Tag Archives: vi input mode

Kate/KDevelop/Skanlite Sprint Wrap-Up

From 18th to 25th of January 2014, the Kate, KDevelop and Skanlite developers met in Barcelona to work on these projects full time for a week. Full time usually implies about 14 hours per person a day (yes, besides food, we do nothing but developing). 11 developers working 14 hours a day for 7 days makes a total of 1078 hours. If we divide this by 8 hours, the typical amount of work hours in a day, this makes 134 man-days of work, or about 27 weeks of continued development time. While this calculation is a bit theoretical, it is still very valid to estimate the amount of work that is put into these projects during such a sprint, especially since usually developers have far less time for development in their spare time.

The efforts focus mostly on KDE Frameworks 5, so what is listed next is mostly relevant only for the KF5/Qt5 version of Kate etc. Going through the Kate and Skanlite commits from 18th to the 25th of January, we have (not listing all commits):

January, 18th (arrival day):

  • KTextEditor::Cursor and KTextEditor::Range are declared as Q_MOVABLE_TYPE, telling Qt containers that these primitive types can be mem-moved without copy constructor.
  • since KTextEditor and KatePart are now merged into a single list, the API was changed such that KTextEditor::Editor::instance() is a singleton. Therefore, KTextEditor::Document::editor() was dropped, as it is not needed anymore.
  • vi input mode: new sentence text object
  • merged code completion models
  • some API cleanups
  • removed ModeInterface, which was never implemented

January, 19th:

January, 20th:

January, 21th:

January, 22th:

January, 23th:

January, 24th:

January, 25th (departure day):

In the days after the sprint we did a lot more fine tuning and cleanups with respect to the changes we did during the sprint. So let’s have a look at Kate before the sprint:

Kate on KF5


Kate after the sprint:

Kate after the Developer Sprint

So Kate changed in several ways:

  • New status bar: The status bar is in the KTextEditor interfaces now. That implies that KDevelop, Kile, and all other applications using the KTextEditor framework will have the same status bar.
  • It is now possible to change the indent settings (tabs, spaces) through the status bar. The same holds for the encoding and the current highlighting.
  • Double click on “Line: …, Column: …” switches into goto-mode (Ctrl+G).
  • Double click on INSERT changes to OVERWRITE mode, if not in vi input mode.
  • New Tab Bar in each view space: This tab bar shows the documents you are working on in a least recently used (LRU) fashion. It only shows as many tabs as fit into the tab bar, since we want to avoid horizonal scrolling (it does not scale). If not all documents fit into the tab bar, just use the Documents tab on the left, or the quick open icon in the view space tab bar bar on the right to to launch quick open.
  • Since we now have a tab bar, we can now show the splitting actions at a more prominent place on the very right. New features include to hide inactive views, which equals maximizing the current view space.
  • Yes, no worries, the tab bar can be disabled.

We’ll cover the workflow of the tab bar in a separate blog post.

…oh, and we have much more in the pipe (not related to the sprint) :-)

Kate in 4.12

Since the KDE SC 4.12 release a month ago, it’s about time to look at the changes of Kate in 4.12:

What comes next?

Kate will get more polishing in the next 4.x releases, for instance, in KDE SC 4.13 Kate optionally supports animated bracket matching.

However, as already mentioned in Kate in 4.11the main efforts are put into making Kate on Qt5 and Frameworks 5 rock solid. Already now Kate, KWrite and Kate Part are fully ported, i.e. all are free of KDE4support libraries. A preview (already one month old!) can be found here.

Besides that, Kate and KDevelop again join forces and there is a developer meeting from 18th to 25th of January 2014. So expect quite some blogs about Kate on 5 then!

Kate in 4.11

Another release cycle gone, and the KDE Software Compilation 4.11 is out in the open (well, for quite some time already), and with that it is time to talk about what changed in Kate the last half year since the 4.10 release. Besides the usual bug fixing (~50 bugs since 4.10), the following sections present some major improvements and features of Kate in 4.11.

Python Plugins

Since KDE 4.10, Kate features the Python »Pâté« plugin. This plugin basically wraps the API of all Kate application interfaces. Therewith, together with the Python KDE (PyKDE) bindings you can develop full-featured Kate plugins in Python. Being relatively new, there are quite some Python plugins available already now (see this blog, this blog, or this blog).

@Python community: You can interpret this as an invitation for writing lots of cool addons for the Kate text editor in python. All contributions are usually very much welcome!

