Friday, April 30, 2010

My Favorite Things In ColdFusion Builder

After I read Sam Farmer's "5 Things I Love About ColdFusion Builder" article I started to think about why I love ColdFusion Builder so much. To put it in perspective exactly how much I love it, I told my CTO I'd be willing to have them take money out of my paycheck to purchase it if my company wouldn't outright buy it for me.  FYI they did end up purchasing it for me.  With that out of the way here is why I love ColdFusion Builder:

Debugging Perspective 

This has to be one of the most helpful tools for me in Builder.   I love the fact that we can now do line debugging and view variables in real time.  Most (but not all) of the time it sure beats the old cfdump cfabort method of debugging.  My only gripe about the line debugger is that it tends to run a bit slow.  The documentation states that using the "Step Over" command over the "Step Into" command will improve performance, however, this isn't very helpful when debugging a complex OO project.  

Ctrl+Click Shortcuts

When  I first read about the ctrl+click I had no idea how much I'd use it.   For those of you who don't know about it, when you create an object or include a file you can hover over the object definition or the file location and hit ctrl-click to open that file or object in the editor.  

Servers View and the Console View

I use these features hand in hand most of the time.  As long as your ColdFusion server is started using Builder, the console is very helpful when debugging, is most cases you get the full stack trace of the problem..  I also love the fact that I can open up my administrator and server monitor right in the Builder interface instead of having to switch to my web browser.   

CFC Method Insite

Even though our ColdFusion staff is small I still have have to frequently consume objects written by other people.  Because of method insite I don't need to know the method names or arguments of the public interface of an object before implementing it.  All I need to know where the CFC lives and CFBuilder will tell me what I need to know when referring to that object. 

While I this is definitely one of my favorite things about ColdFusion builder, it is also one that provides me much frustration.   For starters it doesn't work when you pass in an object as an argument to a function.  Second it seems somewhat hit or miss for me when inside a cfscript tag.  I haven't been able to track down exactly where and why it fails but I think it has something to do with error parser.    


Last but certainly not least is the support for custom extensions written in ColdFusion!  What a brilliant idea, allow the community to enhance your product by extending it with the language we all know and love.   I can't wait to see what extensions the community is going to come up with.  I'll definately be keeping my eye on Ray Camden's ColdFusion Builder contest. 
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