If I'm going to use Eclipse for ColdFusion development, what packages do I need?

This post is more than 2 years old.

This question just came into my mailbox and I see it enough on cf-talk and other listservs so I figured it warranted a quick blog post. If you are just concerned about doing ColdFusion development with Eclipse, then you want to grab:

CFEclipse - This is the main package for doing CF development with Eclipse. It will give you syntax highlighting, CFC method views, tag completion, etc.

Adobe CF Extensions - This gives you RDS support as well as query building/exploring (you can view your tables and write simple queries as well as testing them). It also gives you the sexy log viewer. This tool lets you watch a log file and as messages are appended, they automatically show up in the viewer. You also get the debugger and snazzy wizards.

Adobe CF Help for Eclipse - The ColdFusion docs for Eclipse

There are certainly other packages a good developer will want, but these will get you going with ColdFusion.

Raymond Camden's Picture

About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA https://www.raymondcamden.com

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by evan posted on 1/7/2009 at 2:47 AM

What about using Aptana? Can I use the cfeclipse plugin in Aptana?

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 1/7/2009 at 2:49 AM

Isn't Aptana an Eclipse plugin? If so, it doesn't make sense to use it "in" Aptana, unless they have a 'branded' Eclipse build. Flex Builder can be used like that - either as a plugin or a full Eclipse build. In that case, then yes, you can install the plugins.

Comment 3 by Adrian J. Moreno posted on 1/7/2009 at 2:50 AM

I'd also recommend Aptana to handle all the HTML, Javascript, CSS and other programming that go hand-in-hand with ColdFusion development.


Comment 4 by Raymond Camden posted on 1/7/2009 at 2:51 AM

Just to be clear, I wanted to focus this blog entry on _just_ the core stuff devs need for CF. As I said, there are plenty of -very- useful plugins for Eclipse.

Then again, these _are_ comments, and folks can just ignore them.

So um... ignore me. It's your guys blog as much as it is mine. ;)

Comment 5 by Kumar posted on 1/7/2009 at 2:53 AM

One recommendation to add good HTML, CSS and JS support is the Aptana Studio.


Comment 6 by Kumar posted on 1/7/2009 at 2:54 AM

I am slow at writing comments ;)

Comment 7 by Wil Genovese posted on 1/7/2009 at 2:57 AM


I use CFEclipse everyday with these installed.

Eclipse 3.4
CFEclipse 1.3.2 beta
Subclipse - so I can access our SVN servers.
JS Eclipse from Adobe Labs.
Web Developer Tools - from the Eclipse download site
EPIC Perl for my PERL Code

I think that's all. I pretty much have the same configuration on my work Windows XP machine as I do on my MacBookPro.


Comment 8 by Wil Genovese posted on 1/7/2009 at 3:04 AM

oh, and of course the Adobe plug-ins you already mentioned.

Comment 9 by Craig Heneveld posted on 1/7/2009 at 3:36 AM

There is a stand alone version of aptana that I use. It is not the plugin version of it. It is really awesome!

Comment 10 by Brian Jones posted on 1/7/2009 at 4:23 AM

Ray. I am now up and running with Eclipse 3.3.2 with the CFEclipse plugin and the CF801 Adobe Extensions, and it couldn't have been easier!

Thanks for clearing that up.

Comment 11 by Scott P posted on 1/7/2009 at 4:27 AM

man - I thought for a sec that dreamweaver had corrupted you to a point you were asking this question.

Comment 12 by Raymond Camden posted on 1/7/2009 at 4:29 AM

The greatness that is Ray cannot be contained by one editor.

Comment 13 by Mike Rankin posted on 1/7/2009 at 4:51 AM

While we're talking about it here, can anybody verify that the RDS services of the adobe plug-in work with Ganymede?

Comment 14 by Henry Ho posted on 1/7/2009 at 6:02 AM

Subclipse & CollabNet Desktops

Installing both will make merging in SVN 1.5 a breeze~!

Comment 15 by Mark Galeassi posted on 1/7/2009 at 6:17 AM

I use the stand alone version of apatana with CFEclipse. It's a great mix!

