ColdFusion Debugging Can Be Painful

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Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use break points, variable watch lists, and code stepping in CF? While ColdFusion does have some nice things for debugging sites, the problem is that it mostly happens at the end of a page execution. So if you want to see what the app looks like at a particular point in time, you have insert manual breaks and dumps.Before becoming a CF developer I did some Delphi coding. I loved being able to set a break point, run the app, and it stops where I told it to. I could then view variables in their current state, and then step through the code one line at a time. This is awesome when you have a nagging bug, and you need to see exactly what your app is doing at a point in time.Of course, using cfdump, cfabort and similar tags, you can duplicate what was mentioned above. But this is cumbersome and time consuming. I asked a local software developer group about debugging in ASP.Net, and I was told that breakpoints, stepping etc. works if you are using Visual Studio. So then I brought this up on the CFEclipse contributors list, and we decided that the best thing to do is wait for Adobe to update ColdFusion with APIs and hooks for debugging. I guess CF 5 had this, so I’m really hoping we see this in a future version. If we want to attract more developers to CF, we’ve got to make debugging easier. As Randy from BSDG said, “VS has excellent debugging features…my hair would be completely gray (as opposed to partially) if it weren’t for these features!”