Friday, October 11, 2013

Enabling Snippets Expander on OS X 10.9 Mavericks

From day to day Apple will release OS X 10.9 Mavericks which will brake Snippets Expander functionality. Snippets is one of the many helpful tools that requires you to "Enable access for assistive devices" to be able to do more than allowed by default. In pre-Mavericks versions you have to go to System Preferences -> Accessibility and check an option named "Enable access for assistive devices".

If you try to do the same on OS X 10.9 you will have difficulties finding this checkbox. It's gone. Well, hopefully they just moved it to another place. Now you have to open System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy -> Accessibility and enable Snippets in the listing. You may also need to click on Lock icon and enter your password to unlock preferences from making changes.

Enjoy and happy coding! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

How about using Dropbox or iCloud for sync in Snippets?

Periodically I am asked the same question about using Dropbox or iCloud for sync in Snippets. I decided to give an answer to this question in this blog, so, I can just refer to it when someone asks again.

The short answer is: we are building a product with many benefits for users instead of just an application that can store some bytes of data and sync it between computers.

Now let me explain.

Sync is just one of the benefits of using Snippets. If we had chosen Dropbox or iCloud for sync we would be in the following situation:
  • We would need to sell an app to be able to support further development, because we would have no other way to make money from it. Instead we can give an app for free, have more people using it and make money by charging for the advanced premium features.
  • There are many features that will not be possible when using Dropbox or iCloud for sync. For example, web application, private and public sharing, changes history, access level management, search by publicly shared snippets, open repository of snippets and some other ideas that we don't want to share yet.
Those are limitations from product point of view, and they are the most critical ones. Also, there are many technical limitations that stop us from using these services with Snippets:
  • iCloud is available only for applications that are distributed via Mac App Store. This may be another subject for a discussion, however, Snippets won't be MAC-only.
  • Obviously, iCloud is not available on Windows.
  • I still have doubts about Apple's ability to build viable universal sync service. They failed with such products in the past and they did it multiple times, it's extremely hard to implement universal sync service. 
  • iCloud as well as Dropbox was designed to sync files (Apple likes to call it Documents) which is not a good fit for Snippets. I know there are some workarounds, but workaround is bad by definition.
So, the answer is NO, we won't use either iCloud or Dropbox for synchronization in Snippets.

If you still have any related question, you are welcome to ask them in comments.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Snippets Distributor for Xcode 5

Snippets Distributor for Xcode now supports Xcode 5 Developer Preview. All you need to do is to update Distributor for Xcode or install it if you haven't yet. To do that open Distributors window by pressing Cmd+Shift+D (or from menu Window->Distributors) and click "Update" or "Install" respectively near the Xcode in listing.

If you are not familiar with Snippets Distributors yet, it is plugin for Snippets that syncs code snippets from its library with the target app's (app that distributor is written for) library, so, these snippets are available for reuse natively in this app.

Here is a quick demo of the Distributor for Xcode:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Snippets 0.8 with code syntax highlighting

We are very happy to announce Snippets 0.8 today. This update introduces code syntax highlighting which is most requested feature request in our Ideas section.

Code highlighting is "must have" feature for any tool that deal with the source code, however it's not a core feature for Snippets as it is for code editors. We did not wanted to spend a lot of time creating our own editor, and we did not know any good implementation until recently we discovered Ace Editor.

Ace is an embeddable code editor written in JavaScript which makes it an ideal solution for Snippets that we can use in desktop apps for Mac and Windows and in a web browser for our Web app as well as some other secret tools that are coming out soon. It is the same editor that is used and maintained by Cloud9 IDE, so it's very solid, fast and well tested code editor. During the development it shows great performance and we like it.

Please download/update Snippets and enjoy.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Snippets Distributors for JetBrains IDEs

We are happy to announce availability of Snippets Distributors for all JetBrains' IDEs. JetBrains is a great company that makes smart IDEs for many languages and technologies. If you don't use them we encourage you at least to try, you will love it.

Here is the full list of supported IDEs:
There is one small thing that makes using Snippets Distributor with all these IDEs (except ReSharper) a bit uncomfortable. If you make any changes in your library or distributor settings, you have to restart IDE in order to reflect these changes.

I've tried to convince guys from JetBrains to implement automatic reloading, but I have no luck. Internally this is not needed for IDE and this is not so small task to implement. Based on our communication, we have two options to improve this:
  1. Implement automatic reloading of settings in Intellij IDEA Community Edition and send pull request. If they accept, it it will spread to all the other IDE since they are bases on Intellij IDEA community edition. Here is the repository.
  2. Vote for this task. We hope that there will be enough votes to get the attention of responsible team to this task. 
To install any of the available distributors, open Distributors window by pressing Cmd+Shift+D on Mac or Ctrl+Shift+D on Windows, find it in Online Gallery listing and click install. You also need to enable it by selecting Enabled checkbox.

