Archive for January 2008

Still holding my cup of Java

I am still working on some basic user settings for XPontus XML Editor. The "Plugins advanced" buttons will show a tree with the installed plugins ordered by category. I think it is a more intuitive approach instead of having a single bloated dialog.

Basic settings

Advanced settings

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Some releases

I released the first beta of VFSJFileChooser yersterday. It will be integrated as a plugin in XPontus XML Editor.

XPontus snapshot release might hit sourceforge mirrors this friday. I will provide a link to the java web start download. I have a couple of bugs to fix :

  • The transformations profile editor isn't stable.
  • The preferences panel and the plugins manager are not ready yet
  • Code completion database doesn't support caching.
  • The XML schema completion is not ready(sometimes it works well, sometimes not)
  • I miss some informations in the plugins descriptors (author, homepage, etc.). This will be useful for the plugins manager and the preferences panel.
  • The xpath plugin is not stable.
I'll do my best to resolve the above issues. As it will be a java web start release, I'll be able to provide fixes on a daily basis according to the bug complexity. I'll attempt to fix the bugs reported in the previous versions of XPontus too!(If it is a new release, there must be some improvements!).

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VFSJFileChooser to be released soon

Before releasing VFSJFileChooser, here are the features I would like to add :

  • A bookmarks manager : I found a bookmark dialog in some old jedit code, I might improve it and use it, at leastl for now.
  • A connection manager : You have to type the complete address with the username/password in the filename textfield to open a remote connection. I will be a simple dialog with few textboxes.
What have been fixed :
  • I patched commons-vfs to support http directs. For example : Trying to open would not work, I had to use
  • I removed the user credentials from the directory combobox

I need to 2 days to perform enough tests.

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Settings are back

I didn't know how I was going to add a dialog to customize XPontus settings. Here is my first try.

Second attempt

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You've been waiting for it, it is almost here

I am testing the snapshot release of XPontus. I was struggling yersterday with Java Web Start and the securityManager. The plugins weren't picked because of some java permissions issues. I was able to fix that.
I'm confident I will publish a snapshot release in a week or two. In the meantime, I am working on the plugins installer. I will try to get it ready for the snapshot release. If not, I will add a link where you can download the plugins and the instructions to install them.

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VFSJFileChooser is now on

The VFSJFileChooser project has been accepted at Sourceforge. I has started its integration into XPontus as a plugin. XPontus will use an extended version of it to provide plugin support.

Validating an XML document or checking if it was well-formed was taking forever with XPontus 1.0.0-pre1 compared to the previous versions so I fixed it today.

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Yes I did it

I rewrote the virtual file system explorer from scratch. It is fast enough and is behaving well. I guess I can add it right now to XPontus XML Editor. I didn't want to copy too much existing interfaces and to borrow code here and there.


  • Browse FTP, SAMBA, SFTP and Webdav file systems. You can select http files but you can't browse directories even if direct listing is allowed.
  • It behaves almost like JFileChooser

What's missing
  • There is no connection manager to add specific settings like proxy
  • The username and password are shown is the directory list of files
  • There is no details view
  • There is no real caching of files
  • Drag and drop is not supported
  • I need to patch commons vfs to support redirects

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The virtual filesystem explorer is ok

The new file explorer will make it in the snapshot release. I've been testing it a lot. Bookmarks support is still missing but it doesn't matter for the snapshot distribution.

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Not quite why I want but...

I am not satified with the virtual file system explorer. When allowing multiple file selections, I have lots of issues. Conditions here and there, bad code make it more complex than it is. When I have a look at Sun JFileChooser implementation, I see about 1000 lines of code. I should have classes with less than 500 lines and simple interfaces.

I will leave the code as it is for now and rewrite it later. I will have a better look at jfilechooser's code to see how they handle multiple file selections vs single file selections.

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XPontus File Explorer improvements

I am now able to hide the user credentials in the location bar. The problem is that I still have duplicated entries in the location bar history list. For the snapshot release I guess it is ok as long as the browser behaves well enough.

The file explorer supports sftp, ftp, cifs, webdav protocols. It can browse local files too!.

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Virtual FileSystem Browser almost done

I am almost done with XPontus virtual filesystem browser. I am missing the following parts :

  • Bookmarks supports
  • Path history
  • User notifications(when the control takes time to display the directories or files)

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What's new

I am coding a virtual file system browser based on Apache Commons VFS. I found existing components, but I didn't get the permission to use them yet.

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Almost there

Done today

  • I fixed some bugs in the transformation profiles
  • I completed the transformation profiles support for saxon6.x , saxon 8.x and stx and fop.
  • The outline plugin is behaving well
  • I took the time to test most parts of the program
  • I started programming the XML signature module
Remaining issues
  • Code completion
    • The code completion doesn't work well with nested schemas
    • The code completion doesn't store a cache on the user's hard drive
    • I need to add built-in completion for XSL, Apache ant files, xml schemas, HTML
  • Virtual file system
    • The implementation is not complete(ssh, ftp, smb)
    • Sometimes I hardcoded the files path. I should always use a filesystem abstraction so that remote files can be found.
  • Users settings
    • In the previous versions of xpontus there was no plugins so I had a big panel with a tree to browse and set the preferences
    • Now most parts of the software are plugins and some of them can/should be customized by the user(font color, encoding, etc.)
    • I should write a settings importer for the old versions of XPontus
    • Using a relational database to store user settings might not be a good idea. If I upgrade XPontus and there are some major changes in the API, then all the users settings are gone unless I keep lots of old code in the program. I might revert to XStream which serialize objects in XML. If XStream API changes, I can still parse the data.
  • Plugin management
    • Because there are plugins the plugins browser must be at least able to install, list, remove plugins. I will think about the upgrade later.
    • The themes and icons modules are not ready yet. I need a settings initializer because the theme and icon set must be known before loading the program
  • Expression evaluator
    • The expression evaluator is not working well when evaluating xpath expressions. If the result is a boolean value, then no navigation link should be provided to look at the result. Sometimes it seems that the xpath expression is correct but no result is returned...
    • The xquery expression evaluator should have it's own output window to display the result. Sometimes the result is a node, but sometimes it will be plain text or whatever else.

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Catching up with the previous development version fo XPontus(without plugins)

I am adding features quickly, maybe too quickly. Well I'm going to clean up the code later.

The following components have been added today :

  • a simple quicktoolbar plugin(Comment XML selection and INSERT CDATA section)
  • a code structure view of XML documents

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