[fpc-pascal]A suggestion.

A.J. Venter ajventer at direqlearn.org
Fri Jul 25 08:30:00 CEST 2003

While I absolutely adore FreePascal I miss one feature from my old
borland days, but that would require a little work.

I miss being able to put the cursor on a function/procedure/reserved
word name and hitting F1 to see the help section for it. It was
wonderful for looking up the structure of a function you had not used in
a while.
In fact, very often when stuck on how to do something, I would type in 
a likely-sounding name and upon hitting F1 get the info I needed (the
beauty of Pascal is that pretty much everything has a likely sounding

We already have documentation for every standard pascal function, and
for most of the FPC specific additions (like fpc-crt or the linux unit
functions) what I think we need to do is decide on a standard format
(prefferably one you can convert to) with a reader that will grep the
function descriptions based on a parameter, and show the section(s)
which match.

For example:
fphelp writeln
Should show you all you need to know about writeln.
It will then take a fairly small patch to the FP-IDE to make it pass
whatever word is under the cursor to the program.

Ideally fphelp would simply print the results to standard out, that way
a simple assignstream in the ide could capture the result and display it
in a window, and people like me could use it with equal success in any
other editor/ide that can be configured enough. Nedit and VIM(which I
use) will both be able work just fine.

This way we match the feature, and expand on it by not limiting it to
those who *still* like the old  (and very limited) dos style editing
commands. Since there is nothing really complex about such a tool, if
the underlying document format does not require platform specific
libraries to read, it will also port beautifully to any of the FPC
supported operating systems and architectures.

What do everybody else think of such an approach to it ?

I would love to write it as a contribution, but frankly the code here is
not the issue, it is the choice of the underlying format. It must be
searchable, fast, easy to convert to and not limited to any specific
platform. Something like xml perhaps ? I wait to hear from all.
Do not try to think outside the box. That's impossible. 
Instead only try to realise the truth....There is no box.

A.J. Venter
Tech Guru

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