Yes, yes. We all know by now that ColdFusion Builder (CFB) and ColdFusion 9 (CF9) have been released into the wild as public betas. This post isn't about these applications or a tutorial on using either or both. Rather, this is a post to pose a potentially inappropriate or ill-timed question: Is Adobe readying to buy Aptana? Or, is some sort of business merger coming or is there a partnership already in place?

Why am I throwing this out there? Well, there are a few things that have caught my attention over the past week or so and, especially, today after checking out CFB.

My conspiracy theory got rolling just after Aptana released a new version of Studio (1.5). While that doesn't seem conspiracy-worthy per se, I found it interesting that Aptana decided to essentially dump two popular plugins (iPhone and Nokia WRT) without so much as a peep. Okay, they eventually announced the iPhone plugin was deprecated, which I think was a bad idea, but nothing on Nokia ... still.

Things got even more suspicious in my little mind this morning with the release of CFB. I downloaded, installed, and launched CFB this morning to give it a once-over.

Here's what I found so interesting*:

  1. The same 'File' view in Aptana is in CFB—same features, matching icons, etc.
  2. A similar HTML project option ('Existing Hosted Site') and the same base 'Project Files' as Aptana: HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Lexer, etc. (they also use identical icons for the file types, identical preferences, and the like).
  3. When you create an HTML file, it is exactly like Aptana Studio. Same colorization, same template, etc. Same freaking editor, so far as I can tell
  4. The HTML, JavaScript, and CSS preferences editor mirror that of Aptana Studio
  5. Seemingly identical JavaScript, CSS and HTML toolbars as Aptana
  6. Aptana tool bar options in CFB for Piano Keys in your editor (alternating background colors for each line), which I love, and the same tool bar button enabling the view of whitespace.
  7. And the capper: You can import the same (well almost all of them) Ajax libraries into your CFB project JUST like in Aptana

I want to stress, these commonalities are mostly surface level items and may be nothing but a series of coincidences between the two programs. Maybe Adobe is just licensing (or bought) the rights to the Aptana HTML, JavaScript and CSS editors so as not to reinvent the wheel. Certainly, that would be smart since Aptana has built very good editors for these file types.

Perhaps it's something more. There's been a pro-ColdFusion groundswell within the Aptana user base for some time, with a wide range of forum posts and feature requests for ColdFusion support within Aptana Studio. Considering that Aptana has already acquired existing IDEs for integration into Studio, including support for Rails (the former RadRails IDE) and Python (the former PyDev IDE), further mergers and changes seem more inevitable than not.

In addition to the incorporating of RadRails and PyDev, Aptana has created their own, robust, PHP IDE/plugin to go along with their superb HTML, JavaScript and CSS editors (oh, and there's a plugin for HTML/Ajax AIR development, too).

Taking that base of Aptana Studio and adding ColdFusion to it would make for one masterful, all-encompassing, web development IDE. And, if I were Adobe, that may just be a sweet set of tools I'd like to have in my company's arsenal.

Of course, this is probably just the conspiracy theorist in me running amok, but, a guy can dream of a unified, streamlined, powerful, all-in-one IDE for web development :)!!

If anyone else out there is interested, check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

*All comparisons were done between CFB (beta 1), Aptana Studio Stand-Alone 1.5, and Eclipse 3.5 (the 'version' for J2EE Developers). I included Eclipse 3.5 to see what exists within the base of the Eclipse IDE relative to what CFB and Aptana Studio do/use.


Craig Kaminsky
@anon: thanks for that! I did dig into the install dir and saw the Aptana stuff.

@brian: I knew there was something else that I meant to add in. Good call!!

@webrat: I think you're right abut the deal (and no buyout), especially since Aptana got US $8 mil in additional funding yesterday. I guess what I found so interesting about it all was more the choice of Aptana, as opposed to other, open-source options (Eclipse Web Tools, etc.). Don't get me wrong, I'm VERY glad they chose Aptana since I use it daily and don't have to learn any other special steps for CFB.
I just think it's a deal with Aptana, not a buyout.
Brian Deitte
Aptana was founded by Paul Colton, the guy who started Live Software. This was the company that created JRun and cfanywhere.
I can confirm for absolute sure that CF Builder is based on Aptana, but I have no idea on your other ideas haha. If you look in CF Builder's install directories you'll quickly find all the Aptana Jar files. Personally, I think this was a smart move overall but hopefully they work out some of the kinks in it all. I'm thinking they just made a deal to build an Aptana based product.

Your thoughts are a lot more fun though.