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SyntaxEditor vNext IntelliPrompt Updates

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As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort (codenamed vNext) is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

The past three weeks or so, we've been plugging along on refactoring a lot of the internals of SyntaxEditor's IntelliPrompt UI features so that the same codebase can be shared across the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.

While the WPF and UWP version's APIs are pretty much staying the same (with a couple minor tweaks to completion filters), the WinForms version will see some massive new capabilities, especially with completion.

IntelliPrompt Features Summary Video

Let's dig in and see a visual summary of some amazing completion list features that will be available in the all three SyntaxEditor vNext platforms.  This video shows the WPF SyntaxEditor editing a Python document using our advanced Python Language Add-on.

 

2018-12-12_10-46-08

Toggle Button and Tab Completion Filter UI

The completion list allows for toggle button and tab filters to be added.  Toggle button filters allow you to check the kinds of items you wish to see in the completion list.  If nothing is toggled, then all results are displayed.  Tab filters let you select between two or more main options, with one being an "All" option.

While the current WPF and UWP versions already support toggle button and tab filter UI, this is a new feature for the WinForms version.  And in vNext, the toggle buttons work more like they do in Visual Studio 2017.

Filtering Unmatched Items

As you type, the completion list filters out items that don't match.  This is an option already available in the WPF/UWP versions, but is new for the WinForms version.

Matched Text Highlights

When typing text, the letters in each item that match will be highlighted in the list.  This feature makes it clear why an item is matched and is especially useful when not filtering unmatched items, or using some more advanced item matcher algorithms like acronym or shorthand.

This feature is already available in the WPF version, but is new for the UWP and WinForms versions.

Python Language Add-on

As described in this previous post, the Python Language Add-on is new for the WinForms version of SyntaxEditor.

We've also updated the IntelliPrompt completion in the add-on to dynamically show toggle button and tab filter UI based on the items that are present.  For instance, in the animation above when there were no classes available in the list, there was no "Classes" toggle button in the UI.

New Icons

As described in this previous post, the WPF and UWP Metro icons used in IntelliPrompt have been drawn from scratch as vector icons and will render crisp and clear on any high DPI monitor. 

The WinForms version is getting Metro icons as well, whereas they only had Classic icons before.

What's Next

We have IntelliPrompt completion, parameter info, and quick info completed for all three platforms.  Next is to knock out code snippet UI and then all IntelliPrompt features should be about done.

WinForms SyntaxEditor vNext Updates

BlogPostBanner-SyntaxEditor-DevNotes

As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort (codenamed vNext) is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

In today's post, I wanted to call out a couple of new WinForms SyntaxEditor vNext updates that are being made as part of unifying the codebase across all platforms.  These features were already available in the WPF and UWP versions.

Python Language Add-on

While we've had an advanced Python language add-on for the WPF and UWP versions of SyntaxEditor for a while, due to infrastructure differences, it was never available in WinForms. 

SyntaxEditorWinFormsPython

This is all changing in vNext.  The full add-on will be available, including automated IntelliPrompt as seen ion the WinForms SyntaxEditor screenshot above.

NavigableSymbolSelector Control

The WinForms version had a dropdown that sat above the editor and could be used for .NET language types and members.  The problem is that it was limited to the C# and VB languages only, since it shipped in the WinForms .NET Languages Add-on.

In vNext, we have a NavigableSymbolSelector control that can display one or two dropdowns.  And any language can be wired up to show symbols, not just C# and VB.  In the screenshot above, you can see Python showing the current function in it.

What's Next

We are currently working through porting IntelliPrompt feature areas to vNext.  Quick info and parameter info popups are completed.  Next, we will move onto completion lists.

SyntaxEditor vNext Vector and Metro Images

BlogPostBanner-SyntaxEditor-DevNotes

As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort (codenamed vNext) is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

We've been plowing through remaining SyntaxEditor feature areas that need to be ported to our vNext codebase, and there are only a few left.  One that we just completed is updating images used in the product, which appear in IntelliPrompt popups and the NavigableSymbolSelector.

Vector Metro Images (WPF/UWP)

The WPF and UWP versions of SyntaxEditor have had Metro Light and Metro Dark image set options for quite a while now.  But they've always been raster (bitmap) graphics that don't appear crisp on high DPI monitors.  This is something we're addressing in vNext.

For vNext, all of the Metro images will be vector images.  They will look crisp and clear at 16x16 100% DPI, but will look just as good (if not better) when used on high DPI monitors.

Here's the images at 200%:

SyntaxEditorVectorImages

Metro Images for WinForms

The WinForms SyntaxEditor has only had the Classic image set in the past.  The Classic image set is similar to the full color gradient images found in earlier versions of Visual Studio.

