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Getting Started with Cold Fusion Recommendations

SOFTWARE:

1. Cold Fusion Studio -- Note, it comes with a single user version of ColdFusion Server that can be installed on any PC that runs Personal Web Server which has to be installed first. No need to shell out the $1,200 for the Professional version of CF Server until you are ready to go production and then the client can buy either the Professional or Enterprise version.

No need for the Enterprise version if you are going to just be doing ODBC against DBFs. To get native Oracle drivers, and or to do clustering of CF Servers, you need the Enterprise version. Also, you may want to also rent a CF Host - suggest Edgewebhosting -- http://www.edgewebhosting.com -- they know both Cold Fusion and Fox and have been very helpful. Call Vlad Friedman or Bill Riley at 888-428-2752

2. Macromedia Fireworks -- Web graphics and more.

3. Advantage Database Server as alternative to SQL Server or desktop databases such as DBFs and MDBs - Justin Borg 800-235-7576 Ext 6177 -- Talk to him about the Partner program where you can get the all of their products for $500 with a 5-seat license -- also free partner seminar first week of February in Boise (you pay travel and hotel of course). I will know for sure in the next week about this memo field support issue (at least with free tables). Their web site is at www.advantagedatabase.com

BOOKS:
  1. "Cold Fusion fast and easy web development" by T.C. Bradley - Steps you through the getting started basics with excellent examples.
  2. "Mastering Cold Fusion" by Arman Danesh (Sybex)
  3. "Advanced Cold Fusion Application Development" by Ben Forta
  4. "Practical HTML 4" by Lee Anne Phillips (QUE)
OTHER ABSOLUTE MUSTS:

1. Become super fluent in HTML as supported by IE and Netscape 4.0 and above (especially the use of tables). Be able to know what is going on behind the scenes.

2. Test in Netscape 4.08 - then you are sure your code with also run in IE4 and above.

3. While, the HTML page editors work well, they generally produce lots of extraneous code the causes pages to load slower (code can be edited from within Studio, but I use a DOS text editor to do that).

4. Think twice before using frames -- cute is nice but can also slow your app down considerably.

5. Use graphics sparingly -- same reason as above.

6. Become fluent in JavaScript (used extensively in data entry validation routines, etc).

7. Look at all of the PeachPit Press books (great cookbooks):

- "HTML for the World Wide Web" by Elizabeth Castro
- "JavaScript for the World Wide Web" by Tom Negrino

8. Dr Joe Burns Book "JavaScript Goodies" and website www.htnlgoodies.com -- great tutorials and examples scripts on HTML and JavaScript for getting started (later reference too).

9. Finally access the following sites and subscribe to as many mail lists as you can stand:
http://www.houseoffusion.com http://www.cfug-md.org
http://www.fusionauthority.com/index.htm
http://www.cfvault.com/index.cfm/mode/ContentPage/Element/forums
http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/backend/tutorials/tutorial2.html
http://www.sccfug.org/
http://www.cfprogrammers.com/
http://www.cftipsplus.com/default.cfm
https://www.secretagents.com/
http://www.webtricks.com/SourceCode/
Others are available via links from these sites.

Also, http://www.macromedia.com/desdev/developer/ and http://www.macromedia.com/v1/support/KnowledgeBase/SearchForm.cfm are sites maintained by the Cold Fusion vendor Macromedia.

10. Buy subscription to CF Developers Journal subscription -- also gets you access to the archive copies via the web. http://www.sys-con.com/coldfusion/list.cfm

11. For Cold Fusion Advisor go to http://www.cfadvisor.com/api-shl/engine.cfm

12. Attend as many of the local free or semi-free CF seminars as possible. Michael has had or helped sponsor many this past year - Go Michael...

Sum total, I have spent about $4,000 getting all the tools/toys that I am now in the process of using and learning to use to do dynamic web tricks -- also count on taking at least two to three times longer to develop/debug your first CF web app than a Windows app. Tools bought include most of the Macromedia product line - Flash, Dreamweaver UltraDev, CourseBuilder. Adobe Photoshop Lite. Five or six support utilities including those I talked about last night.

As always this free advice may be only worth what you pay for it; but, I only wish I had the above information available to me when I first entered stage left -- to either follow or ignore.

Hope this helps.
Arden Weiss


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