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From "Bill Burton" <bi...@progress.com>
Subject Re: Velocity editing tool
Date Sat, 13 Oct 2001 01:01:38 GMT
Hello,

"Gonzalo A. Diethelm" wrote:
> 
> Is anybody aware of a graphical editing tool, free or commercial,
> for Velocity templates? I'm thinking of something like DreamWeaver
> but able to grok embedded Velocity code.
> 
> Is it possible to teach any existing HTML editing tool to understand
> Velocity? Any recommendations? Thanks,

I've been using HTML-Kit (http://www.chami.com/html-kit/), a really nice
Windows based freeware HTML editor. It's highly extensible in many
different languages, i.e. hkScript (JavaScript), Java, Perl and C++. 
Slowly I've been adding various things to make editing Velocity files a
bit more natural and user friendly.

With the plugins generator, a GUI tool for generating plugins, it made it
easy to create a toolbar with support for the Velocity directives.  Adding
support for the Turbine Velocity macros would be very easy.

With HTML-Kit you have the ability to specify a URL which is used by the
Preview tab when you want to preview files.  I configured this so that
files under a certain local path are previewed through Tomcat running on
http://localhost:8080.

The HTML-Kit Workspace support expands this concept to also work with FTP
as well as local files.  In the tree view, you can right-click on a .vm
file, select the Preview option and it will be previewed through whatever
web server is configured for that part of the Workspace.  Of course, this
works equally well for JSP's, etc.

Unfortunately, there's no way to configure highlighting for Velocity
directives or Velimacros as the parser isn't configurable.  However, given
all the other advantages of using this editor, this isn't a big deal.  The
directives and Velimacros show up in black which is different than almost
everything else in an HTML file so they are easy to pick out.

The keyword help is extensible to use either local or remote HTML files. 
By creating a simple text file listing the Velocity directives and the
base URL to the documentation for them at
http://jakarta.apache.org/velocity, you can click on a Velocity directive
such as #foreach, hit the F1 key and the documentation on that directive
is displayed.  This functionality could be extended for objects in the
context as well thus making it easy to add online documentation for your
own application.

I hope to finish documenting the Velocity support I've written for
HTML-Kit and make it available soon.

Another editor you might want to check out is jEdit
(http://www.jedit.org), a Java based editor.  In the recent 3.2 release, a
Velocity mode was added.  However, all this affects is syntactic
highlighting of the default Velocity directives.  Adding support for
Turbine or other Velimacros should be easy by modifying the velocity.xml
configuration file.  JEdit is highly customizable as evidenced by the
plugins available.

-Bill

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