When did Dreamweaver add this?

This post is more than 2 years old.

I've been using Dreamweaver CS4 for ColdFusion editing the past few weeks. This is mainly due to some writing I'm doing for Adobe and that Eclipse has been a bit cranky for me lately due to other plugins I need for work.

Last night while updating my employee directory application for my latest Transfer post I noticed something rather cool about Dreamweaver. I had added a custom tag named adminlayout. All of a sudden, the next time I typed cf_, check out what the auto-suggest provided:

I guess Dreamweaver noticed the first time I did cf_foo and added it to the autosuggest list. I also assume it is site based (I would hope so).

Anyone know if this is new to CS4?

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Gary Fenton posted on 11/12/2008 at 12:11 AM

I upgraded from DW 8 to 10 (CS4) and this feature is new to me too, so it was either added in CS2 or CS4.

Have you noticed that it fails to recognise CFPDF? Usually autocomplete kicks in and also shows the attributes you can use, but DW CS4 does neither.

As a coder I haven't found anything new yet that's worth the upgrade from 8 to CS4, except that it loads up a lot quicker which is a welcomed improvement.

I really wanted the ability to mark certain lines of code and use a hotkey to jump between them (like in TextPad) - a godsend if you're working on a file that's several pages long. No such luck, even though I suggested it ages ago.

Comment 2 by Michael De Jonghe posted on 11/12/2008 at 12:12 AM

I've seen that before in CS3. I noticed it when creating XML files in DW and it auto-completed my own tags.

Very handy.

Even better... the new YUI and JQuery Dreamweaver Web Widgets available in the exchange.

Comment 3 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/12/2008 at 12:15 AM

@Gary: I believe that is a known issue. YOu have to download a CF8 package of some sort. Apparently the CF and DW guys must not get along. (Kidding)

Comment 4 by Daniel Sellers posted on 11/12/2008 at 12:48 AM

I know when you are dealing with custom xml files and in CS3 it adds the tags to the autosuggest list as you create them... I thought it did this with custom tags too... but now I can't seem to replicate it.

Comment 5 by JC posted on 11/12/2008 at 1:27 AM

I've had CF_IntranetHeader and CF_IntranetFooter tags in dreamweaver since at least MX. Edit > Tag Libraries > New Tag (and then New Attribute to add the attribute options).

Did CS4 just automatically pick it up because you used it somewhere, without you having to add it through the tag library function?

Comment 6 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/12/2008 at 1:29 AM

@JC: Since I don't know about tag libraries, you can be sure I didn't use em. ;)

Comment 7 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/12/2008 at 1:29 AM

What I mean is, I didn't edit them. JC, I just used the tag once, and then DW 'knew' about it.

Comment 8 by JC posted on 11/12/2008 at 1:47 AM

Pretty cool. Now if I can just convince the boss to get it....

Comment 9 by David McGuigan posted on 11/12/2008 at 1:49 AM

Two solutions to your problem:
1: Control + G. Jumps directly to any line number. You may already do this and just not be satisfied with it.

2: Control + F. Absolute quickest way to get around in large files. Type the very beginning of the code you're looking for or add some identifier (! is a good one) and just hit enter over and over to cycle through all of your 'mark points'. If you've taken the leap to mostly keyboard interaction this'll be SOOO quick for you. Much better than any sort of mouse marker equivalent. The best part? It doesn't have to be syntactically valid. You can drop your ! anywhere you want as long as you don't plan to run the file before coming back to it.

Comment 10 by shakti posted on 11/12/2008 at 2:41 AM

yes, does that for me in CS3. but the sad part is it doesn't remember after DW is restarted, so its gone from the auto suggest list next time i open DW, happens to all the custom tags i use :(

Comment 11 by Gary Fenton posted on 11/12/2008 at 2:57 AM

@David. Thanks for the suggestions. Ctrl+G stops working when you add new lines of code above the code that you want to keep jumping back to. Ctrl+F using ! to mark lines - removing the !s to run the code gets you back to the original problem when you need to find the lines of code to add !s back to to continue coding!

I love DW for designing but it will never be a good coder's editor until they add the things that coders are asking for. It will take a DW developer just a few hours to add my suggestion so there must be some product manager who doesn't understand the benefit of it. I'd even settle for a split screen code view like MS Word where you can view and edit two parts of the same document at the same time.

Comment 12 by David McGuigan posted on 11/12/2008 at 3:37 AM

Gary: You're right, but.