Comment 16 by David McGuigan posted on 1/7/2009 at 6:51 AM

If you're just now getting started with ColdFusion development you owe it to yourself to check out at least your best options.

Here's what you won't hear on most ColdFusion community blogs (my opinion): Probably the best package for an Eclipse ColdFusion development setup is Dreamweaver CS4, which runs as a standalone, totally-external-to-Eclipse plugin substitute.

One of the coolest things about the Dreamweaver package is that you don't even have to have Eclipse installed to run it.

Free trial:

Comment 17 by Joern posted on 1/7/2009 at 1:10 PM

Perhaps a stupid question, but:
Which eclipse package do i need?
(Eclipse Classic,Eclipse IDE for Java Developers....)

Comment 18 by Martin posted on 1/7/2009 at 3:14 PM


Eclipse has been so popular in the community because it's FREE and it's a good tool.
For me though there is no comparison - I agree with you and would say that Dreamweaver CS4 is an awesome tool for web development. There are so many integrated features (way too many to list here) that make my life as a web developer SO much easier.

I love it and am glad to have spent the money on my whole Adobe CS4 Web Suite out of my own pocket.

Comment 19 by Raymond Camden posted on 1/7/2009 at 5:20 PM

@Joem: Classic should be fine.

Comment 20 by adam posted on 1/7/2009 at 6:41 PM

David you made me laugh in the morning with your comment

"One of the coolest things about the Dreamweaver package is that you don't even have to have Eclipse installed to run it"

that is really cool :))))

Comment 21 by Craig Kaminsky posted on 1/7/2009 at 7:08 PM

@Mike: The RDS plugins sort of work on my copy of Ganymede (Mac OS X 10.5.6, Eclipse 3.4.1).

The RDS Dataview works but I have to "refresh" the database or table before I can expand it (without the refresh, it never expands the db to see tables or tables to see columns (right-clicking to get to the refresh option or the refresh button on top of the view window works).

I haven't gotten the Services Browser to work on Ganymede with web services.

Comment 22 by Mike Rankin posted on 1/7/2009 at 7:17 PM

@Craig: THANKS! At least it works with a little prodding. Very annoying though. You would not believe how long I tried to get that to work before I just gave up. The "Contacting server..." place holder really made me thing something was going on that was blocked.

Comment 23 by Gerald Guido posted on 1/7/2009 at 7:25 PM

+1 for Atpana. Atpana has built in SVN support BTW. I also use XMLBuddy for auto suggest for XML dialects ( was never able to get the XML editor in WST to work right.

Comment 24 by Chris Luksha posted on 1/7/2009 at 7:36 PM

@Craig - THANK YOU.

I have been fighting with this for days not realizing why it wouldn't work. My old 3.2 eclipse worked with the rds set just fine after removing the port number but the lates set won't let you remove the port - a simple refresh.
Who'd a thunk! Thanks so much!!!!

Comment 25 by Thomas Case posted on 1/7/2009 at 9:03 PM

One thing you did fail to mention in your post is which version of Eclipse. Actually, there are two decisions, one is product version and the other is package version. CFEclipse has a note on their website regarding the problems working with the latest version of Eclipse (3.4). Therefore, to get started, one should stick with the Europa version of Eclipse (3.3). When you go to the Eclipse downloads page, you need to click on the link for older versions to find Europa.

Once at the Europa downloads, then one needs to decide which package version. There are versions for Java Developers, Java EE Developers, C/C++ Developers, and RCP/Plug-in Developers. The last version provides the source code to aid in developing Eclipse Plug-ins. When I rebuilt my set-up recently, I chose the Java Developers version. It provided the base Eclipse package, plus some of the basic WTP (Web Tools Platform), like XML Editor.

I did add Collabnet's Desktop, SubEclipse, the CF packages you mentioned, and Aptana Community Edition Plug-in to my set up.

