Two suggestions for the compiler

30 Dec 2010

Two items to throw into the feature request pile:

1. When a file is modified but not yet saved, its filename is highlighted and an asterisk is appended. Could the highlight treatment be extended to the folder(s) which contain the file?

I ran into this last night. After a long session, I tried to close the browser window. There was a message from mbed, saying that there were unsaved files. But when I scanned the Program Workspace, none showed up. That was because the changed file was in a subdirectory (project/include/filename). So I had to open all the projects and their subdirectories, one by one, to find the file in question.

Highlighting the upper level directories in which changed files reside would have made this job trivial.

2. When clicking on a file name, that file is opened in the edit window. But focus does not shift automatically to the edit window. So the user needs to move the mouse to the edit window and click once before he can select, copy, paste, etc.

It can be misleading. An example: the user highlights a bit of code in file #1, which he intends to replace with code from file #2. He navigates away from file #1 to retrieve the new code. Once he has found the proper code from file #2, he copies it to the buffer, and returns to file #1 to paste it...and when he clicks on file #1, sure enough it seems to pop up ready for the paste. The highlighted text is still highlighted, just as it was when he left. But if the user tries to paste over it straightaway, nothing happens. Focus hasn't shifted, so the paste goes into the aether. Now the user realizes his mistake and moves the mouse over, clicks it, and tries to paste again. For this, he is rewarded with **two** copies of his buffered text being pasted into the target. Oops.

It would be convenient for the focus to shift automatically. Perhaps it could retain the current behavior on a single-click, but have the new behavior (i.e., auto focus shift) when opened with a double-click.

Thanks for considering these suggestions.

13 Jan 2011

OK, here is a third suggestion for the compiler.

It would be very helpful to allow a file in one project to be linked (as opposed to copied) to one or more other projects. That way, a change made to the file would propagate across projects. This would be helpful for, say, a hardware description header file that might be referenced by many different test programs.

As it stands, if a change is made to the header during debugging, that change has to be manually propagated to all other copies - a tedious process.

BTW, is there a publicly-accessible list of suggestions currently under consideration for the compiler? I don't want to make suggestions that duplicate someone's previous request.