Saturday, April 08, 2006

Source Code Editors and the Three Bears

When you begin working on someone else's programming project, it can be a bit daunting. You need to get a sense of where things are and how the project is organized. As you look through code, it can be frustrating to find a referenced function or object. What I most need is an easy way to click on a function, variable, or macro and jump to the defining code. It is also useful to find all the references.

IDEs like KDevelop3 are useful for helping you to navigate through a project, but like the 3 bears, I find KDevelop3 is too heavy-weight for my purposes and brings along with it more than a few bugs. Using a standalone text editor and command window is too little.

I've been using a nice mini-IDE for awhile now called KScope, and I gotta say I find it increasingly a pleasure to use. Here's how KScope describes itself:

"KScope is by no means intended to be a replacement to any of the leading Linux/KDE IDEs, such as KDevelop. First of all, it is not an Integrated Development Environment: it does not provide the usual write/compile/debug cycle supported by most IDE's. Instead, KScope is focused on source editing and analysis."

KScope integrates nicely with Kate and uses CScope to build its index of tags.

The bad news is -- because it is built upon CScope -- is intended for C code. However, I find it does work with KDE C++ code pretty well. Worth a try if -- like the 3 bears -- you are searching for something that is "juuust right".