This is my contribution to the thread started over at Ray Camden’s site. If you’re a CF developer, be sure to share your thoughts too!

Like all good stories, this one begins with bourbon and cheap cigars.

Years ago, I was in a poker society with my best friends in the world. We were liturgically serious about our poker, going so far as to create the framework for member rules, organizational bylaws, and the like.

At some point, it became apparent that our group needed a website–just some place online where we could store information for our organization. Though I had no idea how to do it, I volunteered to create the website. A ridiculous number of hours–and a hacked together Photoshop-to-HTML export–later, our website was born.

It was hacky, impossible to maintain, and *not* secure (despite my lame attempt to create a login). Yet through the process, I discovered that I LOVED making websites.

Fast-forward a year and a half, and I landed my first job as a web designer. I was laughably under-qualified, but I got my shot and I threw all my energy into it. I had a lot of success, and felt good about my decision. Even after moving from a “hobby” to a “job,” I still LOVED what I was doing.

It just so happened that the company I worked for was using ColdFusion (CF7 at the time) for all the dynamic bits of the website. While my duties did not *technically* require me to do any development work, there was inevitable bleed over, so I managed the best I could.

One day, however, something clicked in my brain. Maybe I was stupid until that moment, or simply pre-occupied with my web design duties. Whatever the case, the “promise” of dynamic web sites finally made sense. I saw just how much easier-to-developer and cooler the websites that I was making would be…and I just had to know more.

So very soon after that, my boss and I sat down, and I told him of my interest to learn ColdFusion. We figured out a good project to tackle, and I dove in. Originally, we planned on the project taking several weeks…after all, I had never really developed *anything* before, so we built in plenty of buffer time. But this estimate turned out to be way off…only a few days later, the bulk of the project was done!

This literally blew my mind. I could not believe that I, Mr. I’ve-never-developed-a-web-app-before, could produce something like this, and in only a few days. The reason for this, of course, is not that I’m a phenomenal developer or that I have some innate penchant for development. It was all about ColdFusion.

But the important thing to understand is not that ColdFusion simply made the act of development easy. Obviously, this is a huge part of it. I didn’t have to worry about data connections or any of the other stuff that other languages make difficult…CF just made it work. Rather, the biggest benefit that ColdFusion gave me as a brand-new developer was that it showed me *how* to develop. Because the simplicity of CF shielded me from the frustrations of some of the more routine aspects of development, I was able to concentrate on “making.” I didn’t have to worry about the weeds of how a language works; I was able to concentrate completely on doing.

This elegant simplicity made me fall in love with development in general, and ColdFusion in particular. From my success with this first project, I developed a voracious appetite to learn more. I read books, followed blogs, downloaded demos, and even got to attend a CFUnited. Eventually, I proved my development capabilities, and was able to transition into a full-time development position.

This was the start of an awesome experience that I continue to enjoy daily of developing with ColdFusion. While my toolbox now has other development skills in it, my first love continues to be ColdFusion, and I am excited to see–and benefit from–the amazing capabilities that will be added in the future.