Using Project Templates in ColdFusion Builder 3

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One of the interesting new features in ColdFusion Builder is the new project template system. This lets you create a project with files automatically laid out. Unfortunately, the docs only discuss the mobile version of this (i.e., what you see when you make a new mobile project). If you do not plan on building cfclient projects (ahem), then you may think this feature doesn't apply to you. Luckily, that isn't the case at all.

You can easily create templates for "regular" projects as well. To do so, first find your ColdFusion Builder install and open the templates folder. There is a chance you may only see one subdirectory: mobile. That's all I had. But if you go to create a new project, the editor will quickly lay out a new subdirectory, server. I don't think you even have to create the project completely, just start the process. To me, this is a bit of a bug, the folder should be there anyway, but just keep in mind you may or may not see it. If you don't see it, I recommend doing what I did - start the new project creation process.

Under server will be two more folders: system, and user. System will be empty. User is where you will create your templates. Template creation is a bit awkward. You don't just create a template. Rather you create a group of templates. So for example, I may have a group called "HTML Unicorn" for all my different front-end heavy applications. I may have another group just for Frameworks, where I have a template for FW/1, Model-Glue, ColdBox, etc.

To define your group, just create a subdirectory under system/user. I called mine Mine. Yes, I did. You then need to create a text file called config.xml. This will define both the group and enumerate the different templates. Here is the one I built.

<template name="Ray's Templates">
		These are my templates. There are many like it, but these are mine.
		<type value="Blank">
				A blank template with no damn index.cfm
		<type value="Framework One">
				Framework One (v2.2) becuz it is teh awesome.

As you can see, I've got a top level description for my group. It doesn't really matter what you put here unless you plan on sharing with others. Then I have two types. The first, Blank, is just that, a blank template. CFB uses the value "Blank" as the directory to look into for source code. So in my case, I've got a subdirectory called Blank. I then have a second one for Framework One. I downloaded the bits and copied the skeleton application into it.

That's really all there is to it. Just remember that the value in the XML field has to match the folder name. I originally used "Framework/One" for the value and realized that would probably make CFB have a fit. Here is my template showing up in the new project UI:

And here is the project it laid out - nicely laid out with FW/1 files.

I just realized that the FW/1 skeleton does not actually copy the FW/1 CFC. I'm assuming the idea is that it relies on a server-wide mapping for it. I'm going to copy it into my template now so I don't have to worry about it.

Finally, I should point out that - technically - this has been possible for some time now. Since CFB2, you could write an extension that tied to the project UI and did the exact same thing this does. Actually a heck of a lot more. You could write custom code to seed a project, initialize values, ring some cowbell, and go crazy. If you want something simpler though this is a real nice option.

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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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