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Finding resources on ColdFusion 11's mobile development features

Have you wondered where you can find more about ColdFusion 11's mobile development features? (Did you know that CF11 added such features?) There are several resources provided by Adobe and others. In this post I highlight those various resources, with a focus on the many (and many kinds of) Adobe-provided ones.

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How to create a "new file" in ColdFusion Builder without use of a project

A newcomer to ColdFusion Builder (coming from Dreamweaver) expressed frustration on the Adobe CFBuilder forum about the challenge of doing something as simple as creating a new file--without having to name it first, and when not using "projects".

I offered a reply, both explaining why CFB has a project-oriented nature (being an Eclipse-based product) and also how they could be seen akin to DW "sites". Still, I appreciate the difference and the challenge to newcomers.

But most important, I explained how the Aptana plug-in built-into CFB does indeed offer a solution for him, in its "Untitled Files" feature, easily accessed from the File>New dialog. This would let him create a new file without need of either naming the file first or picking a project (whether when creating the new page or when saving it).

It's not an obvious solution, but I show how it can be made to be easily accessible with a single keystroke.

Rather than repeat myself here, I'll just point interested readers to the forum thread, "Creating a new file". Perhaps others will share more insights after mine, and feel free to leave comments here or there as you see fit.

Some hidden gems in ColdFusion Builder 2.0.1 for those who edit via FTP

Let me say this up front: I realize that some folks may well decry my pointing this out (hold that thought). But in the spirit of my tradition of pointing out "hidden gems" in things related to CF and CFBuilder, those who may edit files via FTP will want to know that there are some enhancements for that support in CF Builder 2.0.1, now in public beta.

Among the "other enhancements" mentioned at the bottom of the "New Features Notes" (PDF), note a few related to FTP:

  • New Upload On Save option on the FTP connector dialog box to upload a file by way of FTP when saved locally
  • Use shortcuts to perform Synchronize and Upload (Ctrl+Alt+W U)/Download (Ctrl+Alt+W D) simultaneously
  • Take advantage of the shortcut for Synchronize (Ctrl+Alt+W Y)

Those may be big news for some, which might be easily missed, and which are not likely to be pointed out in most posts on what's new in CFB 2.0.1. And some would even intentionally leave them out, so I'm "takin' one for the community" here by pointing these out. :-)

Why some may decry these features

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Setting up CFBuilder to process htm files with the ColdFusion editor

A client of mine asked if I might know how he could setup ColdFusion Builder 2 so that when he opened an htm file with it, it opened with its ColdFusion editor. He's one of those folks who've configured their environment so that htm pages are processed by CF so they can have CFML code in them. (More on that notion, the pros and cons, in a moment.)

The solution for getting CFB to open an HTM file in the CF editor is not too hard, but since he was thrown off a bit by some things he saw (when I suggested simply that the answer was in Builder's Preferences>General>Editors>File Associations page), I offered the specific steps. I then decided to go ahead and blog it, since I don't find anyone else having done so (feel free to comment if someone did).

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cf.Objective(): I'll be there, and I'll be busy with 4 sessions

I've gotten word from the folks running the cf.Objective() conference that besides the 2 talks I'm giving, they've also recently accepted my proposals for a BOF (birds of a feather) session and a slot in their lightning talk session. Phew! I'll be busy.

Here are the details.

First are the two talks:

(I had put in just the first talk originally, and then a few weeks ago a slot opened and they asked if I could do the other, which I was happy to offer, as an reprisal/update to my talk from the first release.)

Then for the Lightning Round (or what was originally referred to as the Pecha Kucha), my talk will be:

  • Lies, damned lies, and CF request timeouts (in which I'll share in 5 minutes some information that even experienced developers admit having never known)

Finally, for the Birds of a Feather (no page on their site listing them yet), the session I will be leading will be:

  • CF911: Share your CF server troubleshooting tips (come share some ideas, or learn from myself and others)

Sense a theme? Yep, other than the CFBuilder talk, the other sessions are all focused on the topic that is now most near and dear to my heart (and livelihood): CF Server Troubleshooting. It's what I do, and more important it's how I feel I can best help the most people.

