What features would you like to see in Zorn?

As we announced a couple of months ago, we are working on a next generation IDE based on Eclipse (code-named Zorn), focused on application development using the Flex Framework. We have been talking to a lot of developers about what features they would like to see in Zorn, and so I wanted to make a quick post to allow the wider development community to put in their two cents worth.

So, what features would you like to see in Zorn?

Post your feature requests in the comments…

41 Responses to What features would you like to see in Zorn?

  1. –Stepping in a debugger would be extremely helpfull.–Somthing similar to intellisense (Visual studio).–Full control over Batch scripts (youll only have to set them once or twice im guessing but it would be nice to have control over it and have it upload to a test server if build completes.–The ability to set what will make a build fail.–allow for some sort of CVS which can allow for “view changes” and rollback (this is a biggie but would be worth it.)

  2. David Nelson says:

    – Subversion support- Live auto-complete for custom classes- Round trip UML- Flash commands to: test movie, publish, etc

  3. ubi says:

    well, mike.being yourself one of the OS flash ML users, you should know that what pretty much every Eclipse user doing flash content wants FDT features.so…why doesn’t MM simply license FDT to use into ZORN?I’m sure buying FDT when it’s out, since it looks like it’s going to be worth the money.

  4. – Remote debugging- Compile and publish built-in functionality (as u can do with eclispe and tomcat)

  5. – Extensibility! Must be able to add custom components to the palette(s)- Extensibility! Must be able to add “wizards” for generating MXML code- Intellisense-like editing- Script assistant for hooking script into component events- Nice, integrated preview function(s)- API to create server-side dynamic MXML and have it processed by the compiler on-the-fly (no JSP required – could do it in “code”)

  6. Joe says:

    A price that clients will actually pay for.

  7. superabe says:

    – code hinting for custom classes.- goto function reference (rt click on a method nad be able to jump to the page where its is called)- goto function definition- code folding- integration with VSS, like Visual Studio- ability to create Flex deployment projects.- debugging tools that allow debugging flex apps in the browser, with breakpoints, inspect remoting methods, web service calls, http service calls, load image/swf calls, flash comm server calls.- Flex app project wizards, that allow setup of a new flex site from scratch.- intellisense for package namespaces, both inbuilt and custom classes- a stable and high performance tool (unlike Flex Builder )

  8. kevin says:

    Error messages.The worst thing about ActionScript 2.0 in Flash is that when something is forgotten or mistyped; ECMAScript handles it instead of at least raising a warning. It is very difficult to debug a complex application if you’re trying to differentiate an l from a 1.Even an optional ‘strict’ compiler setting would raise warnings when strong typing or variable declarations were missed would be great!

  9. Christoph Atteneder says:

    A really good debugger, as already mentioned, a template system, which can easily be extended by user andrefactoring tools, refactoring tools, refactoring tools =)…

  10. Sven says:

    Flex shouldn’t be a prerequisite to work with Zorn. There are a lot of Flash Developers working with OOP and Actionscript 2.0 classes, that do not use Flex, but would be very interested in having a good development tool within eclipse.Most important for me would be a good refactoring tool.

  11. pawaca says:

    Well defined api, decoupling swf releated technology into several levels, not only Flex developer can benefit from it.Extensibility makes eclipse special, and so does Zorn.

  12. Tiago Simoes says:

    ASDT working fastfast compiler (Even faster than MTASC)fast debugger (with Edit & Continue)Refactoring tools, refactoring tools…automated tests integration, automated tests integration…Cruisecontrol, Unit Tests, Functional tests integration would be great.Test Driven Development is really good and we should push this methodology to the flash comunity.Check out AutoTestFlash:http://tiago.webstartpoint.net/flash/We build the most beutifull interfaces out there. We should also be able to write the most reliable ones 🙂

  13. Kim Hansen says:

    Just copy the functionality in FDT then add refactoring, proper debugging and Flash viewing from within Eclipse.And don’t put dependency on Flex.

