JavaScript Outline Tree is getting smarter

June 8th, 2014

The JavaScriptOutlineTree class is getting smarter in the next release of RSTALanguageSupport.

As previously reported a little while ago, the outline tree has recently been able to recognize JS classes created by defining members on a prototype.  That functionality has just been extended in a couple of ways:  first, defining an entire prototype at once is now handled correctly (e.g. adding all fields to a prototype at once):

Recognizing prototypes

Recognizing prototypes

Next, Object.create() is parsed properly; all property descriptors passed in as the second argument to the method are properly added to the desired prototype:

Recognizing Object.create()

Recognizing Object.create()

Further, as the JS parser is smart enough to figure this stuff out now, you can quickly navigate to these newly-identified class members via Ctrl+Shift+O.  Pretty nice!

Only a couple of new things might get added before the next release – code completion for built-in objects such as Math, Object, JSON, etc.  Beyond that, I’d like to add some form of language support for Angular and possibly jQuery, but we’ll see.  As a large part of the JS language support was written by someone other than myself, who hasn’t been active recently, it might take a little bit of time for me to figure out the best way to add such features in (the JS language support is currently designed to support code completion for server-side scripting as well as browser-based JS work, so things aren’t as simple as they might seem).

RText 2.5.2 Released

March 14th, 2014

RText 2.5.2 has been released on SourceForge and GitHub!  This release primarily brings the goodness from the RSTA libraries’ 2.5.2 update.  Here’s what’s new:

  • You can now configure RText to use JSHint for JavaScript error checking.
  • Added .htaccess file syntax highlighting.
  • Auto-indentation improved for file types with multiple “languages,” for example, CSS and JavaScript in an HTML file.
  • Updated RSyntaxTextArea libraries to 2.5.2.


RSyntaxTextArea 2.5.2 Released!

March 9th, 2014

RSyntaxTexArea 2.5.2 was just released on GitHub!  Here’s what’s new:


  1. Whether or not curly braces denote code blocks is now handled on a language-index level, not per TokenMaker. This means TokenMakers such as HTML, JSP, and PHP can provide auto-indentation and curly brace closing for ‘sub-languages’ such as JSP and CSS.
  2. Java syntax highlighting updated for Java 8 classes, interfaces, and enums.
  3. Added “mark occurrences” support for HTML.
  4. Curly braces can now be automatically closed when editing CSS.
  5. The SearchEngine class now automatically selects the next match after a Replace operation.
  6. Fixed errors when loading/saving Theme XML.
  7. Fixed several bugs.


  • Only minor changes to support/stay in sync with RSyntaxTextArea 2.5.2.


  • After doing a “replace” operation with the Replace tool bar, the next valid replacement region is selected in the editor.


  1. The JavaScript language support can now use JSHint for its squiggle underlining of errors and warnings. A .jshintrc file can be specified to override the default JSHint behavior.
  2. CSS code completion.
  3. Fixing bug in XML outline tree for XML files with DTDs specified.

The SpellChecker library was not updated; the 2.5.1 release is still the most current, and is compatible with RSTA 2.5.2.  The idea is that the most recent 2.5.x versions of all of the sister libraries are all compatible with one another.


JSHint integration and more JS features in Language Support

February 7th, 2014

There are a few handy new features coming for JavaScript developers in RSTALanguageSupport.

Probably the coolest feature is JSHint integration.  By default, the JS support uses Rhino to provide syntax checking, code completion, and an outline tree view of code.  This continues to be the case, but you can now configure RSTA to use JSHint for syntax checking (code completion and outline views are still handled via the AST created by Rhino).  To do this, you can use the following new methods in the JavaScriptLanguageSupport class:

LanguageSupportFactory lsf = LanguageSupportFactory.get();
JavaScriptLanguageSupport jspf = (JavaScriptLanguageSupport)lsf.getSupportFor(SyntaxConstants.SYNTAX_STYLE_JAVASCRIPT);
jspf.setJsHintRCFile(new File("path/to/.jshintrc")); // This is optional

JsErrorParser is a simple enum that allows you to toggle between Rhino and JSHint for error checking.  Once JSHint is enabled, you can optionally point to a .jshintrc file to dictate what errors/warnings should be flagged.  If you don’t do this, JSHint’s defaults are used, but doing so allows you to fully tailor your JS editing experience.

