Adobe ColdFusion IDE Survey

Tired of Dreamweaver/CFEclipse/Homesite/CFStudio/Notepad? Do you wish they did more or there was something better out there altogether? Do you want Adobe to provide it? Help us help you! We want to hear your thoughts about how we can best support you and your development in ColdFusion!

Please take a few minutes to respond to this survey.

Cheers, Jason

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
Jim Priest's Gravatar Super! I'd love to see the results of this! My only complaint - I wish the "platform of choice for development" was multi-choice. At work I use Windows (cause they make me) but at home I prefer Linux... :)
# Posted By Jim Priest | 1/7/08 11:25 AM
Jason's Gravatar Hey Jim,

We do it to make you choose! Otherwise, guys like you and I would check all of the boxes, except for maybe AIX ;). I'm hoping one of these days that one OS will be good enough to have me just use that and everyone will fully support it. I'm hoping it will be Linux or possibly Mac :)

# Posted By Jason | 1/7/08 11:49 AM
Sean Corfield's Gravatar The IDE features seem to be mostly what CFEclipse and the ColdFusion plugin provide for free today. What about all the other features we might view as important? Or should we just write an essay in the "other" box? :)
# Posted By Sean Corfield | 1/7/08 12:10 PM
Jim Priest's Gravatar Yeah - I'm considering taking it again because after thinking about it - there is so much more than just editing that I rely on now within my Eclipse setup. Ant! Tight integration with Subclipse. I'm getting hooked on Mylyn... Not to mention all the small things built into CFEclipse - Framework Explorer, SnipEx servers, etc...
# Posted By Jim Priest | 1/7/08 12:45 PM
Peter Boughton's Gravatar I'm not sure I see the point in the survey - seems to imply that Adobe are going to create another CF IDE (and actually charge for it?!?)

Rather than doing that, it would be far better to help with fixing, improving, and extending CFEclipse.
# Posted By Peter Boughton | 1/7/08 1:04 PM
Jim Priest's Gravatar I think they are looking for feedback on what/how you use your IDE so they can figure out where they want to go... do nothing, build something new, embrace CFEclipse...

Cost is another can of worms :) But ideally they could follow the Aptana route - have a free, basic CFML IDE and then a pay for feature rich version. Ideally it would be open source so that the free version could be extended to be used with other CFML engines (Smith, Railo, etc).
# Posted By Jim Priest | 1/7/08 1:35 PM
David's Gravatar So, maybe I'm revisiting a prior post, and maybe I've just forgotten about the conclusion, but can I re-ask: Why do we need an IDE? I've seen it written in Kristen and Ben's blogs that user groups were going so far as to put up banners asking for an IDE.

I'll qualify this with the fact that I've never been a big IDE person - although I do use the design features of Flex builder quite alot.

Can anyone jog my memory? Why do we need Adobe to create an IDE for us?


# Posted By David | 1/7/08 1:39 PM
Jim Priest's Gravatar I think everyone will agree that Mark Drew (and the previous developers) have put tons of effort into CFEclipse... But Mark has a full time job and I can only imagine how difficult it is for him to find the time to work on CFEclipse, juggle the new features vs. bug fix requests, etc...

I don't "need" another CF IDE. CFEclipse is working just fine. But it would be great to see a polished, bug free version of CFEclipse! How that is accomplished we'll have to see...
# Posted By Jim Priest | 1/7/08 1:54 PM
Dan Wilson's Gravatar We all like a good survey, what with easy to report on data points.

I've filled out the survey, and I'll make it even easier for you.

Take 2 parts CFEclipse, 1 part Flex builder, add the CF Wizards, RDS and a dash of eclipse plugin extensibility, and you'll have a proper ColdFusion IDE.

And give Mark Drew a senior position on the team. He deserves it!
# Posted By Dan Wilson | 1/7/08 2:22 PM
Jason's Gravatar Here is the problem we're trying to do research on to see how to solve. There are a lot of IDE solutions out there but it appears that none of them are "good". If you think your way of doing development is already fine... then the survey isn't really aimed at you, although I would love to hear what you're happy with :). The question then is this, what does it take to make a "good" IDE. Then the next questions are, what will it cost to do that... and if it costs a lot, then the question becomes, where does that money come from... are people willing to pay for a "good" IDE? If the answer is "No, I only want free", that's fine, but then how that's built is different than "Yep, the IDE is core to my business, if I can spend $300 to improve my productivity by even 5% than it's worth every dime", then you have a very different response and approach. Ultimately, Adobe wants to provide the best solution possible at the right price (which may be free..). Your responses will help make those decisions.

