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Issue 9.3



Issue: 9.3 (March/April 2011)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,671
Starting Page Number: 12
Article Number: 9302
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Full text of article...

For years I've been wanting a snippet keeper for bits of REALbasic code I want to reuse. I've toyed with writing my own, but never did it. But along comes CodeBox and now I don't need to write one!

CodeBox works with any text-based programming language, which means it works for REALbasic code as well as bits of C, Javascript, PHP, or anything else you might use.

Currently code isn't syntax highlighted, but the developer promises that this feature is coming soon. I'm unsure how that will be implemented, but hopefully it will be extensible so that a REALbasic highlighter can be created. Syntax coloring isn't essential, however, as this isn't meant to be a code editor—it just helps you organize and find snippets of code. I do wish there was an option to turn off word wrap though, as long lines of code wrapped is difficult to read.

CodeBox allows you to create folders and groups of snippets, so you can organize them by language, project, category, or whatever you'd like. (You can also create multiple libraries, if you'd prefer to keep things separate.)

Within each group, snippets of text can be named and tagged with tag names you create. You can easily constrain views to show you only snippets that match certain tags or text.

You can also create Smart Groups, which automatically contain snippets that match certain criteria (name, tags, etc.). Unfortunately, these do not match text inside the snippet, only text in the name or tag.

One unusual feature of CodeBox is the ability to link "assets" with a particular code snippet. An asset can be a text file, image, web page, or just about anything. I personally haven't found a use for that yet, as my snippets seem to be standalone, but I can imagine it would be useful for certain kinds of elements.

One of the best features of CodeBox is CodeBar. This is a menubar extension that means your CodeBox libraries and their associated snippets are always available. You can search right on the menubar and when you find a snippet, one click will paste it into the current program or copy it to the clipboard. I can see that being very useful. You don't even need to have CodeBox running to be able to use CodeBar.

Overall the program is simple and elegant, and a steal at the price. However, it's not always clear how to use some features such as tagging. (I was expecting a popup menu of existing tags to apply to my snippet, but that's not how it works. You type the first few letters of the tag name to bring up the autocompletion suggestion.) Another source of confusion for me was the difference between folders and groups (I finally deduced that folders can only contain other groups, not snippets.) An instruction manual would be helpful.

Though I haven't had time to really incorporate CodeBox into my workflow (I only put in a few snippets for testing), I really like what I've seen so far and can't wait to use it more regularly. If you have small bits of code that don't work as a full object, class, or method, being able to find and reuse them via CodeBox is a great idea.

End of article.