Fluid Source Code Editor Alpha
Fluid Source Code Editor Alpha Ranking & Summary
Fluid Source Code Editor Alpha description
Fluid Source Code Editor Alpha is regarded as an effective and useful editor extension for the Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE) which supports the fluid exploration of java source code.
Fluid source code exploration is carried in terms of interactive annotations embedded at particular locations in the source code presentation. The user interacts with the annotations to introduce related fragments of source code into the context of the current document. Essentially instead of jumping between source code locations the user can interactively bring related fragments of source code together into a single view.
To quickly get an idea of what the fluid editor is about check out the short video below. It shows some simple source code exploration being carried out with the fluid editor. As you will see instead of navigating between files the programmer uses annotations to expand related code into the visible source code document. The different colors indicate depth of exploration and different source code relationships.
- At its core the Eclipse Fluid Editor provides a new mechanism with which to explore and examine source code.
- In the modern IDE environment source code is predominantly explored in terms of source code cross-references which provide navigational links between related fragments of source code. Cross references represent the 'declares' program relationship and are typically presented to the user/programmer as source code 'hyperlinks'. Programmers use these source code hyperlinks in a similar manner to web browsing to navigate control flow and examine the structural layout of source code within the IDE editor.
- However exploring source code via cross references can be problematic. The constant view switching and lack of a visible exploration path places a cognitive burden on the programmer which can lead to a state of disorientation and reduced productivity. Programmers often become 'lost in code space', losing focus on their exploration task.
- Work is aimed at improving the exploration environment provided by modern integrated development environments (IDE's) in order to reduce the cognative burden placed on the programmer when exploring and navigating source code. The Eclipse Fluid Editor is a part of this work.
- The Eclipse Fluid Editor introduces the concept of fluid source code exploration which offers a complementary form of 'in document' exploration of source code. Fluid source code exploration is carried out in terms of interactive annotations embedded directly into the source code presentation. The programmer interacts with the annotations to expand related fragments of source code into the context of the visible source code document.
- The current prototype of the Eclipse Fluid Editor faciliates the expansion of method invocations, field identifiers and local variable identifiers. When the programmer encounters a method invocation he/she can choose to expand the associated method declaration into the context of the visible source code document. The same mechanism applies for field and local variable identifiers.
- The Eclipse Fluid Editor also supports nested expansion of source code fragments. The programmer can expand any fluid annotations contained within an already expanded fragment of source code. Each level of expansion from the visible source code document is represented with a different shade to indicate to the programmer that they are exploring 'deeper' into the code space related to the visible source code document. The expansion of local variable and field declarations are also represented with specific colors to differentiate from method expansions.
- Fluid source code exploration works in harmony with the traditional 'hyperlink' style source code navigation metaphor. The source code contained in expanded source code fragments can be navigated as normal using source code cross references. The fluid editor also supports explicit navigation to the native location of an expanded source code fragment using the expansion itself as the hyperlink.
- The Eclipse Fluid Editor supports a unique fluid exploration mechanism for polymorphic method invocations. When a method executed on an interface or abstract class is expanded a selection of potential matches are presented fluidly in context. The programmer can then expand the selections as desired to compare and contrast the various implementations.
- In situations when a large amount of related content is expanded into a primary source code document the programmer can lose orientation within the expansion tree. For these situations the Eclipse Fluid Editor comes bundled with an auxiliary fluid visualization view providing a thumbnailesque overview of the visible source code document. Using the fluid visualization view the programmer can easily navigate back to the primary document or sections of the expansion tree.
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