# Posted By Jason | 1/7/08 2:27 PM
Peter Boughton's Gravatar Jason, where did >>There are a lot of IDE solutions out there but it appears that none of them are "good".<< come from?
I'm not disagreeing with it, just want to know if this was a previous survey?
(My experience tends to be that most people claim to be happy with what they use.)

The next steps... asking what makes a good IDE - I don't see that as a logical progression; if people are unhappy with their current editors, they should be able to identify what is wrong with those, and it should first be considered if these are fixable.
Which is why looking into helping CFEclipse improve should be the first consideration - as has been said, helping to a polished, bug free version of CFE would make a lot of people happy!

Having said all that, I would love for something to replace Eclipse (yes, the underlying core, not CFE) because there's a lot I find wrong with it, and I've got a lot of ideas for what would make a really great editor in my head - but this survey doesn't go anywhere towards letting me convey any of those ideas.
# Posted By Peter Boughton | 1/7/08 2:47 PM
Jason's Gravatar Peter,

I've spoken personally with hundreds of developers and organizations that are generallly okay with, but not happy with their existing IDIE.

Also, you're making an invalid assumption as to how this data will be used. We have no problem with the answer being "improve CFEclipse", or "improve Dreamweaver". We're just trying to figure out what's wrong and then figure out what we can do to make things better.

Feel free to comment on what would make a really great editor here. Your voice will be heard just as loudly. :)

# Posted By Jason | 1/7/08 3:26 PM
Mark Mandel's Gravatar @Peter - that's really interesting, as I would prefer that the IDE be on Eclipse.

I love Eclipse as an IDE and as a common platform for the majority of development work I do with ColdFusion (and Java as well).

For me the #1 is intellisense / code insight. From there we can start to look at refactoring support, and have integrated support for things like 'is this value var'd in my CFC'

I want to be able to eliminate as much as possible the amount of time I have to go back and fix a spelling mistake in my code and/or stupid errors like 'var's', and an IDE is the perfect place to do this IMHO.
# Posted By Mark Mandel | 1/7/08 3:32 PM
Jim Priest's Gravatar I'd say there are a lot of 'good' editors out there. There are very few 'great' ones. CFEclipse + Aptana + a handful of other plugins works and the price allows me to overlook whatever bugs may be present.

Peter - not to hijack this thread - but what issues do you have with Eclipse? IMO it would be a mistake to use anything else?
# Posted By Jim Priest | 1/7/08 3:37 PM
Jason's Gravatar Well, maybe the question we are missing is "How happy are you with your existing IDE?" :)

Whichever level you want to use... you're "happy with it", "it's okay", "it does the job", "it's good"... I don't think anyone would say "What I've got is all I'll ever need." As long as there is room for improvement, the ColdFusion team will be looking at how to improve something.

CFEclipse + Aptana + a handful of plugins has a couple of issues in my humble opinion. First, most users do not want to go download and install Aptana, then install the CFEclipse plug-ins, then get the other plugins, including the ColdFusion Extensions for Eclipse... and then hope that they all play together nicely. For starters, their all in disparate locations and are not trivial to install. And then, if there is a bug... who are you going to call? Nobody.

I agree that this setup is okay, even good, for an advanced developer that knows about all of these various packages and has spent the time to figure out how to configure them and is okay with bugs because there free. However, I believe that many if not most developers want to have their company buy them something that "just works" and that the IT department can get support for if issues arise. I'm not saying any of your opinions are wrong. I'm just saying that an IDE can be a very personal choice. For example, not an IDE but an application choice, I love Fireworks and cannot understand Photoshop for the life of me. They are really designed for two different users. A graphics professional is likely to prefer Photoshop, it has everything under the sun. I however just want to put images of Ben Forta's torso on a horse and call it the Benataur. :) Photoshop is overkill and frankly unwieldy for this job.