There's one last aspect of my involvement at the conference that I'll mention: they started a new sponsorship program this year called "Friends of cf.Objective()", and I'll be participating in that. No mention of it yet on their site, but there should be more news at the event.

So hope to see you there, or if you won't be there, I'll post if any of these are recorded, or if not then I would likely record them myself in the future.

CF911: Want to modify the CF Step Debugger's use of a random port?

Here's a quick tip (and some elaboration): if you've noticed that the CF step debugger (in CF 8 or 9) causes CF to listen on a randomly changing port, you can change that behavior (assuming you have good reason to do so, such as perhaps some challenges with firewall configuration).

It's a simple JVM tweak to cause it to use a fixed port:

-DDEBUGGER_SERVER_PORT=portNumber

You can add this either in the "Java & JVM" page of the CF Admin (if in Standard or Enterprise Server), or on the java.args line in the jvm.config file (for any form of CF).

You do need to restart CF for this to take effect.

A few warnings are in order

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My CFBuilder Debugger chapter (for CF9 WACK Vol 2) is online

Here's good news for folks seeking more documentation on how to configure, use, and troubleshoot the ColdFusion Builder debugger.

My chapter on the topic, in the newly released CF 9 Web Application Construction Kit, Volume 2 Application development is available free online. It's one of 3 chapters at the end of the book (out of 21 total) that were forced online due to pagecount restrictions.

While it's a bummer for those who buy the print book and may not notice these are missing (though it should be mentioned in the TOC), the good news is that it means anyone can read the chapter.

You'll find the 25-page chapter (chapter 45, "Using the Debugger") online in a PDF of all 3 chapters available at Ben's site. Note that since mine is the last chapter of the PDF, you will want to skip to page 71 within the document. The following link should open the PDF directly to that page (if not, just use the Acrobat feature to go to a page):

Read the PDF, starting at page 71

Finally, some may notice on the Amazon page offered above that only Ben Forta is listed as author for the book. Of course, there were multiple authors. Ben, Ray Camden, and I were contributors to all 3 volumes, while there were still other contributors for volumes 2 and 3. Ben says that this oversight will be addressed soon.

How to open CFBuilder/FlashBuilder/Eclipse to view a given perspective, from command line

Someone on a list asked an interesting question: how do you switch perspectives in CFBuilder (or FlashBuilder or Eclipse) from the command line? For instance, if one has CFB with FB as a plugin, how might one use the command line to create a shortcut so as to launch to the CFB or FB (or another) perspective?

The good news is that there are in fact various command-line switches for launching Eclipse, and these apply just as well to the cfbuilder.exe and FlashBuilder.exe (for instance, some have needed to use the -clean switch to resolve some problems).

In this case of specifying the desired perspective, we want to use the -perspective argument. The trick, though, is knowing the right value to provide. It's *not* the perspective name. Rather, it's the perspectiveid, and that's not so easy to determine. I'll explain below how I found them, but to cut to the chase, here they are.

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More reasons to buy ColdFusion Builder

I wanted to add some more thoughts to Adam Tuttle's helpful recent entry, Why (I Think) You Should Buy ColdFusion Builder. I started to offer them as comments but it got lengthy, so I decided to create this entry instead.

A little background on the question

Adam's entry was his response to an observation I'd made on a private mailing list that I'd not seen any good single resource to point people to when they raised concerns about having to pay for CFBuilder. We who have "seen the light" wonder why people even debate it (as he addresses with observations from others in his entry).

While his entry expands on the oft-shared Adobe graphic comparing features among it and the existing CFML editors, there are some more features that may not have been t important enough to be listed on that graphic, but are sometimes a source of concern/contention for some as they consider CFB. Here are a few of them.

