What ColdFusion IDE Do You Use in 2017?
Hello ColdFusion community. Over the years I’ve used several different integrated development environment (IDE) tools for my ColdFusion projects. Here’s a brief timeline of the IDEs that I’ve used over time in chronological order:
I feel like each IDE that I’ve used over time served a purpose. Dreamweaver, for example, was a great learning tool and for someone just starting to learn web design, the “design view” and integrated FTP synchronization was a valuable asset. However, once I started utilizing ColdFusion Components (CFCs) in my daily work, I found Dreamweaver’s lack of understanding of component structures (classes & methods) hindered my productivity.
Next I migrated over to CFEclipse and CFBuilder (version 2). Both of those tools I felt took my ColdFusion development to the next level and made developing with CFCs much easier. My favorite feature of these IDEs was the CFC structure/outline view. Giving developers the ability to view and jump around a component’s methods was a game changer for me. However, I always had performance issues with both CFEclipse and CFBuilder when working with large or complicated CFCs. It was difficult for me (at first) to give up Dreamweaver’s “design view” but eventually I got used to it. Also, I didn’t like that CFBuilder didn’t come with any FTP deployment functionality (without 3rd party plugins) so I found myself going back to Dreamweaver for sync and deployment.
One aspect of CFEclipse/CFBuilder that I didn’t care for was the aesthetics. The Eclipse IDE just looked clunky and ugly on Windows – especially when compared to modern day text editors like SublimeText or other IDEs like Atom. As a developer that enjoyed working at night (or in the dark with my favorite Star Trek episodes playing in the background) I wanted an IDE that had a decent dark theme with lots of GUI customization options. No matter how hard I tried, I could never get Eclipse to look the way I wanted it to.
Eventually, I stumbled upon IntelliJ IDEA. IDEA doesn’t advertise that their IDE supports ColdFusion (at least according to their web site) but regardless, CFML support seems to be baked into the application anyway. I found that IDEA had much of the functionality I enjoyed with CFBuilder but with a much sexier interface and a few extra bells and whistles. The first thing I noticed when trying IDEA was how fast the program ran on my Windows machine – especially with massive CFC files. Additionally, IDEA had features that I missed from my Dreamweaver days like FTP/Sync and deployment. I also felt the linting system (tells you when there are problems/syntax errors in your code) worked better and helped me write better code. Finally, the interface customization was exactly what I wanted. I was able to set my IDE up with a sleek dark theme (they call it Darkula) with the infamous Solarized code coloring theme and I absolutely fell in love with it.
So that’s where I stand today. I’m a bit of an IntelliJ IDEA fanboy as you might be able to tell but the fact that they don’t “officially” support the CFML language has me concerned for the future. I’m always on the lookout to see if there’s something better and would love to hear what IDE you use in your projects. Feel free to elaborate on what your likes/dislikes are of your current IDE and what features you’d like to see in your ideal CFML IDE.