I personally would like an IDE that does what I need it to do, and does that part very well. And, when I have problems with it, I want to be able to call someone and have them tell me how to fix it. This is probably why Dreamweaver is still my IDE of choice. Eclipse may have more stuff, but it requires more time to configure and manage, and I don't have time.

Here's what I want: Eclipse + Aptana + CFEclipse + ColdFusion Extensions for Eclipse + Subclipse + about 5 other plugins (or equivalent technologies). I want it to have intellisense. I want the software to _prompt me_ when it has an update or a security fix, I don't want to watch 8 blogs to find out when a new version comes out and make sure its compatible with all my other stuff. And I want to be able to complain to one entity when I don't like what its doing.

That's worth some money to me... and in my opinion would be a "good" IDE. And it's still not about the money, its about getting the right tool. I want the right tool.

I don't have a problem with people being happy with what they have, but don't hate me for having higher standards! :)

# Posted By Jason | 1/7/08 4:26 PM
Peter Boughton's Gravatar Mark/Jim: Eclipse is the best IDE platform I've used, but it still irritates/angers me on a regular basis.

This is something I've been meaning to write about for a while now, so I'm going to spend some time writing it up properly and post again once I've done that.
# Posted By Peter Boughton | 1/7/08 4:32 PM
Mark Mandel's Gravatar > I want the software to _prompt me_ when it has an update or a security fix, I don't want to watch 8 blogs to
> find out when a new version comes out and make sure its compatible with all my other stuff. And I want to be
> able to complain to one entity when I don't like what its doing.

You can already do that, just setup Eclipse to check for updates on every load.

As long as you setup your plugins through the update manager, you are set.
# Posted By Mark Mandel | 1/7/08 5:09 PM
Jim Priest's Gravatar Jason that's interesting. I've been in IT/Web development now for well over 15 years and I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've called a company for support. And those instances I did call were back in the 90's during the early web years. For me that would be about the least important feature... somewhere behind a talking paperclip :)

I can't think of a piece of software I use that doesn't have a great online community built around it (go CFECLIPSE users!!) and I can usually get a response via mailing list or forum faster than I could pick up a phone and figure out who to call for support.

@Peter - looking forward to your post!
# Posted By Jim Priest | 1/7/08 6:29 PM
Jason's Gravatar @Mark, "You can already do that, just <b>setup Eclipse</b> to check for updates on every load." Just do more configuration.. that's exactly my point. I don't want to do more configuration! And that just checks for updates on the single component, but doesn't ensure that updating that component won't cause issues with another component.

@Jim, it's not that you would call support, it's that you could call support. So, even though you won't, someone will... and that's how that thing that has been bugging you gets fixed. I've never called support either, but the fact that its there makes me sleep better at night, because I know someone will.

Mark, you wrote your own classloader because you didn't like how CF did it's classloading. You, Tom Jordahl, and about 2 other people in the world have bothered to write a classloader for CF.
Jim, you wrote an article on using CFEclipse that is published on the IBM developerWorks site.

I ask you this... do you think you represent the average ColdFusion developer? :)

Give me easy. I think most ColdFusion developers would agree with that. ;)
# Posted By Jason | 1/7/08 7:37 PM
Jim Priest's Gravatar Good point. But I think at some point when you start targeting that broad market - you end up with a tool much like Dreamweaver. The people I would consider 'normal' users I guess are all VERY happy using Dreamweaver and have no interest in looking at CFEclipse so the question is would they switch to something else?

On the other hand most 'advanced' users I know use CFEclipse and are happy as well and really only want to see bugs fixed and misc improvements.
# Posted By Jim Priest | 1/7/08 10:17 PM
denny's Gravatar @Jason, there are a ton of "pre-packaged" Eclipse builds available, and I believe there's even one specifically for ColdFusion now! These packages remove the onus of figuring out what plugins, etc., the user needs.

I think CFEclipse could use some love from the mother-ship, so to speak.