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Presenting "CFBuilder Hidden Gems" twice this week

This week I'll be offering my "Hidden Gems in ColdFusion Builder" talk, which was well-received at the recent CFinNC conference. Besides sharing the date/time/location details, I also want to clarify here what the talk is and IS NOT going to cover.

First a local (longer) in-person then an online worldwide presentation

First, I'll be offering it first in-person at the Atlanta ColdFusion User Group (ACFUG) on the evening of Wednesday Nov 4. The meeting description and details are offered on the ACFUG site. Since food and drink are served, you're asked to please RSVP. This talk will not be recorded, as trying to record an in-person user group talk presents lots of challenges.

Second, I'll be offering it on the ColdFusion Meetup (the online ColdFusion user group I run which meets weekly) on the evening of Thursday Nov 5. You can find details and optionally RSVP on the CFMeetup event page. This talk, like all CFMeetup talks, will be recorded.

What the talk is and IS NOT

I want to clarify some things about the talk.

First, the talk is NOT a general introduction to CF Builder. It's a tips and tricks talk, sharing lots of things that people seem to miss (or struggle with) about the IDE.

By the same token, there are also a lot topics that I simply won't have time to cover, so please don't hold it against me if I don't address some favored topic. :-)

Also, please note even these two talks above won't be identical. In the ACFUG talk I've been given both hour-long slots, while on the CFMeetup I'll have just the normal one hour. As such, in the ACFUG talk I'll have much more time and be able to cover more than on the meetup. I've also been asked to take a little of that extra time at the outset to do a quick intro to the editor. So if you're in or near Atlanta, you'll want to attend that talk rather than await the online one.

Finally, both talks will be a bit different from the one I gave at CFinNC. I've added some tips while also condensing some others for time (even in the longer ACFUG talk).

So many gems that I need to create a half-day class

Indeed, as happened with my "Hidden Gems in CF 8" talk a couple years ago, I've gathered so many tips that really a user group talk doesn't offer enough time to do much more than just list them, quickly demo only some of them, and point to resources to learn more for each.

For those who might like to have a more leisurely presentation, with time to follow along and try things (while raising any concerns), as well as time to see demos of most of the gems and for me to discuss more of them at length, I do plan to create a half-day class which I will announce soon.

(I never did get around to that for the CF8 gems, but I may still offer that class even now, as some people are only now moving to it or are skipping it on the way to CF9.)

I'll be speaking at CFinNC, doing "Hidden Gems in CFBuilder"

CFinNC - Carolina ColdFusion / Flex / Air Conference - Oct 17-18, 2009For those attending the awesome free CFInNC conference this coming weekend in Raleigh NC, I'll be speaking on "Hidden Gems in CFBuilder". See the description there for more.

I mentioned last week that I was starting my "Hidden Gems in CF9" series of blog entries, and I'll eventually do a class based on that. In the meantime, I will also soon start sharing some of these CFBuilder hidden gems here as well.

So if you're coming to CFinNC, please look me up and say hello. And if you're not yet planning to attend but live within a few hours driving distance (I'll be driving the 5 hours from Atlanta), you should definitely consider it. There will ba a lot of great speakers and content, as well as community and festivities, all for free.

Help spread the word, online or by grabbing a flyer to put up at your workplace. It's not too late!

CFBuilder tip: Browsing web services--did you know you can? and a bug you may hit

Did you realize that you can browse web services in CFBuilder (just like you could in Dreamweaver or the Adobe ColdFusion 8 Extensions for Eclipse), seeing all the methods, their args, etc.? I'll show you how, but I'll also warn of a bug you may hit in the beta, and give a simple solution.

This is another in a series of tips I want to start share for those working with CFBuilder. While oriented mostly to those who had not used (or stuck with) CFEclipse before, this one may surprise even folks who had used it.

