On Dreamweaver CC And ColdFusion

The release of Dreamweaver CC brought some important enhancements to the product, along with a renewed focus on client-side development and technologies. To support that focus the Dreamweaver team made a decision to deemphasize other areas of functionality. And among the removed features is some of Dreamweaver's ColdFusion support. This has upset many in the ColdFusion community, and understandably so. But, as usually happens, facts and realities get misconstrued amidst the angst and hand-wringing. And so this is a chance to try to set the record straight.

It is true, the Dreamweaver team has significantly reduced support for ASP/ASP.NET, JSP, and CF. That was a business decision. Every product team has to do what they think is in the best interests of their product. The ColdFusion team has to do what they think is best for the ColdFusion business, and that includes a CF10, a planned CF11, an upcoming conference, and, yes, ColdFusion Builder. Likewise, the Dreamweaver team has to focus on what's important for them and their numbers, and their client-side focus makes sense to them (and, actually, to me, too). Would I like Dreamweaver to do it all? Sure, but that's not practical, and so they made the trade-offs and decisions that every Product Manager has to make. And personally, I like the Dreamweaver focus; it's long overdue. Do you know that DW6 still had dialog boxes with Netscape Navigator icons in it? Seriously, Dreamweaver was suffering from ongoing feature addition while nothing was ever deprecated or removed. As I said, this was overdue.

And so, yes, Dreamweaver now has less ColdFusion support. But, to be brutally honest, I had given up on Dreamweaver support for ColdFusion a long time ago because Dreamweaver has never been a true ColdFusion IDE. Even back in Allaire days when I worked with the then Macromedia Dreamweaver team to add ColdFusion support, the support was minimal at best. There was one release (MX maybe?) that added some decent CFC support, but honestly, there has been no real Dreamweaver support for ColdFusion since then, just more of the same. And over the years that has frustrated me far more than Dreamweaver CC reducing ColdFusion support does. And so, recognizing Dreamweaver for what it was, the ColdFusion team opted to build ColdFusion Builder, and that's where they are putting their efforts. I understand that many don't like ColdFusion Builder, I'm not a major Eclipse fan myself, but ColdFusion Builder is a far better CFML IDE than Dreamweaver ever was, and so that's the focus going forward. And there are other alternatives, too. In fact, even Brackets now has a work-in-progress community based CFML extension.

Now, just so I am very clear. I use Dreamweaver extensively for what it does best, client-side work. I recently worked on a project which made extensive use of jQuery and jQuery UI, and Dreamweaver worked perfectly and intelligently and usefully. But I've not used Dreamweaver for CFML for years, and for those of you who are still using Dreamweaver for CFML development, I'd take this latest change as a long overdue nudge to find a better IDE. I know it'll take effort, but you'll really be better off for having done so.

That said, you actually can use Dreamweaver CC for CFML development. Here are the facts:

  • First, what does work? Syntax color coding works as it always did. Edit a tag and you'll still get popup attribute help as you always did. Shortcuts like Ctrl-Spacebar still bring up the complete list of CFML functions, no change there. ColdFusion specific menu selections, like the one to wrap text within CFML style comments, still work. In fact, ColdFusion appears on the Insert menu to give you access to CFML tags (although, it appears that not all of the selections work properly).
  • Ok, so what is missing? ColdFusion specific panels and tabs are gone, including the ones for CFC generation and for WSDL introspection. Also, the File, Open dialog defaults to displaying only HTML pages, which makes opening .CFM files a pain.
  • Anything else? Yep, the big issue is that the DW team broke the OS .CFM file association, making opening .CFM files irritating. It is still possible to open .CFM files from within DW directly (the already noted limitation notwithstanding). That said, the DW team has published this doc to explain how to fix this oversight.

So, bottom line, chicken-little overreactions aside, it is indeed true that the Dreamweaver team has opted to deemphasize server-side development, and that includes diminished ColdFusion support. But that does not mean that Dreamweaver CC cannot be used for CFML development, it can, albeit not as cleanly and with some changes. The most important support, the language awareness within the editor, remains as is.

As for what comes next, I'll say it one more time. Dreamweaver has had CFML support, but it was never a CFML IDE. Feel free to continue to use it, but also look at ColdFusion Builder and 3rd party tools, too.