I see some people have some problems with Eclipse, which is understandable, but you just can't beat all the stuff that it's already got going for it.
j2ee server integration, load testing and application profiling, the Data Tools Platform, Javascript IDEs, HTML/CSS editors-- and more connectivity than you can shake a stick at.

And, an origanally for java, java-based IDE seems a no-brainer. There's some awesome potential there.

I'm rather positive that Adobe could turn a profit just offering support for CFEclipse. You know the type-- "I won't buy it unless it comes with support" Adobe gets to cash in on the hard work or the community, as far as added functionality and added features, without really having to even invest in the editor itself.
Of course they /should/ invest in it, and they should realize that it will bring them more money in the long run to improve and offer service for CFE than if they try to push their own closed-source solution.
Services and Training, man. "Sponsorship" of certain features, or for "polishing" the editor.
It would surely need some work before I'd offer to sell support for it-- at the least, the outstanding bugs would have to be killed-- at the most, the base editor class needs to be re-written (I've written elsewhere about ideas on how CFE could capitalize on work already existing in Eclipse, and have even less to do itself).

If Eclipse keeps going the way it does, it will be hard for any IDEs to match it's capabilities.
I want to be using the thing that has unmatched capabilities, personally.

Hopefully CF can move along with these things. I think the community will be sure it does, (this stuff really is too cool to miss out on, even for novices) but it would be quite nice to see Adobe take an active roll in contributing to the community's IDE of choice (and thus, in reality, itself).

Might as well experiment with a different model, right? Maybe check out how MySQL or Funambol or JasperSoft are doing things... All of Adobe doesn't need to risk it, but maybe ColdFusion could?

Growing a community that will work on your product might be the only way to compete in the future... wouldn't that be interesting?

Eh, maybe all this community stuff is just a fad, like rap.
# Posted By denny | 1/8/08 6:36 AM
Ryan Stewart's Gravatar The best thing about a free IDE, I use Eclipse with the CFEclipse plugin for CF development myself, is that it allows me to keep the IDE consistent. Perhaps yes, "the IDE is core to my business, if I can spend $300 to improve my productivity by even 5% than it's worth every dime" to some degree anyway, BUT I'm not going to pay an additional $300 to use that tool at home. I like consitency with tools, regardless of platform. So for me that means free. I'm not willing to pay for tools at home.
# Posted By Ryan Stewart | 1/8/08 6:53 AM
Jason's Gravatar In one day we already have 900 responses! If that doesn't say there is interest in the IDE (new or improved), I'm not sure what would. I don't want to disclose any results at this point as that may skew the final results, but I can say they are very interesting and useful.

Thanks to everyone that has responded. We will keep the survey open for about another week so if you haven't responded, please do!

@Denny, rap is not a fad! :)
# Posted By Jason | 1/8/08 10:52 AM
Cheyenne Throckmorton's Gravatar Our team works with application coders and designers. One of our biggest hurdles with IDE challenges is finding something that both can work with. This is especially true when the app developers want to break up and standardize page code like headers and menus, but when this done the designers can't see the whole page experience in DW design view. An IDE that could read the Application.cfc/cfm or framework to display for the designers might be revolutinary, at least for us. The DW templates have never done well here and I think maybe thats what is supposed to do this, but they update poorly and act funny.
# Posted By Cheyenne Throckmorton | 1/8/08 7:36 PM
Peyton Todd's Gravatar It would be wonderful if the automatic indenting (for example, on pressing Enter at the end of a lind, having the
cursor positioned under the lefthand edge of the line you just typed) would accomplish this feat by means of
adding SPACES, not tabs. The reason is that one is frequently led to open a .cfm page in a different editor, with
different tab settings. Yes, one could change them, but it's a nuisance. Much worse: If you keep track of your
thinking by lining sections of your code at the appropriate left margin (e.g. indending the contents of a <td> or
of a <cfif>), it helps to move the cursor up and down the page to make sure things line up; with a confusing mixture
of tabs and spaces, the cursor doesn't stay put as you move it up and down!

P.S. It would also be nice if this comment <textarea> would word-wrap!
# Posted By Peyton Todd | 1/9/08 11:34 AM
david buhler's Gravatar I can't put into words how happy I am to see this issue tackled.

