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One of the limitations of the ECB is that it does not support multiple buffers
per ECB window.
For example there is no way to support multiple buffers within the 'directories'
window or the 'methods' window. IE it would be nice to support the speedbar and
the ECB directories buffer within the same window and allow the user to switch.
Essentially what we are talking about is the ability to 'cycle' through buffers
in specific windows and support changing the buffers at runtime.
If you want to see what I mean you can check out ecb-cycle.el. Right now this
supports multiple programatic buffers within the `ecb-compile-window'. This
allows you to cycle through all compilation buffers and provides
switch-to-buffer support using completion.
This is already really nice because it allows me to jump to igrep buffers or
jde-ant buffers quickly and without having to deal with the entire list of
buffers.
I want to expand on this concept so that ecb-cycle can support the directories
and methods windows. There is other information which we can display within
these windows.
For example in XML buffers, we could change the 'methods' window to support a
hierarchical view of the current XML document. It would be somewhat trivial to
support this using tree-widget.el or relatives. We could also support XML
schema specific representations. If the user is editing an Ant build.xml
document, we could use this same XML representation but expand to show <tasks>.
There are a *lot* of uses for this:
- Support a Java CLASSPATH browser
- Supporting jde-docindex integration for navigating sourcepath and
documentation based on hierarchical classname.
- using the methods buffer to navigate a list of files that are being tailed via
'tail -f' and displaying the result int the compilation buffer.
- Support complex applications on top of ECB that can use ECB windows as their
UI. (this would probably require another proposal)
- SQL browser (via JDBC, ODCB, etc)
- JDE/JPDA integration when a breakpoint it hit. This would need to set
buffers in each window. For example putting local variables in the
methods winow and possibly breakpoints in the directory window.
- Incremental compiler error lists (I plan on writing an incremental compile
integration package for jikes but I am waiting for them to fix a bug under
Linux). It would be nice to navigate this list in the methods window.
From what I see, in order to implement this, we have to pay significant
attention to making this convenient so that it isn't confusing for the user.
Should be compatible with all window configurations
Should not significantly change any current ECB behavior. We shouldn't force
users to use ecb-cycle.
Need the ability to revert to default buffers on ecb-redraw-layout. The user
should also be able to choose the default buffer per window within
customization. The user should also be able to restore the defaults using a
ecb-cycle-restore-defaults or similar function.
Need a consistent function metaphor so that we can use
`ecb-cycle-switch-to-directory-buffer' and
`ecb-cycle-switch-to-compilation-buffer', etc.
Should support the ability to automatically change buffers on current-buffer
sync. For example if one methods-buffer is a better representation for the
current buffer than the one in the methods window, it should automatically
changed to the better one (this could also be disabled in customization). A
good example of this is XML. The methods buffer doesn't support hierarchical
XML navigation (nor should it). We could automatically change to an XML
hierarchical representation in the methods buffer when an XML buffer is
selected.
- we will need to support some type of current buffer mapping. For example
we could use regexps
- *.xml -> *ecb-xml-methods-buffer*
- * -> * ECB Methods*
Should be able to cycle through buffers available for each window. (should we
support forwards and backwards operation?)
Should support profiles so that we can restore them. IE debug profile, eshell
profile, etc. A profile whould just be a list of cons cells with buffer
names.
'((ecb-compile-window . "*eshell")
(ecb-directory-window . " *SPEEDBAR*"))
- also users should be able to create their own profiles in addition to the
default profiles.
ISSUES:
- This functionality should probably be held back for ECB 1.7.0
- It would be nice to support a tabbed window->buffer metaphor. I think
XEmacs supports something like this but GNU Emacs does not.
TODO:
- We need to have a `ecb-directories-window' and an `ecb-methods-window',
'ecb-history-window' like `ecb-compile-window'
- Need to provide an initial implementation in ecb-cycle
- I was also thinking that we should add the ability to list every buffer
available for selection. This way you can have the directories window show all
the buffers that are available for selection and then choose one.
- We also need the ability to have a profile that used addition buffers that
weren't registered with the ability to cycle. For example we could have a
'calc' profile. So that we can set this profile after calc is run.
- should this support be added in ecb-cycle-external-profiles???
- need the ability to support a profile stack so that you can pop out of a
current profile and restore the last one.
- When we restore the default window configuration (ecb-redraw-layout), we
should pop out of any profiles. (should this be an option)
- ability to *suggest* how a profile should be handled on redraw.
- always-destroy
- never-destroy
- yield-to-setting
- All external profiles (gnus, calc, etc) should be stored in ecb-cycle-ext.el
- the following windows need to be accounted for:
- sources
- methods
- directory
- history
- need the ability to run a function prior to displaying a buffer.
Example: ' *ECB Directories*' needs to have ecb-update-directories-buffer
pior to viewing.
Actually this is a good way from keeping ecb-cycle from refreshing too many
buffers on ecb-current-buffer-sync. By default we should run the update
function when we change to a buffer.
- use a design pattern for creating profiles. AKA instead of a profile object I
could just do an:
- (defun ecb-cycle-create-profile(name buffers)
- support the ability to compare two buffers to find out which should be higher
priority
- support JIT buffer generation so that we aren't constantly regenerating
bufffers when they are actually hidden.
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