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Comments (30)

  • Orhan Can

    Since Mx years, integration of CFM to Adobe, didnt worked, or CEOs or somebody elses always behaved like stepchild to it.(Fireworks also same faith)
    We were always worried about(developer guys) it. Whatever youre gonna sign/unsign with that CC company please do it. God makes them CC in the future, i wish.
    Were gonna stay with ColdFusion/ApacheDerby, even UltraDev4 is good enough...

    #1Posted by Orhan Can | Jul 1, 2013, 01:39 PM
  • Joseph Potthast

    Good points all together and very well laid out. If only something well laid out and explanatory could have been the first notice of these changes I would hope this public outrage could have been avoided.

    Personally it' makes sense I stopped using DW long time ago since it was a good html editor but CF always seemed clunky once I actually learned enough CF to be able to do it on my own.

    #2Posted by Joseph Potthast | Jul 1, 2013, 02:07 PM
  • Todd

    One thing tho, is the callous disregard Adobe shows for independent consultants/contractors who have to now buy yet more things from Adobe just to do our work. Every version of CS removes another product from the suite. In consecutive releases, Contribute and Soundbooth, which requires the purchase of one more thing. (E.G. while I don't need Contribute for myself, my clients use it so I need to make sure what I develop in Dreamweaver actually works in Contribute and so that I can answer their questions.) Luckily, Audacity is a decent replacement for Soundbooth.

    But now, I have to buy CFB just to continue on. Why isn't it an option in CS? Give me the option to toss Flash and add CFB.

    Adobe has said "our customers are not cost sensitive." I beg to differ.

    #3Posted by Todd | Jul 1, 2013, 02:23 PM
  • Michael Dawson

    All along, I thought there was too much server-side support, for any language, in DW. It complicated the UI and menu system. I'm pleased to see it focusing more on the client-side development.

    I recently migrated from DW CS5 to Sublime Text 2 (ST2) and the associated ColdFusion package. Although I only used DW as a code editor, not WYSIWYG, it was still kind of a culture shock to convert to ST2. However, after a few weeks, I'm just as proficient, if not more, than I was after years of using DW.

    #4Posted by Michael Dawson | Jul 1, 2013, 02:33 PM
  • Ben Forta

    Actually Todd, there is a free edition of ColdFusion Builder, so no, Adobe is not forcing you to buy anything else.

    --- Ben

    #5Posted by Ben Forta | Jul 1, 2013, 02:58 PM
  • Tim

    Ben, if CFB really is free, or has this free edition, why does it nag me daily to buy it?

    I was really hoping for a way to confirm I want the "Free Edition" and stop getting nagged about the fact it is purchased, rather than feel like it's nothing more than a crippled trial. (Which it is, but I don't like being reminded of it.) Every time I see the nag screen I'm reminded I wanted to migrate away from it, and the more I think that, the less I'm letting my self become dependent on it.. and the less dependent I am, the less likely I would ever break down and actually purchase it. I would bet there way of doing a "Free Edition" is losing them many more sales than if they just gave us the stripped down features, with an upgrade option in the menu.

    #6Posted by Tim | Jul 1, 2013, 03:26 PM
  • Ben Forta

    ColdFusion Builder will indeed nag you while in trial mode, and then after that it will revert to free Express edition. From the FAQ: "Once the trial is over, the IDE will revert to ColdFusion Express, a basic ColdFusion code editor."

    --- Ben

    #7Posted by Ben Forta | Jul 1, 2013, 03:58 PM
  • Scott Sledgister

    Removing ColdFusion support was about the dumbest thing Adobe could have done. By doing so they have signaled the death of CF. I mean it must be dead Dreamweaver no longer supports it. That will become the common takeaway from this change. I hate ColdFusion Builder and used Dreamweaver as my preferred CF IDE. Someone at Adobe needs to be fired over this and a service pack released asap to return CF support to Dreamweaver. Dumbest move I've heard of period. I guess its time to cancel my CC account because Adobe broke their promise to support ColdFusion which was the only reason I upgraded from CS5.5.

