Hot Keys Save Lives (well time at least)

Since I am new to using ColdFusion it stands to reason that I would be new to the programming tools also. So, first thing I did when I arrived here at Ravenglass was watch training videos of CF. While I didn't pick up the new language right off the bat, I did take away some essential hot keys that I now, could not live without.

I researched different hot keys and found the following cheat sheets for CF Builder and CFEclipse.

My favorite hot keys are actually not on either of these sheets, which blows my mind. Here they are:

Keys Function
Alt + Shift + up or down arrow Copies the line you are on or the section you have highlighted.
Alt + up or down arrow Moves the line you are on or the section you have highlighted.

I love these two hot keys and use them daily.

Did your favorite hot keys make the list? If not share them.

A case for CFBuilder.

With the cut off date for the Coldfusion Builder Beta quickly aproaching, Adobe.com says it will stop working in October 2009, the big question is why switch from CFEclipse. I could go on to rehash all of CFBuilder's features and compare them against CFEclipse's, but googling that brings up many sources to get that information. Instead I would like to list some features and perks of CFBuilder that I use as a regular everyday Cold Fusion developer.

The first thing I really like about CFBuilder is its packaging (I don't mean physical packaging). You download it and install it and it just works as a CF, HTML, JS development environment. Since its a build of Eclipse, any previous projects or any plugins you currently use in Eclipse work in CFBuilder. For me the big one was our CF shops code source management plugin which if it didn't work would be an immediate reason not to use CFBuilder, luckily it did. Getting CFEclipe setup can be a pain, the last time I had to do this after a fresh install of Windows... I first installed the wrong version of Eclipse, then tried the latest version of Aptana which also didn't work, ect. So when I installed CFBuilder right out of the box and had it set up an running on all three of my machines with little hassle, this was a huge plus.

Another plus is that it can handle large CFM files well (6K+ lines of code)..Dreamweaver and CFEclipse in my experience can not. I have a application that I built some time ago that was split over a couple files that were all very large, eventually the code editor became so laggy when editing the code inline that I had to resort to coding on a seperate blank page and paste in my changes. I am sure there are some configurations I could attempt to fix this, however CFBuilder has no issues whatsoever editing these files.

One other feature I like that was present right out of the box was start and end tag highlighting, especialy with messy code and dozens of CFIF tags spread across the page. This feature comes in useful when editing someone else's legacy code. I know you can "Jump to matching tag" in CFEcipse, but I appreciate the visual indicator of CFBuilder.

Lastly I want to highlight the RDS support that ships with CFBuilder. RDS lets you browse the server and database right in CFBuilder which has become an indispensable tool to me at the moment for looking up column names and data. At the moment I can not locate a way to do this in CFEclipse, many people mention it but it looks like you now need to buy flex builder to get this plugin for eclipse, all the links they posted led me to a page saying that it was no longer available. It makes sense for Adobe to not let this feature out if they want to include it in CFBuilder.

So what will be the price of CFBuilder when its released? How will I convince my fellow CF shop developers to switch? And more importantly how will I convince my boss to purchase it for us? Only time will tell...

A quick couple of tips on CFEclipse

I just wanted to share some of my personal favorite features of CFeclipse, that although not huge, are very useful while I'm developing. 

The first thing I wanted to share is linking the navigation window with the editor.  If you are like me and you pin the navigator (file browser) in CFEclipse to the window frame, you'll find it's very easy to get lost in your files.  It turns out there is actually a way to have the itnerface automatically select the file your editing as your switch between files.  To give this a try all you need to do is click the button with two opposite facing arrows to the right of the Navigation tab.  This will make it so that whenever you switch between a file in the editor, that file will automatically be selected in the navigation.

Another great feature of CFEclipse is it's keyboard shortcuts.  There are really quite a few, but I find the most useful ones to be the following:

Ctrl+Shift+O <cfoutput></cfoutput>
Ctrl+Shift+D <cfdump var="##">
Ctrl+Shift+R

<cfscript></cfscript>

The last feature is actually popular in many development studio's now, however I've found it goes unnoticed by many.  Everyone knows easy to ready code is tabbed in, however did you know if you use "Shift-Tab", it pull back the text one tab.  This works in SQL Server, CFEclipse, and many other tools! 

I hope these features are as useful to you as they have been to me.

CFEclipse Keyboard Shortcuts

Working with any program, I like to try and learn some keyboard shortcuts for ease of use.

Here are some of the keyboard shortcuts I use the most, to help when programming in CFEclipse:

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Altering Folding Marker Placement in CFEclipse/Aptana Studio

As this is my first blog entry, let me start out by introducing myself: my name is Bridget, I am the most junior member of the Ravenglass team and fresh to the Coldfusion community with less than a year under my belt.  Now, onto the good stuff:
 
As many of you know, one feature that CFEclipse offers is to automatically add folding markers to certain blocks of code, written in coldfusion (FYI: the technical term for this feature is "Code Folding").  This comes in handy when you are dealing with a large amount of code in a file, because then you can hide or show the code blocks that are relevant to what you are working on.  Some examples of where these markers are automatically placed are <cffunction> blocks in a CFC and code within a comment.
 
After being frustrated that these markers were automatically added in some awkward places of my code, I decided to take things into my own hands and figure out how to manipulate these to do what I want.  Less than 5 minutes later, I was headed down easy street (with a blog entry to boot).
 
First, let's make sure that you know where exactly to find the folding markers in your code editor.  For me, they are the arrows with little plus/minus signs in them, immediately to the left of the code and to the right of the line numbers - this may not be exactly the same for all, but if you see plus/minus signs next to your code, you're probably on the right track.

The next part is pretty easy, whether you want to add or remove these markers from some code, you pretty much follow the same steps.  
  1. Highlight the code you are interested in manipulating the folding markers for.
  2. Right click and select either "Add Folding Markers" or "Remove Folding Markers" from the menu that appears.
  3. Take a deep breath and smile because that was extremely simple.
 
I hope someone finds value in this quick tip!
 
Til next time,
Bridget