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Getting into HomeSite+

Getting into HomeSite+

Fans of ColdFusion Studio may lament that Macromedia no longer sells the product, but take heart. It really does continue to exist in the guise of HomeSite+, which is basically the same thing and then some. What's more - if you own Dreamweaver MX, you can install HomeSite+ free. Have you checked it out?

Whether you're a current Studio user who's happy where you are or wish you could simply add CFMX tag support to Studio 4.5 or 5 (you can), or someone who looked into HomeSite+ and found it disappointing (which may no longer be the case), this article is for you.

And if you or your organization moved to Dreamweaver MX and/or Studio MX, you may have thought that you had to give up CF Studio. Many folks don't even realize they can install HomeSite+ free if they have Dreamweaver MX.

Yes, I know there are some beefs with HomeSite+ compared with Studio, and those have been addressed in an updater (yes, an updater for HomeSite+). Indeed, the updater fixes many bugs that have long challenged CF Studio, so in essence this updater can be considered an update to CF Studio. Who said Macromedia left us CF Studio users high and dry? (The updater works for HomeSite+, though not CF Studio.)

The cost of upgrading from Studio 4.5/5 to Dreamweaver MX (and HomeSite+) is very reasonable. If you're still using CF Studio 4.5, installing HomeSite+ is an easy way to get an instant upgrade to (and over) CF Studio 5.

In this article, I'd like to introduce you to HomeSite+, tell you how to get it and also how to get the updater, and how to update CF Studio 4.5/5 for CFMX tag support.

(From now on, when I refer to "Studio" I'll mean ColdFusion Studio, not Studio MX, which is the packaging of Dreamweaver MX, Flash MX, Fireworks MX, Freehand MX, and CFMX Developer Edition.)

This isn't an introduction to the various features of HomeSite+ (and Studio), just an explanation of getting into it, especially for current users of CF Studio. If you're new to Studio/HomeSite, I'll point you to some resources here, and introduce more about it in a future article (such as RDS, using Development Mappings to do browsing and debugging, and more).

I've been a big fan of Studio for many years (and of HomeSite+ since it came out with Dreamweaver MX). I frequently share all these points and more with folks in my blog (cfmxplus.blogspot.com) and my user group presentations, so it seemed that an article would be a good opportunity to capture all the points about getting into HomeSite+ for Studio users.

By the way, I'm not suggesting that Dreamweaver MX users abandon it in favor of HomeSite+. Indeed, I'll talk about integrating the two. For those Studio users who have been reluctant to get into Dreamweaver MX, I'll note that it really can be made to work in a way that suits Studio users, including solving problems that make it appear to perform very slowly. I've discussed it in a series of blog entries, such as http://cfmxplus.blogspot.com/ 2002_11_10_cfmxplus_archive.html#85665430 and http://cfmxplus.blogspot.com/ 2002_09_22_cfmxplus_archive.html#85498840.

What Is HomeSite+?
There's some debate about how best to characterize HomeSite+. One might assert that it's just Studio 5 with some minor updates applied, renamed due to the conflict with Studio MX. It sure looks like Studio, with just a change in the title bar look (see Figure 1), and for Studio fans that's not such a bad thing. At least it still lives on in this new guise.

Notice that it has the same resource tabs (including the database tab) and the debugger toolbar at the bottom, as well as quickbars at the top right for CF features, and color coding of CF tags as shown in the code example displayed. Indeed, for folks skipping from Studio 4.5, notice that Studio 5 added - and HomeSite+ continues offering - not one but two file tabs (labeled 1 and 2) in the lower left of the resource toolbar. This is great for having a tab for your local and remote files, for instance, or for two projects.

Why then would some consider it to be a step down from Studio 5? Well, about the time Macromedia was preparing to release it, Adobe won a lawsuit that forced some changes to the interface. (See the 5/22/02 Fusion Authority article at www.fusionauthority.com/alert/ index.cfm?alertid=110#special2 for more on the lawsuit). The changes seemed to really turn off some hard-core fans who crave ultimate control over the interface.

As I alluded to above, though, and will discuss in more detail later, there's been an updater since then that addresses this concern. Sadly, it may take time for many of those disappointed early users to give it another chance.

Frankly, I've never seen what the fuss was about, but then again I never felt compelled to customize the Studio interface. And after applying the HomeSite+ updater, this should be even less of an issue anyway.

To me, every CF Studio user who doesn't have Studio 5 should install HomeSite+. And with the updater to HomeSite + 5.2, even Studio 5 users might find it worth the tradeoff for any minor changes in the interface due to the lawsuit. As I'll discuss, Macromedia has also made the upgrade cost quite reasonable.

How to Get HomeSite+?
The important thing is that it's available free to those who own Dreamweaver MX or the fuller Studio MX package. It's actually on your Dreamweaver MX CD. Many don't know it's available because it's not on the install menu that's shown for that CD.

You simply need to browse the CD to find and execute the available "HomeSite+ Installer.exe" in the HomeSite+ directory. It will install just as CF Studio would.

