Friday, January 20, 2006

My preferred ColdFusion Development Tools

Over the years I have found a number of ColdFusion tools that I think really enhance my ability to deliver RAD applications that are easy to maintain and expand. All of these things can be used for free, which certainly does rock!

This is a powerful, general text editor that has tons of extension libraries. I picked it up in mid 2003 and have never looked back. So I can use Textpad to help me do ColdFusion or Python or PL/SQL or whatever. It has pretty decent regex support (no POSIX though). It is easy to install and runs fast even on slow machines. It doesn't have FTP or RDF support, and that is its only really troublesome bit. It doesn't do code complete, but I don't really need that anyway.

This is a very rich plug-in for the incredible IDE Eclipse. It does so much, is free, and seems to run much faster than Dreamweaver or Homesite Studio. The SVN plug-in rocks if you get Subversion for source control. If I have the time and energy to install something that does code-complete, this is what I'll use.

I don't like to use most function reference books besides small ones for regex and sql tricks. Having an API listed online in a format that is really fast and easy to use is my preferred way of getting necessary documentation. This awesome AJAX application scrapes content off of the CFMX 7 livedocs and serves it to you nicely.

Spike's cfcDoc
Need good documentation of your CFCs? How about in something that resembles JavaDoc? Spike's work here is awesome. Other people have extended it, but I like the original still.

Trac Wiki & Task Tracker & SVN inteface
Trac is awesome because it does so much for you and is yet so easy to use. I love Wikis for use in development. I need task tracking because I do. And I prefer a good, solid source control system. Trac helps you enable all three.

Lighthouse Pro
Ray Camden's nifty Task Tracking system, its earlier version is really light (xml holds data files) but easier to deploy. This Pro version stores it in a database and is easier to use and configure. If you can't have Trac, then get this and you can't go wrong.

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