Journal for April 2008

Shiny Feature of the Day

Today I implemented an oft-requested feature for MonoDevelop: making the code completion and info tooltips transparent when the Control key is held down. This enables you to take a look at the code that the window's obscuring, without dismissing the popup:

Screenshot of a semi-transparent code completion window.

This feature's in MonoDevelop trunk, and can be tried out right away. You'll need GTK+ 2.12 or above (GTK# only needs to be 2.8 or above) and Compiz or any other compositing window manager. It's also available in my MonoDevelop trunk builds on the openSUSE build service.

This behaviour is encapsulated in a class that can be attached to any Gtk.Window, and handles a couple of nasty hacks and workarounds.

Miscellanea

Here's a quick summary of interesting things from the past few months that I haven't blogged. Unfortunately I can't give each topic the time it deserves, but I think that's better than not mentioning them at all.

GHOP Results

The Google Highly Open Participation contest finished, and was a great success, with 40 completed tasks, a great improvement over my earlier post. Of particular note was the huge number of rules implemented for Gendarme. I'd like to thank all of our successful students and their mentors, and congratulations to Dan Abramov, our Grand Prize winner. I'd also like to single out Andreas Noever, another absolutely stellar student who very narrowly missed out on the top spot.

Novell Hack Week

During Novell Hack Week I worked on an automatic error reporting system that I intend to use in MonoDevelop at some point. I got rather hung up on collecting as much system and process information as I could, so it unfortunately wasn't completed.

However, I did have fun "architecting" a client/server/webserver data channel, which I planned to re-use for several other purposes: reporting problems' solutions back to the user, and collecting application usage data. Now that I've seen how useful such data can be, in Jensen Harris's awesome presentation on how the Microsoft Office ribbon was developed, I'm particularly interested in having something similar in MonoDevelop.

Game Developer's Conference

Towards the end of February some of us on the Mono team went to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to promote Mono as a game scripting engine, and find out what games developers need to make this work for them. All in all it was great fun, and very successful. Miguel has a longer writeup.

I would be interested to find out what we could do to make Mono more attractive for gaming, both for embedding as a scripting engine, and as a portable runtime, and how this could be supported by MonoDevelop. One of the real strengths of Mono is the development tools, and I would like MonoDevelop to become part of the gaming development ecosystem. One suggestion would be an "Axiom Studio" addin for MonoDevelop as an alternative to XNA.

MonoDevelop 1.0 Release

After years of development, we released MonoDevelop 1.0 alongside Mono 1.9, and work is already well underway on the next release. I'm already working on ASP.NET code completion, which is coming along quite nicely. I've also updated and integrated Matt Ward's XML Editor into MonoDevelop trunk.

Google Summer of Code

MonoDevelop is once again taking part in the Google Summer of Code under Mono's umbrella. I really enjoyed mentoring Marcos last year, and I'm looking forward to doing some mentoring this year.

Visit to the UK

These past couple of weeks I was in the UK visiting family and friends. it was nice to see people again after 5 months in another continent!

An Apologetic Sneak Peek

Unfortunately, I have blogged very little in recent months. I shall follow this post with a summary of the things I've skipped blogging, but for now, I offer up the following tantalising screenshot by way of apology:

Screenshot of ASP.NET event handling code completion in MonoDevelop.