The process of *considering* embedding Leo in another IDE has been one of
the most useful things I have ever done. I feel as if I have awoken from a
deep slumber. Atom, VSCode, eric6 and Pycharm/Intellij are all superb
tools. Building and using them, even briefly, has been eye opening.
But embedding Leo in another IDE would be a big mistake. This posts
This is a long post. To state my conclusions first:
- Embedding Leo in any IDE would be a huge and risky project.
- Such a project would distract us Leo devs, and burden us with endless
- Embedding Leo would be less useful than it might seem.
- Leo has its own strengths. Many don't translate easily to other IDE's.
See the summary for other conclusions.
*A huge and risky project*
Embedding Leo in any IDE would be much harder than it might appear at
first. At *minimum*, such a task would require an *entirely new* gui
plugin for Leo. Such plugins have been the biggest projects in Leo's
This became obvious to me yesterday while reading/reformatting the eric6
plugin guide. Eric6 is a pure python app, but the eric6 ecosystem is almost
completely different from Leo's. There is likely *no* clever way to use
Leo's existing Qt code. Everything would likely have to be rewritten.
Embedding Leo in another IDE would create ripple effects that touch *all*
of Leo's code. These ripple effects would depend on arcane details of the
particular IDE in which Leo is embedded.
It's impossible to know beforehand what the final design and code would
look like. This makes such projects extremely risky. Quick prototypes won't
significantly reduce the risk. Rather, they are likely to be wasted
Successful projects have limited focus, no matter how many devs are
involved. Embedding Leo in another IDE would be a major, most unwise,
commitment of time and energy for all Leo devs.
Support would be endless. For example, leoBridge.py is a small module, but
it has generated continuing and difficult issues. One of those issues
required tricky futzing with gnx's when loading .leo files. Just recently I
had to tweak that code again.
Do we want to answer endless questions about how to build Pycharm, or
whatever? Do we want to tell people how to *use *Leo in other IDE's?
My dream has been to promote Leo by offering its features in other
environments. I'm ready to say now that this has always been a bad idea :-)
I've learned in the past week or so that it's (usually) pretty easy to
download and run other IDE's. People can and do use more than one IDE.
People know where to find Leo. Creating a Leo plugin in any other IDE
would be an expensive and ineffective form of advertising.
In one of my first posts I said that just about everything Leo *shares*
with Atom is inferior to Atom. But this statement was *just plain wrong*. Here
are some common areas in which Leo excels:
1. Scripting. Most IDE's aren't scriptable at all, so technically my
remarks don't apply ;-)
2. Plugins. Leo's plugin architecture is much simpler than eric6, and
that's the easy case.
3. Searching. No other platform has Leo's clone find commands. etc.
4. Commands. Outline-oriented diffs exist nowhere else. etc.
5. Settings and configuration. eric6 has a nifty gui representation of its
settings, but Leo's settings are much more flexible:
- Settings can apply to individual .leo files.
- Settings nodes naturally contain arbitrarily verbose comments.
- Users can organize settings trees as they like.
- Plugins can add settings just by calling c.config.getBool, etc., *without*
adding to Leo's gui code.
6. Window system. Terry has made Leo's window system scriptable (in
python!) and extensible.
Leo will remain a pure python app, scriptable in python.
There is much to learn from eric6. I shall incorporate some of eric6's
features into Leo's code base.
Leo must have a plugin that supports Joe Orr's great work. This plugin will
be worth *any* amount of work. Imo, this is the proper place to focus our
time and energy.
I am happy with these conclusions. They feel sane, sensible and safe. As
always, they are provisional. We'll see how the subconscious reacts ;-)
Please let me know *your* reactions.
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