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ColdFusion 2023 released, May 17 2023: resources and thoughts

ColdFusion 2023 has been released today, May 17 2023. For more on the many features, see the following several Adobe blog posts and substantial documentation resources they released also today, about which I offer some additional comment below.

I also discuss changes in OS support (saving you having to compare the docs discussing that), as well as the change to CF2023 running on Java 17 (which you could miss, as it's not highlighted by Adobe in any of the announcement resources.) I also discuss changes in the licensing document/EULA (again, to save you having to do that comparison), as well as an observation about pricing (it has not changed since CF2021).

I also discuss some migration considerations and close by pointing out the Hidden Gems in CF2023 talk that I did, based on the prerelease. I plan to update that in time based on this final release.

I. The "What's New" doc

As with each new CF release, there is so much more to the new release than any simple bullet point list of "new features" will cover. Thankfully in this release (as in CF2021), the Adobe folks have created a single what's new doc page that serves to highlight briefly those major new features:

What's new and changed in ColdFusion (2023 release)

Each of the features discussed then points to a doc page on THAT with a lot more detail as well as code examples.

More than just the major new features

But the what's new page has still more than JUST the brief discussion of major new features and links to more. It also offers links to:

  • Bug fixes (some of which may interest folks, while others are rather edge cases)
  • Known issues (see section of that name, in that doc. Again, I find there a few that may interest folks, while others are rather edge cases)
  • System requirements (more about key OS support changes below. And note that while there is a version for both CF Standard and Enterprise, I don't find them to differ other than that Enterprise adds Solaris)
  • Support matrix (adds even more about versions of web servers and DB servers supported)
  • Frequently Asked Questions (I find no significant changes to them compared to CF2021 so far, but they may still be of interest/new to you. And again, there is a version for Standard and Enterprise, and I find little difference between them)
  • Deprecated features (about which I see nothing new to 2023, as of today)
  • Release notes page (which has similar links to what are offered in this what's new page)

Changes in OS support

If you look at the system requirements or support matrix pages mentioned above, and compare them to CF2021's version, you do see differences. For example, CF2023 now supports MacOS 13.x, including on ARM64. It also supports these more updated Linux versions: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9.1 & later, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15.3 & later, and Ubuntu 22 LTS.

Conversely, certain things that HAD been listed on the CF2021 version of the page are removed, most notably CentOS (none is now listed in 2023). Also removed since CF2021 are Windows Server 2012, older versions of MacOS (the CF2021 version of the doc had listed 10.15.x), and also older versions of the Linux distros listed above (RHEL 8.x, SUSE 12.x, Ubuntu 20.04 had been listed on the CF2021 doc).

I will note that not all differences between the old and new docs are "new" to CF2023 though. For instance, the new doc shows Windows Server 2022 and Windows 11 for 2023, but I have seen CF support forum threads where folks found that the CF 2021 version of this document indicated Windows 2022 was listed as supported in May 2022, so this is not really "new" to CF2023.

Similarly, support for MacOS 12 and M1 (Arm64) had been added in CF2021 update 5, as documented in its technote, and MacOS 11 had been added in CF2021 update 2.

What's not clear from this page is whether somehow CF2023 now no longer supports "older" MacOS versions like 12 and 11 (is it really only 13 and up?), and what IF one still wants to run "older" Linux versions like Ubuntu 20, Suse 12, and RHEL 8? It's not clear that they WON'T work. The docs is saying simply that only the newer listed versions ARE "supported".

Java 17 support

Another key point made in the Support Matrix but that could be missed and is worthy of drawing attention to is that CF2023 is now implemented atop Java 17 and supports only Java 17 (not Java 11, like CF2021 and 2018 long have), and while the next long-term support/LTS version of Java will be 21, coming out soon, for now CF2023 will not yet support it.

As for CF2021, past history suggests we might see an update that adds Java 17 support for it. That's what's happened in the past, when new CF versions might come with the newest Java release and the previous version would get support for it added later as an update. 17 is admittedly a larger lift from 11 than previous lifts from 8 to 11, or 7 to 8. (And to be clear, CF2018 will almost certainly not get such an update to support Java 17, since CF2018 updates end in July 2023.)

What can we expect from CF2023 now that it runs atop Java 17? Adobe has made no changes to jvm args, and java version at this initial release install is 17.0.6. latest is 17.0.7 (not yet offered on downloads page--which has received quite a makeover. See another post I plan.)

Changes in the CF EULA/licensing agreement

One last thing I want to highlight (and save you trouble trying to compare) is the EULA, End User Licensing Agreement, which can be found as a file in the root of your CF installation directory or is avialable online (I have covered finding the EULA in another post.)

I compared the CF2023 and CF2021 versions, and the only significant differences are these. The definition of "computer" has changed from:

"Computer" means a virtual machine or physical electronic device that accepts information in digital or similar form and manipulates it for a specific result based on a sequence of instructions, that conforms to the system requirements of the Software as specified in the Documentation.
"Computer" means a virtual or physical device for storing or processing data, such as servers, desktop computers, laptops, mobile devices and hardware products. Where a device contains more than one virtual environment (including Virtual Machines and virtual processors), each virtual environment will be counted as a separate Computer.

