Monday night, I decided to see how difficult it would be to create a ColdFusion Language Module for BBEdit using the new codeless language module feature of BBEdit 8. I’ve wanted solid syntax coloring for ColdFusion docs in BBEdit virtually forever, and undertook this project one time before only to run up against a brick wall (previously, language modules had to be written in C.) As far as I know, with the exception of the UI painful Eclipse and JEdit, the only option on the Mac OS X platform with real ColdFusion syntax coloring is Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver on Mac OS X is painfully slow to use, gets in my way constantly, and deserves, in my opinion, to be rewritten from the ground up. I don’t say this lightly, but then again, I do feel that virtually all the code I’ve ever written needs to be rewritten from the ground up.
First, if it weren’t for John Gruber, I never would have found the documentation needed to use this feature. Bare Bones’ site does not do a good job of pointing developers looking to use this set of functionality in the right direction. Once developers have found the documentation in Appendix D of the BBEdit user manual, they will discover that it’s not terribly helpful in terms of learning how to map a language to the modules. As it turns out, and you can read more about the matter in this great post on the subject of BBEdit 8, language modules in BBEdit 8 are not quite powerful enough to implement a language module for ColdFusion. I worked on it for about two hours, a good part of which was just finding the information I needed, then experimenting with how changes to the plist files manifested themselves in my copy of BBEdit with a ColdFusion document open. Well, perhaps the next version, this one got me much closer than I was before, and I can keep using my Win32 box for ColdFusion coding when I need to do it.