CFEclipse Aptana Migration


I learned ColdFusion in DreamWeaver. For that matter, I've learned HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP in DreamWeaver too, so it's been fairly difficult for me to completely switch over to Eclipse even though I actually prefer working in Eclipse more than I do DreamWeaver. For some reason I just feel like I'm 'really' coding when I'm working in Eclipse. I don't feel like a 'serious' programmer when I'm working in DreamWeaver. So, I've decided to share some of the things I've done to make the migration a bit more tolerable.

First off I have Eclipse Europa J2EE. I'm sticking with that platform for now because the latest Eclipse release, Ganymede, doesn't play to well with CFEclipse.

Then I installed CFEclipse, and added the ColdFusion extensions for Eclipse, the ColdFusion 8 help files for Eclipse, the ColdFusion 8 Syntax dictionaries, and finally plugged CFEclipse in to the CFLib and CFSnippets snippex servers.

After that, I installed Aptana. Except for the annoying 'upgrade to pro' messages they send, Aptana's really nice. What I really like about Aptana, is it's great HTML, CSS and JavaScript functionality. Coding web pages in Aptana is a snap, and since I'm a snippets freak, Aptana's snippets view helps me make the transition to Eclipse that much easier. The most important thing I needed from Aptana though, was remote FTP view. Being able to FTP from within the IDE was definitely keeping me tied to DreamWeaver, and by removing the key bindings in Eclipse for CTRL+Shift+U, and CTRL+Shift+D, I was then able to take advantage of the default GET and PUT FTP shortcuts that were so familiar to me from working in DreamWeaver. CTRL+Shift+U (PUT File via FTP ), CTRL+Shift+D (GET File via FTP). I live by these shortcuts.

Snippets are a way of life for me in DreamWeaver. Once I create something reusable, it goes in to a snippet folder, and I assign a keyboard shortcut to it. One thing that really sold me on CFEclipse, was the awesome job Mark Drew did on making snippet variable regions. That's too damned cool. For working with HTML, CSS and JavaScript snippets, I've just added the snippets view from Aptana to my CFEclipse perspective and the same with my Aptana view, I added the sniptree view to my Aptana perspective. That way, I can get the best of both worlds. For more customizations, I decided to install JSEclipse for my JavaScript work. JSEclipse is also really nice.

So, it may still take me a bit to get used to Eclipse, but I'm going to do my damndest to make it my primary IDE.

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Edward J. Beckett is a passionate software engineer, web developer, server administrator and polyglot programmer with nearly a decade experience building desktop and web applications ranging from simple personal web sites to enterprise level applications on many technology stacks including Java, Java EE, Spring, Spring MVC, Spring Data, Hibernate, SQL, JPA, JMS, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, ColdFusion, PHP, Node.js and more...
  • Michael Evangelista

    Thank you thank you thank you.
    I have been using eclipse since this summer and love it but this is by far my number one top annoyance… i can do almost anything else without reaching for the mouse, but for every single remote transfer i have had to click a tiny icon in an inconvenient location over and over and over… until now!

  • Edward Beckett

    @Michael …

    Your very welcome … I love coding in CFEclipse, but just as you … I try not to move away from the active page until I’ve completed a task … putting files is something that I consider an acceptable stopping point.

    I’m kinda’ forgetful, and when I’m developing, I tend to get distracted quite easily, so if I move away from a page without putting the file on the server … there’s a good chance I might not put the file until my memory returns … and that could be a while … 😉

  • Michael Evangelista

    I also just discovered that ctrl + alt + m has the same function assigned, even though it isn’t in my "keys" preferences … must be another default.

  • Craig Kaminsky

    I was wondering how you updated your key bindings for Aptana to enable the upload/download functions with FTP. I’ve tried several times but never got it to work (going to preferences->general->keys).

    Much continued luck with Eclipse. It’s a great IDE (I love having everything under one program)!


  • Edward Beckett

    Craig … In Eclipse … go to Window > Preferences and drill down the General tab. Then go to Keys and click the binding field … that way you can easily locate all of the bindings for CTRL+U and CTRL+D … Remove all of the bindings. (I had two binding conflicts for these shortcuts). Once you remove the bindings, the Aptana defaults should be working for upload via FTP / download via FTP. If you need assistance, go in to Aptana’s help menu in Eclipse and search for shortcuts. That’s how I determined my course of action.

    HTH …