[Looking for Charlie's main web site?]

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.

[....Continue Reading....]

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:

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. :-)

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.

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?

Come read over 70 CFEclipse bloggers - Part 2

Here are 29 more bloggers who have written about CFEclipse. These folks (no slouches, several having 14 or more entries) simply have not yet (at the time of this writing) chosen to provide a CFEclipse-specific tag or category. I hope they may reconsider, to make it easier for folks to keep an eye on their valuable CFE contributions.

In my last entry, I offered part 1 of a 2-part entry on CFEclipse bloggers (bloggers who have written about CFEclipse). In that list, I showed only those (45) bloggers who have dedicated a specific category or tag to CFEclipse (or Eclipse, if an otherwise CF-oriented blog).

Again, the list is sorted in approximately descending order by number of entries I found they had done on CFEclipse (as of today). And as I said before, while many of the entries are just news (like announcing a new release, etc.), some are useful tips from a wide range of developers (and the typical arguments for and against CFE).

How did I find the bloggers and their CFE content?

To find these entries, and those in part 1, I did a google search on CFEclipse and browsed through the first few hundred entries to find any bloggers who had done something on CFE. If they had at least one meaningful entry, I added them to the list (and put them in the list in part 1 if they offered a CFE category).

I then also ran the 2 lists by Mark Drew to ask him if he thought I'd forgotten anyone. Fortunately, I had not.

How I got a URL for you to find their content, easily

Just as the bloggers in part 1 offered CFE-specific categories (and therefore a single URL to find their CFE content), I wanted to provide a way for you here also to just click a link and go right to these folks' CFE-specific content. How did I do that?

Most blogs offer a search box, so I tried searching there, and if that resulted in a URL holding the search criteria, I offer it here in the list of URLS below. (In the case of BlogCFC, though it doesn't show the search criteria in the URL by default, you can add it in by hand as &search=cfeclipse, which I've done below.)

Otherwise, for other blogs where I could get no URL to use for searching, I resorted to using Google's nifty "site search" feature to search their blog for any CFEclipse references (and I further added some criteria to find only their blog entries, not RSS feeds, etc, to keep things even with the list in part 1). The only negative with this is that it could find entries where there are simply COMMENTs that mention CFEclipse. That's no good, so I have only shown the number that correlates to the number found by their site search tool. (BTW, note that some of the blogs themselves use google site searching as their means to do search.)

On some sites where there was no search result URL I could offer, I could also find no CFE blog entries with such a Google site search (though the search feature on their site did indeed find some CFE entries). In that case, you'll simply have to search the site yourself to find these entries.

Conversely, some other sites showed far fewer results in their own site search than I found using Google's site search. So I show the Google Search link even if their own site search URL would have found their CFE content.

Finally, since the Google and even some site searches take you to a page where it's not easy to discern the URL for the blogger's site, I am offering their blog URL and then the link to do the search:

The list of CFE bloggers (who have no CFE category/tag)

As I said, I'd love to see those bloggers (especially with a lot or substantial CFE content) offer a CFEclipse-specific category or tag. If you want to press those folks to do so, that could be helpful to us all.

Finally, again, I realize that these are not complete lists. I did quite a bit of work to gather them up, but I'm sure I could have left out some great contributors. Please do add any you'd like as comments here.

Hope the above is helpful to all interested in CFE.

Update: On first posting this, I found out that my use of Google to search sites was finding entries where people had merely commented on CFEclipse in a person's blog, among some other issues. That's no good.

Better, though, I learned that for those sites using BlogCFC, I could indeed force it to use search criteria in the URL, so I've revised the list and the rankings since first publication earlier today.

Come read over 70 CFEclipse bloggers - Part 1

If you had to guess how many people have blogged about CFEclipse, what would you guess? During my process of evaluating the current state of CFE resources (see my other recent entries in the CFEclipse category), I started to take note of those blogs that have CFE categories/tags.

I've found more than 70 of them and I want to point them out for you (those that had at least one useful entry). More than just list them, I also have provided an OPML file and even a CFE-specific aggregator for those who don't use one on their own.

Now, I've decided to split this entry into 2 parts. First, I list below those 51 who offer a specific CFEclipse category or tag (as well as offer the info to help you with aggregating them together).

In part 2, I'll list those who do not (at the time of this writing) offer a CFE-specific category or tag. Their content is indeed still valuable, just a little harder to stay on top of (and I'd love to see them added to this list if they would add a CFE category and assign it to all their past entries).

