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Learning resource for beginning web developers

If you know anyone needing to learn the fundamentals of web application development--not CFML, but things like HTML, CSS, Javascript, and so on--here's an interesting resource: Beginner Developer Center, Tier 1

Yes, it's a MS resource: don't let that keep you away

Now, some will see this is from Microsoft and flinch, but don't let that scare you away. It's a set of introductory resources that could help any beginning web developer, and while the first 2 and last 2 of the 14 sections are MS-specific, the rest are not.

And besides the web-oriented topics above (HTML, CSS, Javascript, and more), there are also sections introducing basic programming concepts like problem solving, processing and storing data, even introducing OO (again, with no reference to C# or anything .NET), and more.

For each of the 14 topics, there is both an article-level discussion and either an audio or video version.

Yes, it's in a resource center about VWD. Don't let that scare you away, either

I'll note that beyond being "from MS", it's also indeed specifically part of a resource center for their Visual Web Developer IDE. Again, most of the content offered in this beginner resource is not really specific to that editor or to .NET.

And frankly, I wouldn't hold it against a CF developer to consider using the editor. Hey, it's free, and consider also that sometimes you may have to do some editing on a server with nothing but Notepad available. Perhaps you're not a fan of Eclipse, don't have an available license for DW/HS, and you want more than just Notepad. (Yes, I do also know about the many other available free (and some commercial) editor alternatives. I list them in my CF411 site category of Editors/IDEs.)

(And if you're ever stuck in a situation where you're unwilling or not allowed to install any new editor on your server, just last week I wrote about a tip for using Notepad if you ever find that you can't use the Goto Line feature.)

Anyway, the point is I'm not making a pitch here for VWD nor any statement against CFE. Let's not go there. :-) Indeed, to any who may want to take the chance to comment here in scorn or to deride the VWD editor or MS, or to point out some other editor alternative, let's not go there, either.

The point of this entry is the free learning resources for beginning web developers that I found on the MS site. I hope it may help some people.

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

I was tooling around the web today and came across something that I think many may find really helpful: free complete (class-length) tutorials on CF, MySQL, SQL (the language), Ajax, and lots more. They're all offered as standalone sites from the training company, Webucator.

Check out the substantial table of contents on each of the following:

The CF tutorial, for instance, has 14 chapters, each with several subtopics, and they range from basics to intermediate concepts. (It does not seem to have been updated for CF 8, but does reference some CF7 topics, like Application.cfc.) For many, it's seems it would be a great resource.

Many other topics

But maybe you know all about the CF topics listed. Fair enough. There are several other similarly substantial topics, listed on the left of each page, after the table of contents for each class. Besides the CF, Ajax, Javascript, CSS, HTML, SQL, Java, and MySQL topics mentioned above, they include PHP, XML, XSLT, web accessibility, and more.

Do note that each class has several sections/pages

While each course is quite complete and has many sections, one bummer is that if one is not paying attention and gets to the bottom of each section/page, they may think that's the end. There's no link there to the next page/section. Instead, you have to notice that offered on the left nav bar back near the top of the page. Just a minor quibble for otherwise free training.

Check them out for yourself

All that said, I haven't actually read through any of them in detail. Still, they're from a training company (which teaches full-length classes on the same topics), and I'm confident that they've worked hard to make the materials accurate. One might wish they offered a place for clear feedback/comments, in case readers might be able to help improve things, but it's their call if they want to manage that sort of effort, of course.

The only real negative (some may feel) is that the "solutions" to various exercises are not offered online. Instead, the link for them indicates that the class materials can be licensed. Of course, the free online courseware is clearly a loss-leader, a promotional effort to bring you to their site to learn more about their many training offers.

Seems a fair trade to me.

CFMeetup update, and some other new online training resources to enjoy in the meantime

Some readers may be wondering "when are the next CF meetups?", it's just that between the recent conferences and normal summer doldrums it's been a little hard to find speakers.

The good news is that I do have a couple speakers already lined up the next 2 weeks (10th and 17th). I'll announce those soon, as well as any I might still arrange for this week (the 3rd).

In the meantime, I'll note that you can get some online training goodness via the many recorded CFUnited presentations that have been posted free for all to enjoy by the good folks who run the conference. You'll find 33 of them listed at my UGTV site.

Finally, I wanted to pass along news of a free resource from Adobe to help people learn more about Rich Internet Applications. It includes recorded online workshops, projects to work on, and book recommendations, all for free. Check it out at:

Rich Internet Application Teaching Resources

Upcoming classes I'll teach on FusionReactor and FusionDebug

As I've discussed previously, one of the many things I do as an independent consultant is help the folks at Intergral by teaching some classes I created on using their FusionReactor and FusionDebug products. These are great solutions for monitoring and debugging on CF 6, 7, and 8.

