[racket-dev] stepper UI question

From: John Clements (clements at brinckerhoff.org)
Date: Thu Aug 26 18:32:48 EDT 2010

On Aug 26, 2010, at 10:59 AM, Shriram Krishnamurthi wrote:

> Got it.  Thanks for all the inputs and for the great suggestion!

A couple of comments:

1) I could very well be mis-stating his position, but I think that Guillaume felt quite strongly that the reductions should occur in the definitions window.  Guillaume?

2) you describe showing steps only for "non-definitions"; that seems like a needless restriction.  Most definitions won't have steps, but those that do should probably be step-able. This will require at least some change to Robby's "click on a result" suggestion, since definitions don't currently produce output text. Perhaps this is why you (Robby?) suggested excluding these.

3) It's not clear how you want to handle test cases; they don't currently generate anything in the interactions window, and yet this sounds like the thing that you're *most* likely to want to be able to step.  For the sake of argument, let me propose something:

the result of "generate-report" (the hidden summary-generation call that check-expect inserts) should be a snip that shows up in the interactions window, called (e.g.) "Test Report".  Clicking on this (right-clicking on this?) should open a window showing the test cases in some tabular format, indicating which ones succeeded and which ones failed.  Selecting one of these, the user could choose to see its steps. 

Additional hidden benefit of this structure: because of the syntactic fol-de-rol that surrounds test cases, it should be fairly easy in such a tabular window to also show those test cases that didn't get run at all, because an earlier one caused a runtime error.

Finally, we probably want to think a bit about what happens on a runaway computation.  The current stepper handles this reasonably; it would be nice if the user could step through these computations to see what went wrong.  Most of my initial thoughts on how to handle this require unpleasantly significant changes to the way that the interactions window works.


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