[R-SIG-Mac] built-in editor underlining

Simon Urbanek simon.urbanek at r-project.org
Mon Sep 18 16:31:03 CEST 2006


On Sep 17, 2006, at 2:28 PM, Jörg Beyer wrote:

> Your reply lets me fear I stepped onto your feet, which was not my  
> intention, as I already said.

Not at all - at least to the feet you think ;) - simply I really want  
people to tell us when they think - it's very frustrating when people  
don't tell us when they really think.

> Which means that I edit my R code with BBEdit, because it offers
> -- speedy syntax highlighting
> -- powerful RegEx search and replace, per file/folder/project

This sure sounds like a worthwhile feature

> -- easier navigation through the code (in my opinion; I tend to use  
> relatively large files, and have more than only a few open -- just  
> another question of taste)

Do you have things like "jump to the function definition of the  
function that the cursor is it" is mind, or just shortcuts between  
sections? Again, this could be useful

> -- productive automation features (well, that may sound a bit off- 
> topic, but is part of my personal coding and code organizing  
> style ... again,  only IMHO) 

I'm not quite sure what automation you have in mind... I guess you  
don't mean AT ;)

> -- a working clipping system (which could be better ;)

I'm losing you here - clipping?

> -- direct access to UNIX scripts and "filters", which I make heavy  
> use of to
>    "reengineer" or "refactor" code, or for the simple reoccurring  
> things
>    that can make life easy.

Some thing like "run this file/select through that perl script"?  
Again, easily implemented and it sounds useful.

> -- syntax folding, which is said to be a nice feature, but I don't  
> have that
>    new version, and so I don't have an own opinion.
> That's rather specialized, isn't it?

Not really. Sure everyone has his own coding style, so why not  
provide the versatility.

> ... while BBEdit on the other hand doesn't have code completion, of  
> course (one of the most criticized aspects). But, you know, I don't  
> profit that much from code completion at the moment. As a relative  
> beginner, I prefer to have the help pages open in R.app and look up  
> what I need. Gives me a better illusion of control ;-) Hopefully  
> that will change, and then in turn may (or may not) change my  
> working style.

Admittedly I couldn't live especially without argument hints as I got  
so used to it. Still, it's interesting, because I would classify many  
of the features you list as "power-features", definitely not for a  
beginner ;).

> A bit philosophy comes in, too. Why should I expect any developer to
> reinvent certain specialized functionalities, when other tools  
> already offer
> them, and at the same time integrate seamlessly with R.app? Isn't  
> that just
> what we want?

Depends. If you found your perfect editor and it integrates  
seamlessly, sure there' is no point in using the integrated one.  
However, that doesn't mean that we should keep it as plain and basic  
as possible. Especially with features that leverage R itself it can  
be more useful if it has additional features - and this is harder for  
other editors to do, so we should take advantage of it. We have  
started in that direction with JGR and it turned out to be a really  
good idea, especially for students and beginners. But then, why  
shouldn't power-users benefit, too?


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