I would like to provide my personal preferences and requests for an IDE. Is there a way we can post a list of IDE requests in an organized fashion?
# Posted By david buhler | 1/9/08 11:57 AM
Jim Priest's Gravatar So we don't clutter this post - I've put up a blog post here:

Looking for specific feature we'd all like to see in a ColdFusion IDE.
# Posted By Jim Priest | 1/9/08 12:08 PM
david buhler's Gravatar oh Heck, I have some time.

CFEclipse has a terrible memory problem. When I use it to backtrack on errors, it actually begins to place tags in new places, where they never existed before.

CFEclipse can't format my CFML.

Eclipse has too many options for Code colouring and text sizing. I can't for the life of me, figure out how to move my settings for indentation. text size, fonts, between my home machine and my work machine. So my code formatting isn't portable. Let me share my settings for colours and tabs with my coworkers. We all need to be on the same page, and quickly.

I want an IDE that can order my tag attributes by name.

Dreamweaver can't properly indent cfcomponent tags.
DW can't properly indent cfquery tags.
DW highlights CF tags as invalid when they are valid.

I want a visual editor that gives me a 10,000' view of my code. Ideally, I would love to see a Flex or Flash interface that is color-coded and shows me the order of my methods. It would allow me to double-click on a block of code and it would expand to show me the contents. I would be able to drag blocks of code around.

I want an IDE that is smart enough to see two instances of cfinvoke with the smae namespace, and suggest I should instantiate one cfobject tag, instead.

I want an IDE that implements best practices. My IDE should tell me when variables aren't scoped.

I want an IDE that is integrated with the step-thru debugger.

I want an IDE that is integrated with the CFAdmin. When I have DW open, and I have CF Server running, I have to clear the template cache 150x a day, bare minimum, to get around the 'shared resource' error, and causes me to lose 20 minutes a day on a busy day of coding?

I want an IDE with subversion integration.

With DW, it's so annoying to have to thumb through irrelevant pages and tabs and buttons related to PHP, ASP, etc. I want an IDE that is focused on my needs.

I want an IDE that enforces consistency. If the output types are "No", all output types should be "no" and not "false" or "no".

I want an IDE that red-flags attributes that are the default attributes to reduce the bloatin of code.

I want preloaded snippets, because we all pretty much write the same function block structure over and over again.

I want code hinting for namespaces. When I type in "Com"..I should see a list to all of my possible namespaces. CF should check to ensure namespaces exist. I fear refactorng in DW or Eclipse.

I want more organized debugging information. Add some colours. Add some font sizes to give some hierarchy to the information. Show me the debug info in the same IDE I am coding within.

I want SQL formatting in my IDE. I'm fine with my formatting not being configurable, so long as it's consistent.
# Posted By david buhler | 1/9/08 12:22 PM
david buhler's Gravatar Jim beat me to it!
# Posted By david buhler | 1/9/08 12:23 PM
Jim Priest's Gravatar David - I copied your list over to my blog (hope you don't mind) you have some great ideas!
# Posted By Jim Priest | 1/9/08 2:19 PM
Chris Cantley's Gravatar Funny thing is that there are some really great features in CFEcipse that I would love to see in DW (auto code collapse based on tags, code mapping) and several features that I use in DW that I would like to see in CFEclipse (custom code collapse, code collapse on a particular tag, more complete code completion, inline CSS help).

But for comepletely new stuff.... here is my wish list.

1) I would like to be able to see a birds eye view of my code. Separate box that allows the user to zoom out of the page with maybe collorize sections of code.. something that allows me to get a larger perspective of the code and then click to zoom in on the areas. You dont even have to read the text, just to be able to see patterns in the code helps to jump between areas.

2) Independent split screen for the same page of code. Yeah, DW has a means of doing this using code inspector but the minute you undo a change, BAM! both windows jump to the same area. A bit of a pain when you want to view two areas of the same page at once instead of having to scroll or collapse everything inbetween.

3) Debugger integrated into DW?

4) Local file versioning in DW. Would be nice to have a local archive of ever version of every page that I push to production. I think Eclipse does something like this.

Simply, easier navigation of long stretches of code.

# Posted By Chris Cantley | 1/10/08 1:13 AM
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