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CFBuilder tip: Opening a file from outside the editor works as you'd expect!

Note: This blog post is from 2009. Some content, links and indeed comments from others may be outdated--though not necessarily. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. I may revise the content if necessary.
I want to start sharing some tips for working with CFBuilder. Most will be oriented toward those new to it, who had not used (or stuck with) CFEclipse before, but this one may surprise even those folks.

In Brief:

It's safe now to have CFBuilder set as the default program for all CFM and CFC files. Opening a file from outside the editor (when you already have CFBuilder open) will NOT open an entirely new copy of CFBuilder (as it did with CFEclipse). It will just open a new tab in the editor already open, as you'd expect. (This applies only to the standalone edition of CFBuilder, not the plug-in version.)

Explanation:

One of the annoyances that some had with using CFEclipse (though it was really an Eclipse problem) was that if you already had the editor open, and for some reason chose to open another file from outside the editor (such as from within Windows Explorer), it would launch an entirely new (full) copy of the editor (workbench). Yikes.

Folks used to Dreamweaver, HomeSite, CF Studio (and indeed most editors) would have expected instead that it would just open a new tab for the new file. That behavior was annoying enough for some (due to their dominant workflow) to keep them from sticking with CFEclipse (or other Eclipse-based editors).

Thankfully, that problem has been (quietly) solved by the CFBuilder team. I've not seen too many make much of this, but it's one of those little things that can make a big difference. To be clear, this is only in the Standalone edition that they've built, which packages an Eclipse base and the plug-in on top of that. Obviously that allowed them to solve this problem in a way that other base eclipse implementations do not.

Not about using Eclipse's File Explorer view

Now, I realize that some readers will be aghast that someone would care about this. Why aren't you using projects? Or why not at least use the available File (or File Explorer) view, if you don't want to use the project-based Navigator?

But that's not the point. We're not talking about an alternative to projects, nor about opening the files from within Eclipse/CFBuilder at all. We're talking specifically about opening files from outside the editor. It may not be a workflow you'd ever use, but there were plenty who did use it, for whatever reason. Just nice to see this solved for them.

Thanks, Adobe

In fact, if you haven't noticed, Adobe even offers during the installation of CFBuilder (standalone) to have it mark the operating system to default to opening CFM and CFC files using CFBuilder. That's a nod to this feature now working as expected.

So thanks, Adobe, for solving it. And to those who have held this as a knock against Eclipse-based editors, it's just one more reason to reconsider the move to ColdFusion Builder.

More to come, here and in my daylong CFUnited class, "Getting Started with CFBuilder"

If you're looking for more such tips, keep an eye here. More than that, if you'd like to spend a day getting immersed in an introduction to CFBuilder from the perspective of one coming from other editors, come to my daylong class being held on-site the day before CFUnited, August 11. It's one of several such daylong classes being organized by (and available for purchase separately from) CFUnited.

More on the class in my previous blog entry or at the class detail page.

Comments
Charlie, have you run into issues where CFBuilder creates a new Eclipse workspace in the same directory as the file you open? I saw this and it annoyed me enough that I disabled the "Open with CFBuilder" feature.
# Posted By Nathan Mische | 7/29/09 12:08 PM
Hi Nathan, do you mean the appearance of files like .project in the directory?

The good news is that I can confirm that's not happening with the public beta build. I just tested it, opening a file in a directory where I could see what files were there, before and after opening a file and even closing CFBuilder.

Perhaps it happened in earlier betas and I'd not noticed it. In fact, now that you mention it, I am finding them in various places (with older dates on them). Perhaps that was a facet of how things worked in Eclipse (whether in Bolt, FlexBuilder, or other Eclipse implementations) before the CFBuilder team resolved the problem.

Let me know if this is what you meant and indeed if the problem is resolved for you now. BTW, one doesn't need to have chosen that option during installation to test this. In Windows at least, you can just right-click a cfm file (in Windows Explorer or My Computer) and choose "open with" to pick CFBuilder. When it opens the file, do you see the remnants in its directory?
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 7/29/09 3:49 PM
Hi Charlie, I can't seem to reproduce the issue, so it must have been fixed. Do you know, can you associate CF files with CFBuilder in the extension configuration? (Not the stand alone installation.) Thanks!
# Posted By Nathan Mische | 7/29/09 4:11 PM
Nathan, I have installed a base Eclipse and installed CFB as a plugin. Sadly, no, with that configuration, Eclipse does indeed try to open a 2nd workbench (which of course can't share the same workspace).

So this feature described above is for the standalone version only. I'll modify the blog entry to clarify that for those who many not read comments. :-) Thanks for asking.
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 7/30/09 1:28 PM
Thanks for checking into this. (I was going to test further myself just haven't had the time yet.)
# Posted By Nathan Mische | 7/30/09 10:08 PM
Since I've installed CFBuilder, I'm able to open external files without it launching a separate workspace, _but_ opening the file does cause the minimization on my CFBuilder window to toggle. For example, if I have CFBuilder open, and I open an external file, CFBuilder will minimize to the tray. Opening a second external file causes reverse this effect. Running under Windows XP.

