[racket] DrRacket needs work

From: Tomi Neste (tomi.neste at gmail.com)
Date: Sun Nov 13 05:50:31 EST 2011

What is exactly the target group of DrRacket?

If it's meant to be an easy to use basic IDE for learning the
language(s) I think it does a fairly good job and from what I have
seen in various internet forums it's usually highly recommended as
such when the topic of learning Scheme comes up. But as a serious
alternative to IDEs like Eclipse or Emacs it lacks a lot of features.
Now, there is no point in trying to compete with Emacs (if you go that
route people are not going to be satisfied unless it can read their
~/.emacs ;) ) and as far as I know that was never even the intention,
but I'd like to have some of the easy of customization Emacs offers in
DrRacket. Partly it's probably just a matter of documentation and
examples but since I'm having problems with even the basic thing like
adding/changing the keybindings it seems that there could be some work
done in that department.

Some other basic things I'd really like to have:

- Paredit like editing functions, I can't personally use an editor
without these anymore. Again, this is something that could be hacked
up easily in Emacs but with DrRacket I have no idea where to start.

- Context aware autocompletion. Geiser and Slime provide this by
querying the runtime and I suppose Dr could use the static analysis
tools for the same effect.

- Show arglist/documentation, goto definition, cross referencing.

- Refactoring. I'm not sure how well the tools currently in Dr work
for this? Does it work across module boundaries?

- Maybe a class browser? The OO parts of Racket aren't probably used
that much in general, but when working with GUI code having something
like this would be nice. And something similar for modules, the
current module browser is a good start but it would be nice to have
more functionality. A general browser toolkit for building this kind
of tools?

- Send expression to the REPL functionality. I know that this kind of
functionality is limited for a reason but since the REPL is still
there it would be nice if it could be interacted with more

- In general the UI requires too much mousing around for my taste. For
example, the incremental search is very clumsy compared to Emacs.

- A wholly separate issue but DrRacket is still very sluggish for me,
especially with scrolling.


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