Here is the upcoming schedule of classes for the next few weeks. You can find out more details (cost, description, topics, timezone converter, signup) at the links provided:

Fast Track to FusionReactor I - Introduction

Tues Feb 19, 1pm EST (GMT-5) Tues Mar 18, 9am EST (GMT-5)

FusionReactor FastTrack II - Advanced Techniques

Tues Mar 25, 9am EST (GMT-5)

FusionDebug Awareness Seminar (free)

Tues Feb 26, 1pm EST (GMT-5)

I'm offering FusionReactor and Fusiondebug training, online

Interested in learning more about FusionReactor and FusionDebug? I'm teaching inexpensive half-day classes (of my own design) every few weeks for Intergral, the makers of the tools. They organize the dates, take the registration and payment, and provide the GotoMeeting account that we use to present the training (over the web and phone). You can learn more about the training at their site.

Many know I'm also a big fan of the CF8 monitoring and debugging tools, but I've been talking about FD and FR for over a year. I've also written previously (since the release of CF8) on why there's still a place for all these kinds of tools. Perhaps the biggest point is that not everyone is ready to move right away to CF8, as good as it is. More important for some is that to monitor your production servers in CF8, you need CF8 Enterprise.

FD and FR work on all editions of ColdFusion 6, 7, and 8, and even offer some features not found in the built-in tools (though the reverse is true as well).

Here are the courses, which are 3 hours each for the full classes, and 1 hour for the free webinar.

FusionReactor FastTrack I - Introduction

The "FusionReactor FastTrack I - Introduction" class is more than just an introduction to the tool. It shares lots of tips and techniques for using the monitor to help solve real problems. More important, it shows many features that you might otherwise easily miss. Even experienced FusionReactor users would likely learn a lot.

FusionReactor FastTrack II - Advanced Techniques

The "FusionReactor FastTrack II - Advanced Techniques" class moves beyond learning how the tool works to how to use it to solve common ColdFusion performance and reliability challenges, including how to configure and leverage FusionReactor features to increase your server's performance, reliability and availability. It also covers how to access FusionReactor and its logs during and after critical periods, as well as common troubleshooting analysis approaches.

FusionDebug FastTrack I - Introduction

The "FusionDebug FastTrack I - Introduction" class introduces the tool, shows how easy it is to use, and demonstrates its advantages over traditional debugging techniques as well as tips and traps in using the tool. It includes debugging CFML code called from client-side applications like Flex and Ajax. In fact, someone interested in learning about the CF8 debugger could get a lot from the class (since they're so similar), though it's just focused on FusionDebug.

Free FusionDebug Webinar

The Free FusionDebug Webinar in an online seminar where you can learn about how to debug CFML with FusionDebug.

I'll be teaching Fast Track to CF next week, and in October

If you know anyone seeking training in ColdFusion, I've been teaching the "FastTrack to ColdFusion" class again for the past year, on a contract basis with EchoEleven in Atlanta.

If you know anyone in the Atlanta area interested in that class, I'll be teaching it next week, Aug 28-30 and Oct 16-18. For more details on the Fast Track course (its topics, the location, costs, and more), see their site for the FTCF class.

To register, as well as to see future dates if you find this entry later, see Echo Eleven's page for the CF class schedule. Check out the disinctives about EchoEleven's Adobe training.

Come let me share my 10 years experience in using CF. I get consistently high rankings, and I try to share a lot more than just what's in the materials, reaching a wide range of students with or without CF experience (though, again, it is first and foremost an introductory class).

Know anyone seeking CF training? I'm teaching FastTrack to CF again. Next class 3/6-8

After a few year hiatus, I'm back to teaching the "FastTrack to ColdFusion" and soon other Adobe CF classes. I'm doing it on a contract basis with EchoEleven in Atlanta. If you know anyone in the Atlanta area interested in that class, I'll be teaching it March 6-8. For more details on the course (its topics, the location, costs, and more), see their site for the FTCF class. To register, see their schedule.

About EchoEleven Training

Before concluding, I'd like to also point out something special about EchoEleven's Adobe training. Besides an attractive facility and great instructors, they also offer the following commitments:

  • Maximum (8) EIGHT students per class
  • PERSONALIZED attention
  • Classes are NEVER canceled
  • SUPPORT beyond the classroom
  • Satisfaction GUARANTEED

Speaking of instructors, among its many, Echo Eleven has the 2005 Macromedia Instructor of the Year, Holly Quarzo who teaches Flash. If I may say so, when I was teaching the courses in the past a few years ago, I was also one of the top-rated instructors in the country. I feel that my continued growth in CFML experience since then has helped me even better in training newcomers and current developers. So come on out to the classes.

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