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Solving the problem with too many choices

posted under category: ColdFusion on April 3, 2010 at 1:00 am by MrNate

Yesterday I talked about how we have too many choices when people get started using ColdFusion. There were some really good comments, and the consensus was that more is always better. I agree with that, for the most part. I promised I would share my idea for a solution.

My opinion is that you have to try them all. Yeah that sucks but there's a lot of truth to it. You just can't get a feeling for a tool until you try to make something with it.

For an IDE, spend a week with it. For any type of framework, make a little sample app - I like to make a generic list-add-delete program, which gives me enough of a feel for where things go and how you interact with them. Experimentation is essential.

That's my opinion, but the solution is not good enough. What can we do so people don't have to try everything, every time?

I hate to point out problems without offering the solution, but worse yet, I hate offering a solution without offering to do any work. So here I am, a hater. If someone starts it, I would pitch in.

We need a wiki that compares and contrasts all of our options. They need to be categorized (like I did above), give a short description, explain the popularity (or lack thereof), show some screenshots or code, talk about how they work compared to other options, discuss downsides and difficulties that people have (especially problems that new initiates have, all in order to overcome them), and finally, provide links to the most popular resources.

The best we have as of today is Sean Corfield's framework comparison discussions. They're outdated now, and it was a valiant effort, but not good enough.

And with that, I'm going to end it abruptly, again.

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On Apr 3, 2010 at 1:00 AM andy matthews (amatthews, visiting us from dealerskins.com) said:
Hey, the link to Sean's comparison is broken.

On Apr 3, 2010 at 1:00 AM Nathan Strutz (http://www.dopefly.com/) said:
Thanks Andy, extra line break I didn't see. And thanks for reading!

On Apr 3, 2010 at 1:00 AM Peter Boughton (xxx.x has underestimated the power of x.xxx) said:
Heh, I've recently been exploring some ideas along a similar theme to what you've been talking about here.

And I'm now wondering if you've got something up your sleeve with these abrupt endings? I guess tomorrow will tell...

On Apr 4, 2010 at 1:00 AM Nathan Strutz (http://www.dopefly.com/) said:
Peter, believe it or not, I don't have a great solution. Yeah I wish I did, but that's what all the abrupt endings really, literally come to, an abrupt ending. It feels like things don't catch on in the CF world unless one of a small handful of people do them. I may or may not be one of the cool kids, but I haven't put any pen to paper in order to solve this dilemma.

On Apr 7, 2010 at 1:00 AM Allen (allen who really likes allenweb.com) said:
"You just can't get a feeling for a tool until you try to make something with it."

That's sorta true; sorta not. Knowing what problem(s) need to be solved by an application lends itself to knowing what sort of design patterns may be useful and that lends itself to knowing which frameworks would be worth digging into, does it not?

On Apr 7, 2010 at 1:00 AM Nathan Strutz (http://www.dopefly.com/) said:
Alan, you have a good point, but you can't run too far with it.

If you need an IDE, you can google a comparison, see if one has a feature/price point that makes it stand out, and maybe make your choice. Still, there's a strong difference in the feeling of the apps between, say, Dreamweaver and HomeSite, even though they have nearly the same features for developing CFML. You won't pick up on this feeling until you play with each of them.

For front controller frameworks, there isn't really a comparison other than the 2 simple table charts on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_web_application_frameworks - these don't lend to any actual decision making help.

My point really is that if there were a good enough comparison, complete with high level samples and helpful comments on why you would or would not pick each one, we wouldn't HAVE to try them all. Until then, it sucks to be us.

On Apr 7, 2010 at 1:00 AM Robert Pailliotet (robert@example.com who would have preferred an address at pailliotet.com) said:
Addressing frameworks alone, I'm sure many developers would go nuts (in a positive way) over that level of breakdown. I certainly would. There seemed to be a good thing going with Litepost (same sample app done in various frameworks) but from what I remember it was outdated. Although I see CFWheels just had a contest utilizing Litepost so perhaps I should check again.

Another article (also outdated but still relevant ) I had stumbled across with a nice little summary is here: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/coldfusion/articles/frameworks_intro.html

And it looks like there is a start over at cfframeworks.com but so far it looks more like framework related news rather than a matrix type breakdown but it looks like the intent is there.

Perhaps if we send our wives and kids on a month long cruise we could....oh, nevermind.
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