ColdFusion Builder and Outline Mode

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I've been using ColdFusion Builder full time for probably close to six weeks now. In that time I've really come to depend on one feature in particular, the Outline Mode. I'm not sure why I ignored it at first. I guess I just kinda thought that an outline of my code wouldn't be really helpful. But then I started working on a project where the developers didn't follow the same CFC writing patterns as I did. (My 'pattern' is - init method first, then everything else in Alpha Order.) The Outline panel became a killer feature for me. Here is a quick video that hopefully demonstrates how useful this can be.

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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!

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Edward Smith posted on 7/17/2009 at 10:06 PM

I use it quite a bit in CFEclipse - it got to be a habit from doing Java development.

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 7/17/2009 at 10:09 PM

I'm ashamed to say I never used it in CFEclipse! I would have if I had known it was this useful.

Comment 3 by Brian Swartzfager posted on 7/17/2009 at 10:34 PM

I just checked the CFEclipse version, and Outline didn't have the ability to alphabetize the functions of the CFC or filter them (though it should be noted I don't have the latest/greatest version of CFEclipse on this machine).

However, when I first opened the Outline view, I happened to be looking at a .css file at the time, and I was surprised to see that Outline lets you view, filter, and alphabetize the various style declarations! Could be useful for large CSS files. I wonder if that's a feature the Aptana plugin added.

Comment 4 by Mike Henke posted on 7/17/2009 at 11:23 PM

Nice but too bad, CFBuilder doesn't create a ColdFusion Explorer, which like the Flex 4 beta navigator or Ruby Explorer would show the outline view with all files instead of having to have the file open to see the Outline view.

Basically, files would have a plus sign and you could click and see the outline in the navigator. Ticket #74998

Comment 5 by Steve Caldwell posted on 7/17/2009 at 11:44 PM

Nice! I'm trying to make myself transition from Dreamweaver CS4 over to CF Builder. This is a nice feature that gives me a little incentive.

Does anyone know if Adobe is going to stop supporting code hinting for future versions of CF in Dreamweaver?

Ray, you should do more videos. They really add a lot to the tutorial...

Comment 6 by Raymond Camden posted on 7/17/2009 at 11:48 PM

Not sure about DW. Last time a CF8 DW Extension was released. I'd imagine a CF9 one would as well, but I've not heard any official word on that.

Comment 7 by Shayne Sweeney posted on 7/18/2009 at 1:32 AM

You can also use "Quick outline" feature to quickly jump around a document.

On a Mac use Command-O or I believe, Ctrl-O on a PC.

Another tip... you can start a filter with an asterisk (*) followed by part of the method or symbol you're looking for.

In Ray's example filtering on "*entries" would show the methods containing the word "entries" anywhere in it's name.

Comment 8 by Ben Nadel posted on 7/18/2009 at 2:21 AM

That is a really awesome feature. I'm looking to start playing around in Builder this weekend.

Comment 9 by Henry Ho posted on 7/18/2009 at 2:23 AM

I actually prefer the Method view in CFEclipse.

Comment 10 by Nando posted on 7/19/2009 at 11:58 PM

Hey Ray,

What are you using to edit your xml config files along side ColdFusion Builder. I've used XML Buddy with CFEclipse but it doesn't seem to be available anymore.

Comment 11 by Raymond Camden posted on 7/20/2009 at 1:26 AM

I haven't installed an XML editor yet. Right now, my CFB is pure. I keep even Flex 4 separate. I'm not going to install anything else until CFB is final, mainly to minimize my work.

Comment 12 by Nando posted on 7/20/2009 at 10:44 AM

I'm with you on the keeping it pure bit. FYI, I found XML Buddy on and installed it. Once you unzip it, it's just one folder of files that you drop into the plugins directory, so it's not too bad.

Comment 13 by Raymond Camden posted on 7/20/2009 at 2:41 PM

Do me a favor, when CFB goes Final, remind me to install this again. ;)

Comment 14 by Julian Halliwell posted on 7/22/2009 at 10:02 PM

Massimo Foti wrote an Extension for DW that gives you an alphabetical menu of all functions in a component. I've found this similarly indispensable.

Comment 15 by Jonathan posted on 7/23/2009 at 12:51 AM

is there a way to configure it to start collapsed and go from there? that would be nice.

I used the method view in cfeclipse, but this outline view is indeed very nice

Comment 16 by Raymond Camden posted on 7/23/2009 at 1:05 AM

I don't believe so.

Comment 17 by Charlie Griefer posted on 7/23/2009 at 1:04 PM

@Nando & Ray: (re: XML)

Doesn't Aptana (which is part of the foundation of CF Builder) have an XML editor (as well as JavaScript and CSS)?

I'm looking at a base CF Builder standalone install and my XML config files are colored and have code completion, etc.

In Preferences > General > Editors > File Associations, .xml files are defaulted to "CF Builder XML Editor" (which I assume is really Aptana under the hood).

You guys aren't seeing this in a "pure" CFB install?

Comment 18 by Raymond Camden posted on 7/23/2009 at 3:03 PM

Yep, it does. I guess I thought maybe Nanda was referring to something more involved. But I see code coloring working nicely for the XML.

Comment 19 by Aaron West posted on 7/31/2009 at 12:52 AM

That's pretty cool. I /really/ need to start playing around with ColdFusion Builder, I just haven't had a good candidate project (new and relatively small) to push me over the edge.

Comment 20 by Mike Causer posted on 4/13/2011 at 4:29 PM

It really bugs me that in the outline view everything is prefixed with an ugly "cffunction = ", and there seems to be no way to make it just have the dang function name!

Standard Java eclipse is way more useful giving you the method, the return type, and different icons for things like public, private, lighter coloured text for less important info. It's a pleasure to work with!

I'd like to be able to craft my own regex patterns, like I can with every other IDE I've used. Looking at you UltraEdit, Coda, Textmate etc. Seems very limited at the moment - hope they let us tinker more in CF Builder 2 :)

Comment 21 by Raymond Camden posted on 4/13/2011 at 5:10 PM

There are no - that I'm aware of - announced changes to Outline mode in CFB2. You can download the public beta and check too.

I think you have a valid point - but have you logged an ER for it?