Sunday, September 30, 2007

Getting Started - Part II (Installing Eclipse / CFEclipse)

So I finally installed Eclipse. In the end I was triumphant, but the install was a little rocky. First I want to stress that most of this was not due to a lack of solid documentation on the Eclipse site. In my zeal to get started, I overlooked a few things. As I believe we learn as much from failures as we do successes, I decided to share the whole gory tale, warts and all.

First I visited the Eclipse download page and was surprised to find several versions of Eclipse available. I reviewed the comparison of the available packages and decided to install the Eclipse IDE for Java Developers.

I knew a Java runtime environment (JRE) was required to use Eclipse. But fortunately I had already installed a version a while back for another application. Armed with that knowledge, I was ready to begin installing.

I downloaded Eclipse and extracted the files to c:\eclipse. Then I double clicked c:\eclipse\eclipse.exe to launch the application and voila, the splash screen appeared. Eclipse prompted me to select a workspace. Since I prefer not to have my files strewn over multiple directories, I created my workspace in c:\eclipse\workspace.

After clicking OK, Eclipse launched the welcome screen. I opened the workbench and all seemed well, so I moved on to the next step: installing the CFEclipse plugin. I installed the CFEclipse plugin using the instructions for the built-in installation and update tools

1. Select the "Help->Software Updates->Find and install" menu option
2. On the screen that is displayed, select 'Search for new features to install' and click the 'Next' button
3. Now click the 'New Remote Site' button
4. Enter a name for the update site, for example "CFEclipse". In the URL box, enter "" and click the OK button
5. You should now have a 'CFEclipse' node in the 'Sites to include in search' box.
6. Tick the 'Stable CFEclipse' box and click 'Next'
7. Eclipse will contact the CFEclipse site and retrieve the list of available plugins. Tick the plugin with the highest version number and click 'Next'
8. The next instructions are self-explanatory, agree to the license, install the software and restart Eclipse
Once Eclipse has restarted CFEclipse should have been successfully installed

During the installation, I did note there was no 'Stable CFEclipse' option in my version. So I just accepted all of the defaults and followed the rest of instructions. The version I installed was CFEclipse, which includes CFUnit and Frameworks

After the install was complete, I went to open the CFEclipse perspective so I could create my first CF project.

  • Window -> Open Perspective -> Other -> CFEclipse [OK]

That is when I hit my first snag. Instead of opening the perspective, I received the error "Problems opening perspective 'org.cfeclipse.cfml.perspective.CFML'".

Huh.. what is wrong with my perspective? Having no clue what the error meant, I did some googling and discovered there is an issue with involving Eclipse and JRE 1.4.2. The suggested solution was to install either JRE 1.5 (or 1.6). Now I was relatively certain I did not have 1.5 or higher installed. But that did not concern when I first read the Eclipse requirements because they stated 1.5 was recommended not required. Well, I guess I took a gamble and lost. I checked my JRE version and I confirmed that I was indeed using JRE 1.4.2

  • Window -> Preferences -> Java -> Installed JREs

Off I went to to download a newer JRE. I chose the more recent version JRE 1.6. 0_02. Though confusingly it was referred to as Version 6 Update 2. After installing it, I went back into Eclipse to add 1.6. 0_02 to my list of Installed JREs.

I clicked[Add] then navigated to the directory where I had installed JRE 1.6. In my case it was D:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_02 but yours may differ.

I clicked [OK] and back in the main window I checked the box next to JRE 1.6.0_02 and clicked [OK] again. Almost done, I thought to myself. Feeling triumphant I went to open the CFEclipse perspective. But to my surprise I received the same darn error!

Then I realized the Eclipse was probably still loading with the old JRE, since I had not uninstalled it. With a little help from I discovered I could specify which JRE Eclipse should use in the eclipse.ini file. So I made a backup of c:\eclipse\eclipse.ini, then opened the original with notepad and added the "vm" parameter. Once I saved the eclipse.ini file and re-started Eclipsed, presto! The CFEclipse perspective opened like magic.

  -vm d:/program files/java/jre1.6.0_02/bin/javaw.exe -showsplash org.eclipse.platform --launcher.XXMaxPermSize 128M -vmargs-Xms40m -Xmx256m

Well, that is enough for now. Hope this helped someone or at least provided some entertainment ;) For those of you that prefer a less rocky path, there are some excellent screen casts on the Eclipse site, under "Tutorials and Help"

Installing and Using the Eclipse IDE for Java Developers
Adding Features from the Europa Discovery Site
Test First Development using Eclipse

As always, suggestions, comments, corrections and commiserations are welcome ;)

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Getting Started - Part I (Choosing my IDE)

Where to begin? So far I've installed the ColdFusion Server (Developer Edition). I won't cover that process here since there are a wealth of good tutorials on the web that describe the installation process. Well.. that and the fact that I performed the installation (several of them) some time ago, so its not as fresh in my mind ;) My next step is to choose an IDE.

For development, I decided to use Eclipse with the CFEclipse plugin. I have nothing against Dreamweaver, but decided against using it as my IDE for several reasons.

As I understand it, Dreamweaver is offered under a 30-day trial license. I wanted the flexibility of learning an IDE at my own pace. So in the event that I'm unable to fully explore the application within that time period, I would not have to switch IDE's mid-stream. I also intend to delve into java and explore how I can incorporate it into my ColdFusion code. So overall it seemed like Eclipse would be better suited to my development needs.

Truthfully I do not have much experience with open source software. So the thought of using Eclipse is both exciting and a bit daunting. But time to dive in an see what all the fuss is about.

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My first blog entry!

I finally decided to take the plunge and set up my first blog tonight. Never having done it before, I was pleased with how quick the setup was. I had it up and running in seconds. Wish I could say the same for my first experience with Ant tasks, but more about that later .. ;)

I will be blogging about my experiences as I learn more about ColdFusion, frameworks and some of the development tools available like eclipse and the various CF plugins. Now that I've finally created a blog, I can't wait to get started.

I hope you enjoy the journey!

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