Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's All Text!

Every APEX developer needs to know about a handy firefox extension called It's All Text!. Install this and it will allow you to seamlessly edit any textarea in an external editor. The default file extension applied to such files can changed to ".sql". So if your editor handles syntax highlighting based on file type, you're in business. I use SciTE and it all works very well.

It's almost like having a real IDE. In fact, with some tweaking this extension could do a whole lot more for APEX developers. I'm thinking meaningful file naming/directory structure based on the structure of the application and SVN integration at least. APEX page save error messages sent back to the text editor for finding line numbers (SciTE can handle this very easily, if the APEX page save error message was dumped into a file, then SciTE can be configured to pick that text up when a hotkey is pressed and errors with line numbers will be linked to the source code). This might have to be a little side project.

To change the default file type right click the "edit" button, select "Edit with new extension...", type ".sql" and check "Save for future use".

I don't have to explain how simple and effective this little tool is. Just install it and wonder how you ever lived without it!

On a side note, there is a similar extension good for editing HTML regions called Write Area.

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