    #8Posted by Scott Sledgister | Jul 1, 2013, 04:15 PM
  • Mark Gregory

    I would think that a company like Adobe wouldn't be silo-ing teams away from each other, but encouraging them to blend in to a more coherent whole. Having each team do what they think is best for their own product is surprising and a little disturbing.

    However, I think I have known maybe 2 devs in the last several years that used Dreamweaver, and frankly, at least one of them was a truly terrible programmer.

    All things weighed, I see this as a non-issue.

    #9Posted by Mark Gregory | Jul 1, 2013, 08:13 PM
  • Andrew Scott

    One of the things that amazes me, is that Adobe could very easily have migrated Dreamweaver to an Eclipse plugin.

    This would mean that those using Builder get a decent HTML Editor and Designer and those who use Dreamweaver get a decent CFML Editor and set of tools that really extend their development and productivity experience.

    Just a thought for the Dreamweaver Team to think about.

  • Richard McKenna

    Having used Dreamweaver for many years before switching to CF Builder for ColdFusion development I understand the need to refocus the application however I do question some of Adobe's decisions of late. You mention in your post about the Dreamweaver team reducing sever side features and focusing on front end development. Last I checked PHP was for server side development yet it seems to be getting more features in each release. The part I don't understand is ColdFusion is Adobes equivalent server side language but always seems to get put to one side when it comes to integration with Adobes other products. As a totally random comparison it's like Illustrator working better with GIMP than with Photoshop.

    I don't use the Express Edition of CF Builder but to me it seems like an infinite trial rather than a free Express Edition (see Microsofts Express editions for a better example).

    While slightly off the subject of your post I feel the opposite is happening with Photoshop. Instead of focussing on photo editing it's turning somewhat into an application for designing websites despite the lack of real tools for the job. Instead of trying to have one application to fit all, do the same with Photoshop as Dreamweaver and focus on one feature set. This brings me to the decision on discontinuing Fireworks. I've had a rant about this elsewhere so wont here, but my point was Photoshop isn't a replacement for Fireworks.

    As for the whole Creative Cloud debate, I understand it was a business decision and keeps a constant cash flow going but some more subscription options would be much appreciated. At the moment it's a 1, all or nothing situation. I need more than one application but I sure don't need all of them. I would basically have to subscribe to a lifetime of £46.88 ($71.36) per month payments in order to access my files. Which is a huge financial commitment. I feel a subscription somewhere in between 1 and all would be a much better solution for many, £30 for 3-4 applications for instance.

    Apologies if this has turned into a bit of a rant.

    #11Posted by Richard McKenna | Jul 2, 2013, 07:03 AM
  • Mark Fuqua

    I am trying to like Creative Cloud. I have been a subscriber for 14 months. Just kicked over to $49/month. However, I am a Macromedia transplant…the two products I use are Dreamweaver (and I use it for Coldfusion) and Fireworks. I am certainly not going to download the CC versions of any products and will probably revert to the CS3 products I own perpetual licences for.

    I really wish Adobe had never acquired Macromedia or when they decided to kill all the Macromedia products…Flash, Flex, Fireworks, Freehand, Dreamweaver…they had spun them out into a competing division/product line/company.

    As a Flex and ColdFusion programer, I will probably follow Adobe’s lead/push down the HTML5 path…but I'm thinking I'll do it with someone else’s products.

  • Peter Tilbrook

    Can we get a workspace with everything on the left like DWCS6?

    Why they removed that is beyond me and makes it harder to use after being on the left for YEARS.

  • MCG

    not to beat a dead horse, but if adobe is not dropping CF, what do they categorize it as? from their home page under products they list creative cloud. Create cloud is listed as a suite of products for Creatives and Also lists Web Development as being part of that suite. - OK fine, so CF does not belong under web development. I would disagree with that but will accept it. But under the Adobe product list where can I find CF Builder?

    You have to go to all products and search for it in a the alphabetical list. - So the only people that will ever find this are the people that are specifically looking for it. - They are not looking to grow it.

    We have been a CF house since allaire. but this move has scared me into learning and using PHP for our last 6 projects. I still prefer CF, but our new customers no longer know what it is, and when they look it up all they can find is articles talking about how it is dead.

    If adobe does not get behind it with some marketing it will go the way of the Dodo.

