Re: [textadept] Textadept needs to play catch-up (But more serious)

From: steve donovan <>
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2011 11:31:15 +0200

On Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 7:22 AM, Brian Schott <> wrote:
> The next release is going to be awesome! I can't wait!

Here are things which I think would not add 50,000 lines and could be
very useful. I've been one of the dozens of people who contributed to
SciTE (as has Mitchell) and did a fair number of tools, often working
around a less-than-perfect Lua interface. Here are some of my scripts
which I would like to adapt to TextAdept:

- For SciTE, there's a script ctagsdx.lua, which looks for a ctags
file in the current directory (or the parent) and reads it in; the
user can then use a shortcut like ctrl- on the current source buffer.
to go to a tag and alt-. to go back.[1] It parses full Exuberant ctags
files which embed searchable patterns, so they it isn't so fooled by
edits. If there are multiple tags (common in C++) it will present a
drop-down. For TA, we have the further option to open in another view,

- Spawning interactive processes: if TA could do this, then things
like debugger support becomes straightforward. With SciTE, I wrote an
external C module which did the appropriate platform-specific stuff;
in TA it would be a matter of using pthreads [2] or native Windows
threads, and use GTK+ async i/o for the communication.

The whole of scite-debug is built on top of this hundred or so lines
of C. A fast route would be to implement a GDB interface, using the
Emacs-mode where the output is more tool-friendly. Then other
languages can be implemented by making fake GDB interfaces, e.g. my
lua-gdb which fools Emacs into debugging Lua.[3]

- 'Open in Other Instance'. Cool in theory, but it does require
inter-process communication. On Unix-like systems SciTE does this in a
really straightforward way with pipes, no special plumbing required.
On Windows it sends messages, so some platform-specific code is
required. However, this is a another good candidate for a little
external C extension, so that the core remains small and uncluttered.

(An alternative to using communicating processes is teaching TA to
open multiple windows; naturally there are some serious bookkeeping
implications. But TA instances are so lightweight that it's sufficient
to just do IPC)

For POSIX systems at least, the pipe stuff can be done with plain jane
Lua I/O. The equivalent exists on Windows, but as usual is more

That's just a few things, but they open whole areas of capability. And
they respect the mantra 'TA is not an IDE'

steve d.

[1] yes, they're Emacs shortcuts ;(
[2] does OS X do pthreads? I assume there is a straightforward equivalent.
[3] It can even go from Lua to C code and back; I have an equivalent
Python version somewhere.
Received on Fri 01 Apr 2011 - 05:31:15 EDT

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