In my last post I talked about what version 1 of the new compiler is going to accomplish in the first quarter of 2015. It’s a great first step and with any switch to a newer, better technology it means some things will become easier to accomplish.
In Joe Raneri’s Compiler session he talked about several new things that the new compiler might be able to do. I will stress the might bit. If it doesn’t happen don’t say they promised it. 🙂
Autocomplete: The current autocomplete mechanism in Xojo is completely separate from the compiler. It’s possible with the new compiler these are unified. This would be great because the autocomplete code pretty much duplicates what the compiler does since it needs to process the same level of information. I’ve been told there are dozens of autocomplete classes in Xojo. If the compiler can process some of this information perhaps autocomplete will be even faster and more reliable.
Debugger Tooltips: I’ve wanted this one ever since I moved to Xojo from Visual Basic. While in the debugger it would be very cool to get the value of the variable you’re hovering over to get displayed in a tooltip. The current object viewer in the debugger is less than ideal and I really despise using it. I always seem to be fighting it so being able to hover over the variable to get its value would be a very welcome addition.
Xojo Plugins: This is the long term, and only, approach to getting plugins on iOS. Currently iOS does not allow dynamic libraries so until Xojo can create plugins, developers will have to use declares into the iOS frameworks. This is less than ideal so the new compiler will allow iOS developers to create plugins entirely in Xojo code.
I believe that, at least for iOS, Xojo plugins is a definite. How this affects desktop remains to be seen but what it would mean is that developers would not have to create plugins using C. What we don’t know is what happens to the current plugin SDK. Does it get deprecated or does the new way get more/better support over time until no one’s using the old SDK? Only time will tell.
Other: A few of the other possibilities that Joe shared that the new compiler might be able to do for us: better refactoring tools, source indexing (e.g. finding the callers of a method), and more platforms or architectures.
The new compiler is a big deal and it’s been many years in the making. Some of things that might come out of it are exciting. It’s my opinion that if Joe is saying these things at lease some preliminary work has been done, or at least some preliminary proof-of-concept code has been completed.
What are you most excited about?