Here’s an example screenshot showing some warnings and errors identified by JSHint, some of which aren’t caught by Rhino:

JSHint Warnings

JSHint Warnings

A word of caution:  currently, the JSHint parser is executed on the EDT.  This means there could be performance issues (most likely just a short pause when the code is re-parsed).  In the next release I plan on rejiggering the RSTA parsing API so such things can be done off the EDT.  But for typical JavaScript files (under a couple of thousand lines) the pause is pretty negligible, and you can always switch back to Rhino in the short term if it is an issue.

Next, the JS outline tree now recognizes JavaScript “classes” built by extending a prototype:

Prototype Support

Prototype Support

This is the first step in making the Outline Tree for JavaScript code smarter and smarter.

Finally, the current function scope of the caret position in a JavaScript file is now outlined in the gutter, similar to what is done for Java.  This is just a small but useful visual cue as to what scope you’re currently working on in the file:

Current Scope in the Gutter

Current Scope in the Gutter

Hopefully the next RSTA/AutoComplete/LanguageSupport release will be in the next couple of weeks.  Look for it soon!

CSS Code Completion

December 24th, 2013

Code completion for CSS files has been added to RSTALanguageSupport.  Icons were graciously borrowed from Eclipse (as usual).

You get code completion for at-rules and HTML tags for selectors:

at-rules and HTML tags

at-rules and HTML tags

As well as property names:

Property Completions

Property Completions

And for certain properties, you’ll also get code completion for their values:

Value Completions

Value Completions

By default, the completion popup is automatically triggered (after a delay) when typing the “@” character for at-rules, and when typing ‘:’ or a space after a property name.  As always, this is configurable.

Moving forward, short documentation for each CSS property (and values too!) would be awesome.  If anyone has time or motivation and wants to contribute, pull requests or patches are welcome!

RSyntaxTextArea and RText 2.5.1 released!

November 13th, 2013

Both RSyntaxTextArea (and its sister projects) and RText have brand new 2.5.1 releases available on GitHub and SourceForge!  The RSTA updates fixed a couple of bugs that had crept into the library in the 2.5.0 release.  RText (which hasn’t seen an update in a few months) is now using the latest, greatest RSTA libraries, which also means it’s using the slick new search toolbars I blogged about previously.

Check ‘em out!

Search API Updates

September 22nd, 2013

The next release of RSyntaxTextArea and RSTAUI will feature some enhancements to the Search API.

Find and Replace operations were always done through the SearchEngine class.  This class contained the following static methods:

   public static boolean find(JTextArea textArea, SearchContext context)
   public static boolean replace(RTextArea textArea, SearchContext context)
   public static int replaceAll(RTextArea textArea, SearchContext context)

The find() and replace() methods returned whether a match was found/replaced, and the replaceAll() method returned the number of replacements performed.

In order to do a “mark all”, you had to call a method on an RTextArea instance:

   public int markAll(String toMark, boolean matchCase, boolean wholeWord, boolean regex)
   public void clearMarkAllHighlights()

In the next release of RSTA, the “mark all” API will be moved into SearchEngine, so that it is a one-stop shop for everything related to search. Further, these methods will return a new SearchResult object, containing more uniform, detailed information on the result of the operation.

The find() and replace() methods will now check context.getMarkAll(), and if it returns true, they will automatically perform a “mark all” operation along with the find/replace requested. This is very useful because often, people want to visually see what other matches are nearby the one actually found and selected.

The search-related components in RSTAUI have been updated as well. Besides the existing Find and Replace dialogs, there are now two new components – FindToolBar and ReplaceToolBar. When wrapped in a CollapsibleSectionPanel, these tool bars can provide a search UI integrated into an application’s main window, as opposed to the standard approach of modal dialogs. This is the trendy new way of doing things. In addition, these components use an animation to “slide” in and out of the UI, breathing a little bit of life into a Swing application.

