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Resources for Getting Started with CFEclipse

As CFML developers contemplate (or make the move to) CFEclipse, which is a CFML plug-in for the open source Eclipse editor, they will naturally have questions. Does it support the features I want? What does it add? How easy is it to make the transition?

I think most developers will find that it does what they want (tag insight, tag help, code snippets, and more), and it will do still more than they may expect. Still, it may trip some up at first as they make a transition. Changing editors is always a challenging proposition, just because we become so used to our current editor. Still, more and more developers are making the switch, and you may want to learn more about it.

Challenges Getting Started

A challenge is that there's not too much in the way of getting started docs at the CFEclipse site, http://www.cfeclipse.org/. But there are ample other resources out there to help with that.

Another challenge is that one has to get into using Eclipse itself. That can be a little daunting, but it need not be a show-stopper for you. The truth is that you really can ignore a lot of what other developers (like Java developers) would do with Eclipse, and you can focus on it just being a CFML editor. There are some quirks and differences.

Finally, the tool itself has evolved, so some of the things that may have annoyed early adopters have indeed been fixed, and more and more features have been added, thanks to Mark Drew, the project lead.

So with that introduction, I want to point out that there have been various resources (articles, resource pages, and more) put together on getting into CFEclipse, and I'd like to point to some of them here, as I've found no single page yet that does that.

CFEclipse Articles in the CFDJ

First, there have been some articles in the ColdFusion Developer's Journal:

CFEclipse: The Developer's IDE, Eclipse For ColdFusion, Aug 2005, by Simeon Bateman and Spike Milligan

CFEclipse for ColdFusion Developers, Jan 2006, Rob Rohan

Making the Switch to CFEclipse to Write ColdFusion Code, April 2006, by Jeff Houser

Robert Blackburn's CFEclipse Article Series at FusionAuthority

Next, Robert Blackburn has done a series of articles on the FusionAuthority site:

Introducing: CFEclipse Features

CFEclipse CFExplained Part I

CFEclipse CFExplained Part II

Introducing: CFEclipse Features

CFEclipse Features: Task List

CFEclipse Features: Code Folding

CFEclipse Features: Tag Insight

CFEclipse Features: Local History

I couldn't find any one page on the FA site (or on the web) with a link to all of Robert's articles, though some of them do show a progressively building list of links at the bottom pointing to the previous articles. I do think the list above is all that there have been so far, but I welcome hearing from anyone who knows otherwise.

I'll also point out some other CFEclipse articles that are on the FA site (thanks, Judith, for pointing them out in comments below):

CFEclipse: A Community Affair: An Interview with Simeon Bateman, Project Manager by Judith Dinowitz

Test-Driven Development with ColdFusion Part III: Integrate Your Tests into CFEclipse Using CFUnit-Ant by Robert Blackburn

Nathan Strutz CFEclipse Resource Page

Nathan Strutz has also created a CFEclipse Intro and Resource page (FAQ) at:


Mark Drew's CFEclipse Videos

Finally, Mark Drew, who is leading the CFEclipse project now, has done a set of videos available as podcasts:


Still more?

I'm sure there are still more resources, and perhaps some are better suited to helping folks get started with just understanding CFEclipse and Eclipse from the perspective of a CFML developer making the move from, say, Dreamweaver, CF Studio, HomeSite/HomeSite+, or something else.

I really look forward to hearing from others with more/better resources.

PS I should also point out that another motivation for getting into Eclipse as a CFML developer, if not also CFElipse itself, is that the FusionDebug CFML Interactive Debugger is built atop Eclipse. I've done a series of entries on the topic:


Great stuff Charlie! It's good to have a resource like this entry all in one place. Aaron West and I have been trying to convince some of the members of the Nashville ColdFusion Users Group to go ahead and make the switch (still a few DW and HS+ diehards out there). They've heard it over and over, but still haven't made the jump for one reason or another. They also don't 'get' the plugin architecture nature of Eclipse, so they are missing out on other great utilities within the IDE, like the RDS plugins that ship with Flex Builder, the Aptana plugin for html, css, and javascript editing, or the green project for creating UML diagrams. Thanks for this post as a great beginner's resource point.
# Posted By Cutter | 12/12/06 9:44 PM
I'll have a single page on Fusion Authority for all of the CFEclipse articles today.
# Posted By Michael Dinowitz | 12/13/06 3:17 AM
Charlie, if you dont mind, I shall put up a page on CFEclipse.org which copies this and will try and update it. We are building the new site (yeah yeah, I know) and these are invaluable resources. The more places we have this content the easier it will be for people to find!
# Posted By Mark Drew | 12/13/06 5:08 AM
Thanks, Charlie, for showcasing Robert Blackburn's series! Actually, we do have a couple of articles you missed on CFEclipse, which I will provide links to below. And, as Michael says, we are getting that "single page" to find all of these links together today.

CFEclipse CFExplained Part I
by Robert Blackburn

CFEclipse: A Community Affair: An Interview with Simeon Bateman, Project Manager
by Judith Dinowitz

Test-Driven Development with ColdFusion Part III: Integrate Your Tests into CFEclipse Using CFUnit-Ant
by Robert Blackburn

As usual, your blog is a great resource and I appreciate that you've pulled all of this information together!

# Posted By Judith Dinowitz | 12/13/06 6:24 AM
Thanks, Cutter and the D's...sounds like the name of a swing band :-)

Judith, I have added that missing article from the series. Sorry, just must have lost it in the cut and paste operation as it is clearly shown in the list at the bottom of one of the later articles. I've also added the other two FA articles you mentioned.

When you guys create that page linking to all the articles in the series (or will it be all your CFEclipse articles in total?), I will add that as well. It will be useful as I'm sure you'll have more such articles in the future and that way people coming here won't miss out on those you add later. And thanks for the offer to point back to this. That's always appreciated.
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 12/13/06 9:47 AM
Great list Charlie and a del.icio.us link for sure!

One thing that annoyed me in the navigator was the extra text it added such as (ASCII (with cvs)). Here i say how to remove it : http://www.succor.co...
# Posted By Nick Tong | 12/13/06 10:17 AM
I seem to have missed an Adobe Devnet article on CFE:

# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 7/5/07 5:03 PM
Oh, and I see I didn't mention that there's a google group for CFE users:

# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 7/5/07 5:13 PM
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