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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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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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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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I'm speaking on the CFMeetup this week: Introducing the Adobe ColdFusion Extensions for Eclipse

I'm one of the speakers this week on the Online ColdFusion Meetup. I'll be presenting in the noon (EDT) slot this Thursday, on "Introducing the Adobe ColdFusion Extensions for Eclipse". Before you yawn, are you sure you realize what I'm referring to?

This is not an introduction to Eclipse, and it's not about features in CFEclipse, so it may interest those who've long used CFEclipse but not the Adobe extensions. Yet it also doesn't presume prior experience with Eclipse or CFEclipse, so it's for pretty much everyone. And if you plan to be using Bolt, you'll want to attend since these extensions are included among the many features that Adobe has listed as coming Bolt.

Introducing the Adobe ColdFusion Extensions for Eclipse Whether you're already using Eclipse (via CFEclipse or not), or you've still not gotten into using it (or are waiting for Bolt), this talk if for you, if you don't know about the Adobe CF Extensions for Eclipse. Not to be confused with the CFEclipse plugin, the Adobe ColdFusion Extensions for Eclipse are a free set of very useful tools (for the free Eclipse editor) that many have missed, even if they do use CFEclipse. And if you don't yet use CFEclipse, these additional tools may offer features that might make you reconsider using Eclipse for CFML coding.

In this session, veteran CFer Charlie Arehart will introduce the extensions (not CFEclipse), including how to find and install the extensions from the Adobe site, as well how to use them to do many things: browse datasources and build queries, generate code using wizards, browse CFCs and web services, view log files, debug CF apps (discussed only briefly and supported only for CF8), and more.

Note that most of the features shown apply to if you're using CF7 as well. And since the upcoming new Adobe editor, codenamed Bolt, incorporates these same features (and many more, as discussed on the labs site), this talk will help you whatever your current or future plans.

Learn more about the event, including optional RSVP, a link to create calendar entries, and more, at the Meetup event page. You can also just show up on the day at the meetup Connect room.

There will be a 6pm (EDT) talk as well, by Sean Shroeder of Mura, introducing the Mura (formerly Sava) open source CMS. For more on these, and all CF Meetups, see my category of blog announcements about them.

Hope to see some of you Thursday at noon. I think most would learn something new. :-)

Learning resource for beginning web developers

If you know anyone needing to learn the fundamentals of web application development--not CFML, but things like HTML, CSS, Javascript, and so on--here's an interesting resource: Beginner Developer Center, Tier 1

Yes, it's a MS resource: don't let that keep you away

Now, some will see this is from Microsoft and flinch, but don't let that scare you away. It's a set of introductory resources that could help any beginning web developer, and while the first 2 and last 2 of the 14 sections are MS-specific, the rest are not.

And besides the web-oriented topics above (HTML, CSS, Javascript, and more), there are also sections introducing basic programming concepts like problem solving, processing and storing data, even introducing OO (again, with no reference to C# or anything .NET), and more.

For each of the 14 topics, there is both an article-level discussion and either an audio or video version.

Yes, it's in a resource center about VWD. Don't let that scare you away, either

I'll note that beyond being "from MS", it's also indeed specifically part of a resource center for their Visual Web Developer IDE. Again, most of the content offered in this beginner resource is not really specific to that editor or to .NET.

And frankly, I wouldn't hold it against a CF developer to consider using the editor. Hey, it's free, and consider also that sometimes you may have to do some editing on a server with nothing but Notepad available. Perhaps you're not a fan of Eclipse, don't have an available license for DW/HS, and you want more than just Notepad. (Yes, I do also know about the many other available free (and some commercial) editor alternatives. I list them in my CF411 site category of Editors/IDEs.)

(And if you're ever stuck in a situation where you're unwilling or not allowed to install any new editor on your server, just last week I wrote about a tip for using Notepad if you ever find that you can't use the Goto Line feature.)

Anyway, the point is I'm not making a pitch here for VWD nor any statement against CFE. Let's not go there. :-) Indeed, to any who may want to take the chance to comment here in scorn or to deride the VWD editor or MS, or to point out some other editor alternative, let's not go there, either.

The point of this entry is the free learning resources for beginning web developers that I found on the MS site. I hope it may help some people.

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.

Conclusion

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.

Did you know that Aptana supports Javascript debugging?

A lot of folks are high on Aptana, which is a plug-in for Eclipse that works as a nice adjunct to CFEclipse, since it adds nice support for working with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.

One thing I've not seen mentioned often is that it supports Javascript Debugging (at least in Firefox, and soon in IE). For more info, see:

http://aptana.com/docs/index.php/About_the_JavaScript_debugger

For those still relatively new to Aptana, this is one of many topics discussed in a "Getting to Know Aptana" guide on the site:

http://aptana.com/docs/index.php/Getting_to_know_the_Aptana_IDE_%28General_IDE_Concepts%29

Making the move to CFEclipse from HomeSite+/Drewamweaver. Care to join me?

If you've noticed, I've recently started doing a spate of entries on CFEclipse.