That's why in my opinion the best approach is to type the beginning of some distinct part of the code you're looking for. This is how I get around large files, and it's virtually instant. I don't have to place or manage markers, and I always get to the exact point in the code I'm looking for. Even if you happen to choose a find criterion that's only semi-distinct (a variable name that's only used in a few places, one of which is the code you want), remember that it's only a few enter presses away to step down to the correct instance.

That said, I realize that not everyone types 120 WPM with their eyes closed.

If you did want to use the ! method though, remember that the "replace all" functionality is just an Alt + A keystroke away. To run the code with your markers intact you'd just Ctrl + F (the ! would probably even already be there), Alt + A, Ctrl + S, and run. Then, to get all of your markers back just execute the correct number of Ctrl + Z strokes (usually just 2-3 I'm assuming).

Dreamweaver can maintain as many undo steps in memory as you have RAM. I have mine set to 5000, and on Vista 64-bit all Dreamweaver actions with the exception of FTP file browsing and transfer are lightning.

To repeat: Put ! markers on the lines you'd like, disregarding where they are syntactically. Before running, Ctrl + F, Alt + A, Ctrl + S. Done. To replace the markers: Ctrl + Z * x.

Comment 13 by David McGuigan posted on 11/12/2008 at 3:38 AM

Also, the two parts of code at once exists.

Window > Code Inspector

Drag and position that any way you'd like.


Comment 14 by David McGuigan posted on 11/12/2008 at 3:45 AM

Oops. In my theoreticizing I didn't stop to consider the implications of my ! example. Don't use ! obviously, as it'll sabotage all of your comments. !! would work, or x!, or ::, or whatever you prefer that won't appear in normal code or content.

Comment 15 by Gary Fenton posted on 11/12/2008 at 4:42 AM

@David, thanks for the tip on using the code inspector. I can now edit two parts of a file at the same time. (I feel silly for not working that out myself!)

Comment 16 by Ken Ford posted on 11/12/2008 at 5:28 AM

Get the CF 8 updater for DW here:


Comment 17 by David McGuigan posted on 11/12/2008 at 7:29 AM

@Gary: No problem. That's probably Dreamweaver's biggest hurdle (especially for developers), it's full of so many powerful features that people don't know about a lot of them.

For example, I'd bet that the majority of the developers reading this blog entry on Dreamweaver didn't even know about:

Its super tight, in-editor integration with the official ColdFusion documentation right down to copy and paste-able usage examples (select any tag or function in your code and press Shift + F1). Not to mention its fantastic integration into the various embedded O'Reilly reference books depending on what you have selected (SQL, CSS, HTML, Javascript, XML, XSLT, PHP, ASP, so on).

Its ability to process ColdFusion in-editor if you configure a testing server correctly.

Its ability to display ColdFusion debugging information in-editor in its own panel (Server Debug panel).

Its built-in Javascript step debugging and PAUSING with realtime mutating code view (much better than Firebug, SOOOO timesaving for AJAX development).

Its ability to seamlessly connect to your server and introspect CFCs including metadata.

Its ability to do incredibly powerful granular searching across various types of source code on a per document, document session, folder, site, or drive level.

Its ability to connect through a ColdFusion datasource to the underlying database and display draggable-to-code versions of its tables, stored procedures, and even views.

It's best-in-class browser compatibility detection engine and integrated validation features.

My favorite feature, however, is that it's not ugly.

In reality, Dreamweaver gets a pretty bad rap in the ColdFusion community today, because a lot of statements and assumptions are never actually challenged or tested.

In reality though, of all of the developers I've ever seen, most of which have at least 3 or 4 more years experience with ColdFusion than I do, I've never seen any of them go nearly as fast with CFEclipse as I do with Dreamweaver. Outline view or no outline view. And yes, I was paid by Adobe to write this comment (kidding).

Comment 18 by Jeremy Halliwell posted on 11/12/2008 at 1:10 PM

Another 'hidden gem' in DW I wish I'd known about earlier: you can wrap a tag around any selected block of text using ctrl+T. A popup will show the start of the tag and will autocomplete the attributes. Press enter and the tag is created. Works for any of the installed tag libraries.

Comment 19 by Steve H posted on 11/12/2008 at 7:33 PM

@David: Where would you recommend a ColdFusion developer go for information on setting up all these features you mentions. If it is not already available, a "Dreamweaver for ColdFusion Developers" video should be created.

