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Now that you have the basics of your extension dialog built, it's time to actually install and test your extension. I know this may seem like a bit of a chicken and egg kind of problem, "why would I install my Extension before I am doing building it," but there's no good way to debug a CFBuilder extension without actually packaging and installing it, so you can actually run the UI. The nice thing is that once you have installed the extension, you can tweak it and rerun it over and over again, until you have things right. So, to package an extension, it's as easy as creating a zip file. What we are going to do in our Ch8Test folder is to create a new folder here called handlers.
If you recall in our ide_config.xml file, we specified a handler here called index.cfm. CFBuilder extensions will always look for this file inside of the handlers directory. So, everything besides your ide_ config file should go inside of the handlers directory. So, I am going to drag the formTemplate .cfm inside of here, and then we will create a new file called index.cfm, so that we have our handler ready to go when we actually start building out our ColdFusion code.
So, now to package our extension, it's as simple as creating a zip file. I will switch over to Finder, and I am in my ColdFusion webroot, and here we see my Ch8Test folder. I will just select the handlers directory and the ide_config file, right-click, and choose Compress. If you are not on Leopard or Snow Leopard on the Mac, you will need to use something like StuffIt to create your zip file, or if you are on Windows, the built-in Windows zipping functionality or WinZip will work just as well. But select the ide_config file and your handlers directory and compress those two items into your zip file.
And I will just rename this Ch8TestExtension. You can name the zip file whatever you want. It has no bearing on the name of the extension once its actually installed into CFBuilder. So, now we will go back to CFBuilder, and in the Extensions view, we will click plus, find our test extension we just created. Click Open. Here, we can see the description. We are doing a Beta 1 version of our extension. Click Next, accept the terms of the license agreement. Choose our server.
Browse to where we want it installed, and click Finish. Once the installation is successful, I will afresh my CFBExtensions folder over here, and here's our Simple Contact Form Test. So, now, instead of this index file and ide_config in my Chapter 8 folder, I am going to open the two files here and start editing them. So, let's run the extension and make sure everything is working correctly. If I right-click in my project, you notice here's my menu that I added to the lynda.com Viewer menu and here's the name of my action, Simple Contact Form. I will run that.
Here's the UI that we created. If I cancel this dialog, and we will go back over to our ide_config file, in my ide_config, I am going to change the label of the Mail Server to say Mail Server Address. I will Save my file. Then because I have changed the ide_ config file and not a ColdFusion file that's executed on the server, I need to go down here in the Extensions view. I will click Reload all Extensions. What this does is forces CFBuilder to go back and reread all the ide_config.xml files.
Now, I will go run my extension again. We can see the label has changed for the Mail Server Address. Now that you know how easy it is to package and get your extension running, I would encourage you to package and start testing sooner rather than later. Since we now have the UI for our extension complete, it's time to start building the handler.
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