Twitter: raymondcamden

Address: Lafayette, LA, USA

Want to learn ColdFusion (again)?

03-23-2009 9,139 views ColdFusion 19 Comments

A few days ago I blogged about an announcement from Adobe that they were releasing a free ColdFusion curriculum. This weekend I got an email from Cody asking about learning ColdFusion in general:

Hi, I am a new ColdFusion developer. What are some good tips, sites, or books to help me out. I've seen the Adobe tutorial but that mainly focus on developing with DreamWeaver which I don't have.

I think the answer to this really depends on how you learn. Broadly, I think you can break things down into the following categories:


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  • Commented on 03-23-2009 at 4:29 PM
    I would also recommend the book "ColdFusion 8 Developer Tutorial" by John Farrar, its a very good book for someone who has never touched CF. I recommended this book to a PHP guy and the feedback has been good.
  • ron hiner #
    Commented on 03-23-2009 at 7:54 PM
    I think there are two key elements to learning anything: A project and a deadline. Without both, many people tend to languish and get caught up in information overload, and in the end, not much gets acomplished.

    So, to extend this to CF... create a simple database table containing dates and events, such as your next vacation. Then create a web page that shows how many days until each event. (e.g a grid with two colums: days from now, and event)
    Then create an editor so you can edit the table and secure it. You have until friday to finish, or Monday we'll hire a new guy to do it ;-) ) (just kidding, a little bit)
  • Commented on 03-23-2009 at 8:52 PM
    There was a joke made not long ago about only needing to learn 5 ColdFusion tags.
    When faced with 4000 pages of documentation, it would be nice to have them prioritized.

    I suppose that's what the books are for, but people generally start with the free documentation and then buy books later.

    The Helms and Peters podcast was great, as well as ColdFusion weekly. Burn a CD and listen in the car instead of radio commercials.

    Having a certification test date puts the fire under people.
  • Commented on 03-23-2009 at 9:37 PM
    Another online Quick Reference guide which is very handy.
  • Commented on 03-24-2009 at 1:29 AM
    My favorite way to learn has always been modifying existing code. Go find something on RIA Forge that sparks interest and figure out how to make it do something else. Works wonders, and as a bonus you expose yourself to the coding style of others.
  • Commented on 03-24-2009 at 1:30 AM
    My favorite way to learn has always been modifying existing code. Go find something on RIA Forge that sparks interest and figure out how to make it do something else. Works wonders, and as a bonus you expose yourself to the coding style of others.
  • Commented on 03-24-2009 at 5:54 AM
    I agree with Adam, but you don't even have to modify existing code. Just run an example app and then read through the code and figure out how it is doing whatever it does. Start at the beginning: Application.cfm/cfc and index.cfm and just follow the flow to see how things happen.
  • Commented on 03-24-2009 at 6:47 AM
    Thanks for the kind remarks, Ray.
  • Commented on 03-24-2009 at 7:39 AM
    Then again - there are always blogs like this one (and Hal's, and Ben's, and the list goes on). I've learned a BOATLOAD from reading certain blogs and I have made certain blogs "mandatory reading" for my junior programmers.

    The one comment I always get back from a new CF Programmer is - "Wow, this community is SO helpful."
  • Commented on 03-24-2009 at 9:18 AM
    Matt Williams commented that he learns by looking at the code of example applications, and that's how I've learned a lot of languages, from BASICA to dBASE III, etc.
    I wonder if we could create a defacto standard of placing a button on our applications that says "View Source", and have it do a cffile command to display the ColdFusion source code.
  • Commented on 03-24-2009 at 9:20 AM
    Interesting Phillip. Are you aware that Flex supports this out of the box? When you do a production build, you can specify if you want View Source enabled. It creates a -very- nice UI for browsing, and downloading, the original source code.
  • Commented on 03-25-2009 at 12:17 PM
    Speaking of resources for getting started with CF, Ray had quoted Cody at the outset saying he'd read the "Adobe tutorial [which] focus[ed] mainly on developing with Dreamweaver". I'm guessing he was referring to a book that's definitely worth mentioning as a learning resource.

