First impressions of Eclipse and CFEclipse

Well, I’ve got some UTF-8 Coldfusion development I am working on, so I was forced to ditch Homesite+, and find an editor that I could use that would support Unicode.

There was no way I was going across to Dreamweaver (heh), so I figured it was about time to check out Eclipse and CFEclipse.

I also generally liked the idea of not having to shift between IDEs as I work - no more flitting from Homesite to Topstyle to XmlSpy… etc etc. It would all be contained within the one IDE and it would be wonderful.

Well at least that was the idea.

I grabbed a copy of Eclipse 3.0, primarily (a) because CFEclipse only runs on 3.0 and (b) I love having new things.  The install ran fine, after I moved past a small JRE issue that some Oracle software had pushed via a only JRE 1.3 lying around after my machine without too much trouble.

Then I hit my first issue.  Tigris.org is all in Japanese for me, except for some english.  That made getting cfeclipse a tad tricky.  No idea why it is. Sent the website a email today, so I’ll let you know when I get a reply.

Managed to get it down, and installed it – no issue. Sweet.  Open up eclipse, create a new project, yup all looks good.

Find some small issue with CFeclipse, nothing major, but I wanted to report it, or see if it was going to be fixed. (I’m running verison 1.1.9 beta)… oh yeah, can’t do that because the site is in Japanese. Sod.  Well I’ll subscribe to the mailing list… yeah… can’t find it because my Japanese isn’t so good.

EDIT ::: Looks like all my winging produced some effects! I can now see the site in English.  That’s brilliant, now I’m going to sign up.

Fired off an email to CFAussie, and got subscribed to the mailing list. Going to post up some bugs soon, hopefully I won’t be stepping on anyone’s toes because I can’t find/read the bug tracker.

So now I need a CSS editor… awesome, plugin "CSS Eclipse Plugin" into google, and got the csseditor plugin for eclipse. Allright. Load that in.. and…. now I have some basic CSS validation. It’s no topstyle (lite?) but it does the trick… that’s cool, it’s open source, and it’s free, and my css is decent enough (although a colour picker would have been nice.  Maybe I can find a plugin for that in Eclipse).

EDIT ::: I discovered the documentation for the css editor, and of course you can hit ‘ctrl + space’ and it will get some content assistance - so all in all, a pretty good editor!

So I go hunting a XML editor too, because I do a fair bit of XML work. I found x-men, looks great! nope.. doesn’t work with 3.0.. I end up going with XMLbuddy, which looks good, but unless I buy the pro version, isn’t going to do all of what I want.

So overall, I’m doing okay – I’ve started developing with Eclipse, and I’m loving the CFC method view and Outline view of CFEclipse, it’s something I’ve been dying for for ages. So that stuff does rock.

Eclipse and it’s range of plugins so far seem to be good but not great.  This is probably a gripe coming from soneone who is used to really mature commercial software, and so there is that bias.  So factoring in what you can get for free out of eclipse it is pretty darn good.  However, to that point, I found the support of 3.0 to be quite lacking by alot of the plugins out there.

So I do want to say that Eclipse (and said plugins) are really good products considering the relative time they have been around, and the fact that they are developed as open source, free products.

I’m going to complete this project with Eclipse before I decide it’s a keeper or not, but if you develop with ColdFusion and you don’t want to user Dreamweaver, and you are afraid Homesite is going to be a dead end, I highly suggest that you give Eclipse a go.  That and the ability to really extend your IDE yourself is a very powerful feature.

Just bring a monkey wrench in case things go wrong ;o)

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Comments

  • Alan | July 5, 2004

    the site was in japanese you say? wow. You sure your browser hasn’t switched to another encoding?

  • Mark | July 5, 2004

    Yep – the same for IE and firebird from where I work. But it’s fine from home.

    It’s the wierdest thing.

  • Oliver Tupman | July 8, 2004

    Hi Mark,

    Just wandering around the Net looking for places to tell the world that the new version of CFEclipse has been released when I stumble upon your website.

    I can safely say that I’ve never heard of anyone seeing the Tigris website in Japanese… I’m pretty sure we haven’t written it in that language. Hope not otherwise I’m going to have some problems.

    Hmm, just realised I recognise the name. I think you’re signed up as an observer now… In fact you’ve posted on the list. Welcome to the fray :D

    So anyway, version 1.1.13 is out (as you know via the website). Check out http://cfeclipse.tigris.org for more info.

    Cheers.

  • Mark | July 8, 2004

    Hey Oliver ;o)

    Yup – I am an observer now. Loving being able to participate!

    The site is no longer in Japanese, I had sent an email to tigris, and suddenly 2 days later it was fine.

    So either it was just ‘one of those things’ or someone flipped a switch somewhere.

    Loving the new release :o) I’ll be writing up a ‘Second impression of Eclipse and CFEclipse’ shortly!