Below is an example of setting up a window where Ctrl+F and Ctrl+H will bring up a FindToolBar and ReplaceToolBar, respectively:

   JPanel contentPane = new JPanel(new BorderLayout());
   JMenuBar mb = new JMenuBar();
   JMenu menu = new JMenu("Search");
   // Create our search tool bars and tie their search contexts together.
   findToolBar = new FindToolBar(this);
   replaceToolBar = new ReplaceToolBar(this);
   // Add our search tool bars to the "collapsible section panel."
   // Ctrl+F and Ctrl+H will display these tool bars. Use the returned actions to
   // create menu items for our application menu bar.
   CollapsibleSectionPanel csp = new CollapsibleSectionPanel();
   int ctrl = getToolkit().getMenuShortcutKeyMask();
   KeyStroke ks = KeyStroke.getKeyStroke(KeyEvent.VK_F, ctrl);
   Action a = csp.addBottomComponent(ks, findToolBar);
   a.putValue(Action.NAME, "Find...");
   menu.add(new JMenuItem(a));
   ks = KeyStroke.getKeyStroke(KeyEvent.VK_H, ctrl);
   a = csp.addBottomComponent(ks, replaceToolBar);
   a.putValue(Action.NAME, "Replace...");
   menu.add(new JMenuItem(a));

Here’s an example of what the tool bars look like:


Find Tool Bar

Find Tool Bar

Replace Tool Bar

Replace Tool Bar

Ctrl+F/Ctrl+H toggles between them, and Escape hides the currently visible one, if any.  If “Mark All” is enabled, all matches are selected in the editor as you type, which is a very nice feature.  The “mark all” event waits for a short time after you stop typing before it fires (defaulting to 200 ms).  That way, it doesn’t perform a mark-all operation for each letter you type if you type really quickly.

Just like the older Find and Replace dialogs, the Find and Replace tool bars will offer code completion for regular expressions:


Regex assistance

Regex assistance

This code is already pushed to GitHub; all I have left to do is some more testing.  I also plan on improving the performance of “mark all;” it’s slower than the “mark occurrences” support in RSTA and there’s no reason for that.  And since these new components make it so easy and handy to have “mark all” enabled all the time, I figured I’d go ahead and knock that out sooner rather than later.

RSyntaxTextArea 2.5.0 Released!

August 26th, 2013

RSyntaxTextArea 2.5.0 was just released on GitHub!  The sister libraries AutoComplete, SpellChecker, RSTAUI were updated as well.  Here’s what’s new:

  • The minimum required JRE for the libraries was bumped up to Java 5 from 1.4.  There was no hard requirement for this from a feature point of view, but it allows us to fix a few issues here and there, and modernize the code base, which is a boon for developers.
  • Improvements in both the painting code and syntax parsing code.
  • Added syntax highlighting and code folding for .htaccess files.
  • Bug fixes in JavaScript and Clojure syntax highlighting.
  • The source repositories were (obviously) moved from the old SVN repositories hosted here on to GitHub.
  • A few other minor changes.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

RSyntaxTextArea repositories now on GitHub, require Java 5

August 11th, 2013

Two big things going on with RSyntaxTextArea!

First, the source for RSTA ia being moved from our personal SVN server to GitHub.  Since GitHub is the place to host open source projects these days, hopefully this new home will provide RSTA with more exposure and accessibility.  AutoComplete, SpellChecker, and the other sister libraries are moving over as well.  I haven’t quite decided yet what will happen to the current SVN server; my current idea is to keep it up and available, but to edit the readme files and Ant scripts to talk about the new location (and not actually build anything in the case of the Ant scripts, to force people to notice!).  But I can’t decide whether it’s better to just remove the repository entirely – that will force users to see it’s no longer there, causing them to go to the site and realize the source is now on Github.  While it’s a little more harsh, it will keep the project from appearing “dead” to people who simply monitor the SVN and see no updates being made.

The second big change is that, starting with the next release, RSyntaxTextArea will require Java 5.  Yes, I’m finally retiring support for Java 1.4.  If you still need to run on such an ancient JVM, you can continue to use 2.0.7 (or even fork it on Github!).  If any huge issues are found I’ll be happy to create a maintenance branch based off 2.0.7 for you Java 1.4 folks, but I seriously doubt that’ll happen.

Migrating to Java 5 doesn’t do much for the library itself, but it does modernize the code base, and fixes a couple of odd issues here and there.  You’ll find “java5″ branches in each RSTA project now; that’s where all the action is.  I’m trying to embrace git’s painless branching and all.  :)  When the work is finally done (should be in a day or two) I’ll merge these branches back into master.

Finally, I’ll be adding all known issues into the GitHub issue tracker and any other bits and pieces left remaining.  As an aside, I’ve found GitHub’s interface to be painless, fast, and intuitive.  Much better than the clunky old SourceForge interface.

.htaccess file support

July 14th, 2013

The upcoming release of RSyntaxTextArea will support syntax highlighting and code folding for .htaccess files.  This was just added in SVN commit 814.

htaccess Support

htaccess Support