I’m not sure if this is the right forum to post this, so please correct me if I’m wrong. I tried searching the forums but couldn’t find anything relevant.
I think we can all agree that the Inform syntax is, well, a bit obtuse. The creators should be commended for making it as user friendly and close to natural language as they have, but the fact remains that I’m constantly forgetting common commands and have to crawl through the documentation or forums for the correct syntax. Maybe this is a problem only I experience, but I don’t think that’s the case.
Most IDEs these days have a built in suggestions box, sort of like typing something into Google and getting a live list of possibilities as you type. If I were to type ‘ret’ into, for example, a Java IDE, I would likely see a box under my cursor with ‘return’ highlighted, among other things like any variables that begin with ‘ret’. I then could press enter or tab and have the ‘return’ keyword automatically filled in. Function names are usually even more powerful, sometimes to the extent of filling in parameters for me. I admit I’ve recently been spoiled by IntelliJ for Java, which has an extremely useful suggestions feature that I’m suddenly missing in my other coding projects.
I’m wondering if there exists any interactive fiction IDE that supports suggestions. I’d love for Inform to have that kind of thing - as I said, I often spend more time looking up the right way to phrase a command than actually writing - even if it’s just a list of words Inform knows that could fit into whatever the user is typing at the moment. I’d imagine this would be a huge thing to implement though, so I won’t be overly upset if it isn’t added.
In addition to Intellisense (which would be the best), even IDE features similar to Visual Studio’s “Go to definition” and color-codoing (or otherwise distinguishing) language keywords and sentence-part boundaries on-the-fly would be tremendously helpful. I.e it would be very helpful to know immediately what the parser thinks the nouns, verbs, etc. of a sentence are.
It’s particularly hard for Inform because you want phrasings more often than you want specific words. And if you’re in the middle of typing a sentence, there may well not be a findable answer.
I agree, but that’s a slightly different problem – you’d get that information after a compile.
EDIT-ADD: Xcode runs a compile after every keystroke, more or less, which gives you great contextual information on the fly. Mind you, very often the contextual information it gives you is “You’ve typed half a line there, bozo, it’s not valid.”
Unfortunately I7 is slower than Xcode’s ObjC compiler.