In vNext, we're bringing the Metro Light and Metro Dark image sets as options to the WinForms SyntaxEditor, with the Metro Light set as the default.

What's Next

We are continuing to work through remaining feature areas that need porting to the vNext codebase.  The last big one to tackle is IntelliPrompt.  Some of the UI pieces involved in IntelliPrompt need to be updated a bit for compatibility between the three platforms.  Once we get that going, these new vector images will look amazing in the IntelliPrompt UI.

SyntaxEditor vNext Performance Tuning and Printing

BlogPostBanner-SyntaxEditor-DevNotes

As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort (codenamed vNext) is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

For the last three weeks or so of SyntaxEditor vNext development, we've been working on performance profiling and printing support.

Performance Profiling

As part of vNext, we are doing our best to speed up the editor even more than before. 

The Universal Windows version of SyntaxEditor is many times faster than the current UWP SyntaxEditor.  A large part of that is due to the newer way we measure and render the control in vNext, which is significantly faster than what we were able to do in the past.  Other tunings also help.  Let's examine some performance results.

Using page-down to scroll through a large document, we're seeing a 3.5x speed increase in the vNext UWP SyntaxEditor!  UWP SyntaxEditor speed increases when dragging the scrollbar thumb are even more evident.  There is a bit of a lag in the current UWP SyntaxEditor, whereas in the vNext UWP SyntaxEditor, the display is instant and tracks with the dragged thumb perfectly.

Running the same page-down scrolling test in WinForms, we're seeing a 20% improvement in speed over the older version.  The WPF version is seeing a slight improvement in scrolling speed over before as well, although it has always scrolled extremely fast.

We are continuing to work on tuning the API to maximize performance when scrolling and editing.

Printing

Printing support has been added back into vNext for the WPF and WinForms versions.  We are currently working on the UWP version's printing support.  These features allow you to easily print out a document to paper, or a PDF file using the "Microsoft Print to PDF" virtual printer found in Windows 10.

What's Next

We are going to wrap up UWP printing support next, and then will move onto a few other areas left to port over to the API.  Large remaining areas include searching and IntelliPrompt feature APIs.

SyntaxEditor vNext Multiple Selection Pasting

BlogPostBanner-SyntaxEditor-DevNotes

As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort (codenamed vNext) is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

As described in recent blog posts, we've been working on adding multiple caret/selection support to SyntaxEditor in vNext.  In this post, I'd like to show off a neat new feature related to copying/pasting text when there are multiple selections.

Pasting Demo

At the start of this animation, I do a line copy, which occurs when there is no selection and you press Ctrl+C.  Then I paste that line in three times.

Next I select the text "Actipro," then Ctrl+select the text "SyntaxEditor," and finally Ctrl+select the text "vNext."  The Ctrl+selections have allowed me to create three selections.  At this point I could type and it would replace each of those selections with what I typed.  Instead, I'm going to press Ctrl+C again to copy the selected text.

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When I copy multiple selections, each selection's text is appended together and delimited by a line terminator.  So if you would paste what I copied into Notepad, it would paste as:

Actipro
SyntaxEditor
vNext

In the animation, the next thing I do is put a caret in each of the three empty strings by Ctrl+clicking in them.  We just added some new vNext logic that will compare the number of selections with the number of lines in the pasted text.  When they are equal, as they are in this demo, each line in the pasted text will get pasted into the related selection.  The end result is you can see how each of the three selections I originally copied end up in a separate target selection.

Summary

Multiple caret/selection support touches many portions of the editor and we are continuing to work through updating all feature areas to support it.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

SyntaxEditor vNext Multiple Caret/Selection Progress

BlogPostBanner-SyntaxEditor-DevNotes

As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

We are continuing development on our SyntaxEditor control, adding many modern features under a unified API design.  One enormous feature area getting added is multiple carets/selections.  We briefly proposed adding this feature several months ago in this blog post to gather feedback.

Now that we've had time to iterate on development of it, I wanted to share a demo so you can see how it works.

Multiple Carets/Selections Demo

In this screen capture animation, we show how SyntaxEditor vNext will support multiple carets/selections.

2018-07-18_11-41-52

I first select a word using my mouse and click/dragging like normal.  Then I select text under it while holding the Ctrl key and click/dragging.  Afterward I notice I accidentally selected too many characters.  I hold Ctrl and click the second selection to collapse it.  Then I hold Ctrl and click/drag to make the correct selection.

Next I hold Ctrl and click in another word to add a third caret.  I remove that same third caret by Ctrl+clicking on it again.  This is a nice feature for when you accidentally add a caret/selection you didn't mean to add.

