8 Replies Latest reply on Sep 28, 2012 1:18 AM by vince.menanno

    Type Ahead and Code Completion


      It would be great to be able to use these kinds of features in our calculations dialogs.


      I thinik it was already mentioned if we could also have a monospaced font.


      Basically the things that other languages have in terms of creating and editing code.

        • 1. Re: Type Ahead and Code Completion

          I don't normally think of type ahead and code completion as features of a programming language so much as features of a text editor. For my own part, calculation code completion is what TextExpander is for. Pro FileMaker developers requesting features from other software development environments is a common theme, but I'm not convinced that FileMaker-native implementations for some of these features would be better than the third-party implementations that have sprung up. In my experience, the more advanced a FileMaker developer is, the less they think of FileMaker's development as the whole toolbox and the more they think of FileMaker as just another tool.


          Since FileMaker calculation syntax does not give any meaning to whitespace, I'm not convinced what the value is in defaulting to a monospaced font — it almost seems like an aesthetic choice to me more than a usability concern. Monospaced fonts can even make some aspects of a calculation harder to discern. Have you ever tried to tell the difference between a hyphen and an em dash in a monospaced font? If it is an aesthetic concern, I think not using a monospaced font is the right choice. FileMaker is supposed to make features as approachable to non-developers as possible, and there's something about monospaced fonts that can turn non-developers off, I think.

          • 2. Re: Type Ahead and Code Completion

            In another thread, Vince, you suggested color-coding in ScriptMaker. 


            I'll +1 your suggestions above for calculation dialogs, and add color-coding as well.



            • 3. Re: Type Ahead and Code Completion

              There seem to be different definitions of code completion, therefore I will begin by linking to a definition that matches my understanding:



              [begin excerpt]

              Using Fix-It and Code Completion

              [end excerpt]


              The picture at the link above is the same basic user interface that I implemented in my free tool (that relies on SpellCatcher):



              FileMaker, Inc. could provide a more robust implementation of  code completion in its development environment, as it would have easier access to FileMaker objects that might be referenced in a FileMaker calculation


              SpellCatcher is the only product (that I am aware of) of its type (Snippets typinator, TypeIt4Me, textexpander, other...) that provides the external ability to build code hinting (as defined and shown above and in the video on my site).


              The future of SpellCatcher is uncertain as the developer has unfortunately passed on (after doing some very impressive coding).


              I find code completion increases my productivity...in other words +1



              • 4. Re: Type Ahead and Code Completion

                The monospace font is based on some modified FM interface files which floated round last year and give a brilliantly fresh and in my opinion easier to read interface, and the fact that whrn we all pop out to other text editors to do serious coding I imagine most use monspace fonts.


                WHATEVER it takes to increase my coding speed is worth considering. Look ath success of the British Olympic Cylcing team and relate that to the interviews abotu the value of 'marginal gains' - a little here, a little there, all add up to a dominating performance

                • 5. Re: Type Ahead and Code Completion

                  I was working today in a calculation where I copied it and pasted it into TextMate and aligned some areas so that I could simply see the patterns and was able to instantly spot the omisions. I am a very visual person and being able to just take a loot at it without even having to read or review each and every line was really helpful. Currnetly you can use Option Tab to nest parts of a calculation ... but if you use too many of them its worse than using none. Along with monospaced font it would be great to allow us to use tabs and not mess up our calculation.

                  • 6. Re: Type Ahead and Code Completion

                    Whenever I see someone mention "code completion" I can't help but think about auto-correct in iOS.  We'd need a DYAC for FileMaker!  LOL!

                    • 7. Re: Type Ahead and Code Completion

                      I already posted this link on another thread about requesting code completion functionality, but I thought it might be worth re-posting here in case future searches only find this thread. It has changed my opinion from lukewarm to wholeheartedly in favor — but productivity has nothing to do with it. The time it takes me to type calculations is not a major bottleneck to my productivity as a developer; the time it takes me to reason about and devise solutions to problems is, which is as it should be. The specific form of code completion demonstrated and advocated in that essay would be a nice addition to what I call FileMaker's already-fine "palette of available commands." It improves discoverability, which in my opinion is far more important for FileMaker than improving the speed someone can bash out a calculation they already figured out in their head. TextExpander does nothing to improve discoverability.

                      • 8. Re: Type Ahead and Code Completion

                        Thoguth I would post this as it is something that Ian (someone I know from the D3 group) has been working on and it is interesting way to merge both coding and visual sliders into an editor. It might spark some interesting ideas.