Sunday, August 02, 2009

Developer Tools and JavaScript Syntax Checking

I was using Coda to do web development, primarily because of the simple interface, nice Panic Sans font and integrated FTP and Subversion support. I normally just use TextWrangler for Dojo Core development.

However, while doing development at the new job, FTP/Subversion support was not needed, and I have grown tired having to run my JavaScript in the browser to find basic syntax errors.

I saw David Ascher using Komodo Edit, the free editor from ActiveState, which has JavaScript syntax checking built in. Searching in the Tools, Add-Ons menu for Dojo also brought up a Dojo API Catalogs extension that allowed for autocomplete of Dojo APIs.

Komodo Edit has been mentioned in the Dojo community before as a nice option particularly for doing Dojo development, but I can get severe tunnel-vision, so it was not until recently that really tried out Komodo Edit.

After I changed the key bindings to use the normal OS X COMMAND+] and COMMAND+[ for multi-line indenting, I was ready to go!

It makes a difference having syntax checking and Dojo API autocompletion. I believe other tools, like Emacs with js2-mode, can get at least syntax checking, but I am not an Emacs user. It would be neat to see Coda (and TextWrangler) add JavaScript syntax checking support. I can see JavaScript syntax checking being a minimum requirement for JS coders going forward.

As Bespin comes along, I can see it as my next developer tool upgrade, particularly since FTP support has been implicitly needed for some of my projects. With Bespin, I might be able to edit directly on the server.

For now I am enjoying the bump in productivity with Komodo Edit. Thanks ActiveState for making a nice tool available for free!


neonstalwart said...

aptana studio is a good free eclipse-based IDE with support for dojo code-assist. includes jetty as a preview server, json editor, git/svn/cvs/... SCM support as eclipse plugins, etc. if you're the kind of person who prefers an IDE to the command line then aptana studio is another good option worth considering. my preference is the eclipse plugin version rather than the standalone version.

Eugene Lazutkin said...

Welcome to Komodo Edit editing! :-) I am curious to see when Bespin is mature enough to replace it in my tool set.