They have also added two new definitions relates to that:

"Instance" means a single installation of ColdFusion deployed through a Hypervisor.
"Hypervisor" means a software, firmware, or hardware device that creates and runs Virtual Machines.

Finally, they have changed the section that was labeled "Backup and Disaster Recovery" to add the word "failover", both in that section title and the opening sentence:

Backup, Failover and Disaster Recovery. Licensee may make and install a reasonable number of copies of the Software for backup, failover and archival purposes and...

This last point seems to be giving something, which is nice to see, as some people tend to see iterations of the EULA as "taking away" something.

Pricing is unchanged compared to CF2021

Speaking of "giving" and "taking" I will take this chance to point out that the pricing for CF has not changed since CF2021 (and CF2018, IIRC). This is reflected in two places.

First, according to the answer to the question about price ("What are the editions of Adobe ColdFusion (2023 release) and how are they priced?") in the FAQ for CF Standard:

Adobe ColdFusion (2023 release) is sold in two editions: Standard Edition costs US$2,499 per two cores, and Enterprise Edition costs US$9,499 per eight cores. ColdFusion can also be used for development at no cost with the complimentary Developer Edition, a full-featured server for development use only.

And CF Enterprise FAQ says the same and then adds this sentence:

You may also purchase ColdFusion Enterprise Edition on a per virtual core metric to deploy ColdFusion on the cloud or VMs. Reach out to [email protected] for more details.

Second, there are "buy" links at the bottom of the products page for each of CF Standard and Enterprise, offering links to the purchase page for CF Standard and the purchase page for CF Enterprise, which both list those same prices.

(Sadly, if you click the "buy now" button offered at the top of CF product and doc pages, that takes you only to that purchase page to buy CF Enterprise--not showing CF Standard as an option. I've raised that concern to support.)

Note also that those purchase pages also list an "upgrade" price. To be clear, that is only for those on CF2021, who get a 50% discount. If you are on CF2018 or earlier, you must buy a full license to move to CF2023.

And what if you had perhaps "recently" purchased CF2021? You'll want to note that the FAQ above has a question on that, with an answer that:

You might be eligible for a complimentary upgrade to ColdFusion (2023 release). To find out more, call Customer Service at 800-833-6687 or submit your request via the web.

Migrating to CF2023

I want to take just a moment to talk about migrating to CF2023. With each new release, people inevitably ask "how hard will it be". And my answer is always the same: for some it will be trivial, for some it will seem impossible (but they're nearly always mistaken--and I can help), and for most it will be somewhere in the middle.

Of course, it will depend on what version you're coming from. If you're on CF2021 update 6 (the latest, at this writing), you will certainly be "closer" to CF2023 than if you are still on CF2018 or 2016 or 11.

Regardless, I have a talk I did on the topic of migrating to CF2021, and I covered the issues that folks would face moving from those older versions. That talk will be just as useful for someone moving to CF2023 and skipping CF2021. I also cover some tools and techniques (and resources) that may be just as useful in a migration to CF2023.

I do plan to update the talk for CF2023, once it's been out a while and there are any new "lessons learned" about it specifically.

II. The several initial Adobe blog posts about CF2023

As I had mentioned at the opening, Adobe not only released substantial docs (as pointed to by the resources above), but they also had released several blog posts today as well. I offer them here to help readers find and consider them. The posts really just touch the surface of the topics, and they do point to the docs for more (just like the "what's new" doc page does for each of them). You really should look at the docs, as they have more examples and depth of detail:

Hidden gems in CF2023

As is true with each release, there's still more about it than is indicated with just these top-level new features. And as I've been doing since "the turn of the century" (with my first "Hidden Gems in CF 4.01" talk), I've already offered a Hidden Gems in CF2023 talk--based solely on the prerelease, which has been available for a few months--which I offered at the Adobe CF Summit East last month.

I will certainly update that to reflect the final release, but until then check out the PDF (and while those CF Summit East talks were not recorded, I do plan to record the updated final version, likely after I present it next month at CFCamp.

Until then, check out the new release on your own, exploring the many ways to implement it. And I plan to do more posts on CF2023 in time. Again, there's always so much to take in!

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Hi Charlie - can you include a link to the CF2023 EULA - it's not showing up on the Adobe site (as described in your blog post reference above)
Well, I'll say first that I'd raised to them last week the fact that the page I point to (in my other post) of all Adobe product EULAs did not yet include cf2023. Still not resolved, grr. And so no, I'm not currently aware of the url for the cf2023 EULA pdf.

That said, as I explain in that other post, anyone who installs cf (even the free trial or developer edition) will find the EULA in the root of their cf install folder.

And I also explain there that one can just get the cf zip instead of the installer and (with no need of installing cf) one can find the EULA in the folder I name in the post.

To be clear, it was indeed the real final EULA (from the installer) which I quoted for my points on it in the post above.
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