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Inline lint highlighting for the Sublime Text 2 editor

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README.md

SublimeLinter

SublimeLinter is a plugin that supports "lint" programs (known as "linters"). SublimeLinter highlights lines of code the linter deems to contain (potential) errors. It also supports highlighting special annotations (for example: TODO) so that they can be quickly located.

SublimeLinter has built in linters for the following languages:

  • CoffeeScript - lint via coffee -s -l
  • CSS - lint via built-in csslint
  • Java - lint via javac -Xlint
  • Javascript - lint via built in jshint, jslint, or the closure linter (gjslint) (if installed)
  • Objective-J - lint via built-in capp_lint
  • Perl - lint via Perl:Critic or syntax+deprecation checking via perl -c
  • PHP - syntax checking via php -l
  • Python - native, moderately-complete lint
  • Ruby - syntax checking via ruby -wc

Installing

With the Package Control plugin: The easiest way to install SublimeLinter is through Package Control, which can be found at this site: http://wbond.net/sublime_packages/package_control

Once you install Package Control, restart ST2 and bring up the Command Palette (Command+Shift+P on OS X, Control+Shift+P on Linux/Windows). Select "Package Control: Install Package", wait while Package Control fetches the latest package list, then select SublimeLinter when the list appears. The advantage of using this method is that Package Control will automatically keep SublimeLinter up to date with the latest version.

Without Git: Download the latest source from GitHub and copy the SublimeLinter folder to your Sublime Text "Packages" directory.

With Git: Clone the repository in your Sublime Text "Packages" directory:

git clone git://github.com/Kronuz/SublimeLinter.git

The "Packages" directory is located at:

  • OS X:

    ~/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 2/Packages/
    
  • Linux:

    ~/.config/sublime-text-2/Packages/
    
  • Windows:

    %APPDATA%/Sublime Text 2/Packages/
    

Javascript-based linters

If you plan to edit files that use a Javascript-based linter (Javascript, CSS), your system must have a Javascript engine installed. Mac OS X comes with a preinstalled Javascript engine called JavaScriptCore, which is used if Node.js is not installed. On Windows, you must install the Javascript engine Node.js, which can be downloaded from the Node.js site.

On Mac OS X, you must install Node.js if you plan to edit Javascript or CSS files that use non-ASCII characters in strings or comments, because JavaScriptCore is not Unicode-aware.

After installing Node.js, if the Node.js executable ("node" on Mac OS X, "node.exe" on Windows) cannot be found by SublimeLinter, you may have to set the path to the executable in the "sublimelinter_executable_map" setting. See the "Configuring" section below for info on SublimeLinter settings.

Configuring

There are a number of settings available to customize the behavior of SublimeLinter and its linters. For the latest information on what settings are available, select the menu item Preferences->Package Settings->SublimeLinter->Settings - Default.

Do NOT edit the default SublimeLinter settings. Your changes will be lost when SublimeLinter is updated. ALWAYS edit the user SublimeLinter settings by selecting Preferences->Package Settings->SublimeLinter->Settings - User. Note that individual settings you include in your user settings will completely replace the corresponding default setting, so you must provide that setting in its entirety.

Linter-specific notes

Following are notes specific to individual linters that you should be aware of:

  • JavaScript - If the "javascript_linter" setting is "jshint" or "jslint", this linter runs jshint (or jslint respectively) using Node.js. See "Javascript-based linters" above for information on how to install Node.js.

    If the "javascript_linter" setting is "gjslint", this linter runs the closure linter (gjslint). After installation, if gjslint cannot be found by SublimeLinter, you may have to set the path to gjslint in the "sublimelinter_executable_map" setting.

    You may want to modify the options passed to jshint, jslint, or gjslint. This can be done by using the jshint_options, jslint_options, or gjslint_options setting. Refer to the jshint.org site, the jslint.com site, or run gjslint --help for more information on the configuration options available.

    SublimeLinter supports .jshintrc files. If using JSHint, SublimeLinter will recursively search the directory tree (from the file location to the file-system root directory). This functionality is specified in the JSHint README.

  • CSS - This linter runs csslint. This linter requires a Javascript engine (like Node.js) to be installed (see notes above for the JavaScript linters: "jshint" or "jslint").

