How I got started in Coldfusion

Following the call for a How I got started in Coldfusion by Steve Bryant, I came to reflect upon the last 12 years of my Coldfusion programming….. and I take this day to mention the people I met on the way who inspired me helped so many other people through their contribution to the Community of Coldfusion.

You can read all the 60+ contributions of Coldfusion bloggers around the Interwebs on ScoopIt.

In 1998, fresh off the boat, I just started volunteering for the Naples Free-Net community network. End of 1999 the web team leader issued a call for volunteers to learn Coldfusion, of which Allaire just released version 4.0. The team leader had obtained copies of Coldfusion 4.0 server software and Ben Forta’s CFWACK books. The team leader made a deal with us: we would be able to keep both software and books if we created a small application of our choice for the Naples Free-Net website.

Despising WYSIWYG editors, I was very fast hand-coding of HTML, using HomesiteX and I already had maintained an extensive website since 1996. I was so thrilled to find the Coldfusion was tag based. Up until then, I had only basic programming experience, a few lines of code in BASIC in high school, Word & Excel Macros, a few commands to access dBase databases, some MS-DOS Batch files, and first steps in MS Access. It wasn’t much, but the variety of it got me comfortable fast with all aspect of Coldfusion web development.

My first small application was a Book Review site, that allowed Naples Free-Net users to post book reviews and tied them into Amazon-Associates links and dynamically displaying book covers from Amazon. The site earned the Naples Free-Net a few hundred bucks a year commission. I created it by working through Coldfusion tutorial that was published on Wired WebMonkey site the same year.
My first multi-module application was an online learning environment site. The bigger this site grew, the more I was in trouble. My spagetti code was killing me while I was adding new functionality to the site. If I ever wanted to get my sanity back, I needed to learn more about code organization. I stumbled over Steve Nelson’s and Graig Girards’ Fusebox: Methodology & Techniques, ColdFusion Edition, published in 2000, read it over the summer, and I adopted it for all my projects. I attended the first Fusebox conference in 2001 when FB 3 was released after Hal Helms, Jeff Peters, Nathan Papovich, John Quarto-von Tivadar and others also got involved. Since then Fusebox evolved under Sean Corfield to 4 & 5, and now Adam Haskell took over 5.5 – click here for a list of Fusebox team members in between. I am standing on the shoulders of giants. Big thanks also to Judith & Michael Dinowitz of FusionAuthority hosting all kinds of Coldfusion mailing list and publishing plenty on Coldfusion. On the clients site, Jquery came to the rescue and the community has been equally generous with their knowledge and their skills.

After a few years of half-hearted attempts to migrate into OO, Hal Helms taught me with the patience of a saint Object-Oriented programming for ColdFusion in Las Vegas. John Ashenfelter made me a believer in open-source a few years back and I have since mastered Coldfusion on Linux, MySQL, and Apache. At the company, we took the plunge moving away from Windows hosting, and also tested other CFML engines, Blue Dragon as well as Railo. The Viviotech CF Team is fantastic.

I do have a small set of code released as open source on among them Mailchimp API CF Wrapper and Mango blog plugins. A few month back I published my first MangoBlog plugin: again it was integration with Amazon Associates website for Book Reviews.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The range of application I have built over the years is probably quite normal for a web developer assisting all kinds of projects with the Pauli Systems, LC team.

  • Listing application for realtors, Business Listings for Chambers, NonProfit: Membership Administration,
  • Email broadcast systems, File document repositories,
  • Modular content management systems,
  • Integration of geographic location data to Google Maps,
  • Twitter tools and other social networking integration tools.
  • Podcasts publishing systems,
  • Pre-YouTube/video CDR Video admin and delivery systems

Although I don’t see any reason to migrate Fusebox 3 or 5.5 applications and will maintain them with joy for the near future, on my to-do-list is mastering CFWheels as my next framework of choice for new projects. The first steps have been quite promising. I am euphoric in my little niche of ColdFusion development although, most of my current work is implementation consulting & training of social network solutions on the enterprise level with the Relevanza, Inc, as a strategic partner of INgage Networks.

Feel free to comment below, asked questions or contribute to this great day of “How I got Started in Coldfusion.”

You can read all the 60+ contributions of Coldfusion bloggers around the Interwebs on ScoopIt.

Posted by Birgit Pauli-Haack

Since 1998 Birgit Pauli-Haack has worked with nonprofits as a web developer, a technology strategist, a trainer and community organizer. She founded Pauli Systems, LC in 2002, now a team of six. It is a 100% distributed company. Since 2010, her team has used WordPress to build new nonprofit sites and applications. In her spare time, Birgit serves as a deputy with the WordPress Global Community team, as a WordPress Meetup organizer and a Tech4Good organizer.

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