Getting Started with ColdFusion Builder
When you launch ColdFusion Builder, you will see a screen similar to the one in Figure 3.1. (The exact screen layout may differ depending on the operating system you’re using and the plug-ins that you have installed.)
Figure 3.1 The ColdFusion Builder screen features the editor and supporting panels.
A Note About Perspectives
As already noted, ColdFusion Builder is built on Eclipse, and Eclipse can be used for many types of languages and development, and each language has different editor needs. To address all the different requirements of different languages, Eclipse supports a feature called perspectives.
A perspective is a simply a group of configuration settings that you can activate as needed. As a rule, when writing ColdFusion code, you’ll want to use the ColdFusion perspective. When you start ColdFusion Builder you should automatically be in the ColdFusion perspective, and so more often than not, you can ignore perspectives altogether. But just in case, here’s what you need to know.
The current perspective is displayed at the top right of the ColdFusion Builder screen. If you see a little CF icon with the word ColdFusion next to it, then you should be good to go. If you need to change the current perspective, use the Window > Open Perspective menu options. The Cold-Fusion perspective will be listed under Other. In addition, recently used perspectives are usually displayed at the top right of the screen for easy selection.
The ColdFusion Builder Screen
The ColdFusion Builder screen, seen in Figure 3.1, is divided into paneled sections:
- The Navigator panel (shown on the left in Figure 3.1, though it can be moved elsewhere) is used to browse and open projects and files.
- Beneath the Navigator panel is the File panel, which provides access to folders, files, FTP, and more.
- The top-right side of the screen is a window containing three panels that can be selected by their named tabs. The Outline panel shows the code outline for the open and selected file (and is therefore empty if no file is open). The RDS Dataview panel provides access to all ColdFusion data sources. The RDS Fileview panel provides access to files and folders on the ColdFusion server (this panel is only really of use when you’re working with a remote ColdFusion server).
- At the bottom right is the Snippets panel, which can be used to store and access reusable chunks of code.
- The large area in the middle of the screen is the actual ColdFusion Builder editor window. When you are working in a file, CFML toolbars and buttons will be displayed at the top of this area.
- Beneath the editor area is a block containing a series of very important tabs. We’ll use the Servers tab in a moment, and others in later chapters.
- At the top of the screen are toolbars and buttons used to open and save files, and more.
Defining the ColdFusion Server
For many ColdFusion Builder features to work, the tool needs to know how to connect to your ColdFusion Server. Thus, the first thing you should do is define your ColdFusion Server.
Here are the steps to define your local ColdFusion Server:
- Click the Servers tab beneath the editor area. This tab displays a list of defined servers and will initially be empty.
- Locate the Add Server button in the toolbar right below the tabs; it’s the one with a picture of a computer with a yellow + sign on it. Click the Add Server button to display the Add Server window.
- Select ColdFusion and click OK to display the New ColdFusion Server Setup window (shown in Figure 3.2).
- Some of the fields in the New ColdFusion Server Setup window apply only to J2EE configuration installations. For typical local ColdFusion development installations, specify the following:
- Click Next to display the Local Server Settings window.
- In the Server Home field, enter the root of the ColdFusion installation. On Windows computers, the root will usually be C:\ColdFusion9. The Document Root field should be filled in automatically (if the Server Home specification is correct). Set the version to 9 (or 9.0.x).
- Click Next to display the Install Extensions window.
- Make sure Install Extensions is checked and click Finish.
Figure 3.2 The first thing you should do upon running ColdFusion Builder is define your ColdFusion Server connection.
The RDS password provided at ColdFusion installation time
You should see your localhost server now listed on the Servers tab, and the Status area should say Running (indicating that ColdFusion Server is running and ColdFusion Builder can connect to it).
You can verify that ColdFusion Builder is communicating with ColdFusion Server by opening the RDS Dataview tab and expanding the localhost data source entered there. If that data source is present, and if you can expand it to see the tables and their contents, then all is well.
Creating a Project
ColdFusion development almost never involves a single file. Rather, ColdFusion applications are usually large (and ever growing) collections of files and folders. In ColdFusion Builder, each application you work on is defined as a project, and you can define as many projects as you need.
All the lessons in these books build parts of an application for Orange Whip Studios, or OWS. Therefore, we’ll create a project named ows. Here are the steps:
- Locate the ColdFusion Builder File menu and choose File > New > ColdFusion Project to display the New ColdFusion Project window. (You can also right-click in the Navigator panel and choose New > ColdFusion Project.)
- Specify OWS as the project name.
- Uncheck the Use Default Location option, and for the Project Location specify the application path (on a Windows computer with the default configuration, the path should be C:\ColdFusion9\wwwroot\OWS). Then click Next.
- You now need to specify the ColdFusion Server to use for this project. Select Localhost (the server you just defined) from the Servers drop-down list. Then click Next.
- The final screen will ask you about additional sources and applications. Leave these all as set and click Finish.
You now have a project set up for use with the applications in this book. The new project will automatically be opened in the Navigator panel. If ever the project is not opened, you can open it by right-clicking it in the Navigator panel and choosing Open Project, or by double-clicking it.
Working with Files
Now that you’ve successfully defined the ows project, here are a few basic file access techniques that you should know.
To create new folders in ColdFusion Builder, select the folder to contain the new folder, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac), and choose New > Folder. You’ll be prompted for the folder name; enter it and then click Finish.
To create new files in ColdFusion Builder, select the folder to contain the new file, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac), and choose New > ColdFusion Page. You’ll be prompted for the file name; enter it and then click Finish.
Saving, Closing, and Opening Files
To save a file, do one of the following:
- Press Ctrl-S (Windows) or Command-S (Mac).
- Choose Save from the File menu.
- Click the Save button on the toolbar (it is a picture of a diskette).
To close a file, do one of the following:
- Press Ctrl-W (Windows) or Command-W (Mac).
- Choose Close from the File menu.
To open a file, do one of the following:
- Choose Open from the File menu.
- Double-click the file in the Navigator panel.
And with that, you’re ready to begin ColdFusion development using ColdFusion Builder.