    By default all CSSLint settings are turned on. You may customize CSSLint behavior with the "csslint_options" setting. Please select Preferences->Package Settings->SublimeLinter->Settings - Default for more information on turning off or adjusting severity of tests. For more information about options available to CSSLint, see https://github.com/stubbornella/csslint/wiki/Rules.

  • perl - Due to a vulnerability (issue #77) with the Perl linter, Perl syntax checking is no longer enabled by default. The default linter for Perl has been replaced by Perl::Critic. The standard Perl syntax checker can still be invoked by switching the "perl_linter" setting to "perl".

  • ruby - If you are using rvm or rbenv, you will probably have to specify the full path to the ruby you are using in the "sublimelinter_executable_map" setting. See "Configuring" below for more info.

  • java - Because it uses javac to do linting, each time you run the linter the entire dependency graph of the current file will be checked. Depending on the number of classes you import, this can be extremely slow. Also note that you must provide the -sourcepath, -classpath, -Xlint and {filename} arguments to javac in your per-project settings. See "Per-project settings" below for more information.

Per-project settings

SublimeLinter supports per-project/per-language settings. This is useful if a linter requires path configuration on a per-project basis. To edit your project settings, select the menu item Project->Edit Project. If there is no "settings" object at the top level, add one and then add a "SublimeLinter" sub-object, like this:

{
    "folders":
    [
        {
            "path": "/Users/aparajita/Projects/foo/src"
        }
    ],
    "settings":
    {
        "SublimeLinter":
        {
        }
    }
}

Within the "SublimeLinter" object, you can add a settings object for each language. The language name must match the language item in the linter's CONFIG object, which can be found in the linter's source file in the SublimeLinter/sublimelinter/modules folder. Each language can have two settings:

  • "working_directory" - If present and a valid absolute directory path, the working directory is set to this path before the linter executes. This is useful if you are providing linter arguments that contain paths and you want to use working directory-relative paths instead of absolute paths.
  • "lint_args" - If present, it must be a sequence of string arguments to pass to the linter. If your linter expects a filename as an argument, use the argument "{filename}" as a placeholder. Note that if you provide this item, you are responsible for passing all required arguments to the linter.

For example, let's say we are editing a Java project and want to use the "java" linter, which requires a source path and class path. In addition, we want to ignore serialization errors. Our project settings might look like this:

{
    "folders":
    [
        {
            "path": "/Users/aparajita/Projects/foo/src"
        }
    ],
    "settings":
    {
        "SublimeLinter":
        {
            "java":
            {
                "working_directory": "/Users/aparajita/Projects/foo",

                "lint_args":
                [
                    "-sourcepath", "src",
                    "-classpath", "libs/log4j-1.2.9.jar:libs/commons-logging-1.1.jar",
                    "-Xlint", "-Xlint:-serial",
                    "{filename}"
                ]
            }
        }
    }
}

The jshint follows convention set by node-jshint (though node is not required) and will attempt to locate the configuration file for you starting in pwd. (or "present working directory") If this does not yield a .jshintrc file, it will move one level up (..) the directory tree all the way up to the filesystem root. If a file is found, it stops immediately and uses that set of configuration instead of "jshint_options".

Customizing colors

IMPORTANT - The theme style names have recently changed. The old and new color names are:

Old                     New
---------------------   -----------------------------
sublimelinter.<type>    sublimelinter.outline.<type>
invalid.<type>          sublimelinter.underline.<type>

Please change the names in your color themes accordingly.

There are three types of "errors" flagged by SublimeLinter: illegal, violation, and warning. For each type, SublimeLinter will indicate the offending line and the character position at which the error occurred on the line.

By default SublimeLinter will outline offending lines using the background color of the "sublimelinter.outline." theme style, and underline the character position using the background color of the "sublimelinter.underline." theme style, where is one of the three error types.

If these styles are not defined, the color will be black when there is a light background color and black when there is a dark background color. You may define a single "sublimelinter.outline" or "sublimelinter.underline" style to color all three types, or define separate substyles for one or more types to color them differently.

If you want to make the offending lines glaringly obvious (perhaps for those who tend to ignore lint errors), you can set the user setting:

"sublimelinter_fill_outlines": true

When this is set true, lines that have errors will be colored with the background and foreground color of the "sublime.outline." theme style. Unless you have defined those styles, this setting should be left false.

