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 JBuilder 3.0 Foundation #3
See Also: JBuilder Papers, part #1, part #2 and part #4.

Let's continue our little tour through JBuilder 3 Foundation Edition. Today we will look at the help, on-the-fly syntax checking, and more.

Because JBuilder 3 FE is completely written in Java, also the help is written in Java. JBuilder 3 has two kinds of help: General help (with topics) and Context sensitive help:

Help and context sensitive help

With the context sensitive help selected we only have to click somewhere on the screen where we want help. For example we can click on the structure pane and a help window opens with information about the structure pane.

We can also ask for general help, by selecting the Help topics command (F1):

Help topics

Everyone who has worked with JBuilder 3 before will recognize the window. At the bottom we see three tabs: Contents, lists the contents, Index, index of a specific topic, and Find, for searching the complete help file(s). We can create bookmarks for specific help topics, and even browse other HTML files, local or on the Web.

Most of the dialog windows in JBuilder 3 FE have a Help button. If we press this Help button, we will not see the full blown help system, but a small and simple window at the top left corner of our screen. This window contains information about the dialog window we are working with:

Small help window

A nice new feature is the syntax checking while we are typing. If JBuilder notices an error in our syntax, before we compile, JBuilder already notifies us of these errors. For example forgetting a semi-colon (;) at the end of a line, will be noticed before compiling instead after compiling.
The structure pane contains a new node, Errors, which shows all the syntax errors.
The following figure shows what JBuilder shows, because I did forget the semi-colon:

On the fly syntax checking

While developing applets and servlets, we often must work with HTML files. JBuilder 3 FE now contains HTML syntax highlighting, and a structural overview of the HTML file. HTML tags now have different colors than the rest of the text. And the structure pane now shows the structure of the HTML file. We can simply click in the structure pane on a node and we will jump right to the spot in the source window. It isn't a full-blown HTML editor, but it beats notepad, and works good enough for small HTML files.


We still aren't finished! More to come in the next couple of days. One of the things I am eager to do is to install the Linux version, but I did have the wrong glibc version. SuSe Linux 6.1 (which I am using) has version 2.0.7, and JDK1.2.2 for Linux requires version 2.1 or higher. So when I have upgraded my Linux system, we will see if the promise will come true.

We are still not done looking at JBuilder 3 Foundation Edition (check out part 4), and you can also read part 2 of this story and the first impressions.

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