New IDE Features

I want to show you some new IDE features included with the latest Delphi Prism release that you may not be aware of yet. These features take advantage of the improvements to Visual Studio 2010’s code editor window. They are also covered in a video.

The first one is dropped markers and caret animations. You have probably seen these whenever you navigate in the code. For example, when you jump to the interface, two things occur: The first is the little marker that is dropped where your cursor started from. The second is the concentric circle animation – the caret animation.

Markers and Caret Animation for Oxygene in Visual Studio
The caret animation’s purpose is pretty obvious. As we are working on bigger and bigger screens, we run the risk of losing our cursor as it jumps around. The caret animation makes it easier to see where it moved to.

The advantage of the dropped marker may not be as obvious, though. You can think of these as digital bread crumbs left from navigating through your complex solutions. Each time you jump away, one is dropped. The cool thing is that you can automatically jump back to the previous marker – and each jump gets the caret animation again.

Markers are dropped automatically when you jump away, or you can drop them manually. If you need to know the keyboard short cuts to drop or collect markers, you can find them under the Oxygene menu. The defaults are [Shift]+[Enter] to drop a marker, and [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Backspace] to pick up the previous marker. Keep in mind that this menu is context sensitive, so if you have no markers placed, you won’t see the option to collect them.

Oxygene Menu in Visual Studio
If you want to change the keyboard shortcuts, just go to Tools / Options / Environment / Keyboard. In the command window, type ‘Oxygene’ to see all the Oxygene-related commands. Select the command you want to bind and then specify a new shortcut key.

Visual Studio Keyboard Command Shortcuts
If you want to change the options for the makers or animation, you can do that under Text Editor / Delphi Prism / Markers. Here, you can turn these features on or off, control when the animation occurs, or change the color.

Oxygene Markers and Inline error options
You will also find the options for inline errors there, another cool new IDE enhancement. Let me show you: When you compile your project, in addition to the error list, you also see the error right on the line of code it occurs. This makes finding the error easier. Sometimes the error description is too long to read to the right of the line, but if you click it, you can read it in a balloon window (see picture below).

Oxygene's Inline Errors in Visual Studio
When you fix the error and re-compile the code, the inline display goes away.

These features are available in both Oxygene language powered solutions: Delphi Prism and our new “Cooper” compiler that is currently available in beta.

I hope you find these new IDE enhancements as useful as we do.