ColdFusion Builder Tip - Internal Web Browser

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Ok, so this is another tip that is more Eclipse than ColdFusion Builder, but I thought I'd share it anyway. (I'm assuming a lot of people who will be using CFBuilder will be new to Eclipse as well!) I've mentioned before how I like to use TailView when debugging. I find it especially useful in MVC applications with a lot of moving parts in each request. I've also demonstrated how I use JSON and CFLOG to record complex data to a log file. While that works ok, sometimes I really need to use a proper CFDUMP to see what I'm working with. In those cases, I'll cfdump to a file (with format="html"):

<cfdump var="#url#" output="/Users/ray/Desktop/test.html" format="html">

What I'll then do is open it in my browser and reload a few times while I tweak the code. Today, on a whim, I tried the Internal Web Browser view. This is different (as far as I know) from the preview in the editor pane. That view is something I don't use too often. Why? Because I normally really need to see both code and result at the same time. The Internal Web Browser though is a separate panel that acts like a browser. In the screen shot below, I've opened this view and pointed it to the test file on my desktop. As I work, I reload to get the latest dump:

Useful? Maybe. In this particular case it was helpful to me. I was working on an issue within a loop inside cfchart. The dumps helped me track the data being supplied to the chart and where it was going wrong.

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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!

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Andrew Scott posted on 3/2/2010 at 9:04 AM

It should be noted that this is one approach, however the best approach would be to use the line debugger and look at the url variable in all its glory there.

There is also a hidden gem, that while line debugging you can switch over to the Debug Output Buffer. Select the Server output Buffer and watch the request build up as well.

So in some cases, if you do a dump here you don't need to write it to a file. You can view it in the IDE as well.

I think the line debugger doesn't get enough attention, it beats the cfdumps hands down for me.

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 3/2/2010 at 9:30 AM

I know I'm in the minority - but I don't like using the debugger. It just doesn't seem to work well for me. On the flip side, I like the debugger in Flex. Meh. To each their own.

Comment 3 by Sean Henderson posted on 3/3/2010 at 12:13 AM

Thanks. Just loaded up CF9/CFB on my machine today and this tip was useful.