About the listing

The list is sorted in approximately descending order by number of entries (as of today). Note that it's possible a blogger may have a great tip but failed to mark under a CFEclipse category. They may also have listed CFE tips under an eclipse category, but I didn't think to consider that until later in my research, so while I have a couple of those below, I haven't gone back to consider that for those I did not list here.

While many of the entries are just news (like announcing a new release, etc.), some are useful tips from a wide range of developers. There are also the expected arguments for and against CFE (though those against tend to be older entries).

As I said before, this is all part of some work I'm doing to help developers get the most out of CFE, which I'll announce in the future. In the meantime, please enjoy the entries found here.

The list of CFEclipse category feeds

I did quite a bit of work to gather them up, but I'm sure I could have left out some great contributors. Please do add any you'd like as comments here. Again, in part 2, I list those bloggers with CFE content but no CFE-specific tag or category.

Are you or a favorite not on the list?

Again, if you expect to be on this list and are not (or think someone should be), first let me ask you: does the blog have a CFEclipse-specific category (or an Eclipse category, on a blog devoted otherwise substantially to CF)? If so, I'm happy to add it. Just drop me a comment below.

And yes, I do hope that Mark will add this info to his wiki, but I have started the process by placing it here because I wanted to start the ranking by number of entries, something that won't be possible to reasonably keep updated in the wiki (but it's the sort of info not expected to be kept updated in a blog entry).

Tracking new entries: an aggregator and an OPML file

While you can just go browsing the bloggers, I've also done a few things to make it even easier for you to keep up on new entries from all these bloggers at once, whether you use aggregators or not.

First, I provide the URL for each blogger's RSS feed for their CFE category, if they have one, so you can add any of interest to any feed aggregator you have.

Further, I've provided here an OPML file listing all the RSS URLs (again, just for the CFE-specific categories). You can use that to import all the URLs into a favorite aggregator.

If you don't have an aggregator, here is a web-based aggregator of just these CFE-based feeds:

Browse and Search CFE entries

Finally, if your aggregator doesn't accept an OPML file, you can use the RSS feed from the aggregator I created:

RSS feed of new CFE entries

Hope the above is helpful to all interested in CFE. Look for part 2 (bloggers with CFE entries but no CFE category/tag) in a moment.

Still more CFEclipse Resources

I've found yet a few more CFEclipse resources (adding to those I've talked about) that may interest some. Rather than just add them as comments to that entry, I figured I'd create a new entry.

CFEclipse Wiki

First and foremost, I wonder if you, like me, may miss the many valuable resources in the CFEclipse wiki, based at the cfeclipse.org site. The thing is, it's not mentioned very prominently there, even on the support page (something I've just pinged Mark about, so perhaps that will change by the time you read this). It's only mentioned on the support page within the paragraph describing trac (which is primarily for project mgt and bug tracking).

On the wiki, you'll find several articles on installation, plugins, configuration (including shortcuts), features, troubleshooting, and more.

Old Spikefu CFEclipse Resources

On a related subject, you may come across links to a reference at www.spike.org.uk/cfeclipse/space/, setup by Spike Milligan, formerly of the CFE team, whose SpikeFu site had quite a few CFE resources. Requests for these now fail, but for any who like to see such historical info, I've found it archived at the great web.archive.org site at http://web.archive.org/web/20060621220649/www.spike.org.uk/cfeclipse/space/.

Similarly, you can find the archive of Spike's blog with many historical references to the evolution of CFEclipse.

Ryan Stewart's Getting Started Guide

In early 2006, Ryan Stewart put together a guide to "Getting Started With CFEclipse", available in both HTML and PDF.

Prismix CFEclipse Seminar Notes

Finally, I came across this page of notes that I'd not seen before. I don't think there's anything there that's not elsewhere, but just in case, here it is:

http://www.prismix.com/blog/resources/SeminarNotesCFEclipse/index.htm

Some More Resources for Getting Started with CFEclipse

Late last year I did an entry on Resources for Getting Started with CFEclipse. Since then I've learned of a few more:

I found these while putting together yet another resource on CFE, which I'll be blogging about very soon. Yep, with all my work using FusionDebug and the new CF8 debugger, I've gotten more and more comfortable using CFE.I want to help others who have taken a long time to make the move. :-)

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/

BlogCFC was created by Raymond Camden. This blog is running version 5.005.

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