One big file tips?

Does anyone here use the “one big plain text file” method of organization outside of I7? I’ve found that using search is faster than flipping back and forth to the Contents (which tend to so large I have to scroll them as well). Do you make yourself anchors in comments, or is there a trick for finding headings in the search box? I love to do things in a “standard” way, so if people are already putting a “[#skiptothis]” style of tag in their files, maybe I’ll adopt it.

There are the semi-standard TODO, FIXME, HACK, XXX, ???, !!! comment-introducing marks. Many editors will highlight some subset of these by default or call them out in some other way. I often throw a date in alongside, like (jws/2012-01-27)TODO: We need to add X here, so I have an idea what was going on then (and how long I’ve let a problem fester).

I often keep a personal project log in an RTF file. Dates are introduced in bold with >>> 2012–01–27 (friday), topics are introduced in bold-italic font, and then discussion goes in roman below the topic. So I’m using >>> plus a standard date format to make it easy to jump between days, and sometimes I’ll use ~~~ as a search bookmark.

If you moved your typing out of the built-in editor, you could edit your text in multiple files, recombine them into a single file using a preprocessor (basically just #include each file in order), and then trigger compilation. I don’t know whether this would actually be an improvement, but the possibility is there.

I definitely use TODOs in my I7 file. What’s funny is I almost never come back to them. Occasionally I’ll notice one I already fixed and get rid of it.

There are some pretty nice outline editors in which you can combine code, notes, TODOs, etcetera, and then export out just the code to a single file. This would be a nice clean way to write a game. Leo is one example and org-mode in Emacs with org-babel is another.

Come to think of it, I suppose you could use inweb

One Big File is just asking for trouble. The way I write, each room has its own file. There’s a file for objects. One for the verbs. One for the verbsubs. Finally, one file ties it all together. I could turn it into One Big File by way of a Perl script to act like a preprocessor, but still…

I don’t use it for anything but I7, but I’ve gotten pretty used to it. As I said, though, I don’t use the Contents. I just do a text search for whatever I’m working on.

It would be nice if the IDE were able to collapse sections.

I’m not sure I follow what you’re talking about.

I briefly tried working with an external text editor but quickly gave up, seeing that it didn’t give me much and just didn’t work properly - if you edit the file while the Inform IDE is open it won’t reload your edits in the IDE, and your edits may even be lost. What am I missing? How do you work with external editors? Do you compile outside the IDE too?

And is there such a thing as a preprocessor #include, or are you just saying you would need something like an #include?

Currently, the way to include extra files is to write them as extensions.

You are right that an external editor isn’t handled correctly in the Mac IDE. I believe that the Linux and Windows IDEs do load external edits at this point. (It’s an open suggestion for the Mac: … nal-editor )

You could also set up a command-line build, using Makefiles or what have you, and skip the IDE entirely.