    Called "Getting Started Building ColdFusion MX Applications", and included in the CF docs for 6 and 7 (but not 8), it's a great introduction to CF. At over 150 pages, it's neither too short nor too long, in my opinion. It walks through development of real apps (from a beginner perspective, obviously) and has lots of screenshots.

    You can find it in PDF and HTML format at the CF 7 docs page:
  • Commented on 03-25-2009 at 12:22 PM
    Those looking for resources for getting started with CF may want to consider a few more:

    First, webucator also offers their training materials online for free:

    Also, I've done a couple of blog entries related to this subject:

    Some substantial free training on CF, MySQL, Ajax, and much more

    Learning resource for beginning web developers

    And though it's not about CF specifically, it may still interest some to know about:

    Adobe's Rich Internet Application Teaching Resources

    Finally, a couple of categories in my CF411 site seem relevant:

    CFML Documentation/Help Tools and Resources

    CFML Certification Preparation Resources

    CF-oriented Trainers

    Hope those are helpful.
  • Commented on 03-30-2009 at 12:41 PM
    Depending how old-dated your knowledge in Coldfusion is, I suppose you can also look at the older books (CFMX7 Dummies, Certified CFMX7 Study Guide etc) to learn some basic stuff quick (again). For Coldfusion 8 are not too many books in my opinion, but the SMACK series seem to be good (haven't tried them yet myself).

    I miss in the comments/Ray's list the Coldfusion User Groups and the Coldfusion Meetup on . I saw some recordings and there are weekly new conference meetings via the website. Quite nice.

    I have teached some people myself with the knowledge I have, but it's far from extensive as that you can learn from books etc. I still plan on dividing my blog ( between private stuff and CF related, but haven't had the time for that yet (perhaps I should just blog on the Coldfusion blog site).

    For me a projectsite has always kept me busy and wanting to learn more, do better etc. I just think of something that might be useful: a blog, a database website to keep track of your movies, a database website to keep track of addresses and contactinfo of friends/family, a magazine on coldfusion, a magazine on computer games, a webshop, a forum and whatever can come to your mind and then try to find the right resources for that. You will learn along the way and quicker than you think.

    I started myself at a company that gave me books and Certification exams, but as coding I started with a forum whereafter several other applications for customers. Ever since I am just learning (+ developing) on a daily base.

    I ran into this post actually while looking for more teachingmaterial for the people on my current project that need to do a crashcourse Coldfusion.

    Also I'd like to say that next to Dreamweaver, which costs money, you can also look into Eclipse (, an IDE originally for Java development. They have this nice plugin written for Coldfusion named CFEclipse on (in my opinion better than Dreamweaver).

    Perhaps my next project will be some sort of website with a good overview of tutorials hehe. or a lot of snippets and tutorials. I prefer actually to have a site full of Video Tutorials ( was a good example, but that's annoying MS and not Coldfusion).

    And looking at code can be worthwhile, but can also make you puzzled.

    I wish you good luck!
  • Commented on 04-06-2009 at 8:45 AM
    I wonder what the viewership numbers are at Adobe TV?
  • Commented on 06-04-2009 at 2:39 AM
    You can also use EasyCFM ( and Coldfusion.TV ( to learn CF...
  • Commented on 09-09-2009 at 4:19 PM
    Don't forget about each tutorial has a working demo with many of the top ColdFusion developers submitting demo code.
  • Joseph #
    Commented on 11-09-2011 at 11:44 AM
    I would like to learn more about CFML, MVC and OOP in relation to coldfusion. I am looking at purchasing this book:

    But it doesn't seem to teach CFML, it's more for users to learn OOP in coldfusion with some CFML in case you need it (from what I can tell).

    Do you know of a good book to invest in which will cover MVC, CFML and OOP in coldfusion? If not, what two books would be the best combination to pick to cover these topics.

    As always, I appreciate any help. Thank you!

  • Commented on 11-09-2011 at 11:55 AM
    There is the ColdFusion Web Application Construction Kit (CFWACK it's called, if you buy it via my site I get a small kick back from Amazon). John Farrar also has a CF book.