Using TextPad for an IDE

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Walt White
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 11:57 pm
Location: California Central Valley

Using TextPad for an IDE

Postby Walt White » Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:36 pm

Brian's book recommends using Eclipse for an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). I'm sure Eclipse is great for complex projects, but I think other novice programmers like me might benefit from using TextPad, a much easier way to start programming.

I use TextPad every day at work for writing simple Perl, HTML, CSS, and C# projects, and anytime I need to analyze text files. The syntax highlighting and clip library are invaluable. It is a simple and very easy-to-use program editor/IDE for simple projects, which all of my leJOS projects are. As you get familiar with TextPad you can explore its more powerful features. The best part is that you can be productive immediately, and it's great for a wide variety of languages and types of files, including leJOS NXJ and leJOS RCX.

I have been using TextPad for all the RCX programs I have been writing since Brian's first leJOS RCX book came out. I was an early convert to leJOS for the RCX and still use it exclusively to program my RCX projects. I even won a line following contest at Brickfest in Portland, Oregon in 2004 using leJOS!

A belated thanks to Brian and the leJOS development team, including Jurgen Stuber, Roger Glassey, Charles Manning, Matthias Paul Scholz (I bought your Da Vinci book as well), and I'm sure many others.

In April 2006 I wrote some RCX documentation for TextPad using the then current leJOS RCX release. I used the format of the RCX tutorial that I think was maintained by Matthias Paul Scholz, in case he wanted to incorporate it into his tutorial. At that time, leJOS RCX required a separate lejoslink step that I think has been incorporated into the download process of the final RCX release, like the earlier versions of leJOS RCX.

I submitted my documentation to the leJOS discussion list, but it turned out that the leJOS development team was focusing their energies on the upcoming NXT and thus RCX information became less important to maintain.

If there is any interest, I can update those pages to reflect the final leJOS RCX release. I own more than one RCX and will continue to enjoy using them for many years to come.

I finally have some time to program my NXT using NXJ, so my first task was to figure out how to compile and download programs via USB with one click from TextPad without having to open a command window.

To compile your program with one click while still in TextPad configure a TextPad Tool with:
Command = %nxj_home%\bin\nxjc.bat
Parameters = $File
Initial folder: $FileDir

When using the environment variable %nxj_home% instead of using the actual path, the tool will complain that it can't find the path, but it still works, compiling your .java programs into .class files. If there are compilation errors, TextPad shows them to you in a new document. Note that the default TextPad initial folder is $File$Dir which will fail. You need to specify $FileDir.

To download your program with one click via USB while still in TextPad, configure a TextPad Tool with:
Command: %nxj_home%\bin\nxj.bat
Parameters: $BaseName
Initial folder: $FileDir

Walt White

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