Up for Grabs

One of the best things about open-source software is that, when you find a bug as a user, you can not only report it to the developers, but also dig into the source code yourself and perhaps locate and fix the problem and PR it into the next release.

From the very beginning of our GitHub history, we’ve used issues as our “to-do” list, the “project backlog”. With GitHub projects we have subdivided the issue list into easier-to-track projects, as was shown last month. Thing is, with the few of us, the lots of you and the pretty wide project scope, the “to-do” list is constantly growing with awesome ideas.

There’s quite a lot to do in Rubberduck, and because we’d like you to help us do this, a lot of these things have an [up-for-grabslabel in our repository.

Some are easier than others. Of course it’s not always obvious to assess the “difficulty level” of an issue, but we can try:

difficulty-levels

Duckling (14 open) is labeling the “simple” issues we think don’t really require much experience with the code base. e.g. #1732 Inspection for empty modules

Ducky (17 open)  issues are more involved than duckling; if you haven’t been poking around too much, these ones might be more challenging. e.g. #2704 Concrete implementations should be private

Duck (13 open) issues are for contributors that would like something trickier and/or more substantative to tackle. e.g. #298 VB6 IDE Support

Quackhead (1 open) issues need contributors that know how Rubberduck understands VBA code and interacts with the VBE. e.g. #403 Static Analysis & Code Metrics

And then there’s all the others that we haven’t got around to stick an [up-for-grabs] label on, that you can just go and ask about anytime you like.


But… I don’t do C#!

Doesn’t matter! Our wiki needs to document all the refactorings and inspections; unit testing section could use articles about writing testable, object-oriented VBA code…

@Vogel612 made a translation helper (in Java!), to make it easier to localize Rubberduck and translate the resource files; if you can translate English into a language that’s not yet supported (we had to drop a few languages in 2.0, due to the sheer amount of new but untranslated resource strings), we’ll be happy to guide you and answer every question you might have about any of these resource strings.

But… I don’t do VBA!

Doesn’t matter! In fact, while VBA code is ultimately our data, there’s plenty of areas that don’t even need to get anywhere near actual VBA code. The regex builder tool for example, couldn’t care less about VBA (well aside from building VBScript-flavored regex…), and traversing an expression tree to evaluate/interpret it, determining if a conditional evaluates to a constant, …these things aren’t VBA-specific – they’re just things you need to work with, regardless of what language your data is written with. Except BrainFuck perhaps. Point is, knowing VBA helps, but the core team is there to help too if need be…

I mean, how much VBA do you need to know in order to be able determine whether a module is empty?

 

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So, 2.0.12 is late… what’s cooking?

Recently I tweeted this:

The release of Rubberduck 2.0.12, due 5 days ago, is being delayed because we have something awesome cooking up. Give us 2-3 more weeks 🙂

TL;DR: if awesomeness can be cooked, that’s what’s cooking.

The amount of work that went into the upcoming release is tremendous. We’ve been trying to figure out exactly what was blowing up when the VBE dismantled itself and the host was shutting down, causing that pesky crash on exit… ever since we’ve introduced WPF user controls in dockable toolwindows. And at last, solved it.

We’ve been working on improving performance and thread safety of the entire parsing engine, and fixed a few grammar/parser bugs on the way, including a long-standing bug that made redundant parentheses trip a parse exception, another with the slightly weird and surely redundant Case Is = syntax, and @Magic annotations can now legally be followed by any comment, which is useful when you want to, well, annotate an annotation:

'@Ignore ProcedureNotUsed; called by [DoSomething] button on Sheet12
Public Sub DoSomething()
    ...
End Sub

We’ve enhanced the COM reference collector such that the resolver has every bit of useful information about everything there is to know in a type library referenced by a VBA project. This allows us to enhance other features, like the context-sensitive commandbar that tells you what Rubberduck is your selection as, e.g. a TextBox control in a UserForm:

textbox

(don’t mind that “Serialize” button – it’s only there in debug builds ;^)

Oh, and then there’s the interactions with the website – we’ll be running the inspections and the indenter on the website, and we’ll have the ability to (optionally) have Rubberduck know when a new version is available!


2.0.12 is going to be epic.

The 2.0 build

And then there’s even more: we’re going to make the inspections a concern of the parser engine, and turn them into parse tree node annotations – which means the code that currently finds the Declaration that’s currently selected (or one of its references), can also be used to find inspection results associated with that particular Declaration; this will probably prompt a redesign of how we present inspection results, and will definitely improve performance and memory footprint.

One of the best 2.x features is probably going to be the add/remove references dialog, which is currently merely prototyped. Beefing up unit testing with data-driven tests is also going to be a big one.

And when you see where we want to be for 3.0 (code path analysis & expression resolution, plug-in architecture, a subclassed CodePanethat actually tells us what’s going on, perhaps even with our own enhanced IntelliSense, more host-specific behaviors, TONS of new inspections), …this project is so awesome, I could just keep going on and on.

Not coming soon enough? I know, right!

cr-ducky-great-again-600x500.

To be continued…