Even though I claim my day job to be web developer computer geek girl, I hate reading techie books. One of the reasons I do as well as I do as a ColdFusion developer is that I keep the tech talk to a minimum. Clients don't want to hear about CPU's and SSL's, they want to know what color the arrows will be, and if people will be scared to give out their credit card information online. Some of my more sophisticated clientele want to know about frames versus no frames and server capacity. Okay, I'm exaggerating a little, but the point is this: techie talk is boring. Techie talk is what computer geeks with poor people skills use to show everybody how smart they are. I hate techie talk. As far as I'm concerned, one should never use four syllables when two will do.
Evidently Charles Mohnike, the author of SAMS Teach Yourself ColdFusion in 21 Days, thinks so, too. His book is concise, easy to understand, and not written in techie. He uses regular language and humorous examples to get novice CF coders up and running after just a few short lessons.
Even though my ColdFusion skills don't warrant a beginners book, I do keep up with all the new CF titles, and I wish I had this one when I was starting out. Mohnike's original CF tutorial, a three day lesson published on Webmonkey two years ago, was the one that got me started. In his book he has the opportunity to bring his witty writing style to the SAMS series and expand on what he started. He'll have you designing databases and templates in the first week, and by the time you finish you'll have a good, solid base to start from before you move up to Ben Forte's references.
That's the main difference between this book and the popular Forta titles. Charles has written a very hands-on, jump in and do it text that is easy to understand, whereas Ben's books are good once you know what you're doing. Frankly, I couldn't make heads or tails out of most of the Forta books until I had already learned a substantial amount of ColdFusion technique. I had to pick people's brains and use trial and error to learn most of it. If I had had this book I could have saved myself a year of tearing my hair out.
The only problem with the book is that for some reason the publisher left the database files off the CD, but they quickly remedied that by posting them to their web site at
This is the book I recommend to beginners. It's also a good one to hand designers who have never worked within a dynamically-driven web system. If you're new to CF, this is the first book you want to read. If you are an experienced developer, this is the book you'll want to keep on hand for new employees to get up to speed fast. Do yourself a favor and add Mohnike's title to you collection today.