Anyone had similar issues?
# Posted By Joe H | 4/21/10 5:22 PM
@Joe H, I can only say that no, I don't have that issue. I just checked again, and it does not minimize. I can't think what would cause that, but since the ability to open files from outside the IDE is unique to CFBuilder (never been able to work in other Eclipse builds without it opening a whole new workbench), I don't know how you can solve that, other than bring it to Adobe's attention on the forums. Sorry I can't offer more (perhaps others will chime in, but I have my doubts).
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 4/21/10 6:29 PM
I installed CF Builder (1.0) as a standalone install and after updating (Update 1) it's as if CF Builder was installed as a plugin. Anyone else have this issue?
# Posted By Chris Pittillo | 6/3/10 12:18 PM
@Chris, I don't understand what you mean. If CFB was standalone, there would be a program to start called CFB. If CFB is installed as a plugin, you do that on top of an Eclipse installation that you install yourself. There's just no way that the CFB updater could change standalone CFB to Eclipse with CFB as a plugin.

I suppose it's possible, though, that you previously had both CFB and Eclipse. I have heard that the CFB updater updates the last one installed. I suppose if you had CFB on Eclipse as a plugin, then it would update that.

Even so, that's not quite "CFB standalone being turned into a plugin". Does this help at all?
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 6/3/10 1:23 PM
I didn't have Eclipse installed and I removed the CFB beta before I installed CFB 1.0

After installing Update 1 (prompted by the Adobe Updater) when I launch CFB (from C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe ColdFusion Builder\CFBuilder.exe) the Eclipse splash screen appears and the title bar of the program has the Eclipse icon and says "Eclipse Platform"

I'm considering deactivating, uninstalling and reinstalling to see if that makes a difference.
# Posted By Chris Pittillo | 6/3/10 1:58 PM
Wow, interesting. So to be clear, it is still cfbuilder.exe (so not standalone Eclipse, per se), but I hear you saying that for all intents and purposes it appears that way. That's odd.

So first, if you try to change perspectives (Window>Open Perspective>Other), does it list ColdFusion at all? If not, then that's really odd. If it is there and you select it, are things back to as you'd expect?

That doesn't change it showing CFBuilder in the title bar, I realize, so something does sound odd. Still, can you open your past projects? Does the CF editor open? If so, at least then you may not need to uninstall/reinstall, but I can appreciate that you may want to.

It is indeed odd. I've not heard of it happening. Anyone else?

All that said, I'll again say that this thread is not the place for us to address any and all CF Builder problems. :-) That's really what the Adobe forum for it is for: http://forums.adobe....

Still, I'll look forward to the conclusion to your issue being shared here if you/others find it.
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 6/3/10 2:36 PM
Yes, the CF perspective is visible and working.

Also, today I uninstalled (and deleted any remaining files from the install folder) then reinstalled from the CD and after updating the same thing is happening again.

I know this is something that would be better posted on the Adobe forum however I originally posted here because when I try to open a cfm/cfc file from outside the editor it does not open in a new tab (a new instance of eclipse starts and says the workspace is in use).
# Posted By Chris Pittillo | 6/9/10 2:46 PM
Well, Chris, about your last point, if the operating system file association does indeed still associate cfm files with cfbuilder.exe, then that's as it should be. If it doesn't open in a new tab then, I'd suspect it's part of your ongoing observation that after doing the update, it's somehow changed your standalone CFB into just standalone eclipse, despite the filename. Very odd.

I'm afraid this really is something you need to take to the Adobe forums, though. You're not getting any responses from others here, and I'm out of ideas. The Adobe team (and many others) do watch the Adobe forum, so hopefully they'd jump in to help (no guarantee, of course).

I'd be very clear in your description about how you had CFB working, did the update (CFB, not an Eclipse update) following the instructions from Adobe, and had this happen. And that an uninstall and reinstall worked, until again you applied the CFB update. Perhaps they may suggest other steps to follow.

(A common troubleshooting suggestion is to launch the program from the command line with the -clean option. In your case, cfbuilder.exe -clean. I'm not inclined to think that will help, since your initial install did work. But before you report to the forums you may want to at least try it and indicate if it still doesn't help.)

Hope you resolve it.
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 6/9/10 5:04 PM
A different issue with opening external files. I have CS4 installed on my mac as well as CFBuilder and FlashBuilder. .cfc and .cfm files were associated with Dreamweaver. I tried to use the finder to associate them with CFBuilder and it was not a recommended program but I chose it anyway. OS X associated the file types with FlashBuilder instead. Not the end of the world, but can anyone shed some light?
# Posted By Jim O'Keefe | 6/2/11 11:20 AM
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