You may also mark lines with errors by putting an "x" in the gutter with the user setting:

"sublimelinter_gutter_marks": true

To customize the colors used for highlighting errors and user notes, add the following to your theme (adapting the color to your liking):

<dict>
    <key>name</key>
    <string>SublimeLinter Annotations</string>
    <key>scope</key>
    <string>sublimelinter.notes</string>
    <key>settings</key>
    <dict>
        <key>background</key>
        <string>#FFFFAA</string>
        <key>foreground</key>
        <string>#FFFFFF</string>
    </dict>
</dict>
<dict>
    <key>name</key>
    <string>SublimeLinter Error Outline</string>
    <key>scope</key>
    <string>sublimelinter.outline.illegal</string>
    <key>settings</key>
    <dict>
        <key>background</key>
        <string>#FF4A52</string>
        <key>foreground</key>
        <string>#FFFFFF</string>
    </dict>
</dict>
<dict>
    <key>name</key>
    <string>SublimeLinter Error Underline</string>
    <key>scope</key>
    <string>sublimelinter.underline.illegal</string>
    <key>settings</key>
    <dict>
        <key>background</key>
        <string>#FF0000</string>
    </dict>
</dict>
<dict>
    <key>name</key>
    <string>SublimeLinter Warning Outline</string>
    <key>scope</key>
    <string>sublimelinter.outline.warning</string>
    <key>settings</key>
    <dict>
        <key>background</key>
        <string>#DF9400</string>
        <key>foreground</key>
        <string>#FFFFFF</string>
    </dict>
</dict>
<dict>
    <key>name</key>
    <string>SublimeLinter Warning Underline</string>
    <key>scope</key>
    <string>sublimelinter.underline.warning</string>
    <key>settings</key>
    <dict>
        <key>background</key>
        <string>#FF0000</string>
    </dict>
</dict>
<dict>
    <key>name</key>
    <string>SublimeLinter Violation Outline</string>
    <key>scope</key>
    <string>sublimelinter.outline.violation</string>
    <key>settings</key>
    <dict>
        <key>background</key>
        <string>#ffffff33</string>
        <key>foreground</key>
        <string>#FFFFFF</string>
    </dict>
</dict>
<dict>
    <key>name</key>
    <string>SublimeLinter Violation Underline</string>
    <key>scope</key>
    <string>sublimelinter.underline.violation</string>
    <key>settings</key>
    <dict>
        <key>background</key>
        <string>#FF0000</string>
    </dict>
</dict>

Using

SublimeLinter runs in one of three modes, which is determined by the "sublimelinter" user setting:

  • Background mode (the default) - When the "sublimelinter" setting is true, linting is performed in the background as you modify a file (if the relevant linter supports it). If you like instant feedback, this is the best way to use SublimeLinter. If you want feedback, but not instantly, you can try another mode or set a minimum queue delay with the "sublimelinter_delay" setting, so that the linter will only run after a certain amount of idle time.
  • Load-save mode - When the "sublimelinter" setting is "load-save", linting is performed only when a file is loaded and after saving. Errors are cleared as soon as the file is modified.
  • Save-only mode - When the "sublimelinter" setting is "save-only", linting is performed only after a file is saved. Errors are cleared as soon as the file is modified.
  • On demand mode - When the "sublimelinter" setting is false, linting is performed only when initiated by you. Use the Control+Command+L (OS X) or Control+Alt+L (Linux/Windows) key equivalent or the Command Palette to lint the current file. If the current file has no associated linter, the command will not be available.

Within a file whose language/syntax is supported by SublimeLinter, you can control SublimeLinter via the Command Palette (Command+Shift+P on OS X, Control+Shift+P on Linux/Windows). The available commands are:

  • SublimeLinter: Lint Current File - Lints the current file, highlights any errors and displays how many errors were found.
  • SublimeLinter: Show Error List - Lints the current file, highlights any errors and displays a quick panel with any errors that are found. Selecting an item from the quick panel jumps to that line.
  • SublimeLinter: Background Linting - Enables background linting mode for the current view and lints it.
  • SublimeLinter: Disable Linting - Disables linting mode for the current view and clears all lint errors.
  • SublimeLinter: Load-Save Linting - Enables load-save linting mode for the current view and clears all lint errors.
  • SublimeLinter: Save-Only Linting - Enables save-only linting mode for the current view and clears all lint errors.
  • SublimeLinter: Reset - Clears all lint errors and sets the linting mode to the value in the SublimeLinter.sublime-settings file.

