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Break what?

So, I am sitting there following a long trail through the undocumented code base and trying to add a new feature. Going down different paths and back up.

If you ever have had the opportunity to work with other peoples code you know that there are a lot of things to keep track of, specially the flow through methods that can be scattered over many files. Once I had an idea to build a special editor that could help to document the steps for certain tasks, maybe by special editor added comments. Then one might be able to get a list of tasks which one could go into and step through and be presented the various places in the source code.

Well, this week I have been cruising through a lot of files in Xcode to find out how a program works and trying to find solutions to add new features. The old idea with task paths came up again and I was looking if there where any new feature like that in Xcode. The editor uses a gutter for line numbering and various symbols like warnings and errors. Maybe there is a new one one could use to mark a flow through the source code?

Imagine you could stepwise place flags in the code and name them as a task path, maybe have a database of task paths in the project, and then just step though a task path one flag at the time.

But, wait, I was sitting there and was in the need to get a grip of all these files and methods and stuff and was looking at the editors gutter. Actually I could place markers there, breakpoints for debugging, and Xcode presents them now as a separate list in the navigator area. That actually helped, first I placed breakpoints as I was walking through the code and later I could get quickly back to the parts from the breakpoint list. Not perfect, but hey, it works…

By Edward Patel, 18 Aug 2011

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