Understanding the Integration of ColdFusion and Dreamweaver - dummies

Understanding the Integration of ColdFusion and Dreamweaver

By Damon Dean, Andy Cowitt, Ellen Finkelstein, Doug Sahlin, Camille McCue

Before the MX version, Dreamweaver was largely geared toward the basics of HTML editing, such as creating and editing tables, graphics placement, text editing, and some basic site management tools. With the integration of ColdFusion, Dreamweaver became more robust, with a host of features that could make your site more dynamic.

Before Dreamweaver MX arrived, ColdFusion consisted of three components:

  • A Web-based application server that read HTML and ColdFusion code and generated HTML for a browser to view.
  • A scripting language that enabled users to perform a number of dynamic functions, such as querying databases and personalizing Web pages based on user input.
  • A stand-alone development tool (ColdFusion Studio) that was used to create ColdFusion code and manage some parts of the application server.

In the previous version of Dreamweaver, ColdFusion Studio was simply integrated into the Dreamweaver interface. This resulted in a single product that incorporates both the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface that Dreamweaver users are accustomed to and the more developer-friendly ColdFusion Studio code environment. The other elements of ColdFusion remained largely the same.

In Dreamweaver, you can find ColdFusion features in the following areas:

  • Code view: Select Code view by choosing View –> Code. This is the development view that was traditionally associated with ColdFusion Studio.
  • Insert bar: If you’ve used the previous version of Dreamweaver, you’ll notice a major interface change in the Insert function in Dreamweaver MX 2004. In the previous version, there was an Insert panel that utilized tabs to jump from section to section. In Dreamweaver MX 2004, when you click the name at the far left on the Insert bar, a listing of all the available sections (what Macromedia calls “categories”) pops up. Scroll up or down and select a name to see the buttons in that category of the Insert bar. You find ColdFusion-specific functions in the Common, CFML, and Application categories.
  • Application panel: To bring up the Application panel, choose Window, and then any of the following: Database, Bindings, Server Behaviors, or Components. This brings up the Application panel with the appropriate tab selected. Within the Application panel, you can configure databases, set up links to your remote site, and create ColdFusion components.
  • Code panel: The Code panel, not to be confused with Code view, provides some valuable reference information about your code. You can bring up the panel by choosing either Snippets or Reference from the Window menu:
  • Snippets tab: With the Snippets tab, you can create reusable chunks (snippets) of code.
  • Reference tab: The Reference tab gives you access to O’Reilly’s reference guides to HTML, Javascript, and more, as well as guides to ColdFusion, ASP, and JSP.

In previous versions of Dreamweaver, Code view also included a Tag Inspector, which reviewed the quality of your HTML code. That function is still there, though in Dreamweaver MX 2004, this feature has been given its own floating panel. You can still get to it by selecting Window –> Code Inspector.