Something to note is that when you install HomeSite+, it will prompt for a serial number. While it doesn't make it clear, I found that it took the Dreamweaver MX serial number.

Of course, it's perfectly acceptable to have HomeSite+ installed alongside Dreamweaver MX. Indeed, the two are even designed to support simultaneous editing of templates. See the TechNote at www.macromedia.com/support/dreamweaver/programs/ migrating_cfs_to_dwmx/migrating_cfs_to_dwmx12.htmlfor details.

Sadly, HomeSite+ is not available as a trial download, nor can you even buy it on its own. It only comes on the Dreamweaver CD. It's worth pointing out, however, that Dreamweaver MX currently sells for only $399, so for less than the previous cost of CF Studio 5, you get both products. An upgrade from Studio 4.5 or 5 to Dreamweaver MX is only $199. If you're a Studio 4.5 user, this combination of updating to HomeSite+ (which brings you all the features of Studio 5) and Dreamweaver MX is a compelling option. Studio 5 users get the addition of Dreamweaver MX plus the benefits of the HomeSite+ updater.

(To avoid confusion, it may be worth noting that you can buy HomeSite 5, but not HomeSite+. HomeSite+ adds the "Studio" features we all know and love to the base HomeSite 5 product, such as the database tab, the integrated debugger, remote development support, and more.) You can find out more about HomeSite+, especially in the context of HomeSite 5 and Dreamweaver MX, at www.macromedia.com/software/homesite/ productinfo/faq/dw_hs_faq.html.

A Little About RDS and Development Mappings
Another facet to be aware of is that on a fresh installation of HomeSite+ (versus an upgrade), it will walk through creation of an RDS connection and Development Mappings.

The good news is that this approach helps ensure that you implement these important configuration options. The bad news is that if you're new to RDS and Development Mappings, or had ignored them in Studio 4/5, you'll possibly find all these prompts quite challenging.

It's a shame, because getting RDS and development mappings set up correctly is very important to making the most out of HomeSite+. The database, deployment, and internal debugging tools rely on RDS while the internal and external browse features (and the debugging tool) rely on proper setting of the Development Mappings.

At least be aware that if you're setting it up to run with CFMX, and you've installed CFMX with the built-in Web server, you'll want to change the port for connecting to CFMX to 8500 (both in the configuration of the RDS server connection and in the Development Mapping where you indicate the URL for browsing your CF templates), as that's the default port that you use to browse pages with the CFMX built-in Web server.

When it requests that you enter a password when setting up an RDS connection, the one it's requesting is that defined in the CF Administrator for RDS security. (If creating an RDS server connection for your own localhost installation of CF, this password is the one you provided for this purpose at the time you installed CF.)

Note that you should not enter a value for "username" in that interface prompt. Just leave it empty. You should only enter a username and password in a rare case: if you're using CF 4 or 5 and your server is configured to use Advanced Security with the "ColdFusion Studio Authentication" feature. In that case you'd enter your own username and password as indicated by how that Advanced Security was configured in the CF Admin. This is not likely as it's a very rarely used, though powerful, feature. See more about this feature in the CF5 manual, "Advanced ColdFusion Administration," Chapter 5, and specifically, http://livedocs.macromedia.com/cf50docs/ Advanced_ColdFusion_Administration/AdvSecurity11.jsp#1099137.

I'll have to defer further discussion of RDS and Development Mappings to another article, but I will point out a couple of resources in the meantime. First, there is a "Using HomeSite+" manual in the Help>Open Help References Window (see Figure 2).

Of course, you won't see that help until you complete the installation. But after completing the installation and setup, see Chapter 2 of that manual, especially the last section about setting up RDS and Development Mappings and the previous sections on configuring the internal and external browsers. And see Chapter 8 about using the database tab. Note that I've expanded these chapters in the help toolbar shown in Figure 2.

Again, I'll include more on that in a future article, but in the meantime I also discuss RDS configuration and some security and other issues in a new User Group presentation I'm offering, called "RDS: from Stress to Success." To see the presentation slides, see www.systemanage.com/presentations. You'll see that I've also offered other talks on working with Studio over the years. Check them out.

Update to HomeSite+ Available
You may have heard that there was an updater for ColdFusion MX (I wrote about it in last month's Journeyman article, "CFMX Updaters 1-2-3," CFDJ, Vol. 5, issue 5 www.sys-con.com/coldfusion/article.cfm?id=600). If you didn't know it, there's also an updater for Dreamweaver MX (www.macromedia.com/support/dreamweaver/ ts/documents/updater.htm).

Many of you will be surprised to learn that there is an updater for HomeSite+ (which updates it from the base 5.1 to a new 5.2 version). It's at www.macromedia.com/cfusion/resourcecenter/ rc_driver.cfm?pageName=hsp%5Fupdater, which is behind a login/registration page just as all MM downloads are now.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the main things it solves is offering more flexibility in customizing the toolbars and resource windows. See the Release Notes at www.macromedia.com/support/homesite/ releasenotes/plus/releasenotes_plus_52.html, which includes a long list of what's been fixed (see my favorite, listed as a fix to bug 28406, which long plagued Studio users using the Extended Find feature).