If you enjoyed using distributors so far, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by sharing it with your friends on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Snippets Distributor for Xcode just got better

Today we have a great news for our Xcode users. Recently we published an updated version of distributor for Xcode which now includes a small helper plug-in that reloads code snippets on the go,  restarting Xcode is not required anymore. It just works.

Check out this video.

How do you like it?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

One-click installations and updates for Distributors

Today we've published an update for Snippets 0.7.1 for Mac and 0.7.2 for Windows that introduces one-click updates and installations for distributors from within Distributors window. It looks like this:

As a result we don't bundle any distributor with Snippets distributive anymore.

Code variables with Snippets Expander, Global Search and Snippets Assistant

Now when you reuse snippet's code with Expander, Global search and Assistant we replace code variables with it's values. This is because it makes no sense to insert the whole variable code if editor will not recognize it as a variable. 

However, in Xcode, for example, when you paste code that has a variable in Xcode's format it will recognize it. In this case we do not replace it with its default value but with the variable that Xcode recognizes.

For example snippet with code "Hello ${Name:World}" will be inserted using mentioned earlier instruments into TextEdit or Notepad as "Hello World", but as "Hello <#World#>" into Xcode where <#World#> is a variable.

Some other small features and improvements were introduces as well. Please check out release notes for Windows and Mac clients.

Now it's time to create more distributors. So, stay tuned and happy coding!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Snippets 0.7 and Distributors — the new power of Snippets.

In the initial post (actually first post in this blog) where we introduced new Snippets I told about 4 core values of Snippets. We started by creating desktop apps for Mac and Windows which support sync from the box, and continued with integration.

Recently we discussed the fundamental problem of standalone code snippets apps which has not been solved by anyone yet. Well, until now. The reason we raised this question is because we have a solution and today we are very excited to announce our new invention which we call Snippets Distributors.

Distributors are plugins for Snippets that allow you to reuse code snippets from your library in code editor natively. At first glance, it may be hard to understand what it is and how it works, but in reality it is very simple, and once you try it, you will love it.

We've prepared a presentation which explains Distributors with less words. Please take a look:

Distributors are available in Snippets 0.7 on both Mac and Windows. By updating or downloading the latest version of Snippets you will get them all. We've also created a directory of Distributors where you can find all available distributors as well as specific notes to each of them.

Using distributors is very easy. Just download or update currently installed version, open Distributors window by pressing Cmd+Shift+D on Mac or Ctrl+Shift+D on Windows, select distributor on the left side, select “Enable” checkbox and you are done. By default all snippets which has code and tab trigger defined will be available in the editor. Please note that some editors should be restarted in order to make new code snippets available. We recommend to try it with TextMate 2 (Mac only) or Sublime Text 2 (Mac and Windows), these editors will pick up everything automatically without restarting them.
This update also includes some new goodies such as Snippets Assistant and Global Search on Mac (on Windows it’s been available since version 0.5). Also both clients now use SSL encryption when syncing data with the server.

Please try it and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The biggest problem with the code snippets manager apps

When you think about code snippets management there are three instruments available for developers that come to mind.
  • Code editor’s built-in snippets functionality 
  • Standalone code snippets apps such as Snippets 
  • Online code snippets libraries and sharing services 
For today's discussion we will skip the third one.

–°ode snippets feature of both editors and standalone apps has its own advantages and disadvantages. I'd say even more, advantages of ones are missing in the second and vice versa. Let me explain what I mean.

Editors with built-in code snippets functionality usually support it natively with features such as placeholders, variables, tabs stops, tab triggers etc. However, most of the time it has poor management interface, all snippets are tied to a single editor and have no sync.

On the other side, standalone code snippets apps have a much better UI with great management as their main feature, very often support synchronization, code snippets are available to any app installed on the system and to the team members (if sharing is supported), but they lack the ability to use native stuff such as placeholders, variables and tab stops.

So, obviously, it’s impossible to utilize the advantages of both components by using them together and it’s not quite handy to use them separately. It’s just not as efficient as it could be.
From my point of view, it is a huge issue with code snippets managers. And Snippets is not an exception. Of course, developers are trying to invent workarounds to solve it. For example, Snippets has Snippets Expander feature that allows you to insert a code snippet into the editor’s window by typing its tab string but without variables, tab stops, etc. Dash developers created a popup window with an editor that allows you to define variables prior to insertion.

Do you see the same issue? How do you solve it? Please share your experience.

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