Welcome back to CFML!
I've been using CFWheels as my go-to framework for CFML projects since last Summer and have been very happy with it. I've found that my development time has decreased with CFWheels (thanks, in part, to loads of Rails-inspired helpers and other such tools). Additionally, my coding efficiency and quality have also increased.
The CFWheels apps on which I've worked have performed well in the wild. The framework also has good caching options that you can fine tune as well as solid overall performance.
One of the things I really like about CFWheels is how easy it is to extend the framework with plugins. Not that other frameworks lack this feature, but, I found CFWheels to be particularly plugin friendly!
I do/did have some experience with Ruby on Rails and CakePHP before I started in with CFWheels. Since CFWheels and CakePHP are inspired by Rails, and part of what drew me to the framework, I found that knowledge lowered the barrier and I was able to pick up the framework almost immediately. That said, the CFWheels team has done a solid job with documentation, so learning and expanding on the framework should be fairly straightforward even if you haven't played with a similar, Rails-like framework.
Happy to help!
Model-Glue is definitely still very active, and is an excellent framework in its own right, but Fusebox has basically gone the way of the Dodo.
Rails has been a lot of fun to use and there are tons of things I dig about Ruby (especially over Java) but, I'll confess that I'm a pretty hard-core CF'er and CFWheels was just another reason for me to keep with CFML!
Hi there. Here's my response to a similar question on HouseOfFusion.com yesterday. I hope it helps:
I've been using Wheels for about a year now and absolutely love it. I didn't use any "official" framework before Wheels and found It really easy to get setup and start building with. Wheels made MVC style development really easy for me and has some of the best documentation around. The screencasts really helped me fill in many of the missing pieces as I started constructing my first Wheels app.
I think the one big benefit of Wheels is the built-in ORM. While I've only briefly messed around with Hibernate in CF9, the Wheels ORM made sense right away and with Wheels 1.05 I could use it with CF8 (as I didn't have CF9 at the time). Wheels has just clicked for me.
I'd encourage you to mess around with a few different frameworks and find which one makes sense to you. Please follow up though and us know about your experiences.
I've been working in ColdFusion since 2006 and working with CFWheels for a little over a year now. I have tried to use other frameworks in the past like model-glue and fusebox but the configuration was always a major headache and the way they did things just didn't seem to make sense to me.
With CFWheels, configuration is super easy. CFWheels uses Rails philosophy - which is convention over configuration. That means that if you follow the basic rules about naming things, then you don't have to do ANY configuration. Pause for a moment, and just let that sink in. Impressed yet?
The CFWheels convention is not even that hard. It's kind of common sense. http://cfwheels.org/docs/1-1/chapter/conventions
The other reasons I would recommend the framework are: it's easy to learn, and there's a lot of support. If you just spend a few minutes watching Chris Peter's screencasts on the cfwheels.org site, you'll be up and running in about 30 minutes. The google group message boards are also great. Any time you hit a snag, one of the core team members is always there with an answer. http://groups.google.com/group/cfwheels
I have built several sites on CFWheels (meritbuilder.com and goodclic.com to name a few). And to be honest CFWheels is coldfusions savior! Ruby is awesome! But when you consider the deep history of CF and the incredible flexibility of CFWheels - I would not even consider Ruby.
When you consider CF is built on top of Java and the many Java components that can just be dropped into the lib and used in your site, the growing library of CFhwheels plugins and the decade of great blog posts dealing with difficult issues surrounding web service integration CF/CFWheels is the way to go.
Not to mention CF is still one of the easiest languages to learn.
I've been a CF developer for over 10 years, and love CF. I had a stint with PHP, and more recently with Rails. I really liked rails, but just didn't feel 'safe' on it.. I know that is wierd, but I built my business on reliability, and moving to open source just felt risky.. but I really liked many of the rails features.
About a month ago I started a project on cfWheels. Wow!! It has literally everything that I liked about Rails, but obviously still has all the things that I have come to rely on with CF that aren't in rails. I am now about 1 month in and really can't see myself going back. It has improved speed of development immensely, and allows much more structured and mainainable apps.
If you are a CF developer, you have to give cfWheels a try in my view.