Ask a Jedi: Is it worthwhile to learn everything about ColdFusion immediately?

This post is more than 2 years old.

A few days ago an interesting post was made to my forums. I asked the author if he minded me moving the conversation over here and he was cool with it. While his question involves ColdFusion, I really do think it could apply to any other language. First let's start with his question:

I was wondering if there are distinct advantages for using advanced coldfusion as opposed to the more basic stuff. For example, the stuff one can learn in the first 2/3rds of Ben Forte's book "Coldfusion Construction Kit" is adequate for getting a database-driven site up and running, etc...but are there serious short-comings, or safety issues, or performance issues encountered if one doesn't use the advanced coding techniques found in later chapters and in the 'advanced cf' book? I'm wondering because I don't see a use in spending more time learning the more complex advanced (like frameworks, for ex) unless I can see clear-cut reasons why its better, safer, faster, etc.
He then followed up with this clarification:
And also - to clarify - I'm not against learning new advanced code skills, but I am sort of pressed for time on this project and wondering if I'd be shooting myself in the foot if I don't keep forging ahead into the advanced code, etc. (I've found some of the framework source (fuseaction, modelglue) to be rather difficult).

So I think his question could be summarized like so: Given a time constraint, does it make sense to cover everything you can related to ColdFusion (or a language) or is it just enough to learn the basics? Using driving as an example - is it good enough to know how to use the car or should you force yourself to make the time to take a safe driving class?

I definitely don't think I have the best answer here. In an ideal world, you would make the time. I do think it makes sense to practice with the basics to get a good hand on it before moving on to more advanced topics. At the same time though I would at least make the time to review security, performance, and frameworks. In other words - learn the core language well, and at least know about the security and performance concerns. You may not quite understand them, but you should be aware of them.

As a practical example - consider the basic query. You can learn how to do database stuff with ColdFusion in about 30 minutes. (Let's see you do that in ASP.Net. ;) Does it make sense to also learn about cfqueryparam? Absolutely. While it may be a bit much for a newbie, it is one of those things where if you don't do it in the beginning, you will regret it later.

Out of all the things you mentioned: security, performance, and frameworks, security is the one thing I would not skip under any circumstances.

As a last note (and this isn't the last note as I know this entry will get a lot of responses), frameworks are kind of funny. I can see how, right now, you don't think you need them. Trust me - that will change soon. I think most folks happily develop simple little web sites and never think twice about frameworks. But as soon as their sites begin to get even a little bit complex, they start to see how frameworks can help them with the problems that start rising.

Raymond Camden's Picture

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