On the 20th anniversary of Photoshop, it's easy to think of Adobe as being all about images and media but with products like Dreamweaver and Flash Builder the company also has a lot of interest in making it easier to write lines of code.
At the Sneak Peeks session at its MAX conference (hosted in style by William Shatner and full of obligatory Star Trek jokes), Adobe showed off several features that might make it into future products to make developers' lives easier. Being able to use the live preview in Flash Builder to change the design and add new buttons drew plenty of applause (almost as much as Shatner himself); "we're modifying a running program while it's running," pointed out Greg DeMichillie, the director of Flash product management.
But for a lot of development, it comes down to writing lines of code - and reading through long programs - and that hasn't changed much in the last couple of decades. Pretty printing colour-coding may help you spot the syntax of a single line of code; the idea behind Designer Logic is to use the typography that Adobe usually offers designers to make developers more productive. Type a curly brace and the editor marks off your package or class or function with horizontal lines - and until you close that section of code, you donâ??t get the closing line, which can make t easier to see if you've forgotten to close it off. Comments are highlighted in grey boxes - so it's very clear if you've let the comment run on too far into the code. Putting the class name in bigger type and tucking the class keyword up out of the way so you see the class name quickly or formatting the function header to emphasise the arguments means "they act like section headers in a long word processing document," according to David Durkee from the Flash Professional team who demonstrated the prototype. Start typing a string and it shows in red until you mark the end, when it turns green; which again means that if you leave out a vital piece of punctuation you can see it.
Laying out code to make it more legible
There isn't much visual feedback in most text editors, meaning simple mistakes are hard to spot and finding the section of code you want means careful reading; "a traditional editor is floating in a sea of noise" said Durkee poetically.
Which function is easier to find when you scroll through code?
And if you donâ??t like that styling for code, you can create your own - whatever makes the code so easy to read you can write and debug it faster.