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Setup a Local ColdFusion Development Environment
Setup a Local ColdFusion Development Environment

How to setup a local development environment in ColdFusion.

Updated over a week ago

This guide will walk you through setting up a local ColdFusion development environment. You can think of your local development environment as consisting of two major parts. The first is the CFML engine(ColdFusion) that interprets the CFML that you write. The second part is the editor of your choice.

The CFML Engine - CommandBox

For the CFML engine itself, we strongly recommend using CommandBox from Ortus Solutions. It has great support for all of the *Box products and works for all other kinds of CFML software as well. Other reasons we like CommandBox include:

Getting started with CommandBox.

First, you need to download CommandBox. Head over to their download page here. If you already have a Java 1.7 or newer JRE installed on your system, then download the No JRE option. If you don’t already have Java installed, or you’re otherwise unsure, then the With JRE option is best to use.

You should install this in a good location like C:\CommandBox\commandbox-win-{VERSION} for Windows, or whichever location you find is best on other systems. Create the directory C:\CommandBox and then a subdirectory that matches your CommandBox version. Unzip the contents of the downloaded zip into that directory.

If you want to be able to run box command commands from anywhere on your system(you will likely want this), then you should add the CommandBox install directory to your user’s or system’s PATH environment variable. The instructions on how to do this will vary across different Operating Systems. You can read a great answer on SuperUser that covers how to do this.

box start

Once you have downloaded and installed CommandBox, you can browse to your local CFML project’s web root and run the command box start cfengine=adobe to start up a ColdFusion instance and web server that will use your current directory as its web root.

If you want to run a specific ColdFusion version, then you can select one with the cfengine argument. See the below examples for reference:

box start cfengine=adobe@2018
box start cfengine=adobe@2016
box start cfengine=adobe@11
box start cfengine=adobe@10

CommandBox also supports Lucee installations as well:

box start cfengine=lucee5

When creating a new CommandBox server, CommandBox will always try to fetch the latest and greatest version of that CFML engine.

After you run box start your default browser should load and display the index page of your CFML application.

The Editor

For editing your CFML application, there are many suitable choices available.

My favorite is VS Code paired with the CFML extension. Below is a screenshot that shows some of the syntax highlighting and the Hover Documentation.

That should be all you need to get started. Happy developing!

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