For those who have worked with me in the past, and read my blog entries about the server side of Adobe ColdFusion, it might be surprising that I am considering moving everything over to Railo in place of Adobe CF. I have been an advocate for ColdFusion for over 15 years, but I just can't justify working with Adobe any more. The poor service and product handling make it not worth the cost. I know for a fact that there are some very talented people working for Adobe on the ColdFusion product, but unfortunately Adobe's management of the product and service buries the benefits of having those talented people there.
This has been going downhill for a while, but my most recent experiences were the tipping point for me. I work for a college, and we have multiple ColdFusion Enterprise licenses that we have always gotten educational pricing on. We also bought a subscription so that we can upgrade any time. Our subscription expired. Adobe (or our reseller) never notified us, and I was unaware. Not a huge deal – I figured I could work it out. I called our authorized reseller. They said that we cannot renew our subscription because it had expired, and we cannot buy an upgrade to CF11 unless we pay full retail price (not education/govt pricing). So, I decided to call Adobe education sales. The rep I spoke with had never heard of ColdFusion! When she finally found the product in their system, she asked if I wanted the developer or standard edition. No enterprise? No, that is not in the system. You'll have to call the enterprise division of Adobe. Great.
So now I call the number she gave me and after a VERY long hold time, I reach a rep. The rep confirms that I cannot buy an upgrade for education pricing. I have to buy the full version. I also cannot renew my subscription.
There is more, but I will stop it here to point out some things. The CF team claims that they are going to focus more on education. However, the education sales people don't know what CF is. That's a bad sign to begin with. Second, I can't upgrade at education pricing?
We have the money to comply with all of this, but why should we? I want to spend money with this company, and I am met with obstacle after obstacle. It shouldn't be this hard. If the experience is this poor, then what do I really get for the money compared to the alternatives?
Enter Railo. I've been following Railo for a while, but never had the need to investigate it further. I decided to do that after this experience with Adobe. Guess what? We can get more out of Railo for almost no cost.
The install took less than 10 minutes, there was plenty of online documentation, and the Google Group has many active participants. There are many minor adjustments to our code base that will need to be made, and we won't be switching over immediately, but I am very impressed. Rather than upgrade to CF11, we will probably be moving to Railo.
To solidify this pending decision, I had this experience… I found a bug in Railo. I submitted it to the Google Group. I got an answer from someone the same day confirming the bug and telling me where it was in the bug database. I went there and voted it up. Within 24 hours, someone from the Railo team corrected it, provided a workaround, and posted it for the next full release. Now that is great service, and I didn't even pay them anything.
A few days after my download, Railo sent me an email asking if I wanted any services or support. No big deal you would think, but after struggling just to spend money with Adobe, it was a welcome change. It seems they WANT my business. No obstacles.
We're still in the testing and investigation stage, but I think we'll be building a relationship with Railo in the near future.