  14. P.S. almost forgot. Injecting build numbers into the swf that are both flash variables and variables which register in the os…so right click properties advanced can view them :o) This would be really nice. Then you could configure build scripts to do all sorts of nice things. Remember that the work doesnt stop with Shift F12 for us developers… :o)

  15. Arrix says:

    I hope it will support code outlining, which really makes reading code easier.And I STRONGLY petition for something like the#region#endregionin Visual Studio 2003(C#):)

  16. Like in Homesite/CFM, the ability to right click a mx:tag with an option ‘Edit this tag’ that would popup a window with the tag specific attributes. And if it could work for custom tags too, wow 😉

  17. Kenny Bunch says:

    – Another avenue for Flash dev, not just Flex dev- Profiling of non Flex related swfs- Group processing like the product Incredibuild for VS (allows compiler to use multiple machines on a network to process it’s compile)- clean help system like in Flash IDE- strong debugger w/ remoting debuggin option- lexical parser that performs “on type” syntax checks- quick compiler- ability to inject code into swfs like MTASC- a UML integration tool

  18. I too would like to see Zorn target non-FLEX, ActionScript developers. Even though PrimalScript and FDT are great, it would be better if we could develop our Flash applications with a Macromedia tool. Zorn could be that tool.I love PrimalScript and I use it for all my AS development, but I am amazed when I look at the demos of FDT. It is doing things that only an ActionScript-centered application can do. Seeing these types of “new” features gives me additional hope for what Zorn could be.Here is my list:- Source Control Integration- Better Code completion- Command line Compiler- ActionScript Debugger- Integration with a Doc-Style Documentation Generator- Team Collaboration tools

  19. rd says:

    Well I know this has been a lot… but more votes = better chances I guess.- More robust debugging perhaps from browser- Structure / Object dumping (the existing methods are buggy in my opinion)- Round trip to UML would be sweet- Subversion support- Perhaps some kind of remoting hooks (since most of us real developers know remoting is the way to go over webservices). so I have a remoting object defined, I can get some preview of methods and such- Lastly, while I think design mode is cool, if its gonna hog the thing, get rid of it… i’d rather have a slick working homesite editor than a bloated dreamweaver editor

  20. I agree with the requests for FDT … I would like the full-boar JDT, with robust refactoring features (rename class, extract interface, etc.) and subtle features like Javadoc on rollover, etc.On a different subject, it would be interesting to allow some kind of library management into Zorn as well. This could be a library view into a FLA, I suppose, or maybe some other mechanisms to manage assets. For example, there could be an “embed fonts” panel would be very nice, as well as a movieclip linkage panel.Also, for the sake of sales, maybe Macromedia could bundle a powerful code-obfuscator into Zorn, or some other feature that might differentiate it from the ASDT and FDT.

  21. Zohar B says:

    These are my suggestions -[list][*]Intellisense is a must…[*][b]Rtl language support as Hebrew. [/b][*]#region / #endregion, Is a great helpful feature.[*]Working with external files.[*]A more comfortable way of working with DB.[*]Automation – Make life easier (Batch).[*]Robust help system.[/list]..Integrating with C#?

  22. RC says:

    A file based (rather than project based) code manager. I can’t stand having to import a project and have it stored somewhere else in your file system. Acceptable if you’re starting from scratch, but crazy if you’re trying to edit existing files in eclipse. I like how Visual Studio handles project files and folders. Oh, and drag and drop please.

  23. Mike K. says:

    1. Ability to compile MXML into SWFs locally, without need of server software2. #define and compile-time substitutions3. Better type-checking than in current IDE4. Much better search/replace than in current IDE. Something like Dreamweaver’s find/replace features would be great!5. Inspection of class members without having to open the source file6. Integration with CVS, etc.7. Code folding

  24. john says:

    Much improved debugging.Much faster compiling.UMLdoc generatorAnd please, for the love of god, don’t require Flex … my boss will never pay for it.

