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ColdFusion 2021 "refreshed" installers available (with update 5)...but only in one place for now

Update since original posting:
If you find this post in 2023 or beyond and are looking for the CF2021 installers, please read this update before proceeding. I started to get a lot of comments once CF2023 came out. This post is from Oct 2022, about new installers offered at that time, while CF2021 was still the latest version.

To be clear, once Adobe comes out with a new version, they REMOVE the installers of the old version from the public pages of their site. Does that mean you're stuck and CANNOT get the installers, perhaps that "you paid for"? No, it does NOT mean that. You just need to know where to find them.

1) First, if you are the person who BOUGHT CF, then you should have an account at either https://account.adobe.com/products or https://licensing.adobe.com/, and you can find the installers you paid for there.

2) If instead you either DID NOT buy CF (perhaps using the free trial edition), or someone ELSE bought it (maybe you don't know who it is), or you just can't get into that account, note that there is an online repository of old (and new) installers at cfmlrepo.com, which is managed by trusted community members, including myself.

Now, back to what the original post was about...

Here's some surprising news: Adobe has released a "refreshed" installer for CF2021, which includes update 5 (which came out last week) built-in.

Read on for (much) more.

Did you know about this? You'd be forgiven if you had not heard, for reasons I will explain. And I'm glad to share the news, though it's a good news/bad news sort of thing (just like with the update itself. More on that in another post to come.)

TLDR: these new "refreshed" CF2021 installers are (for now) available only here.

As for information ABOUT the refreshed installers, here's the news in brief (the good and the not so good):

  • Good news: there is a new full installer for CF2021, for each of Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Solaris.
  • Not good news: there are not new "zip" installers, at least for now.
  • Good news: these "refreshed" installers includes update 5, so if you are installing CF2021 newly on a machine, that would be easier than getting an older installer and updating it.
  • Not good news: the installer implements only Java 11.0.11, while the version available as of the release of update 5 last week was, from July 2022
  • Some odd news: Adobe didn't mention the availability of this refreshed installer in the CF2021 update 5 technote, nor their blog post or forum post announcing update 5.
  • The most odd news: again, the refreshed installers are only available for download from one place currently, the CF "downloads" page. More on that below.
  • Bad news for those still using CF2018: while there was indeed the update 15 released also last week, Adobe has NOT offered such a refreshed installer for CF2018 and likely will not.

And for any seeing this who may wonder, while Adobe offers "updates" for CF 2-3 times a year (for each of the two current versions they support, currently CF2021 and CF2018), they build a new "installer" far less frequently. Of course there's the original one (which was in Nov 2020 for CF2021), and then sometimes they may "refresh" the installers, which they last did for CF2021 in Sept 2021. That includes update 2 (also released that day) as well as Java 11.0.11. (FWIW, the original installer from 2020 included of course NO updates and strangely includes Java 11.0.1, which was already very old then.)

Where you can find the refreshed installers, for now

As I noted above in the TLDR above, the refreshed installers are available for now in only one place, in the "Adobe ColdFusion (2021 release) Product Downloads" section of the "ColdFusion downloads" page.

That's not normally where we would expect to find them. In fact, I don't know that I'd ever seen them offered on that page before. It usually POINTS people to the first of the more common places people might expect to find CF installers, as I discuss in the next section.

Where you will NOT find the refreshed installers, for now

So as I noted above, you'd be forgiven for not KNOWING there were refreshed installers, but you'd also be forgiven for not FINDING them, even if you were to go looking for them.

They are NOT (for now) listed in the typical places one might look:

  • They are NOT offered by your filling in the form where one can get the ColdFusion Trial or Developer edition. This page is pointed to from the top right of the Adobe ColdFusion product page, and it's also pointed to from that "downloads" page discussed above. Instead, filling out that form (today, Oct 17) will offer you instead the installer that was "refreshed" in Sept 2021, which included update 2 that was released at that time (and the installer included Java 11.0.11 also).
  • The are also NOT offered if you instead look BELOW that form on that aforementioned page. If you may not have noticed, those links HAVE been there for over a year--but they tragically have been pointing to the ORIGINAL installer (the one with NO updates, from Nov 2020, which also came with the very dated Java 11.0.1). I'd complained of this to Adobe previously.
  • Finally, beware that may NOT currently be available on the downloads page once you log into the Adobe Licensing Website (LWS). I don't have a login to confirm that, but since they were not placed behind the login form above, I suspect it's not yet been put on the downloads page of the LWS.