Some of you know me as one of the old-line "dinosaurs" who have been long-time fans of CF Studio and its "son" HomeSite+. I've been using them for 10 years, and have in fact continued to be an ardent supporter of helping folks move from CF Studio to HomeSite+ the past few years.

I've also used Dreamweaver on occasion, because it offers some useful features that HS+ does not have (especially for web service and CFC exploring, to name just a couple).

Welcome to the revolution

But there's so much goodness in CFE and Eclipse in general (including most of the things in the other common CFML editors) that I think it's time we old-line folks faced the music and "got with the program".

Of course, no one will force you, and I do understand the challenges you may face (or the concerns you may have). I just want to do what I can to help, including sharing here over time various discoveries and tips (and traps) as I make the transition. But we're not alone--and I'm clearly not being any sort of a pioneer. Plenty have already made the journey.

Indeed, that's one of the main reasons I created the recent list of bloggers who have already written (and most who continue to write) about CFEclipse. I want to help folks learn from those who've travelled the road before us, as well as to hear both the arguments for and against it.

But I don't like CFEclipse because of "x"

There are certainly many who are still holding out, arguing for why they don't care for it. In fact, to address that, Brian Kotek just last week did an entry on "CFEclipse: Pros, Cons, and Misconceptions".

Join me on the journey

I've had to use Eclipse and CFEclipse for the past few months as I have been working with FusionDebug and the new CF8 debugger, both interactive step debuggers for CFML, and both based on Eclipse.

I've only learned the bare minimum I needed about Eclipse (and those I didn't *need* CFEclipse to work with the debuggers, I did install it). I still edited my code in HS+ and just used Eclipse/CFeclipse to do debugging, and I have reminded people of that whenever I showed off or wrote about the debuggers. There are plenty of people still preferring either HS+ or DW (or some other editor).

But Adobe is clearly behind Eclipse as a platform for code editing (witness FlexBuilder, and the new Eclipse-based debugger in CF8). They're not turning their back on DW, but clearly CF developers are getting more and more built-into Eclipse, both from them and from others.

And many in the CFML community are clearly behind CFE. I think we'll only see things get better and better, and I plan to do my part to help folks like us make the transition. So while I won't claim to be a pioneer, I do offer my services as a guide. Care to join me?

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
http://coldfusion.sys-con.com/read/48235.htm

CFEclipse for ColdFusion Developers, Jan 2006, Rob Rohan
http://coldfusion.sys-con.com/read/167971.htm

Making the Switch to CFEclipse to Write ColdFusion Code, April 2006, by Jeff Houser
http://coldfusion.sys-con.com/read/206261.htm

Robert Blackburn's CFEclipse Article Series at FusionAuthority

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

Introducing: CFEclipse Features
http://www.fusionauthority.com/News/4610-Introducing-CFEclipse-Features.htm

CFEclipse CFExplained Part I
http://www.fusionauthority.com/Techniques/4599-CFEclipse-CFExplained-Part-I.htm

CFEclipse CFExplained Part II
http://www.fusionauthority.com/Techniques/4607-CFEclipse-CFExplained-Part-II.htm

Introducing: CFEclipse Features
http://www.fusionauthority.com/News/4610-Introducing-CFEclipse-Features.htm

CFEclipse Features: Task List
http://www.fusionauthority.com/Reviews/4619-CFEclipse-Features-Task-List.htm

CFEclipse Features: Code Folding
http://www.fusionauthority.com/Reviews/4631-CFEclipse-Features-Code-Folding.htm

CFEclipse Features: Tag Insight
http://www.fusionauthority.com/Reviews/4633-CFEclipse-Features-Tag-Insight.htm

CFEclipse Features: Local History
http://www.fusionauthority.com/Reviews/4648-CFEclipse-Features-Local-History.htm

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
http://www.fusionauthority.com/Community/4534-CFEclipse-A-Community-Affair.htm

Test-Driven Development with ColdFusion Part III: Integrate Your Tests into CFEclipse Using CFUnit-Ant by Robert Blackburn
http://www.fusionauthority.com/Techniques/4583-Test-Driven-Development-with-ColdFusion-Part-III.htm

Nathan Strutz CFEclipse Resource Page

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

http://www.dopefly.com/projects/cfeclipse.cfm

Mark Drew's CFEclipse Videos

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

http://www.markdrew.co.uk/blog/index.cfm/2006/8/12/CFEclipse-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:

http://carehart.org/blog/client/index.cfm/fusiondebug/

Using DWMX? Wish you had CF Studio or HomeSite+? You do, for free!

Though I've been trying to spread this word for years, I still find people don't realize it. If you were a fan of CF Studio, while it's no longer available, you will find that HomeSite+ is effectively the same tool. And it's FREE--as long as you have a license for Dreamweaver MX or Studio MX.

You can't download it, nor can you buy it. (You can by HomeSite, but that's not the same as HomeSite+.) You'll find HS+ as an installer file on the DWMX CD, but not on the installer menu (though that's been addressed finally in DWMX 8).

For more details, see an article I did for Fusion Authority back in 2004 (which points at yet another article I did in the CFDJ in 2003:

http://www.fusionauthority.com/Tech_and_Tags/4231-Tipical-Charlie.htm

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