  25. clark slater says:

    – code folding- small light footprint- tabbed file nav- intellisense code completion- shortcut for stub code generation- line numbers- configurable caret/selection/font- integration with Flash Resource Manager 2 (!)Just make it like SciTE|Flash but even better and we’ll all be rocking!

  26. Shunjie says:

    As John has mentioned :”And please, for the love of god, don’t require Flex … my boss will never pay for it.”- intellisense- faster compilation- snap-in to manipulate databases

  27. Andrew Knott says:

    Better debugging and also a class browser.

  28. Dave Hodder says:

    * ActionScript code refactoring* Dreamweaver-like search and replace* Split view to see 2 different parts of a file* Plays well with other plug-ins (CFEclipse, WTP, etc.)

  29. Paul Roe says:

    Work on these basic problems:eclipse’s search interface isn’t fully featured enough. For examples for how it should work see jEdits Search interface. We need a way to search multiple files and their subdirectories (just look at the jedit interface). Also the Hypersearch feature of jEdit’s search feature is one of the most useful and wonderful features in all the land. ;-)We dont have file explorer! for examples on how it should be done see jEdits File Explorer. Specifically look at favoritesThere are lots of problems with cfeclipse’s color coding. Especially when using a black background for your code. For starters try printing and you’ll have a good laugh.After those basic things are addressed here’s a couple of features:See html kits “enclose with tag” (alt+insert). don’t just use a regular tag, do something like: and check out how this wonderful feature works. Also notice that it remembers your previous entries when you go to use it again later. This is a wonderful tool for formating (think paragraphs and unordered lists).When I have a or a , or any other cf tags that have matching end tags, it would be nice if the corresponding end tags were highlighted. This is another feature that is available in jedit. if you install the xml plugins and open a cf file you’ll see a line that appears in the gutter to show you exactly where any given tags partner is.Good javascript, and css support is also missing in cfeclipse right now.Support for working with soap/webservices.

  30. Paul Roe says:

    Guess I should have read the post all the way through before commenting. I thought this was going to be a cf editor built in eclipse via mm. Sorry for the off topic comment, but there are still some things in there that you could work with.

  31. Behrang Noroozinia says:

    — With the cursor inside a Binding, showing a link to the Binding source/destination– RTL and ComplexScript support for languages such az Persian, Hebrew, Arabic, …

  32. altug says:

    – drag & drop copy or move text- as and connection debugger- performance not like flexbuilder !!!

  33. superabe says:

    Had to absolutely add one more thing.1. auto commenting ability (like VStudio)Essentially after stubbing out a method and its params, typing in “///” for e.g should insert a comment template with nodes for summary, params and return type.

  34. titouille says:

    – code folding based on functions/classes and / or tabs (like indent mode on JEdit)- class browser- project manager- multiple swf compilations in a project with priority

  35. Paul Gracie says:

    Not Windows Only !Some Eclipse based apps (eg Nitrox) only run on Windows : they rely on native OS features. Please don’t do that with Zorn.Make Zorn a proper Eclipse app which runs on any platform Eclipse supports : Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris etc.Complement Existing PluginsRemember Eclipse is a tools platform for cooperating plugins.Look at JDT, WTP, MyEclipse. Focus on complementing their feature set with what Flash & Flex uniquely requires. Avoid repeating or (worse) reinventing differently.Recognise Different Developer BackgroundsZorn will attract Java background and Flash background developers. Both have their own established behaviours, and expectations for how an IDE should behave – often very different. Zorn should allow for both camps. Not suggesting a ‘Flash or Java’ mode switch, more Preferences which tweak IDE behaviour where necessary.

