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<html>
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<h1>Practically Macro</h1>
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Practically Macro is an attempt to add simple editor scripting to the
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Eclipse platform; it is not an attempt at scripting the Eclipse platform
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in general. I believe that editor scripting, while similar to general
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scripting, is fundamentally a different problem. The intent of this
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plug-in is to enable users to record/create editor macros in a
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lightweight manner that can be used temporarily or easily shared with
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others. I have tried to do this in a way that uses public API and public
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assumptions, and I've mostly been able to do so. In my opinion, every
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character entered or navigation button pressed should generate a command
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that can be recorded. However, Eclipse doesn't generate commands for
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everything, so I've done the best I can.
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<h2>Requirements</h2>
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Eclipse 3.4 or greater; will not run correctly at 3.3. Requires the
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workbench. Shouldn't require jdt.
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<h2>Recording a macro</h2>
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Start recording a macro by typing Alt+Ctrl+R or clicking the "Record
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Macro" button on the main toolbar. The Record button is only enabled
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when a text editor has input focus. Once record mode is invoked, the
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record button will appear depressed. Actions that will be captured by
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recording a macro are Eclipse commands and keystrokes. Mouse activity is
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not captured and should be avoided in the editor window. Once you are
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done recording a macro, click the "Record Macro" button again. If you
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have recorded any macro contents, a Save dialog will pop up allowing you
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to supply a name/id/description for the macro. You can cancel if you
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don't want to keep the macro. To allow the macro to be persisted across
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Eclipse invocations or to allow mapping the command to a keystroke, you
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must supply an ID. If you only supply a name, the macro can be used
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during the Eclipse session only. You can modify/add an ID later in the
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session.
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<h2>Playing a macro</h2>
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To play a macro, use the drop down menu on the "Play Macro" button. You
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can use the "Play command..." button to execute any Eclipse command or
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macro that is already defined. If there are user macros defined with
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ids, they will show up in a menu called "Macros". Only the last few will
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be available, and they will be ordered by last used time. If there are
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commands that do not have associated ids, they will show up in the
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submenu named "Temporary Macros", ordered by last used time. After you
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have execute a macro, clicking the Play button will execute the last
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executed macro.
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<h2>Gotchas</h2>
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This plug-in is built on top of the Eclipse platform. Unfortunately, the
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Eclipse command structure is not designed with macro recording in mind.
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What this means is that not all commands are recordable, and some
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behavior may be a little sketchy. However, you can edit a macro after
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recording, so you should be able to patch up behavior that isn't
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desirable. The lack of an official Eclipse strategy means that there is
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no guide to what commands should be recordable, so I don't impose any
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artificial limitations.
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<br> Here are some types of actions that make sense to record as
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part of a macro:
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<br>
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<ul>typing characters (see note below)
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</ul>
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<ul>navigation characters (ex. arrows, page down)
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</ul>
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<ul>find dialog (I've supplied my own since the standard dialog
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        isn't public)
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</ul>
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<ul>incremental find (with some hacking)
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</ul>
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<ul>previously recorded macros
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</ul>
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<ul>other commands that don't pop up dialogs (ex. file save, find
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        next, organize imports, toggle insert mode)
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</ul>
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<br> Here are some types of actions that almost certainly won't
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work correctly:
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<br>
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<ul>Commands that bring up dialogs (ex. Go to line)
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</ul>
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<ul>Wizards and other dialogs (ex. Open File)
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</ul>
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<ul>ctrl+space intellisense
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</ul>
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<ul>invoking code templates like "foreach"
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</ul>
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<h3>Special notes</h3>
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Certain keystrokes are handled specially by the language editor.
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However, these editors don't generate commands associated with their
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behavior, so they are difficult to interpret. For example, in a Java
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file, if you type in a '<', a '>' will be inserted and the cursor will
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be placed between the two symbols. Also, the editor is put into a
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special edit mode so that if you backspace, both characters are deleted.
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However, there is no set of commands generated that accomplishes these
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tasks. Instead, the editor document captures the initial '<' via a
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VerifyKeyListener and then does the inserts and sets the mode directly
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on the document. Therefore, if you have this setting ("Automatically
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Close") turned on and type a '<', then the macro will not have any
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commands corresponding to some of these operations. You can edit the
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macro afterward, but that may be inconvenient. I've added another mode
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on the Options page that records keys as raw key events and plays them
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back. This preserves the behavior of special characters like '<', but is
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more difficult to edit and may not be sharable with users on other
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platforms.
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<br>
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<bold>In general, I recommend running in 'Command' mode and
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'typing through' special keystroke modes while recording a macro.</bold>
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<h2>Editing macros</h2>
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You can edit macros you have recorded via the
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Window->Preferences->PracticallyMacro Options->Editor Macro Definitions
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page. From this page, you can delete existing macros or edit macros.
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Select a macro and click the Edit... button. From the edit dialog, you
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can reorder commands in the macro, remove commands, add new commands,
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and edit commands that have data associated with them (ex. the Find
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command). The Edit dialog also allows you to add a new macro id to a
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command that didn't previously have an associated id (thus turning it
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into a persistent command), or alter the id of an existing command.
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<h2>Sharing macros</h2>
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From the Editor Macro Definitions page you can export or import macros.
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Macros exported to a file can be imported via the import dialog into
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another eclipse (with the Practically Macro plugins installed, as well
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as any required plugins/commands).
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<h2>Scripting</h2>
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Macro scripting is provided by plugins via an extension point. See the
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help for different script types on pref or edit pages for those plugins.
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There is no innate scripting provided by the base Practically Macro
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plugin, but there is a default beanshell plugin paired with the main
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plugin.
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