A future topic for you to address is how to use Eclipse for CF development. This is one area where I still struggle, specifically when it comes to whether to locate projects in my personal workspace (I am using Windows, both Vista and XP, along with IIS) or in one's web folder (e.g., on Windows, this is typically C:|D:\inetpub). Along with this is when checking out from Subversion, does one check out the entire project, or the trunk/branch they are interested in. This still is confusing to me. While, I like having multiple projects available in the working set, unlike Dreamweaver's single project focus, Dreamweaver's local/remote site setup has worked great (at least when developing on Windows). I develop/test locally, then deploy to a test server for customer review/acceptance testing, and then deploy to production server. In my current case, the production server is a staging server that uses a commercial tool to update the production cluster servers.

Thanks for the post. I hope to see more on this topic. It can be confusing.

Comment 26 by Kevin posted on 1/7/2009 at 10:04 PM

re: Aptana ... to clarify Aptana Studio can run both as a standalone app or as a plug-in to other Eclipse installs. And further the standalone edition of Aptana Studio is based on Eclipse too so you can plug other Eclipse plug-ins (like CF Eclipse :) ) into it as well.

Comment 27 by Henry Ho posted on 1/7/2009 at 10:39 PM

Waiting for Bolt...

Is Dreamweaver CS4 that good? Anyone else use it for CFC dev?

Comment 28 by David McGuigan posted on 1/7/2009 at 10:42 PM

Henry, check out this post's comments, it highlights some of the standout ColdFusion integration features Dreamweaver offers:

Comment 29 by Raymond Camden posted on 1/7/2009 at 11:54 PM

I started to use DWCS4 late last year when I began writing articles for the DW Dev Center. I was fairly impressed. I'm using it quite a bit now. Will I use it forever? Will it become my primary IDE? Probably not. I'm sure Bolt will. But I'm _very_ impressed by DWCS4, very impressed.

Comment 30 by Raymond Camden posted on 1/9/2009 at 8:42 AM

@ThomasCase: Good points on the Eclipse version. I should have mentioned that.

As to actually using Eclipse, I could show an example of what I typically do. To be honest, the old ACME Guide (not sure if it has been updated recently) was the best at this. As to your question about SVN - I always check out the entire project. It's only slow the first time and thats if the project is large.

Comment 31 by larry c. lyons posted on 1/10/2009 at 12:56 AM

One of the commercial kits I particularly like is MyEclipse. it has a lot of addition plugins (XML, database, both web and app server controls, deployment editor etc.) One of the plugins in that package I find very useful is the UML plugin. Being able to use one IDE not only to do class and usecase diagrams, Ajax debugging and database support is very useful. Also it has a Dreamweaver like WYSIWYG view that can be very useful. For a full feature list: http://www.myeclipseide.com....


The people who make MyEclipse also have a server based plugin management tool called Pulse (http://www.poweredbypulse.c.... One of the packages included in Pulse is CFEclipse.


Comment 32 by Kevin Ford posted on 4/2/2009 at 5:48 PM

I saw mention of Yoxos (http://www.yoxos.com) on the CFEclipse site and decided to try it last week. Very nice site for building bundled Eclipse packages, similar to MyEclipse but free. Huge selection of plug-ins to choose from. There are a large number of pre-built "profiles" for just about any development role to make things easy. Once done, you can even save and share your custom profiles -- very handy for companies with small development teams that want to use a standard set of plug-ins.

The only thing I had to add that Yoxos didn't offer was XMLbuddy, the Adobe ColdFusion extensions, and Flex Builder (of course).

Comment 33 by Stefan Lierenfeld posted on 4/30/2009 at 12:41 PM

I would wonder if anybody knows if there's a plugin availabe providing help topics for cf7 inside the eclipse help system.

Or any hints available to convert the old html based Homesite help files to eclipse plugin format?

thanks anf regards

Comment 34 by Kevin Ford posted on 5/1/2009 at 3:43 PM

Hi Stefan,

I don't think there was ever a version created for CF7, but there is one for CF8 (which aside from the new CF8 tags/functions, is still perfectly applicable to CF7). You can download it directly from Adobe at http://www.adobe.com/suppor.... Look for the item titled "ColdFusion 8 Help Files for Eclipse".