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Issue 12.1 ('Smart Localization')
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Xippets

Issue: 12.1 (January/February 2014)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,487
Starting Page Number: 12
Article Number: 12102
Related Link(s): None

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The Xojo community is awesome and incredibly helpful. There's often code out there already written that does just what you need. The problem is finding that code. A few websites have tried over the years (anyone remember RBGarage?), but mostly code is scattered between the Forums/mailing list archives, the Xojo documentation and example projects, xDev Magazine, and a gazillion individual websites.

Mike Charlesworth has therefore created the cleverly-named Xippets website. The idea is to have one place that collects all sorts of useful snippets of Xojo code. I've wanted that sort of thing for ages (I have my own local system using CodeBox, but it only includes code I explicitly add myself).

I was a bit surprised that Xippets wasn't written as a Xojo web app, but I suppose it made sense to reuse familiar PHP code to get it off the ground more quickly. At any rate, the underlying tech is irrelevant: the real question is whether or not Xippets itself is useful.

That's a tough question, because Xippets is only as useful as its contributors make it. If no one is using it, there isn't going to be much code there. Of course, if there isn't much code there, few people will use the site. My suggestion is that everyone check out Xippets and post a snippet of code or two, as that will help the site grow and make it more useful for all.

But already Xippets is attracting some top Xojo developers and there's some excellent code on the site. By default, the site shows you Xippets in the order they were added (chronological view), but there are categories which help narrow down the topics or you can search with whatever text you'd like. However, the search seems to work on only the subject of the post, so searching for "text" doesn't bring up the same Xippets as clicking on the "Text Manipulation" category.

Overall, the site works as you'd expect. You can post your Xippet or post a request for a Xippet (keep your requests reasonable and simple: don't expect others to write your whole app for you). Individual Xippets can be rated, and if you're registered with the site, you can add comments to a Xippet.

Xojo code is nicely color-coded on the site, set off in black boxes, making it easy to copy the code for use in your own projects. And since each Xippet gets a unique, permanent URL, you can also easily share Xippets with others (https://www.boxedbyte.com/xippetview.php?xippetid=101).

There's currently no way to attach a project file (short of posting a download URL) which might be helpful for more complex Xippets that require bits of code in different places (i.e. an entire module or class), but I believe that's a design design in order to force simpler Xippets. I like that idea as simple bits of code are really useful and traditionally harder to find.

As a new site, Xippets has undergone some growing pains. Originally, it required you to set up an account even to look at Xippets, but that has thankfully changed. (You'll still need an account to post to the site.) With the addition of an RSS feed, you can follow for instant updates from the site. It's definitely worth keeping an eye on. Creator Mike Charlesworth is eager for feedback and wants to see the site succeed, so please contact him with your suggestions and ideas.

End of article.