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Updates for Dreamweaver, HomeSite, CF Studio for ColdFusion 8, 9, or 10

If you may still be using Dreamweaver or HomeSite+ (or its older brother, HomeSite, or its older uncle, ColdFusion Studio), you may find that the tag insight, tag help, tag completion, and other features are not recognizing newer ColdFusion tags and functions, if perhaps you have updated to later versions of ColdFusion since installing those editors.

Well here's good news, that I find many don't seem to know: you don't need to put up with a lack of support for tags and functions for more recent CF versions!

(If as a reader of this entry, you'd want to make sure people know about still other editor/IDE alternatives, I will address that briefly also before we're through.)

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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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Is Dreamweaver crashing when you try to use Help? Here's a solution

For months now, I've found that when I tried to use the help feature in Dreamweaver (8 or MX 2004), it would crash, with an "unhandled Win32 exception". If this has happened to you, there is a quick and easy solution.

The problem turns out to be IE7. That explains why, for me, it was such a mystery. I don't use DW help much at all and have had both DW 8 and 2004 installed for over a year, so when trying to use help suddenly failed in recent months, I couldn't for the life of me connect the dots to resolve the problem. I searched the web and the Adobe site in particular, all to no avail.

Solution in an Adobe Technote

Finally, I posted the question on a DW forum and David Alcala of Adobe DW Quality Engineering responded pointing out this technote. (Thanks again, David!)

Update: As is often the case in a blog entry written years ago, the link above no longer works. In the vein of "teaching a man to fish", please note that when that happens, you ought to go to archive.org, and on the front page enter the URL in question. Often it will find old copies of the page. In the case of the URL above, a version of the technote from 2009 can be found here.

It explains an incompatibility between a certain DW DLL and IE 7. As it explains, the latter came out after the former, so it's forgivable. It goes on to say that affects more those using Windows 2003 Server and 64-bit XP, but I was having the problem on 32-bit XP. And while it refers just to Dreamweaver 8, I tested the fix on Dreamweaver MX 2004 and it works for that as well. Good news!

But I have Firefox as my primary browser

And if anyone's wondering, it doesn't seem to matter if you have Firefox set as your primary browser, either in Windows or even in the Preview in Browser feature of DW. In both cases, I have FF set as primary and yet I suffered this problem. If anyone knows another way to control DW using IE for help, perhaps that would explain why only some get this problem.

Anyway, hope that helps someone else.

PS I happen to have MS Visual Studio 2005 installed, which intercepts the error and offers to run the JIT debugger. So it's possible that the error I get ("unhandled Win32 exception") is different from what one gets if they DON'T have it installed. But as the Adobe technote says, it does cause DW to crash, and that's what matters most. Since the technote doesn't offer the specific error message I was getting (or any other), I hope this blog entry may be found by others searching as I did. And I'm removing Visual Studio to see what error one gets when it's not installed. If the message is different, I'll come back and update this blog entry.

Update: ok, if the JIT debugger is not setup to handle errors, then instead one gets the "good ol'" windows prompt to "send error report". The top line of the window (in case someone searches to find this) is "Dreamweaver MX 2004 has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience." If you use the "click here" to see details, the error is in appname:dreamweaver.exe modname:hhctrl.ocx

Myth-busting: HomeSite is not dead, HomeSite NEQ HomeSite+, and Adobe does support Eclipse

OK, time to do a little myth-busting/truth-talking. I want to respond to what I feel is a misstatement in a comment on a blog entry today by Ben Forta. Not a statement by Ben, mind you, but a commenter (and friend of the community, John Farrar). Ben made a casual statement about a single IDE for CF developers (not the focus of the entry, though), and John followed up explaining his take of the history of IDE development in CF. He said as one point, "Somebody (no names please) sued Macromedia over HomeSite or CFStudio and it died."

I have to call that statement into question. Also, John shares some observations about CFEclipse, but he makes no mention of the Adobe Extensions for CF. I wanted to address both of those but felt it was too long for a comment in Ben's blog, so here you go.

HomeSite is not dead, and CF Studio became HomeSite+, not HomeSite

First, you want to be clear to distinguish HomeSite from HomeSite+. The former is still sold by Adobe (http://www.adobe.com/products/homesite/).

