Tool Updates, Part 2: TADS 2

Mike Roberts had recently posted on the IF newsgroups about the TADS 2 update. Those who have been more-or-less involved in the newsgroups are probably aware that the last version Roberts had released for TADS 2 was v2.5.10. This version consisted mostly of compiler and run-time engine bug-fixes, but nothing much in terms of UI had been changed.

Version 2.5.11, though still a minor update, now boasts of a full IDE. The TADS Workbench, which is essentially a graphical debugger, now has the added functionality of source editing through the built-in Scintilla editor module. In other words, what used to be just a way to see where the breakpoints are on the source code, now allows you to actually edit the code itself. An external editor (e.g., Crimson Editor, Vim, etc.) could still be set up within the Workbench; however, those who are still deciding what IF language to work may no longer have to search for an alternative to Notepad.

Scintilla editor in action

TADS Workbench: Scintilla editor in action

Another helpful feature added to the TADS 2 Workbench is the documentation search engine. The same functionality that’s built in on the Inform 7 environment has now been added to the Workbench, allowing users to skim through HTML pages of the TADS 2 manual, though this appears to be much, much slicker than the Inform 7 one. Depending on the package you obtain from the IF Archive, the docs search can be done online (through the manuals at tads.org) or offline (HTML files included in the installer).

Docs Search results

Docs Search results

According to a recent email from the author, these extensions of the TADS Workbench are still “experimental,” as they have not been extensively tested on the TADS 2 environment as with TADS 3, where these features are already a part of. However, he is optimistic that they will work reasonably well, considering they came from the same code base.

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