Interview with Mark Drew
By Pete Freitag
I have gotten quite a few interview requests since posting my interview with Sean Corfield. So stay tuned I have a bunch of web developers lined up for interviews. This week my interview is with Mark Drew:
How did you get started with Web Development, what's your background?
Whilst I was in my final year of university I started a company doing virtual reality websites (ahh.. the early nineties!) but that progressed to doing more complex sites. I then changed companies and was plunged into developing one of the first music retail websites in the UK. Although built in perl (using a system called intershop) I was at the same time becoming a fan of a thing called ColdFusion (this is back in CF 2 days) to query databases, and been developing sites for people such as B&W Speakers, Iomega, Capita and Axa with both coldfusion and at times Spectra.
I currently work as lead developer for designuk.com working on their Lava Content Management and Mailing Suite
How did you become involved in the CFEclipse project? What is your role?
I moved from London to live in Spain back in 2003 and I managed to land a project working remotely from home, unfortunately I didn't have any tools (or really money!) so I was looking for a good editor/ide that was essentially free. Google is your friend and I stumbled upon the project. I knew about eclipse as I had used it previously for a struts project and it just seemed to do the trick. After a bit, I missed the help documentation so I contacted Spike and he told me how to get setup with it and I started developing little bits and fixing bugs.
My role, as is everyone's in the project, is as a developer and contributor. I think I am the current active developer as the others are kind of busy with their own projects at the moment.
What have CFEclipse developers been working on in the past few months?
There has been a kind of lull since the summer till Christmas. With the 1.2 release we fixed a bunch of bugs and got the product to a "stable" form. There wasn't many features we wanted to add that were real show stoppers so a bit of impetus was lost. Just before Christmas I had some time on my hands and a few ideas of features we wanted to add. Along with the people like Sean Corfield at Adobe we come up with a road map of features that we were going to implement for the next version so I have been working on those. Also Sean has been helping setting up some infrastructure in the background such as getting new hosting and setting up wiki's, bug tracking etc on the new site. So that is coming up soon.
Can you tell us about any new features in CFEclipse that are being cooked up?
The new features that will (hopefully) be in the next release are:
- Toolbars: these are a bit like the CFStudio or Homesite toolbars that give you access to tags at a single click. They also allow you to access your snippets and trigger them from the toolbar.
- Dictionary View, this view allows you to see tags and functions also allow you to insert tags into the document, with tag dialogs a bit like Dreamweaver
- "Edit this tag" right click functionality so that you can edit the attributes of a tag in the document
- Component Explorer, so you can see all the components and their methods in the current project, and drag them onto the document to create invoke code.
- Local help files, so that you dont need to go to the Adobe CF docs site, all the docs will now be local
- CFUnit Test creation, so that it provides a way of creating CFUnit shells for you to fill in (this is a "maybe")
In what area does the CFEclipse project need the most help right now?
I think its getting the momentum on the website, creating help files, all the documentation and articles that kind of thing. We need people that will take charge of collating a lot of information from the various sources (spike's wiki, my blog, Nathan Strutz's site etc etc) and putting it in a logical manner on the cfeclipse site.
There are lots of articles and documents out there but we should collate it all into one place so that its easier for people to get started with using CFEclipse.
Obviously you use CFEclipse as your IDE, what other tools do you use regularly?
Dreamweaver is also my weapon of choice, along with myEclipse as another plugin to cfeclipse. I don't use HomeSite apart from some usability tests I was doing (all those features people mention and I cant even remember how HS worked!!). Since I am mainly based on a mac I use TextMate which is awesome and SubEthaEdit. Aqua Data Studio is a favourite of mine for connecting to databases and the soon-to-be- released RDS plugin from Adobe. Fireworks for graphics.
What does a Mark Drew do when away from work?
Develop CFEclipse of course! ha! Apart from that I am writing music on Garageband and practicing my guitar skills as I am getting a band together. And always trying to get away on holiday... and never quite achieving it! Hopefully I should be going to CFUnited and then onto San Francisco in June/July for a couple of weeks to get away from the wet London weather.
Interview with Mark Drew was first published on February 16, 2006.
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