Snippets In KDevelop / Kate

Hey all!

Just wanted to give you a little rundown on Snippets in Kate 4.4 (via the snippets_tng plugin) and KDevelop Beta 8 (soon to be released).

Note: The Kate plugin was written by Jowenn and introduced me to all these nice features. For KDevelop I wrote a somewhat simpler yet imo better implementation. We will try to get the best of both worlds into KDE 4.5. Stay tuned!

General Usage & Features
  • create a snippet repository (or download via GHNS [see below])
  • create snippets in that repository
  • insert snippets via the snippets view (i.e. double click), or (imo better/faster) insert them via code-completion (remember: CTRL + Space requests code completion at the current cursor position!).
  • snippet gets inserted (properly indented) and potential placeholders/variables get expanded. A variable is something like %{date} or ${email}. Also take a look at the API documentation.
  • variables that get inserted via “${…}” will be “selectable”, meaning you can jump from one var to the other by hitting TAB / Shift TAB
  • the %{...} vars will only get expanded and inserted, without getting selectable.
  • multiple occurrences of the same variable will be updated once one of them gets edited, something that is called “mirroring” in other editors.
  • once one edits ESC the cursor is placed at the end of the snippet or to the first occurrence of ${cursor} or %{cursor} and the user types something, the snippet-handler quits and you are left with your normal editor until you insert the next snippet
  • nested snippets (i.e. insert snippet than insert another one) should “just work”.
Snippet Management
  • group snippets by file type, i.e. PHP snippets will only be offered during code completion when one edits a PHP file.
    Note: In KDevelop and KDE 4.4 nested documents are supported, e.g. create a CSS snippet and it will be shown inside the CSS parts of a HTML document or similar. This uses my HighlightInterface I wrote for KDE 4.4. I still have to rewrite some parts of the snippets_tng plugin for Kate so that it works there as well
  • group snippets in repositories, set an Author and a License of your choice
  • publish snippet repositories via GHNS: In Kate you can already download snippets from GHNS but we sadly don’t have any repos up on opendesktop… I’ll have to add some prior to KDE 4.4. Also we didn’t have enough time to implement uploading of Repos from inside Kate in time for KDE 4.4. So stay tuned for KDE 4.5. KDevelop currently has no support for GHNS, but I plan to fix this tomorrow or the next days - together with uploading from inside KDevelop, i.e. all the nice features of GHNS v3.
  • in KDevelop (and someday in Kate as well) you can simply select a part of your currently opened document and select the “create snippet from selection” in the ContextMenu - easy & fast!
TODO

There’s much to do.

  • Highest priority right now for me is to get GHNS with all bells and whistles supported for KDevelop.
  • Then I’ll merge and integrate the Kate & KDevelop plugins as much as possible, so we have a reduce code base.
  • Also important is to make all shortcuts configurable
  • Another thing is: How could we improve interoperability even between e.g. editors like TextMate or Gedit? Both have snippets features and their bundles are available in the net. If we can support those we’d save us a lot of work

Also, I should probably do a screencast… Not now though ;-)

Kate polishing

Phew, I just finished some last-minute backports to the KDE 4.3.5 branch. Lets hope the bug fixes I and pletourn did are as good as they look. Expect a much more stable Kate for 4.3.5 & 4.4! We managed to fix two bugs which are potentially the cause for dozens of bug reports, all seemingly random. Lets see whether our fixes hold up to our hopes!

Other than that: You should look forward to Kate scripting (with JavaScript) in 4.4. It’s dead simple but actually useful. In the utils.js file we ship with Kate there are now the following tools (all operate on the selection or - if none exists - on the whole document):

  • sort - simple sorting
  • natsort - natural sorting
  • uniq - filter duplicates
  • trim - remove leading & trailing whitespace
  • ltrim - remove leading whitespace
  • rtrim - remove trailing whitespace

Do you have more ideas for such simple helper functions?

Kate polishing

Phew, I just finished some last-minute backports to the KDE 4.3.5 branch. Lets hope the bug fixes I and pletourn did are as good as they look. Expect a much more stable Kate for 4.3.5 & 4.4! We managed to fix two bugs which are potentially the cause for dozens of bug reports, all seemingly random. Lets see whether our fixes hold up to our hopes!

Other than that: You should look forward to Kate scripting (with JavaScript) in 4.4. It’s dead simple but actually useful. In the utils.js file we ship with Kate there are now the following tools (all operate on the selection or - if none exists - on the whole document):

  • sort - simple sorting
  • natsort - natural sorting
  • uniq - filter duplicates
  • trim - remove leading & trailing whitespace
  • ltrim - remove leading whitespace
  • rtrim - remove trailing whitespace

Do you have more ideas for such simple helper functions?

Kate XML Completion Plugin: Help Wanted

In KDE3 Kate had a plugin called “XML Completion Plugin”. It was able to list XML elements, attributes and attribute values and entities in a completion popup menu depending on the currently active DTD. For instance, it was able to complete all your KDE/docbook tags and, thus, was one of the best tools for writing KDE documentation.

Unfortunately, this plugin has not been ported to KDE4, yet. So this is a request for developers: Please someone pick it up and make it available for Kate in KDE4.

The location in svn is: trunk/KDE/kdesdk/kate/plugins/xmltools
Just enable this folder in the kate/plugins/CMakeLists.txt file and start porting it. The code completion interface changed quite a lot, but there are other plugins and good api documentation (KTextEditor interfaces, Kate Application interfaces) where you can have a look at how things work.

Having a working XML Completion plugin for KDE4.5 would be awesome.