Over the past 12-18 months I've been doing a fair amount of non-CFML coding -- I worked on a few CakePHP and Rails projects as well as having begun to explore Groovy and Grails.

For the most part, my IDEs have been Eclipse-based (SpringSource for Groovy/Grails and Aptana for PHP/Ruby). All in all, I've been happy with the Eclipse-based solutions. Maybe too happy, really, because all this IDE love made my return to full-time CFML work a bit harder. 

About three months ago, I was received a new, long-term, CFML project. While I'd used CFEclipse for a few years in my previous CFML projects, there were too many things with it that left me unsatisfied and spurred me to check out alternative CFML IDEs ... that and the fact that CFEclipse does not seem to be getting much development love right now (no significant updates on it for some time now). 

Since starting my new CFML project, I've tried the following: IntelliJ IDEA with a CFML plug-in, TextMate with the Railo bundle, ColdFusion Builder (beta 2), Espresso with a CFML Sugar, Panic's Coda, and, of course, CFEclipse. Honestly, I was not sold on any of them. I did, however, rule out Espresso and Coda because they're just syntax highlighters. At the moment of writing, I'm down to IntelliJ IDEA, TextMate and ColdFusion Builder.

I like IntelliJ IDEA and it seems like an excellent IDE for Java-based languages (it even does Ruby, Web PHP, and Flex stuff) but I've only just started playing with it and it's quite the mental jump from Eclipse (different way of working on and thinking about projects for us overly conditioned Eclipse folks!). One thing I do adore in IntelliJ IDEA is that when you select a file in your "File Explorer" the IDE shows you the outline for that file without opening it. That's pretty sweet!

In ColdFusion Builder, I like the occasionally working intellisense, CFC outlines (almost all my code is in CFCs), and code generators. However, ColdFusion Builder is a bit flakey (no complaint here, as it is a beta product) and, shockingly, it's a RAM hog ... stupid, greedy Eclipse :). I don't like that it's built on outdated code bases (Eclipse 3.4.2 & Aptana 1.5) and that, in all reality, we're 2-3 years from it possibly being the awesome CFML IDE many of us want (see the evolution of Flex Builder). 

I love TextMate's low, nearly non-existant, footprint and its snappiness. The Railo bundle provides nice shortcuts, although I'm still getting used to using them properly. However, I really miss my CFC outlines! I can live without the occasionally time-saving code generators (or use alternative tools for that) but not being able to peruse a larger CFC is a bummer and does seem to cost me some time, though perhaps not enough to sway me back to ColdFusion Builder.

I'm stuck, for now, between IntelliJ IDEA, ColdFusion Builder and TextMate and felt the need to ask the world (or the two-three people who might actually stumble upon this post) ... What IDEs are you using for CFML? What sort of benefits/features swayed you to select your IDE over the alternatives? Did I miss some alternative CFML IDEs out there? 

Would truly love to get some feedback from CF'ers out there ... Thanks!

Posted via web from Craig Kaminsky's posterous


It seems the CFBuilder IDE is still in Beta2. The last time I gave it a try, it was bloody awful. Going through the cfbuilder bug list, it looks like they've closed hundred of bugs since Beta2 was released in October. I doubt the final release will have about 1/10th the power of Eclise JEE, but I suspect it will be considerably better on release.