I would be interested in others thoughts about my imaginary world where a free version of ColdFusion is a reality.