Vi Input Mode

Enabling the vi input mode turns Kate into a full-fleged vim compatible editor: modal editing exactly like in vim. This mode is especially suited for vim users who want a fully KDE integrated text editor with all the beloved vim features. Started as GSoC project in 2010, the vi input mode evolved over the years to become a very mature alternative to vim itself. However, there is always room for improvements. The good news is, that Kate Part’s vi input mode gained a lot of attention thanks to Simon, mostly in the form of small “papercuts” that fixed small bugs and annoyances and made behaviour more compatible with Vim, including:

  • Yank highlighting, which helps you to see what text you just yanked;
  • “Yank to clipboard” (courtesy of Fabian Kosmale!);
  • The “last edit” markers, “.”, “[" and "]“;
  • Recursive vs non-recursive mappings, for if you want to e.g. map “j” to “gj” …
  • … plus plenty of fixes to gj and gk;
  • and countless other small tweaks to things like the “inner block” text object; cursor position after paste; fixes to ctrl-a/x (add to/ subtract from number under cursor); making more motions available in Visual Mode and more motions counted, etc!

One fairly major change is the introduction of an experimental Emulated Vim Command Bar. This, as you will probably have guessed, is a replacement for the current Search dialog that behaves more like Vim’s, allowing one to e.g. insert the contents of registers via ctrl-r; dismiss via ctrl-c/ ctrl-[ as well as ESC; work properly with both forward (“/”) and backward (“?”) incremental searches; use smart case for case-sensitivity; allow the use of Vim-style regex’s etc. As an extension to Vim, I’ve also added the ability to auto-complete words from the document via ctrl-space: not that useful for searching, but very useful for when you want to do a search+replace command (command mode (“:”) did not make it into 4.11, alas).

In 4.11, it is disabled by default as it is not yet ready for primetime, but may be enabled by setting the hidden config option “Vi Input Mode Emulate Command Bar” to “true”. It is much more powerful and featureful in current master (see the blog here!) and will likely be the default in 4.12.

New Text Folding

Back in KDE SC 4.8, Kate got a new code folding implementation as part of the yearly GSoC project. Compared to the previous implementation, the amount of bugs indeed reduced, but during the 4.9 and 4.10 release it became apparent, that the code folding was still not where it should be. Maybe writing a good code folding implementation was also a bit too much in terms of a newby developer in a GSoC project.

So Christoph sat down and wrote it completely new from scratch, this time very clean and simple. And as a new feature, the text folding is now per view, so the folded parts can be different in each view of a document. And as another feature for those who do not use text folding at all: Not using text folding means you have zero overhead, no matter how large the file. Besides that, code folding in Python works now better than ever before, in fact, it should be bug-free.

Passive Notifications & KTextEditor Interfaces

Passive notifications are meant to provide a non-intrusive way showing notifications (replacing KPassivePopup). Used e.g. by the data recovery, these notifications were also introduced for the search & replace feature (most of this is already available in KDE SC 4.10.3). In KDE SC 4.11, the interface for showing these passive notifications got officially included into the KTextEditor interfaces, meaning that applications like Kile or KDevelop can show notifications as well. (Issues in KDE 4.11.0 should be fixed for 4.11.1).

Next to the KTextEditor::MessageInterface, Kate has a so-called TextHintInterface since year 2003, but it seems its implementation never got finished. For 4.11, Sven Brauch stepped up and finally fixed the text hint interface. So showing tool tips for text under the mouse (section Text tooltips) is as easy as it was never before:

Saving Files

When saving files, Kate uses the class KSaveFile (in Qt5 available as QSaveFile thanks to David Faure). In short, to avoid data loss, KSaveFile saves the file to a temporary file in the same directory as the target file, and on successful write finally moves the temporary file to the target filename. If the folder of the file does not allow creating new files, KSaveFile automatically falls back to writing the file directly. In this case, data loss could happen if e.g. the system crashes in this moment, but saving the file would otherwise be not possible at all.

What Comes Next?

Announced just a few days ago, the KDE community prepares for KDE Frameworks 5 and much more: The KDE libraries and the KDE Plasma Workspace are now in long term support mode, meaning that bugs will get fixed for another two years. That means that the KTextEditor interfaces are frozen as well, there will not be any feature updates at all in the KTextEditor interfaces itself. Since Kate Part and the Kate Application are developed outside of kdelibs, Kate Part and Kate will most certainly see another feature release. Especially, since there are already a lot of improvements for the vi input mode in the pipe for Kate in KDE SC 4.12.

After that, we plan to port Kate to Qt5 and the new frameworks 5 libraries. We already added a lot of “KDE 5″ todo-markers to the Kate source code, meaning that we will probably work on a 5 port rather sooner than later. We will address this schedule in a separate post later this year, so stay tuned!

Added “gq” (format text) command for the Vi Input Mode

It’s been a nice week here in Berlin at the Desktop summit. I have even got some coding done. A command I often missed from Vim was the gq command that re-formats text based on your text width setting. For example, if you want to stick to a sixty-columns layout, you often have to re-format the text when adding or removing something, like in this screenshot where some text has been surrounded by HTML tags:

By using the gq command, the text will be re-formatted and looks nice again:

I have implemented this command now, so this will be in Kate for KDE 4.8. I hope other users of the Vi Input Mode find it useful too. :-)