I asked Adobe about this, this past weekend, and they say they ARE planning to ensure the refreshed installer is put in all 3 places. Apparently it's easiest for them to modify that first "ColdFusion downloads" where it's offered for now, and getting the other pages changed take more coordination with Adobe folks outside the CF team.

I will update this page as I learn that either of these pages above are corrected to include the new "refreshed" installer. But I thought this information was important enough to get this information out ASAP.

How can you know which version your installer is?

Update: After offering this post, it struck me that someone might reasonably ask how they could know which installer they have. As you may have noticed, Adobe doesn't change the name of their installers when they're "refreshed". And they don't offer md5 hashes for them. And the ui of the installers doesn't change in any way between "refreshes".

While I could find and report the exact file sizes for each of the 4 os installers, for this and the previous and the original installers, I don't have ready access to that info for all 12 file variants. (Also, I seem to recall that the size of even a given file can report differently on different OSs and file systems, but I may have that wrong.)

Briefly, though, let me note that both the windows exe and the macos dmg files are in fact simply compressed folders (that each os knows how to "execute"). As such, if you view them with a tool that can explore (or extract) such a compressed file, you can see in some of the subfolders that there are files with date modified values, which will either be from Oct 2022 for this "refreshed" installer, or from Sept 2021 for the previous one, or Nov 2021 if it's the original installer.

(FWIW, on Windows I favor using the free 7-zip tool for this, as it has a nice Explorer integration, where you can right click on a file and it will offer an "open archive" option if it detects the file to be compressed. No need to extract the file.)

The below is the rest of what I'd written in this post originally.

Finally, a concern related to results of Update 5 as compared to these "refreshed installers"

Finally, I want to share a concern related to the results of Update 5 as compared to these "refreshed installers". It's not that the installer has a "problem", but rather that I did a comparison between a) the files in the ColdFusion2021 directory as put in place by that refreshed installer and b) the files in the ColdFusion2021 directory as exist based on the previous installer having been updated to update 5. Sadly, some of the files put in place per the refreshed installer are newer (in date and content) than those put in place per the update alone (into an existing CF2021 installation).

As just one example, consider the jquery.js file, at \ColdFusion2021\cfusion\wwwroot\cf_scripts\scripts\ajax\jquery\. With the refreshed installer, the version indicated in that file is 3.6, while in that file after applying update 5 to an existing CF2021 install, the version in that file is 3.1! (And I found this to be so on two different machines.)

And to be clear, this seems more a problem with the UPDATE rather than with the refreshed installer. I am fearful that having a difference like this could lead to confusion, where people may think the results should be the "same". It would seem some aspects of improvements in the refreshed installer are NOT accruing to those who instead merely apply the update to their current installation of CF.

This matter is really worthy of its own post., which I plan to do, with much more detail. I'll detail all the key differences like this, and then I'll file a bug report and share a link to that in the post.


For now, though, if you're installing CF2021, it would seem most would want to use these refreshed installers, which already have Update 5.

And for now you can only get that refreshed installer at the ColdFusion Downloads page. Again, I'll change this post as the situation evolves.

Oh, and I suspect some of my readers are wondering, "where's your blog post about the update itself", and the good news/bad news about IT which I alluded to in the open (as well as in a tweet last week). It's just taking me a long time to get that done. Stuff like the above only slows down that process. But this seemed the more important news to share first.

For more content like this from Charlie Arehart: Need more help with problems?
  • If you may prefer direct help, rather than digging around here/elsewhere or via comments, he can help via his online consulting services
  • See that page for more on how he can help a) over the web, safely and securely, b) usually very quickly, c) teaching you along the way, and d) with satisfaction guaranteed
Does that installer include the unpublished hotfix (only available via email to Adobe) for the QoQ bug that will throw an error if your QoQ has "SELECT * FROM xxx".
The installer includes update 5, and that update 5 includes the fix to that long standing bug. But you don't NEED the installer, if you just apply the update.
Does anyone know if ColdFusion 2021 updates are cumulative? In other words, if I apply update 5, do I have to apply updates 4, 3,2,1 as well?
# Posted By Jonathan | 1/31/23 12:39 PM
Jonathan, the answer is yes and no. Yes, they are cumulative and so no, you don't need to do the first 4.

