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CFDJ: Article

CFEclipse: The Developer's IDE, Eclipse For ColdFusion

CFEclipse (CFE) is a plug-in developed to integrate into the open platform created by the Eclipse Foundation


Installation of CFE requires that you first download some version of Eclipse. The Eclipse download page can be a confusing place, so we'll try to demystify it a little.

Releases and Builds
A release is a version of Eclipse that the Eclipse Foundation deems stable and suitable for production use. A build can come in a variety of flavors such as stream, integration, or nightly. Details on what each of those mean can be found at If you are unsure about which version to download, download the latest release.

Once you've decided which version of Eclipse you want, you may be presented with a rather long list of things that you can download. Depending on which download mirror you are using, this list will vary in length, but you should always have an option to download at least the Eclipse SDK. CFE will work with either the Eclipse SDK or the Platform Runtime Binary. The SDK includes support for Java projects and a number of other things, while the Platform Runtime Binary provides a minimal set of base functionality. If you don't intend to do any Java development, the Platform Runtime Binary is probably the best option as you can download the rest of the tools that come with the SDK download separately. At the time of this writing, the latest release is 3.01 so the rest of this article will be working on the assumption that you have downloaded the Platform Runtime Binary for that version. You can download the necessary files at

Once you have downloaded the appropriate version of Eclipse, you can extract it to any location on your hard drive. Once it is extracted you can run Eclipse by navigating to the folder you extracted it to and double-clicking on the Eclipse executable. The file extension of the executable depends on which operating system you are using, but it should be the only file called eclipse in that directory.

When Eclipse starts up for the first time, you will be asked to specify a location for the workspace. The workspace is what Eclipse uses in the same way as a lot of Windows applications use the user profile directory. That is, it is where a lot of the configuration and metadata about your plug-ins will be stored. It may also be where you keep your project files, but that is certainly not a requirement and probably not recommended. If in doubt, accept the default location for the workspace. You will probably also want to tick the check box telling Eclipse to always use that location. If you do, you can change that setting at any time by going to: Window > Preferences > Workbench > Startup and Shutdown.

Once you have specified the workspace location you should be presented with the welcome screen. It's probably a good idea to explore the information provided in this page as once you start using Eclipse, you will probably forget about learning the bigger picture and want to answer specific questions. It will help you enormously in the long run if you invest the time up front as many of the concepts in Eclipse are quite different from other IDEs and editors.

Once you're satisfied that you know enough to begin, you'll probably want to download CFEclipse. Eclipse has a very convenient mechanism for doing this called update sites. Plug-in authors can create a site that has a particular structure and set of files that Eclipse can use to determine if it has the most up-to-date version of that plug-in. You can configure Eclipse to download and install a plug-in from one of these sites by going to: Help > Software Updates > Find and Install.

On the dialog box that appears, check the radio button labeled "Search for new features to install," then click Next.

On the next screen, click the button labeled "New Remote Site". In the dialog box that appears, type CFEclipse or something similar for the name, and as the URL, then click OK to close the dialog.

Check the check box beside the CFEclipse update site you just added and click Next. You should be presented with a list of CFEclipse releases. You only need to check the check box beside the most recent release and click Next.

You should be presented with the CFEclipse license agreement, which you'll probably agree to, and then click Next.

Eclipse now has enough information to install the CFEclipse plug-in, so click the finish button.

During the install you may be presented with a warning that you are installing an unsigned Feature. This is normal, and as long as you trust us, you can continue and install the feature anyhow.

Once the installation completes you should be prompted to restart Eclipse. We recommend that you do restart because otherwise some features such as preference pages may not appear correctly.

If you managed to follow all the steps above and have restarted Eclipse, you should be ready to start using CFEclipse.

More Stories By Simeon Bateman

Simeon Bateman is director of development for Business Transitions LLC of Portland, OR. Simeon is a Certified Macromedia Coldfusion developer and has been utilizing Macromedia Coldfusion daily for the last 5 years.

More Stories By Stephen (Spike) Milligan

Spike has been working with ColdFusion since 1998, and has worked on some of the largest ColdFusion projects in Europe and Australasia. He is a Macromedia Certified Instructor and member of Team Macromedia for ColdFusion. Originally from Ireland, he has lived and worked in many countries in Europe and traveled the globe in search of new and interesting challenges. He moved to the Pacific Northwest in December 2003, and is currently the lead developer for the CFEclipse project.

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Most Recent Comments
MXDJ News Desk 08/03/05 10:07:19 AM EDT

CFEclipse: The Developer's IDE, Eclipse For ColdFusion. Many paths lead developers to ColdFusion. In the past ColdFusion was often viewed as an entry-level language enabling designers and other nonprogrammers to build dynamic sites. Since the release of CFMX it has become more recognized among developers familiar with languages such as Java and PHP.

Enterprise Open Source Magazine 08/03/05 08:44:57 AM EDT

CFEclipse: The Developer's IDE, Eclipse For ColdFusion. Many paths lead developers to ColdFusion. In the past ColdFusion was often viewed as an entry-level language enabling designers and other nonprogrammers to build dynamic sites. Since the release of CFMX it has become more recognized among developers familiar with languages such as Java and PHP.

cf 02/23/05 05:09:29 AM EST

gREAT ARTICLE. thank you