How to browse web services in CFBuilder

Just as with the older Adobe Eclipse extensions for CF8, the ability to browse web services in CFBuilder is in the same Services Browser interface that one can use to look at CFCs.

It's easy to miss, even if you do know about the Services Browser (Window>Show View>Services Browser). Look in the top right corner of that view, and there's a pair of icons which when you mouse over them allow you to switch between "Show Web Services" and "Show CFCs on RDS Server". Nifty.

So just as in DW, you can then add the WSDL URL for any web service, either by clicking the red circled plus sign in the top left of the view, or by right-clicking on whitespace in the view and choosing "add wsdl".

It will then retrieve the web service description information and display in a friendly tree view all its services, their methods, and those methods arguments and datatypes, etc. (see the screenshot above).

This really can make it so much easier to work with web services, especially ones you don't know or are having trouble with.

But wait, there's more. Call now and receive .... (sorry) ...

Seriously, though, this is nice if you didn't know about it. The tool can even build code for you to call the web service. As with Dreamweaver, you can right-click on a method and have the editor build for you your choice of either CFINVOKE or creatobject code to call the web service and that method. It will even populate a placeholder for the required arguments for you. Talk about service with a smile. :-)

(As a bonus, I'll note that there are also several other tools, free and commercial, some web-based and some downloadable, that can also be used to browse web services. More on that in another entry I've now posted.)

One gotcha, for now: stuck on "contacting server", and easy workaround

The following concern was fixed by the final release.

There IS a gotcha. (There's always a catch, right?) Actually, since CFBuilder is still in beta, we can hope this will be fixed soon.

When you first add a web service URL, and you then try to expand it to see its services and methods, sadly it will seem stuck reporting "contacting server" where the service names and methods should be. Grr.

Oddly, when I saw that, I moved on thinking it was a problem with that web service, and when I added another WSDL URL, suddenly the one that was hung now worked. I though it odd, till I noticed it did that with EVERY URL I added.

So what's the solution when you add one and it hangs like that? Just add another. You could even just add the same one twice (and then delete the dupe you will now have).

It also "fixes itself" if you delete one of the listed WSDL URLs.

While you might think a restart of CFBuilder (the "workbench", in Eclipse parlance) would also help, actually it hurts. When you restart it, and try to open a web service again, it hangs. You have to repeat the process above. Worse, you need to do it for any web service you try to open. That's an annoyance, for sure.

But here's some "good" news. I just confirmed that you don't even need to enter a valid WSDL URL (or even a valid URL). I just added "x" as a new service, and it got the hung services working. One may argue it shouldn't allow that, but for now that's a blessing. :-)

I've opened a bug report for the problem of the "hanging" web service feature. If you'd like to vote for it, you can find it as bug id 79321.

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

If you're looking for more such CFBuilder 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, that will be the focus of 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.

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

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.

I'll be offering a one-day class, "Getting Started with CF Builder", at CFUnited on Aug 11

Are you interested in learning more about CFBuilder? Let me help, at my day-long class held the day before CFUnited (one of several organized by the conference).

Been challenged by Eclipse-based editors?

If like me you've been using other CFML editors (Dreamweaver, CF Studio, HomeSite+, etc.) for years, you may be a little intimidated by CFBuilder, Adobe's new Eclipse-based CFML editor. Perhaps you've also tried CFEclipse in the past and (like me) were dissuaded.

Whether you have or not, I think you'll find CFBuilder addresses a lot of the challenges you may have had. Still, it can still be a little daunting making the switch.

So I created a class for the rest of us

I'd like to help, and I've created a day-long class to help you make the transition, which will be offered at the CFUnited conference on Tuesday 8/11 (the day before the conference) from 9-5:30.

Only announced in the past several days, the formal title is "CU250 - Getting Started with CFBuilder, for those coming from Dreamweaver, CFStudio, HomeSite, etc.", and you can learn more (and register) at http://cfunited.com/2009/classes#class-CU250.

