Belated - How I Got Started in ColdFusion

April 20, 2013

Now that I have things up and running I've been looking back on previous drafts and ideas I started up once upon a time for blogging.

One article that I did in fact put up on the site was my take on how I came into learning ColdFusion. This topic was passed around by CF devs on August 1st, 2011. Since then however, after many layout changes and mixed ideas of where the site was going, I took it down. It was one of those quick write-ups that didn't do 100% justice but I wanted to share in the exchange.

So now I shall try and articulate a bit more on the topic. . . Belated or not ;)

The Early Years For Me

When I was in high school (2003ish) I started to really picture an interest in the tech world. Originally it was more Graphic Design related. Reps from local design colleges would come into a 3D Comprehensive Art class I was taking and discuss areas of focus, degrees and the lot. Computer Animation sounded cool and seeing the products of talented design work from PhotoShop and Illustrator amazed me. I started to imagine working those mediums more and more (Computer Animation never came to light though hehe).

Around that timeframe I was working as a assistant to the Head Instructor of a Karate studio I attended. Coincidentally, a co-worker's husband worked fulltime doing Graphic Design and Web Development programming ColdFusion. Learning of my interest in the field, I was offered the opportunity to learn from him and help out; whilst gaining new experience. An opportunity I will never forget and always be grateful for. This is when I discovered a different breed of design concept. It didn't just have to be design and print work or designing a website layout. It was the ever-deeper realm of programming and developing key features to that website's purpose as well. This changed my overall outlook dramatically.

At this point in time I had zero experience in the web world but was provided tools to learn from. I was given a book on ColdFusion 4.5 to read, print outs of CF and HTML code of some applications (a news and gallery app) and told to read through and, piece by piece, try to understand what was going on and report back for a bit of Q&A with clarification on it all as I went. At the same time there was a dev environment set up for me to play around with HTML, CSS and CFML. Lots of trial and error of seeing desired and not so desired output. For whatever reason though, things did not click so perfectly as I might have wanted. My interest fell in and out and any true work in the field would not come until later.

A Slight Turning Point

Later on in high school I took a computer programming class that was all Microsoft Visual Basic. An interesting class consisting of odd topic programming tasks of varying difficulties that I'm pretty sure will never occur in real life. Always being taught and lectured with some story behind it that involved mass consumption of Corona and staying up late. The awkwardly depicted life of a programmer.

The teacher was a die hard Republican who would talk endlessly about George Bush, Bin-Laden and such. We had exercises that were constantly referencing the Iraq war. One exercise consisted of searching through the C: drive for files named after every letter of the alphabet, relocate them, loop through them, read them in and then output the data to screen. What was the result? A image of a B-52. There was also a life size cut out of G.W.B. in the classroom. This class made you ask "why?" a lot; but I enjoyed myself.

Amongst it all, I now was engulfed in a different, but similar, world of software development. I don't know what it was at this point but something suddenly clicked when it came to thinking in the most basic thoughts of programming. The concept of variables, input, output, conditionals; they all made sense to me in ways that they did not before. This would later make things click for me in ColdFusion. Still, I wasn't entirely sold on doing web related bits. The next level of this class was C++ and .NET which I passed on (though I wish I didn't now).

The True Turning Point

My real step into ColdFusion was in 2005. I was working in a new Karate studio run by my previous co-worker and her husband and was offered a chance to work on the studio website and any related design work. My largest learning experiences were then and there. Helping build the site from the ground up and working on the design and graphics for layouts and print items. If I recall, we were running things on CF5. I learned quite a bit in that time. As the years would go on I would continue to help with various projects; improving as I went. More and more concepts clicking into place in my mind. Some things completely racking but in the end I would come to understand how they worked.

So here I am. Still programming ColdFusion mainly. Still learning. A couple of clients, a few personal projects and loving every second of it.

Anyway, thanks for reading.