Ask a Jedi: Learning by doing

This post is more than 2 years old.

Aseen asks:

I am a beginner in coldfusion technology. And I want to improve my skills by practising some good applications. So can anyone suggest me any website or any application to work?

I am very happy to see this question. I'm a huge believer in using real applications, or at least real problems, to learn languages. For example - typically you learn about a language by seeing extremely simple examples. Normally these examples focus on one thing, a particular function or tag. I find that I don't learn well like this. Sure, while I'm reading the doc it is fresh, but until I use it in an application, I don't really learn it. I've found that this is my main problem with Java. I've "learned" it a few times now, but just haven't had the time to get practical experience with it. That's why I'm trying to be more pro-active with Flex2 and Spry. (In fact, I've got a new Flex2 game in the works I hope to release soon.)

For example, I wrote The Death Clock way back in the early 90s as a way to learn Perl. I converted it to ColdFusion to help me learn ColdFusion. I wrote this blogware as a learning exercise.

Let me suggest this: Find an application that interests you. It need not be a giant application, or even an entire site. It can as simple as a calendar application. Build it out as complete as you can. It will be horrible. Trust me. But you will gain "real" experience and will be able to return to the application later and improve it.

One nice thing about "real" applications is that you don't have to map it out. You know what a calendar application should do. You know what a blog application should do. Not having to worry about the feature design phase means you can move more quicker into the actual coding phase.

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a developer advocate for HERE Technologies. He focuses on JavaScript, serverless and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA