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Ultimate list of CF debugging output template alternatives

Note: This blog post is from 2010. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
Following on the heels of my "Ultimate Var Scope Resource list" last week, here now I present what I think is the ultimate list of CF debugging output template alternatives.

Yes, you CAN modify the debugging output. Some have even done it for you

Many may not realize that the CF debugging output (optionally displayed at the bottom of the page, as enabled in the CF Admin) is actually created by a CFML template that can be modified ([cf]\wwwroot\WEB-INF\debug\classic.cfm).

Fortunately, several people have offered various resources that explain how to work with this file and offer packaged alternatives with specific features to resolve particular problems (where people wish the debugging output did more, or could be seen differently than at the bottom of the page).

Just drop and reload

You can just drop any of these files into the debug file directory to add to or replace the default file. If it's a new file you then need to select it as an alternative in the CF Admin Debugging Output page which offers a choice for "Select Debugging Output Format", which points to the classic.cfm by default.

Of course, since it's CFML source code, all the options mentioned here are free and open source.

The alternatives, discussed and downloadable

The alternatives include:

  • "Another hack job", from Ray Camden, adding total query time, improved number formatting for individual query times, and highlighting queries that a given duration
  • ColdFire, open source from Nathan Mische et al, a Firefox/Firebug extension to aid in viewing CFML debugging output by way of a new alternative debugging output template, coldfire.cfm
  • ColdFusion Debug Templates, "in case you want to try something different than the default template", from Josh Knutson
  • Debug2FusionReactor, from Intergral, for showing CF debugging output in FR Marker tab
  • Improved Classic CF debugging template, from Aaron Longnion. Changes list of templates executed to show in order executed, rather than by order of duration. Also adds cfqueryparam variable values for queries shown.
  • StarFish, from Ray Camden, a profiling tool built on the CF debugger. Stores debugging output in server scope, and adds an Admin customization interface to view reports based on gathered information.
  • Stiletto, from John Mason, for logging CF debugging output to a file (inspired by a blog entry by Bilal Soylu
  • Zoid, from Ray Camden. Changes the table of templates executed from a summary for each (even if called multiple times) to in individual display of each, in order.
  • Note as well that another alternative to showing debugging output at the bottom of the page is a built-in option in CF. Note the available "dockable" option in the choice for "Select Debugging Output Format". While the aforementioned classic.cfm is the default, the dockable.cfm instead shows the debugging output as dockable/movable/floatable pane instead.

Also listed on my CF411 site

Note as well that I have just created a section in my CF411 site, called "CFML Debugging Output Template Alternatives/Mods". If anyone offers me additions or corrections as a comment below, I'll be sure to update the list in the CF411 page as well.

Finally, as I mention at the bottom of the list on that page, note that I have yet another section (following that one) on the site, called CFML Debugging Tools, which lists still other kinds of CFML debugging tools.

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Thanks for sharing this Charlie. This is an area of ColdFusion (like Admin extensions) that get little to no press, so I'm happy see this get some attention, and I'm even more pleasantly surprised to see how many resources are out there.
Thanks for that, Ray. Funny you should mention Admin extensions, as that's indeed one of the next categories I want to create. I've started gathering a few already.
I still use spoolmail when I'm trapped in CF8. :)
# Posted By Vicky | 3/12/10 5:43 PM
Vicky, I don't quite see what that comment's got to do with the post. Can you elaborate? I have searched and don't find evidence that you're a frequent spammer of blogs, so I'm willing yo give you the benefit of the doubt before deleting the comment.
The discussion turned to Admin extensions, and since SpoolMail http://spoolmail.ria... is one of my favorites... and written by Camden... I thought I would express my joy. The reason I say CF8 is cuz they more or less wrapped it into CF9 http://www.coldfusio... Furthermore, I feel totally rejected not to be recognized. ;) :P
# Posted By Vicky | 3/12/10 6:07 PM
Am I just "Camden" now? It makes me sound like a rock star. ;)
At least you don't have to go by "fuzzy" to get recognized. :P
# Posted By Vicky | 3/12/10 6:43 PM
OK, thanks and sorry for the confusion.
I am going to plug my templates, mostly since there is a modifed one that is nice along with a coldbox influenced one also...grab it from svn though since I haven't made a new package in a while
Josh, I'm not able to tell from your comment: did you realize I already had your tool listed above? I'll add that the description is from what you put on the riaforge site. If you do get to creating a new build to put there, I hope you may think about adding a little more description.

I love to promote these tools, and I realize that when you created it, you may have thought it was among the only ones out there, but now as you can see there are multiple alternatives, so anything you can do to help people see what yours does would be appreciated. :-)
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