Depending on the file and the current state of background enabling, some of the commands will not be available.

When an error is highlighted by the linter, putting the cursor on the offending line will result in the error message being displayed on the status bar.

If you want to be shown a popup list of all errors whenever a file is saved, modify the user setting:

"sublimelinter_popup_errors_on_save": true

If there are errors in the file, a quick panel will appear which shows the error message, line number and source code for each error. The starting location of all errors on the line are marked with "^". Selecting an error in the quick panel jumps directly to the location of the first error on that line.

While editing a file, you can quickly move to the next/previous lint error with the following key equivalents:

  • OS X:

    next: Control+Command+E
    prev: Control+Command+Shift+E
    
  • Linux, Windows:

    next: Control+Alt+E
    prev: Control+Alt+Shift+E
    

By default the search will wrap. You can turn wrapping off with the user setting:

"sublimelinter_wrap_find": false

Troubleshooting

If a linter does not seem to be working, you can check the ST2 console to see if it was enabled. When SublimeLinter is loaded, you will see messages in the console like this:

Reloading plugin /Users/aparajita/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 2/Packages/SublimeLinter/sublimelinter_plugin.py
SublimeLinter: JavaScript loaded
SublimeLinter: annotations loaded
SublimeLinter: Objective-J loaded
SublimeLinter: perl loaded
SublimeLinter: php loaded
SublimeLinter: python loaded
SublimeLinter: ruby loaded
SublimeLinter: pylint loaded

The first time a linter is asked to lint, it will check to see if it can be enabled. You will then see messages like this:

SublimeLinter: JavaScript enabled (using JavaScriptCore)
SublimeLinter: Ruby enabled (using "ruby" for executable)

Let's say the ruby linter is not working. If you look at the console, you may see a message like this:

SublimeLinter: ruby disabled ("ruby" cannot be found)

This means that the ruby executable cannot be found on your system, which means it is not installed or not in your executable path.

Creating New Linters

If you wish to create a new linter to support a new language, SublimeLinter makes it easy. Here are the steps involved:

  • Create a new file in sublimelinter/modules. If your linter uses an external executable, you will probably want to copy perl.py. If your linter uses built in code, copy objective-j.py. The convention is to name the file the same as the language that will be linted.

  • Configure the CONFIG dict in your module. See the comments in base_linter.py for information on the values in that dict. You only need to set the values in your module that differ from the defaults in base_linter.py, as your module's CONFIG is merged with the default. Note that if your linter uses an external executable that does not take stdin, setting 'input_method' to INPUT_METHOD_TEMP_FILE will allow interactive linting with that executable.

  • If your linter uses built in code, override built_in_check() and return the errors found.

  • Override parse_errors() and process the errors. If your linter overrides built_in_check(), parse_errors() will receive the result of that method. If your linter uses an external executable, parse_errors() receives the raw output of the executable, stripped of leading and trailing whitespace.

  • If you linter is powered via Javascript (eg. Node.js), there are few steps that will simplify the integration.

    Create a folder matching your linter name in the SublimeLinter/sublimelinter/modules/lib directory. This folder should include the linting library JS file (eg. jshint.js, csslint-Node.js) and a linter.js file. The linter.js file should require() the actual linter library file and export a lint() function. The lint() function should return a list of errors back to the python language handler file (via the errors parameter to the parse_errors() method).

    Although linter.js should follow the Node.js api, the linter may also be run via JavaScriptCore on OS X if Node.js is not installed. In the case where JavaScriptCore is used, require + export are shimmed to keep things consistent. However, it is important not to assume that a full Node.js api is available. If you must know what JS engine you are using, you may check for USING_JSC to be set as true when JavaScriptCore is used.

    For examples of using the JS engines, see csslint, jslint, and jshint in SublimeLinter/sublimelinter/modules/libs and the respective python code of css.py and javascript.py in SublimeLinter/sublimelinter/modules.

If your linter has more complex requirements, see the comments for CONFIG in base_linter.py, and use the existing linters as guides.

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