Monday, July 23, 2007

Status, IDE Generator (Miguel Garcia)

I've been refactoring, adding functionality, yet I had the uneasy feeling that something was missing ...

Big revamp of Chapter 1 ("Frameworks for text editors: JFace Text and Gymnast Runtime") of the project report. With that, a user of the IDE generator is also in a position to understand (and further customize) the generated IDE. Features are classified, code snippets and references to further literature given.


The features per category are:

a) The Gymnast Runtime extension to the JFace Text framework

  • background parsing and notification of changes to the CST of the document
  • context outline (with nodes implementing navigation back to the text region, and property source)
  • custom problem markers
  • parse-tree view

b) Customizations requiring CST or AST

  • hovers over text fragments
  • hovers over annotations (annotations on the vertical ruler)
  • hyperlinks
  • mark occurrences
  • select in outline
  • show in
  • context menu on the editor surface, for example Go to Declaration
  • views, for example EMF Type Hierarchy
  • content formatting
  • content assist

c) Customizations directly working on the document text

  • document partitioning
  • show range indicator
  • bracket matching (brace, parenthesis, etc.)
  • AutoEdits (for example, SmartBrace: after typing { in the JDT editor, an indented newline and a closing } are added below it). Another example is AutoIndent.
  • Double-click strategy (in JDT, double-clicking an opening brace selects all the text up to the matching closing brace)
  • Automatic Indentation

d) Document-independent customizations

  • templates, including associated Preferences page
  • actions on the toolbar and menu bar, in particular retargetable actions (i.e., those actions whose UI activators are shared between different editors, such as e.g. Content Assist)
  • new file wizard, so that the document does not start empty but in syntactically valid state (thus avoiding spurious parse errors the moment background parsing kicks in)
  • Preferences


It's incredible the amount of detail hiding in each feature ... an Eclipse-based text editor can really be a machine with lots of moving parts ...

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