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First Look: ColdFusion Builder 2 Beta Release

03.03.2011
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In their ongoing efforts to create a more dynamic coding experience, and to bring current users of alternative platforms into the fold, Adobe is announcing the release of the first public beta for ColdFusion Builder 2.  Adobe's ColdFusion Builder is a relative newcomer to the rapid application development market.  Since the release of the first version in 2010, ColdFusion Builder has come to the forefront as one of the most customizable, user-friendly IDE's on the market.


The Basics - Welcome to CF Builder!

The Eclipse-based IDE has been enhanced for even faster application development.  When you launch ColdFusion Builder, you're greeted with a new fully interactive welcome screen. 



Developers can use this screen to peruse their settings, files, and other projects.  It also includes a link to a series of video tutorials, a ColdFusion bugtracker, a "What's New" feature, and links to Adobe Forums.  Also, a Feature Discovery tab will allow first-time users of ColdFusion Builder 2 to learn about the new features built into ColdFusion Builder 2 and how they relate to the old features of CF Builder 1.

Updates to Editor

In this new release, ColdFusion Builder 2's Editor has undergone several notable advancements:

  • Enhanced Code Insight creates a more intuitive, flexible coding experience than the Code Insight feature included in ColdFusion Builder 1. 
  • Function Assistance works with Code Insight, giving the user access to query lists.  These lists are included within the software itself, not on a remote server.  The user can easily choose from the list of code , or ignore the suggestion(s) and enter commands of their own choosing.
  • Searching for your notes will no longer be a time consuming proposition. With Line Task Support, comments and notations made within the code are catalogued and searchable within a simple drop down menu.
  • Code Folding is now possible with all types of supported code.  Previously, ColdFusion Builder 1 only supported code folding for HTML, CFML, Javascript and CSS Syntax highlighting.  Folded code isn't erased when the window is closed, allowing the developer to save a particular view of the completed code. 
  • Quick Fixes allows the user to access functions they haven't already searched for or used. Essentially, it is a complete library of functions.

Other new editor features include:
  •     Tab Block Selection
  •     Jump to Matching Tag
  •     Smart Tab Navigation


Custom Key Bindings

Keyboard shortcuts are completely customizable in CF Builder 2.  Commands can be assigned for inserting snippets of code, opening dialogue boxes, invoking wizards, running the current page/project, and executing ColdFusion Builder extensions.



CF Builder 2 also includes pre-defined bindings for CFEclipse, Dreamweaver, and Homesite, creating a more user friendly experience for developers who are migrating from these platforms.

An Advanced Find and Replace feature has also been added to ColdFusion Builder 2. All of the information for the Find and Replace feature is built into the software. In other words, the user doesn't have to connect with an outside server to take advantage of this new feature.



CFML Formatting

All code formatting within ColdFusion Builder 2 is customizable.  Dreamweaver or legacy Homestead users won't have to spend hours adjusting themselves to a new layout.  The platform comes with preset modes that match the Dreamweaver framework.  Users can also create their own, completely customizable templates.

Here are some of the changeable features:
  •     Indentation, spacing, and positioning
  •     Case Preference
  •     Attribute Order

Extensibility

ColdFusion Builder 2.0's new extensibility feature allows users to create a scaffold of their application using CFML code.  Creating a framework enhances the developer's ability to build in the necessary "hooks" that will eventually allow the app to be fully upgraded as later features are added.  Several different variations of the app can be conceptualized and even partially test-driven before a commitment is made to creating more complex code structures.  Extension views can be created to track potential future development paths for a given application.

ColdFusion Builder 2 will take several different forms before its final release. Developers running the beta are encouraged to provide feedback on CF Builder 2 on the following site.  If you haven't tried it already, you'll also want to test-drive ColdFusion 9.
Published at DZone with permission of its author, Katie Mckinsey.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

R Ku replied on Fri, 2011/03/04 - 2:31pm

Thanks for your article - I'm very glad I ran across it.

I just purchased CFB 1 two weeks ago and am somewhat disappointed -- e.g. lack of code formatting and some of the bugs I'm encountering, so CFB 2 is very wlecome! 

Do you know where I can get the Beta (don't see it on Aobe's site)?  Do I need to join an evaluation group?  I have a bunch of hopefully useful comments.   

 Also, do you have an guestimate (or know) when it will be released for public consumption?

 Thanks again

Mitch Pronschinske replied on Sun, 2011/03/06 - 7:03pm in response to: R Ku

It should be downloadable from the Adobe Labs link at the end of the article.  Usually Adobe releases a new version of its "Builders" once per year.  So I'd look to see when CFBuilder 1.0 was released and then I'd predict that 2.0 will be released around the same time.

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