I created an extensive description, to make it clear to people what they should (and should not) expect from the class. The link above shows just a few paragraphs. The more complete description is at http://cfunited.com/2009/cfbuilderclass.

As I clarify in the description, the class is not meant for those who already know Eclipse or CFEclipse. Rather, it's the class "for the rest of us" who may or may have struggled making that transition. If you know such people, please let them know about the class. I really hope to help get them excited.

Please spread the word

Even if you can't attend, if you think others may appreciate it, please spread the word. Since it was only just announced (to replace a class that was dropped), I could use help getting the word out.

Check that out the link for details, but in brief there will be three sections:

  • Part 1: Getting Familiar with Eclipse
  • Part 2: Getting Familiar with CFBuilder
  • Part 3: A Brief Look at Some Important Additional Features

Adobe's done a great job making this a desirable and powerful editing environment. If you didn't know, you can join the beta for free now. Let me help guide you into getting into the CFML editor of the future.

Other classes available too

This is one of several day-long classes which can be separately purchased for the day before the conference begins. I've done them in the past and they've always been well-received. (To be clear, these are separate from the 100+ hour-long sessions that will be included in the conference itself, which is shaping up to be awesome.)

If you have any questions, fire away. I'll be offering more entries over the next couple of weeks sharing tidbits of what we'll cover, to wet your whistle. :-)

CFBuilder team is blogging

If you're getting into (or might get into) CFBuilder, the new CFML editor from Adobe, check out the Adobe engineering team that's now blogging about it:

http://blogs.adobe.com/cfbuilder/

They've shared a couple of tips and will surely share more. The feed is at http://blogs.adobe.com/cfbuilder/atom.xml. This is in addition to all the other useful CFBuilder getting started resources, that I pointed out in an earlier entry.

Yet another potentially important CFBuilder Getting Started resource

I'll have more to say tomorrow about still another resource I'm creating to help you get started with CFBuilder.

Other older resources for Eclipse-based CFML editors

In the meantime, I might point out an older set of resources I did on the Adobe ColdFusion Extensions for Eclipse and on CFEclipse (both of which might be regarded by some as the predecessors to CFBuilder), some of which have info still useful in CFBuilder:

CFBuilder: don't try to wing it! Read/view the many resources to get started

Great to see Bolt..er..CFBuilder finally released for all the world to enjoy. I'll leave it to all the other bloggers to post their introductions. I'd like to focus on something a bit different.

I just posted this as the very first message on the CF Builder support forums, and I thought it worth highlighting here as a blog entry.

As these forums open now, let me be the first to point something out: it's so tempting to just dive into new software and assume/hope you can just "figure it out". Whether you're new to Eclipse or are coming from CFEclipse, it really will pay tremendous dividends (as well as cut down on questions here) if you would check out the many resources to help get you started.

First up is the manual/help for CFBuilder (available in both html and pdf form). At least skim them, but if you take the time to look you'll find there's a lot there both for those transitioning other from editors like Dreamweaver, HomeSite, and CF Studio (for whom Eclipse is new), as well as those coming from CFEclipse and/or Flex/FlashBuilder (for whom the Eclipse base is natural). Both audiences can find information to help them become more comfortable (what's familiar, what's different), as well as to learn new features not previously available in the other editor(s).

Finally, don't miss that there are also several additional getting started resources, both printed and in video form, offered on the CFBuilder front page on labs. Look closely at both the "Getting Started" and "Community" tabs at the bottom of that page, each of which list different resources suited to getting you started. And the docs, and eventually more articles, will also let you go deeper than just getting started.

Don't try to wing it, though. Check out these resources as the best way to get you going with checking out Bolt, regardless of your level of experience with Eclipse-based editors. Hope that's helpful.

Yeah, what he said. :-)

BTW, I'll have more to announce soon about another resource for helping you get started with CFBuilder. Watch this space.

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