    #14Posted by MCG | Jul 2, 2013, 10:00 PM
  • Large Client

    I use Dreamweaver for CF development pretty much exclusively. The same gripes the CF team has about DW and server side programming I have with CF Builder and client side coding. People don't want to have to have the same file sets open in two different apps. I find DW less lacking in server side, than CFB lacks in client side, thus I use DW. I was happy for creative cloud, but its definitely blowing smoke. Not a good start of trust for Creative Cloud.

    I mean a tab and file association is the only thing between happy customers and Adobe is opting to not comply? Maybe a business decision, but a poor one.

    #15Posted by Large Client | Jul 3, 2013, 02:38 AM
  • TomasF

    Adobe really did this to themselves. They could have saved themselves so much damage control by making this (pretty significant) change very clear before product launch (yeah, I know... it's not much fun for Marketing, but then again look where it landed you).

    Also, you could have ramped up your CFB migration guides for DW CFML users. I don't know how many times I've downloaded the CFB trial (and not once realized it was also a free version either), tried to learn it. Tried to set it up against my remote dev server. Become frustrated and disillusioned. Moved back to DW. Rinse. Repeat.

    I figure part of my problem is that I don't have a local development environment on the workstation running CFB. I see in the comment section on Ray's blog and elsewhere that people like me who don't run a local server are "holding it wrong". We shouldn't use remote servers to develop against. It's not efficient, secure, all sorts of things.

    Well, it worked just fine from DW for years, so it's obviously doable, and I do maybe 3 CF projects a year, I don't want a sh*tload of web servers, db servers, and java servers dragging my system performance down (yes, even with the services stopped there's a bucketload of extra stuff loaded to run that) 24/7 for the rest of the year.

    Telling people they sometimes need to get their head out of the sand and reevaluate how they work is fine. Telling them that installing an entire dev environment on their local system because that's the only way to do this work is not. Not only does it not deal with the fact that people work differently and have different needs, but speaking as my main role as an enterprise server administrator, it's not even particularly good advice from most viewpoints other than trying to make Eclipse a viable development IDE. And tbh, that'll take even more tall stories...

    #16Posted by TomasF | Jul 3, 2013, 07:14 PM
  • John Farrar

    I wonder if the Brackets extension works for all Code Mirror based solutions.

    #17Posted by John Farrar | Jul 11, 2013, 09:40 AM
  • Ali

    I use CFB at home and work. After the trial ended, it still nags me about entering a paid license.

    Apparently it's supposed to switch to an Express version, however it's been over a year, and I still have to deal with the nagging pop-up.

    #18Posted by Ali | Jul 23, 2013, 07:47 PM
  • Bill Downs

    I am in the process of reinstalling DW CS6 - I just can't help it. I've tried Brackets and Coda 2 ( both have support for CF tags ) but they just don't seem very convenient. Brackets doesn't support FTP yet and I can't seem to have it sort files by date. It's those little frustrations that are building up and costing me time. Since when is fragmentation of a work flow considered a positive?

    This all seems just so damned silly and I can't believe that in this day and age that I'm having a compatibility issue with between Adobe products. The analogy of GIMP working better with Illustrator then Photoshop does is a good one.

    I don't understand the push to try CF Builder? I'm sure it's fine if you live in CF all day but I bounce around between the server-side AND the client-side. I'm positive I'm not the only one. Maybe CFB 3 will be a fantastic bridge between front-end and back-end development but I don't think Adobe is thinking like that. Still, I can hope.

    I'm not threatening giving up CC altogether ( I have AE and PS open right now and I love them) as that's just silly. I just need a good alternative and I'll never open DW again. As of now I don't have one so I'm annoyed that my cheese was eaten rather then just moved.

    Finally, business decision or not - PHP is still in DW while CF is not. Even Chicken Little gets it right sometimes.

    #19Posted by Bill Downs | Jul 30, 2013, 04:47 PM
  • Mark Fuqua

    @Bill Downs

    I am close to going back to DW CS3. It is the latest perpetual licence I own. I have been using Creative Cloud for well over a year now (several months past the introductory price). I use three Adobe products...Dreamweaver, for ColdFusion development, Fireworks and Flash Builder for Flex development. Dreamweaver (at least how I use it) and Fireworks are being discontinued and Flash [anything] is now very tentative to say the least. Adobe seems to loathe even uttering the word Flash these days.