Adding CFML Reference to the HomeSite+ (and CF Studio) Help Tab
One thing the updater doesn't fix is that HomeSite+ does not by default include the CFMX version of the CFML Reference manual in the Help Reference Tab (Help>Help References Window). This is a curious oversight.

It's worth clarifying that the HomeSite+ "tag help" feature does indeed include help for CFMX tags and functions. If you place the cursor on one and press F1, you are shown help for that tag or function, because HomeSite+ does indeed include tag help, tag editors, tag insight, etc. for CFMX. But if you use the help tab in the resource toolbar to see the available manuals, the CFML reference just isn't there by default (indeed, none of the CF manuals are there).

Macromedia has solved the problem, at least a little. You can go to http://download.macromedia.com/pub/ homesite/updates/cfml_ref.zip and download a zip file that includes the directory needed to provide that CFMX version of the CFML Reference Manual within the help mechanism. Just follow the instructions in the CFMLRef_install.txt file provided in the zip file telling where to install the directory of files within the HomeSite+ installation directory. It also tells you how you can improve the appearance of the manual topics inside the help tab once installed (ordering them by chapter) by editing the booktree.xml file, as explained.

In Figure 2, you can see that I have the CFML reference manual installed. Sadly, the fix only offers the CFML reference, not the other manuals in the CFMX documentation set. Check out http://livedocs.macromedia.com for an online set of the docs, or if you installed CFMX on your workstation, the docs are optionally installed with CFMX.

And here's great news for Studio 4.5/5 users: while the instructions apply to HomeSite+, the great news is that they're equally applicable to previous releases of HomeSite and Studio. Yep, you can add the CFMX Reference Manual to the Studio 4.5 or 5 help tab (Help>Open Help References Window).

Indeed, on a related but different matter, I'll point out that for both HomeSite+ and CF Studio, you can add other references (SQL, JavaScript, and more) to the Help References window. See my January 2002 CFDJ article, "Adding New Help Topics to Studio," at www.sys-con.com/coldfusion/articlea.cfm?id=392.

Adding CFMX Tag/Function Support to Studio 4.5/5
If you're sticking with Studio 4.5 or 5, you may be thinking that while it's nice to be able to add the CFMX version of the CFML Reference Manual to the help tab, what you'd really like is to get the CFMX tags and functions recognized in the tag editor, tag insight, tag completion, tag help, and other such features.

There's great news for you, too. Macromedia has offered a "tag updater" for CF Studio 4.5 and 5. See www.macromedia.com/software/coldfusionstudio/ productinfo/resources/tag_updaters.

So, now you have quite a bit of information about using HomeSite+, including how to upgrade it, install it, extend it, and a little about configuring it. I hope you'll seriously consider it and explore it further.

You may want to check out the available HomeSite tips area at www.macromedia.com/cfusion/tipsubmission/ maintopic_browse.cfm?topicId=12. But more important, be sure to check out the manual I referred to, "Using HomeSite+," offered in the Help References tab. Many people never read that manual and just don't know what they're missing. I'll talk more about some of these things in future articles. I'm glad to see that we Studio fans still have our favorite editor available. It may have a new name, but for many of us, it's still the best editor out there.


HomeSite 5 manuals not the same as HomeSite+
While we're on the subject of manuals, in addition to the "Using HomeSite+" manual offered in the Help References window, you may also notice that you can find the "Using HomeSite" manual in HTML form at the livedocs.macromedia.com site and in PDF form at www.macromedia.com/v1/documents/hs50/homesite5.pdf. Take note, however, that these are not the same as what is in the Help References Window of HomeSite+. These show the manual for HomeSite 5, not the HomeSite+. There are a few chapters missing for features such as the database tab, the debugger, and more that are not in the HomeSite 5 product. Stick with the manual as offered in the HomeSite+ help. Or if you really want an HTML or PDF version for easier access, look at the "Using CF Studio 5" manual at livedocs.macromedia.com or www.macromedia.com/v1/documents/cf50/cfstudio5.pdf. Things haven't changed enough to cause problems reading that book.

More Stories By Charlie Arehart

A veteran ColdFusion developer since 1997, Charlie Arehart is a long-time contributor to the community and a recognized Adobe Community Expert. He's a certified Advanced CF Developer and Instructor for CF 4/5/6/7 and served as tech editor of CFDJ until 2003. Now an independent contractor (carehart.org) living in Alpharetta, GA, Charlie provides high-level troubleshooting/tuning assistance and training/mentoring for CF teams. He helps run the Online ColdFusion Meetup (coldfusionmeetup.com, an online CF user group), is a contributor to the CF8 WACK books by Ben Forta, and is frequently invited to speak at developer conferences and user groups worldwide.

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