As for CF Studio, it did morph into HomeSite+, and the CF Studio name was dropped, but my understanding was that this was simply because the MX Studio line came out as a package of things (including Dreamweaver and Flash among many), so they couldn't have 2 things named Studio.

HomeSite continued/continues to exist as its own product, and CF Studio became HomeSite+, which you couldn't purchase but that came on the Studio MX or Dreamweaver CD (and still does). Only as of DW 8 was it finally listed on the installer screen, otherwise you had to look for it on the CD using the file system. HomeSite+ also evolved over where CF Studio had ended (at a 5.0 version), so that on DW2004 is was HS+ 5.1, and on DW8 it was 5.5, if I recall correctly. There were some new features and bug fixes, but nothing radical. Still, it was better than sticking at Studio 4.5 for those who never updated from that while Studio was alive. I've written on this and will share resources in a moment.

About that lawsuit John mentions

Now, at that same time as that transition from CF Studio to HS+ , there were some features of the HomeSite interface over which there was a lawsuit, and when HS+ came out some features (draggable windows, if I recall) were missing. Some complained that it wasn't REALLY the same as CF Studio. I never understood the kvetching. It was otherwise every it CF Studio and more (given the updates).

So HomeSite != HomeSite+

So, that's just to say that you don't want to say HomeSite is dead (it does still live and is sold). And HomeSite+ lives as the reincarnation of CF Studio, though it's not sold but is available only on the DW CD. I know some say it's as good as dead, since there's been no major feature development. That's a separate point, but I'll say I've been a fan all along and I've not missed much from the few features lost due to the lawsuit.

I do use DW sometimes for things it adds for CFML development (CFC and web service browsing, some code generation features, etc.) I think many would be surprised to learn what it has that they never noticed.

Indeed, some will know I've been spreading this news about the transition from CF Studio to HomeSite+ (as well as hints about DW) for some time in blogs and articles. Here they are for those interested in more:

As long as I'm listing resources, I'll also point out that I've done several presentations where I made the case for making sure people knew of the tool and its features:

Now, I know some will read this as an apologetic for HomeSite+. It's not. I'm offering it more for historical purposes, as well as for those who for whatever reason are still using (or wish they could use) the older editor.

Eclipse, and Adobe's support of Eclipse for CFers

Again, there's no denying the move by many in the community to CFEClipse. I'm not saying people shouldn't. In fact, I've done many entries of my own to promote CFEclipse:

So as I state in the last entry, I am making the move to CFE myself. I still find some challenges, along with others who report the same, but clearly it's the tool of choice for many.

Eclipse, and Adobe's support of Eclipse for CFers

But I noted at the top that John's comment had not mentioned Adobe's support for Eclipse. I'm not speaking of support for CFEclipse (another subject for another blog entry by other folks), but I do want to make sure people know that Adobe does indeed support Eclipse directly, because they've created the Adobe Eclipse Extensions for ColdFusion.

This isn't in competition with CFEclipse but rather a set of tools that supplement it (whether one uses CFE or not, when using Eclipse to work with CF sites). The tools include the RDS Dataview and Fileview tools (replicating what we had in CF Studio/HomeSite+), the services browser (replicating what's in DW), as well as tools to build CFCs from a database table, flex and ajax code building wizards, a log viewer (some things neither tool had), and still more.

You can learn about these in the CF8 docs as well as a CF8 features page on the subject. The eclipse extensions came out for 7.02 and have been updated for 8.

I'll be writing and presenting more about the Eclipse extensions soon.

Adobe has also offered help files for Eclipse for CF8, at that same link for the extensions above.

That leads to a common question: what's the difference between CFEclipse and the Adobe CF extensions for Eclipse? Andy Jarrett has done a nice blog entry on that very subject.


So I'm not denying the claims by John, the folks in Italy (which Ben was writing about), and others that a new dedicated CFML IDE might be useful. And I'm not trying to keep people still using HomeSite+. Not at all. To each his own.

I just wanted to set the record straight about these assertions regarding HomeSite, as well as add the points about Adobe's Eclipse CF extensions. Hope that was helpful.

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