[racket-dev] stepper UI question

From: John Clements (clements at brinckerhoff.org)
Date: Fri Aug 27 18:29:47 EDT 2010

On Aug 27, 2010, at 3:14 PM, Neil Van Dyke wrote:

> John Clements wrote at 08/27/2010 05:38 PM:
>> On Aug 26, 2010, at 11:09 PM, Ryan Culpepper wrote:
>>> Another, less invasive, way of making the stepper-definition connection might be on every step to scroll the definitions window and highlight the term from which the redex is derived. For function application the function definition could be highlighted too in a different color. The highlighting would require some creativity for forms like cond (maybe de-highlight clauses as they're eliminated?), but it would be a more incremental approach than forcing the stepper UI into the definitions window.
>> This might be awesome, or it might be confusing; I can imagine students seeing the definitions window jumping around and at a minimum being distracted, or even think that the definitions were changing. I guess I'd want to see it, first.
> If anyone wants to try out a simple stepper for Lisp-ish code that scrolls your window to highlight the current expression in your actual source files, your Emacs has EDebug:
> http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/emacs-lisp-intro/html_node/edebug.html
> It actually only highlights if you have some kind of matching-paren highlighting enabled; otherwise it just puts the cursor on the first character of the expression.  My favorite for matching paren highlighting in Emacs is to have this in my "~/.emacs", and to elsewhere configure my cursor to be a full-size solid unblinking red background:
> (setq show-paren-style 'parenthesis)
> (require 'paren)
> (show-paren-mode t)
> In Emacs, experienced users are already accustomed to the current window switching which file/buffer it's showing, so EDebug just does that when moving between files.  I don't know whether that's appropriate for DrRacket.

I tried this out, and it did pretty much what I expected; thanks!

My earlier comment isn't suggesting that this isn't useful; it's asking whether doing this *simultaneously* with a separate display that's using substitution to evaluate an expression would cause cognitive overload.


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