  36. Hans Omli says:

    – add Flex and Flash-specific project types (include Java packages in Flex projects; Flex projects should optionally include all files necessary to deploy to server)- add a “Flex Builder” compiler with functionality similar to Eclipse’s Java Builder- add Flex/Flash, Flex/Flash Browsing, and Flex/Flash Debug perspectives- add Flex/Flash-specific Package Explorer, Outline, and Hierarchy views- add MXML and Actionscript file editors with syntax highlighting, content/code assist, code formatting, code folding, Show Source of Selected Element Only, import assistance, quick fix/quick assist with ability to report problems as you type, integrated debugging features including breakpoints and error markers; in short, all of the functionality in the Java editor should be available in the MXML and Actionscript editors)- add config file editor for server-side config files such as flex-config.xml (similar to editor for Ant build scripts)- include code templates in code assist for blank mx:Application as well as common Actionscript classes (ideally including design patterns such as those implemented in Cairngorm)- Flex/Flash Search similar to Java search to search specific types- Refactoring support for both MXML and Actionscript- FlexUnit and AS2Unit integration for automated testing- AS2Doc integration for automated documentation (include comments in templates; should also support MXML comments!)- Simple visual design/layout tool for MXML coding/preview without having to compile- Ability to compile smaller units of code, rather than the entire application (to speed development)- Ability to debug both locally and remotely- Ability to evaluate expressions and inspect in the debugger- Ability to easily compile a subset of an application (such as selecting an mx:Button and compiling just to see what a button looks like)- Easy access to API documentation (F2)- Ability to auto-generate getters and setters for Actionscript classes- Ability to “organize imports” for Actionscript classes (including adding classes that are missing for the import)- String externalization for both MXML and Actionscript to allow for easy internationalization- Ability to export a Flex app to a WAR file, including all necessary server-side code- Ability to import from and export to SWC- Integration with CFEclipse for those using ColdFusion rather than or in addition to Java for middle-tier code (linked projects/Ant build scripts)

  37. Hans Omli says:

    And one more thing…A beta invitation as quickly as possible! I’m growing tired of OxygenXML and ASDT. 🙂

  38. Peter says:

    Dreamweaver like application window with database connections, drag & drop data bindings, server behaviors & components. All preconfigured for Colfusion, asp.net, php & jsp.Database view from within zorn.

  39. Kreso says:

    – Support for Actionscript 1 would be great – I don’t see it mentioned but there are still a lot people using it!- I saw somebody already suggest but I’ll suggest it anyway – it would be nice if we could create linked library assets from Zorn.

  40. Jeremy Chone says:

    Here are my “2” cents:+ Code editing– Auto Completion (for ActionScript and MXML)– Quick Assist– Doc Tips on mouse over (for ActionScript and MXML)– “Ctrl Click” to go function definition– Override/implement interface and base class methods in ActionScripts+ Debugging– Eclipse Console for (swf) tracing– Step Debugging similar to FlexBuilder+ Application Model– Seamless component integration between MXML and SWF/FLA components (i.e. introspect swf/fla file and provide AutoCompletion… or even “MouseOver Doc”)+ Deployment model. Should support 3 mode of deployment– as a Flex “WebApp” (for a Server)– Standalone browser component (.swf)– Central (product.xml, pods, …)+ Template / Common Library repository (for Flex, Standalone and Central application)– Easy way to reuse and create Libraries– Easy way to reuse and create project layout (i.e for central, create the appropriate product.xml, application swf/as and pod swf/as).Also, the most important (and probably obvious) thing is to integrate well in the Eclipse environment and with other plugins (for example, I should be able to use XMLSpyEclipse XML editor to edit MXML if I choose too). I would not like to have 2 Eclipse install.

  41. Victor Allen says:

    My 2-cents:- Support for non-Flex projects (think JDT/FDT/ASDT)- robust refactoring- TODO comments- ant support- local versioning as well as VSS/Vault/CVS/Subversion support- automated documentation generation- works on all Eclipse platforms- project migration tools