Finally, edit actions like typing will affect all selections.  You can see in the animation how typing "Foo" affects the two selections.  Pressing Ctrl+Z for undo applies to all the selections.

Summary

Adding multiple caret/selection support is a massive feature area that touches many portions of the product.  While it's taken a while to implement, we're very pleased with the progress thus far and think it will really be exciting for end users.

Let us know what you think of this feature area in the comments.

Interest in SyntaxEditor Multiple Caret/Selection Features?

BlogPostBanner-SyntaxEditor-DevNotes

As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

As we continue development of SyntaxEditor vNext, we are getting into porting in the caret/selection feature area.  We've seen a couple newer editors support the concept of multiple carets/selections and would like to get some feedback on if this is a desired feature by our customers.  This is different than the rectangular box selection feature we currently already support.

Rectangular Box Selection

Rectangular box selection is already supported in SyntaxEditor and looks like this:

SyntaxEditorBoxSelection

When this selection is active, you can type and it will enter text at the same column on each line.  You can also copy box-selected text and when it's pasted, it will retain the box layout.  This is a very handy and powerful feature.

Multiple Carets/Selections

Now what happens if you want to make multiple updates but not necessarily in the same column.  Let's take a look at a scenario:

SyntaxEditorMultiScenario

In the screenshot above, the caret is next to a Write method call.  Let's say we want to update all the Write method calls to be WriteLine instead.  We could change it once and copy/paste it to the other locations.  But if we had multiple caret support, you could throw a caret at the end of each of the four Write method calls (in various columns) and simply type Line to update all of them.

One implementation of this I saw used Alt+Click to add carets.  I don't personally like this because Alt is used as a system menu accelerator and causes issues like underlines to appear in menus if you Alt+Click

Another implementation of this used Ctrl+Click to add carets.  That seems better since it won't run into the system menu accelerator issue.  The downside is that Ctrl+Click is currently used in SyntaxEditor (and Visual Studio's code editor) to do quick word selection.  Thus we'd need to rework some of our existing keyboard shortcuts to accommodate new features.

Both these implementations also use Ctrl+U as a way to undo the last selection change, whereas SyntaxEditor and VS currently tie that keyboard shortcut to making selected text lowercase.

Summary

Let's hear from you… is the multiple caret/selection feature something you'd like to see?  How would you prefer to see the keyboard shortcuts adjusted to accommodate new features?

SyntaxEditor vNext - Customizing Line Numbers

BlogPostBanner-SyntaxEditor-DevNotes

As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

In the previous SyntaxEditor vNext post, we showed some massive improvements in SyntaxEditor touch interaction, including inertia-based touch scrolling and pinch-to-zoom features.  In today's post, we'll examine a new feature area that allows you to customize the line numbers displayed in each view's line number margin.

Default Behavior

By default, a view's line number margin displays the line number (document line index plus one) for each view line.  If a view line is a wrapped line, nothing appears for that view line in the margin.

SyntaxEditorLineNumbersDefault

In vNext, several new features are being added to support customization of the line number display.

Document Fragment Scenario

One scenario where line number customization is appropriate is when you have an enormous file and only want SyntaxEditor to show a fragment of it, such as several thousand lines.  In this scenario, you might make a document with lines 10,000-20,000 in it.  The first line in SyntaxEditor is really line 10,000 in the file, but it normally shows as line #1 in the line number margin.  This can be confusing to the end user.

SyntaxEditorLineNumbersOrigin

A new property on the document class allows you to change the line number origin, which defaults to 1.  For the scenario described above, you'd set it to 10,000 instead.  All line numbers after that origin number will continue to be relative to it.

Advanced Scenarios

What about cases where a language might have specific line numbers or labels that should show for certain view lines?  This is possible too via a new language service that allows for completely customizing the text to display for each view line in the line number margin.

SyntaxEditorLineNumbersCustom

In the screenshot above, we've set the line number margin to show the zero-based offset of each line.  For a couple lines, we've also indicated labels for the namespace and class lines.

Summary

The new custom line numbering features are very easy to use for changing default line number margin content.

SyntaxEditor vNext - Touch Panning and Zooming

BlogPostBanner-SyntaxEditor-DevNotes

As mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on refactoring the core internal implementation of our SyntaxEditor code editor control on the WPF, UWP, and WinForms platforms.  This effort is being made to bring all three platforms onto the same codebase for easier updating moving forward, and to enhance features wherever possible.

In the previous post, we discussed how a new text rendering engine was being built that improved rendering speed, and how numerous scrolling improvements have been made.  In today's post, we'll take a look at how some new touch-input features are being added to vNext that take advantage of the rendering engine and scrolling enhancements.

