Wednesday 20 March 2013

OK, I'm gonna give this Brackets thing a go


I've been terribly judgemental about this Adobe Brackets thing. Not vocally (until I raised my scepticism about it on Twitter a day or so ago), but just in my mind. My mind was saying "WTF? Why is Adobe wasting time on this sort of project?" My chief concerns arose having listened to Adam Lehman talk about Brackets on the CFHour podcast a while back.

The whole notion of it being "focused on JavaScript, HTML and CSS development, [...] but also built with JavaScript, HTML and CSS" doesn't ring true to me (when we're talking about JS/HTML/CSS anyhow). The rationale for doing this was explained along the lines of "eating one's own dogfood" when it comes to how an IDE is built is somehow relevant / good / "a thing". I'm unconvinced.

I was also horrified to get the impression that it was built in a web browser. However I'm in the process of re-listening to the podcast, and it seems that was an idea in an early iteration of Brackets, and is not the case now. Phew. I really could not imagine the thinking behind writing a text editor in a web browser (well: beyond a souped-up <textarea> like TinyMCE and its ilk implement).

Still, all of this was based on gut feel rather than experience, which is an approach I don't like to take, so I've decided to use the thing to see what I think. I've decided all the code I'm going to write for this blog will be done on Brackets. This is an easy way to slide into it, as the code is usually between one and a coupla dozen lines long, and I don't have to integrate with anyone else. All my daytime work will still be on CFB, as that's my employer's IDE of choice (well: CFEclipse or CFB, anyhow).

Stop Press
I read too much into the Twitter comment Ray made that lead me to believe Brackets has a ColdFusion plug-in. It does not. So this exercise was a bit of a waste of time. A waste of time for me trying to do it, writing this article, and - sorry - you starting to read it. Oh well...

Installing the thing was easy... I just googled "Adobe Brackets" and followed my nose. I'd heard a lot of talk mentioning sprints and github and that sort of thing, and I really couldn't be arsed with the idea of downloading the source code of a desktop app and trying to get it to work, so I was pleased to see that there was an MSI install for it. I'm very much in the camp of "double-click on setup.exe" approach to making software work. "Making software work" is tedious, and the less time and effort I spend doing it the better. So... first win: the install was easy.

I've got Brackets open, and open a CFML file to see how it handles it. Out of the box it just seems to treat it as HTML with illegal tags in it. This is fair enough, as it's not a CFML editor, it's a generic HTML / JS / CSS editor. What I had heard, though, is that there was an extension for CFML. So far, finding this extension is proving very difficult. Initially I had a superficial look around the website, but nothing leapt out at me. Then I googled "Brackets extension coldfusion", and flicking through the first coupla pages (about as far as I'm prepared to look in a Google result set), I found nothing. I tried "Brackets extension cfml": even the initial result weren't relevant. I then changed it to ""Adobe Brackets" extension +ColdFusion", and got nothing; as I did with "CFML" instead of "ColdFusion". I found a Github wiki page for Brackets Extensions, but no mention of CFML :-(

I also, incidentally, followed the "project's blog" link from that main Brackets URL I linked to above... this just yields a blank page, which is very clean-looking, but not much help.

And now my patience for googling something like this has expired, so I shall hit Ray up on Twitter and get him to point me in the right direction. But that will need to be covered in a follow-up article, as I need to crack on with some other stuff, using a text editor that does already understand CFML for now.

Stay tuned...