    I'm really quite sad. I was a Macromedia guy...I am very sorry to see Adobe, especially now, jettisoning all Macromedia related products.

    Dreamweaver, especially as it relates to ColdFusion, and Fireworks really haven't changed that much in the last few release cycles...

    It's been a fun ride, I'll miss Adobe/Macromedia.

  • rick

    Really? Toeing the Adobe line on this one are we? I don't know any CF developers that are happy with CC removing CF support. It's simply Adobe's way of forcing developers to purchase another tool. I'm already paying a monthly ransom so I can use CC. Now I have to purchase another product for an over-inflated price? Nope. Time to switch to PHP.

    #21Posted by rick | Aug 19, 2013, 11:52 PM
  • Tim

    @Rick, don't jump to PHP too quickly, CFML is still a great language, maybe it's just time to give Railo a spin.

    #22Posted by Tim | Aug 20, 2013, 08:50 AM
  • Dani

    Is there anyway to get .cfm files added to the "related files" filter?
    I keep getting the "cannot apply a filter that will result in no related files" message.
    Thank you!

    #23Posted by Dani | Jan 22, 2014, 10:38 AM
  • idzyns

    I finally gave up on DW cc. Tried brackets, but it is still to early (it does have some great features so far though). Moved to sublime. It works well enough. - now if I can just find an alternative to Photoshop I will drop my adobe monthly fee altogether.

    #24Posted by idzyns | Jan 22, 2014, 10:45 AM
  • Rick

    Please - can you toe the Adobe line any straighter? This is a total crock and a way of forcing developers to waste even more money on half-baked products. The Cold Fusion Builder has always been terrible and overpriced.

    #25Posted by Rick | Jan 26, 2014, 12:21 AM
  • Andrew Scott

    Rick, Not to mention that no bugs have been fixed for 2 years, or any form of update at all for CFB. Most of the bugs introduced in CFB V2.0 used to work in CFB V1.0 and low and behold Adobe want us to fork out more money for the next version instead CFB V3.0, not sure what world they think this business model will continue to work for them...

    Especially since there are some serious open source competitors too all their products.....

  • AnnyIngram

    I was really hoping for a way to confirm I want the "Free Edition" and stop getting nagged about the fact it is purchased, rather than feel like it's nothing more than a crippled trial.

  • dantheman

    What a load of spin.
    PHP development is fine its just ColdFusion they dropped.
    Classic Adobe they bought Macromedia to get web funky but its
    Photoshop, Premiere etc get all the love.
    A Macromedia product at Adobe is like a new ensign on the bridge of the USS Enterprise ...

    #28Posted by dantheman | Mar 18, 2014, 05:06 AM
  • Dawesi

    "chicken-little overreactions"

    wow... you've sold out to the Adobe machine... Forta was once a champion, now a disgrace. The only chicken little is your pathetic attempt to put your nose between your bosses buttocks.

    Time for a reality check, or a change of job perhaps.

    You were once a great advocate for something.

    #29Posted by Dawesi | Apr 8, 2014, 07:19 AM
  • Steve Sommers

    Ben, I usually agree fully with your posts but this one kind of baffles me. I understand that Eclipse is probably a better CF editor since Adobe appears to be distancing itself farther and farther from CF -- at least all departments other than the CF department. But you also mention that Dreamweaver is great for client side project using jQuery and other client side libraries/technologies and you give an example. What if your project involves both CF and client side -- which I would have thought most do? I'm assuming you are recommending the use of two editors. That seems counter productive to me.

    I'm disappointed that Adobe departments/teams act as individual and sometimes opposing companies. As passionate as I am about CF, I'm finding it harder and harder to justify sticking with a technology that its own vendor does not appear to fully support. Our company just upgraded everyone to Dreamweaver CC 2014.0 – as this was STRONGLY pushed by Adobe. My IT department was the first line to hear the “where’s my CF support” complaints as Eclyplse is not currently an approved product at my company. We are rushing through an emergency vetting of the product and now the “why stick with CF” argument has been sparked again due to Adobe’s internal disconnects.

    (sorry, just venting – I know you have connections)