Elastic tabstops - a better way to indent and align code
An update and a request for help
Well, it's been a while so I figured I should give everyone an update. Just over a year ago I released a plugin for Gedit. It works fine, but there are a couple of issues with it, the main one being that Gedit currently only exists on Linux and other X based platforms, and no ports exist for Windows or Mac OS X. The second issue is that it uses an inefficient yet relatively straight forward algorithm which recalculates everything every time the text changes (like my Java demo). As a result I decided to make a better solution that is cross platform and caches the information it needs properly. I've decided to use PyGTK (the Python bindings for GTK) to make my own editor and I hope to have something I can share with you soon. Once my Python implementation is finished I'll also be able to replace the C based Gedit plugin with something which is faster and less work for me to maintain. Also, to make it easier for people to see the idea in action I've reworked my Java demo on the main elastic tabstops page so it can be embedded in the page as an applet.
In other news, my job was outsourced a couple of weeks ago, and while I don't think I'll have too much trouble finding another one, I thought I'd use the time off as an opportunity to see if I can advance my goal of getting elastic tabstops adopted in a major editor. I believe that the concept of elastic tabstops is a real improvement over the status quo, as presumably do some Visual Studio users, Visual Assist X (a Visual Studio add-in) users, Slashdot editors, Eclipse developers, ex Microsoft Excel program managers and many others. Since developers for Microsoft's platform pretty much all use Visual Studio exclusively, it occurs to me that elastic tabstops could be adopted without developers for the platform suffering from the chicken and egg problem that developers on other platforms may face. So, if you work at Microsoft (or know someone who does) now would be a great time to speak to someone on the Visual Studio team about getting them to help me add this feature.
Let's see if we can make things better for programmers.
Posted on Wednesday, 2008-10-15 at 16:20 UTC
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