Tuesday, 30 October 2012

SharpDevelop'ing all the things!

If you look at Maestro from a high level view, it shares many qualities and similarities to an IDE (minus the bits that edit and compile source code). As a matter of fact, Maestro re-uses a lot of code from the premier open source .net IDE: SharpDevelop

In fact, I would imagine, if you stripped out all the MapGuide authoring stuff out of Maestro and replaced it with source code editing and build tools, you would end up back with SharpDevelop itself. The design/architecture is (intentionally) that similar!

Of particular focus in this post is Maestro's use of the text editor component from SharpDevelop.

Currently this text editor is only being used for our generic XML editor, giving us nice syntax highlighting and other things that you would expect from an industrial strength text editor. The problem however is that there are many other areas in Maestro that could benefit from using this text editor. In addition, there are many IDE-isms present in SharpDevelop that would be of great use in the context of Maestro.

So for the next beta we are going all the way and using this component wherever we possibly can, due to its powerful syntax highlighting, auto-completion and other assorted features you expect from an industrial-strength text editing component.

IronPython Console

We've thrown out the existing IronPython REPL console and replaced it with one grafted from SharpDevelop's python addin.

We lose some of the built-in commands from the old one, but because we're using the SharpDevelop text editor, we now have things like Python syntax highlighting and the more important one: auto-complete

And we get nice colorful feedback about any errors that IronPython gives us

Also the design of this REPL means that python snippets are executed in a background thread ensuring the main UI is not clogged up. However if you are executing python snippets that create or interact with Windows Forms controls, that code has to run on the UI thread, so we've provided a UIInvoke function in the host application to let you do this.

Personally, I'm loving this REPL that's been implemented. It's a wonderful way to not only explore the Maestro API from within Maestro itself, but it's also a nice convenient way for me to test new functionality and/or newly implemented APIs.

Generic XML Editor

The generic XML editor was retro-fitted with the SharpDevelop text editor component since beta 2, but for the next beta, it now supports code folding (grafted from SharpDevelop's XML addin). This allows you to collapse vast swaths of XML content to make editing and navigation that much simpler.

Expression Editor

The Expression Editor basically did what the SharpDevelop text component did, but much more crudely. So we've replaced the text component in the Expression Editor as well. We get proper auto-complete behavior not just for properties and functions, but also operators (LIKE, IN, etc)

And proper syntax highlighting (due to a custom FDO expression syntax definition we've added)

One small caveat with this implementation currently is that the auto-complete is case sensitive and will only trigger if we have a partial case-sensitive match on potential auto-complete result. We'll look to make this eventually case-insensitive.

The next beta that packs these new features (among other things) will hopefully be done by the end of this week (no guarantees)

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