How I Got Started with ColdFusion

Thanks to Steve Bryant, today is “How I got started with ColdFusion” Day.  I hadn’t intended to take part as I don’t think my story is particularly interesting, but having seen the steady flow of posts in Google Reader all day, I’ve been moved to write something.

I’ve had an interest in computers since home computers became common in the ’80s, though my parents had a habit of choosing the more obscure examples (Dragon 32, Acorn Electron…) so decent games were harder to come by and I spent more time learning BASIC programming than gaming.  Come to think of it, maybe they knew exactly what they were doing…

Throughout the ’90s I was working as a Biomedical Scientist and we were having various computer systems installed in our lab.  Since I “knew a bit” about computers, I became involved in that and eventually got to spend a day per week dedicated to IT.  In addition to our lab system, we were using Lotus Notes which had a built in web server, and I experimented with an intranet based around that.  It had a mixture of static HTML and dynamic content served from a Notes database.  When a full time programming job came up in the same organisation, I jumped at the chance and spent 18 months doing VB6 and LotusScript programming, and looking after the SMTP side of the Notes e-mail setup.

That job was fixed term for 2 years so when, at the 18 month point, I heard about a full time job at a related organisation in the newly formed Web Team as a web developer, I applied for it, eventually starting in December 2000.

This was where I first encountered Cold Fusion (with a space, and recently upgraded from 4 to 4.5).  I started on a Monday, spent two days working through an online tutorial (WebMonkey, I think) and on Wednesday headed off to Manchester with my new colleague to attend the 3-day Fast Track to Cold Fusion course (complete with free CF t-shirt!).  The next week I was adding features to an in-house Content Management system (The first of many – in those days we wrote a different bespoke CMS for each website).

Fast forward nearly 11 years, and I’m still here.  Lots of things have changed – our organisation has a new name, there are more of us now (6 CF developers) and we’re writing things very differently than we used to.  We no longer use Access at the back end, and we have a single CMS running hundreds of sites but ColdFusion is still there helping us get stuff out the door much more quickly than I think we’d manage otherwise.