Comment 20 by Tom K posted on 11/12/2008 at 7:48 PM

I like the snippets library too - if you're one of these people who cut and pastes in text into the code view and then formats with paragraph tags etc, then you can set a code snippet to enter "<p>" before and "</p>" after the selected text. Assign that snippet to a shortcut, and you can do things like remap ctrl+p to add a paragraph around your selected text (I never use print in Dreamweaver anyway :P)

That can get really powerful when you want to start doing things like unordered lists etc..

Comment 21 by Richard Dillman posted on 11/12/2008 at 10:42 PM

@Steve You might check out http://www.lynda.com they have tons of stuff on DW and CF some that stand out are:

Dreamweaver CS4 Essential Training
Dreamweaver CS4 Getting Started
Dreamweaver CS4 New Features
And although DW 8 it still has some good stuff about setup:
Dreamweaver 8 Dynamic Development

Comment 22 by Derek posted on 11/13/2008 at 12:06 AM

Can someone with CS4 try something for me? In CS3 the regex search for trailing whitespace does not work. Create a doc, add trailing whitespace to lines, spaces tabs etc. Then do ctrl+f and make sure to check the regex box and put this in the search "\s+$" without the quotes. Let me know ur results. I have a bug report into Adobe and they got back to me, but nothing concrete.

Comment 23 by Michael De Jonghe posted on 11/13/2008 at 12:09 AM


No results found

Comment 24 by David McGuigan posted on 11/13/2008 at 1:20 AM

Steve: A lot of times I've randomly found tutorials on Dreamweaver by Googling certain things I was looking for.

However, there is a dedicated repository for most of the official and commissioned stuff, and it's top notch.


Comment 25 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/13/2008 at 1:22 AM

+1 to DevNet. As I alluded to in this blog entry, I'm in the process of updating some of the articles for the DW folks. When they pinged me, I warned them I was staunchly anti-DW, but I think they have converted me. ;)

Comment 26 by Steve Withington posted on 11/13/2008 at 3:17 AM

I'd like to confirm seeing/using the custom tag code hinting feature in CS3. I'm also glad to see that I'm not the only ColdFusion devleoper left on the planet that hasn't fully gone over to CFEclipse. I use several of the features mentioned by David and many more.

Comment 27 by David McGuigan posted on 11/13/2008 at 3:58 AM

Ray, welcome back from the dark side.

Comment 28 by Gary Fenton posted on 11/13/2008 at 4:35 AM

@Ken, thanks for the link but that extention for DW was created way before DW CS4 was released. Probably at least 6 months earlier so it might not be compatible. (Has anyone tried it with CS4?)

Comment 29 by Ken Ford posted on 11/13/2008 at 4:42 AM

@Gary - Yes I have it installed in CS4

Comment 30 by Randy Edmunds posted on 11/14/2008 at 7:15 AM

DW CS4 added support for split code view. Use:

View > Split Code

The powers that be didn't think it was worthy of a button on the toolbar, but the code is still in the toolbars.xml file if you care to uncomment it.

Comment 31 by Charlie Arehart posted on 11/25/2008 at 9:29 PM

Steve asked above (a couple of weeks ago), "If it is not already available, a "Dreamweaver for ColdFusion Developers" video should be created."

I realize he was asking for something primarily for experienced CFers who might want to learn what DW can offer, but I want to point out resources that may help them and also newcomers to CF who may choose to use DW.

First, there are some very short video-style presentations in the CF Getting Started Experience that show using DW with CF (http://examples.adobe.com/c..., see the "ColdFusion and Dreamweaver Development Overview" and "Steps for Building Dynamic Pages".

Beyond that, though, and for those already experienced with CF, there are several longer user group-style presentations given by many folks as listed at my UGTV site (carehart.org/ugtv/). You can see the results of a search for dreamweaver as a keyword, at:


Finally, though it's not a video, I'd note that the CF docs themselves do talk about using DW with CF quite a bit, and especially one that many never notice, "Getting Started Building ColdFusion MX Applications". Sure, it's geared toward newcomers to CF, but even experienced folks might pick up tips in its showing how to use DW with CF. Sadly it was not updated for CF8, so it only available in the CF7 docs, in print or online at http://livedocs.adobe.com/c.... The DW help and docs also discuss the CF integration features, but again check out the recorded presentations above for people showing them in use.