Further, yes, "I know", but you could be forgiven wondering how anyone could. Your question led me to look and see that the update technotes for cf2021 make no mention of this (as of today), though those for cf2018 did, with one of the boxes at the top indicating that.

Adobe must have lost track of putting that in once they started creating them for cf2021. But in fact they've always been cumulative. And to be clear I've reported this Adobe today, so hopefully they'll get it corrected soon.
If anyone may come across this post after the release of CF2023, of course you won't find these installers at the links offered, as Adobe always pulls the old installers from their public sites once the new release comes out. (Those who bought CF can get the old installers at licensing.adobe.com, if they have/still have their login for that.)

Otherwise, note that the cfmlrepo site (cfmlrepo.com) is maintained by several of us in the community and has installers or zip and other files for current and past releases.

If something's missing, it can be added. Feel free to mention anything missing here regarding CF2021, which is the focus of the post. Or as noted on the site, you can also reach out to Gavin Pickin via twitter/x @gpickin.
Adobe's site no longer has 2021 installers.

Anyone know where they are available?
# Posted By Dan Roberts | 9/14/23 10:30 AM
I found that I can download from https://account.adob... after registering a product key.
# Posted By Dan Roberts | 9/14/23 10:37 AM
Dan, please see my comment right above yours, from last week. I posted it because I just KNEW folks would come along here looking for/asking about this. :-)

I'm going to go ahead now and clarify this in the post also, for folks who aren't inclined to read comments before offering them (I do understand).

And because some will also not read far into the post but instead merely find it in googling for the installers, I'll emblazon the point at very the top of the post.

Finally, as I was writing this, your next comment came in, where you said you found it at https://account.adob... instead. I will be sure to point that out also. Thanks for adding it.
Sorry about that. For some reason I thought the top comments were the latest so did not scroll down further.

I have used cfmlrepo in the past. I prefer getting from official source whenever possible. Maybe I shouldn't be so nervous about relying on the repo files.
# Posted By Dan Roberts | 9/14/23 11:40 AM
Dan, again I understand both points entirely. I can only try to help by offering folks the info as effectively as possible (which I have done since my last comment), and offering them options for this issue to decide among for themselves. :-)

BTW, I had edited the top of the page to clarify this matter after my last comment--then I got called into a client meeting. And I saw just now that I had left an unclosed bold by mistake, so the whole page was bolded since then. Doh. I just fixed it. Just clarifying in case anyone else noticed it. I'll remove this second paragraph shortly as it won't matter except to those who viewed it in this last half hour.
And I just realized that by "top comments" you really meant these comments rather than the content of my post (which has my own "comments").

So your point is that these comments are presented with the oldest first. That's an interesting observation. I'd not really given it much thought, as it had just always been like this. I will give some consideration to changing it, looking at what's more common in other blogs I read. (I could also let folks choose to change whatever I make the default.)

Let's not discuss this here, as it's way off-topic, but I welcome comments from anyone directly. My contact info (email and social media) are offered on the right here (or at the bottom or top on mobile). Thanks for getting me to give it some thought.
Charlie, thanks for the info as always, I am just commenting on what I found. https://cfmlrepo.com... is now http://cfmlrepo.com/... and is a blog titled "Coders Revolution" and I don't see any downloads there, I will apologize up-front if I am missing something.
# Posted By Mike Brunt | 12/17/23 1:17 PM
I have tried all the links in your blog-post here Charlie and cannot find a full download copy of CF2021 for Windows. Now I am a 75 year-old great grandfather, so if I am missing something obvious; that's my excuse. ;)
# Posted By Mike Brunt | 12/17/23 3:22 PM
So sorry I missed this last week, Mike. That's indeed a bummer, and thanks for the heads-up. First, you'll find it works with www.cfmlrepo.com. Second, I've just raised the issue with Gavin, and he thinks it should be fixable and is looking into it. Until then, enjoy the holidays. :-)
The problem remains (as of today) with using https://www.cfmlrepo... I have pinged Gavin again. To be clear, these all work fine:

BTW, I myself never run into the problem because I tend to use the shortcut in all browsers where you can just type a domain name even without .com (so just "cfmlrepo") and then hit ctrl-enter, which fills in the www and the .com (other keys can do .org, .net, etc.) But that also always does http://, which is why I never had seen this problem myself until folks raised it.

Let's hope Gavin and crew will sort it out soon.
Good news on that last comment: the problem has been resolved, and all 4 link variations work as expected. Thanks, Gavin!
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