I find the community surrounding programming languages to be very interesting. I’ve been thinking about the CF community a lot lately, and here are some groups of people that have come to mind:
- Discussion followers
- News readers
- Training/Conference/UG attenders
- Software producers
- Hidden Programmers
Discussion followers—These folks get intomailing lists/forums/blog comments and tear it up. Actually, I think most people in this group are just lurkers, but there is often a lot of heated debate in this crowd. However, most of the conversation is congenial. Such friendly help for solution seekers also provides excellent, search-able knowledge bases.News readers—These guys usually fit in most of the other categories as well, but some of them are Just Programmers (or other low involvement categories). I like to think that folks in this category are often more advanced than most of their peers. But I might be biased. 🙂 The News Readers (as well as other community participants) often have the biggest voice in software releases/features, because they see requests for comments, beta tests, etc..Training/Conference attenders—I think this crowd is very interesting. You get a cross section of all groups to attend, and yet some of the members in specific categories never participate here. And at the same time, I think there are programmers that only do this, excluding all other community activities.Software producers—We all love these guys. Publicly released ColdFusion software is what helps the community grow. Most people know and love the celebrity types like Raymond Camden, who do a lot to help those of us that need a quick drop-in chunk of code. But I’m always surprised when I find out about software produced by the quiet, talented people. These guys contentedly make money with their product, even though most people in the ColdFusion communities aren’t exposed to their offerings. Their customers probably don’t know that their software was written in ColdFusion. I also think most people in this latter demographic don’t participate in the communities very much, if at all.Authors/Trainers—Another invaluable group of developers, providing ColdFusion books, magazines, and training courses (and some would say blogs). These folks are usually, though not always, heavily involved in the communities. I have found that some of these folks see themselves as ‘ColdFusion Royalty’. I’m not going to name names, but some ColdFusion content producers place themselves on a throne, of sorts, and neglect to mingle with the ‘peasants’. You will see their articles being read all over, but you’ll rarely see their names in the forums or blog comments. You will, however, see these lordly types at conferences and user groups, often giving presentations. Nonetheless, it’s unfortunate that the community doesn’t benefit from more “Royalty” participation.Hidden Programmers—I believe that this is the largest percentage of ColdFusion programmers. I call them hidden because they don’t participate in the communities, at all. Personally I know 2 of these folks here in the Boise area, but it’s hard to gauge the number in this group because nobody knows them. They often learn ColdFusion from reading just the plain ol’ docs, but they will also get books. Sometimes they will read the blogs of their favorite authors, but other than that you won’t see them paying attention to the CF world much at all.OverlapI know there is often overlap between many of the above groups, I didn’t intend my descriptions to be mutually exclusive. But I think the saddest crowd are the hidden programmers. These folks could really help the CF world grow, but they’re more content living in their own isolated world.