Touch Interaction

In the current version, the UWP SyntaxEditor is the only one that supports touch-based scrolling, and its implementation scrolls in a line-based fashion, making the scroll experience choppy.

In vNext, we wanted to improve this.  As seen in the animation below, we've added touch scrolling support to the WPF, UWP, and WinForms SyntaxEditors, and the scrolling is pixel-smooth.  The scrolling even uses inertia, allowing for flick scrolling!

SyntaxEditorTouch

The WPF and UWP platforms support touch zooming as well, which can also be seen in the animation above.  Simply take two fingers and pinch to zoom.  It all uses smooth animated transitions too.

Summary

Adding improved touch input support is something we've wanted to do for a long time.  We're very pleased with how these features have turned out so far.

SyntaxEditor vNext Is Progressing

BlogPostBanner-SyntaxEditor-DevNotes

We've spent the past three months mostly working on redesigning some of the core implementation of our SyntaxEditor control and wanted to give an update today on where things stand.  From this point forward, we'll call this development effort "SyntaxEditor vNext".

Unified Text Rendering Engine

The first phase of this was described in our previous Building a Better SyntaxEditor Text Rendering Engine post.  What we've done is come up with a common API that can be used for text rendering and is the same across WPF, UWP, and WinForms.  It allows consumers of this text rendering API (namely SyntaxEditor) to have a single way to perform all its core text formatting/rendering, etc. 

This is important because when we have a common API wrapper for performing those difficult and very platform-specific tasks, we are able to consolidate all the code that calls into that API to be more or less platform agnostic.  And that means the WinForms SyntaxEditor will see some huge benefits.  More on that below.

Universal Windows

The new UWP text rendering engine implementation is much, much faster than the current way we render text in the UWP SyntaxEditor.  In fact it might even be rendering faster than the WPF version now!  The new UWP text rendering engine also allows for more culture-sensitive logic involving caret movement, right-to-left text, etc.

Windows Forms

The new WinForms text rendering engine implementation is also faster than before and now supports culture-sensitive logic involving caret movement, right-to-left text, etc. 

WPF

The WPF text rendering engine implementation has always been the most advanced one, and it's getting even better.  It features improved efficiency and handles extremely long lines better.

Getting the WinForms SyntaxEditor on the Common Codebase

Per above, a key benefit of having a common API for text formatting/rendering is to finally make progress on migrating the WinForms SyntaxEditor to share code with the other newer platforms that already share a majority of code.  This would mean that the WinForms version would get all the benefits of the more advanced add-ons found in the WPF version, etc. 

This is huge for WinForms SyntaxEditor customers, and parity with the WPF version is something many customers have asked for.

Refactoring the SyntaxEditor Internals

In more recent weeks, we've been refactoring a lot of SyntaxEditor's internals that are related to views, including view management, splitting, scrolling, etc.  We're building a new internal codebase for those features that works the same across WPF, UWP, and WinForms.  And best of all, we're doing our best to keep the same public API as the current WPF version so that there will be minimal breaking changes.

The refactoring is going well thus far, but it is a long process since we're adding feature areas back in one by one with more efficient code and in numerous cases, with additional features.  Here's some examples of improvements in the scrolling area…

Scrolling Improvements

Scrolling has been improved so that you can easily scroll an editor view to any line and even designate if that line should appear near the top/center/bottom of the view, and how far to pixel offset from that location.  This will be wonderful for features like go to line.

When resizing an editor view that is scrolled to the right, if you now resize it even wider, the view lines will anchor to the right when appropriate to make sure not too much whitespace appears at the right side of the view.  In the current SyntaxEditor implementations, the horizontal scrollbar wouldn't scroll at all in that scenario, leading to a lot of extra blank space on the right side of the view.

When vertically scrolling through documents with various view line widths, the current SyntaxEditor implementations will adjust the horizontal scrollbar maximum mostly based on the visible view lines' maximum width.  The newer implementation tries to remember longer line max widths it's seen in the past and prevents a lot of the horizontal scrollbar maximum jumpiness that can happen when scrolling vertically.

Summary

We're really excited about where things are heading.  Not only are we getting a better internal codebase for managing a lot of view-related features, we're adding features as we go, and are consolidating the WPF, UWP, and WinForms codebases such that they will share 95%+ of the code.  This will allow for language add-on codebases to be shared across all platforms.  And the public SyntaxEditor API changes for the WPF/UWP platforms will be kept to a minimum.

If you have any specific view-oriented features that you'd like to see in SyntaxEditor, now is the time to get your suggestions in. 

We're chatting daily about progress in our Slack workspace and would love for you to discuss SyntaxEditor with us there.