[MonoDevelop] Impossible to see my cursor.

Michael Hutchinson m.j.hutchinson at gmail.com
Wed Oct 14 00:33:16 EDT 2009

On Tue, Oct 13, 2009 at 6:48 PM, Miguel de Icaza
<miguel.de.icaza at gmail.com> wrote:
>     When I press Go-to-next-error in MonoDevelop, I always have to move my
> cursor left and right to see the cursor, otherwise I do not know where I am.
>     We need to have a better mechanism to highlight the line we have
> selected, there are a few options:
> * Visual Studio selects the offending region using the selection mechanism
> (so C-x cuts the text for example) and puts a squiggly underline
> * XCode highlights the entire line, puts a error flag on the left column
> (indicating the error or warning line) and puts the text in a small cute
> font on the right

The specific problem here is that when using the errors list to jump
to error locations, it's not immediately obvious where in the text
editor the caret is. I don't have this problem myself, since I like to
have the current line highlight enabled, but I can see how it could be
a big issue for people who don't use that, especially with large

The inline highlighting/marking of the compiler errors and warnings
would certainly help in this specific case, but the problem of finding
the cursor after jumping is much more general. You can just as easily
lose the cursor if you jump using the search pad, or symbol navigation
commands like go-to-definition or go-to-base, or the navigate
forward/back commands, or even if you just switch editor tabs. For
this reason I would propose that we add a small animation to "pulse"
the caret whenever the editor caret position "jumps" as the result of
an IDE operation. This should be straightforward using Mike's new
animation code. We could also trivially add a keybindable text editor
command to pulse the caret, which I'm sure would be useful for some

To get an idea of how VS and Xcode handle these problems I've
summarized what they do:

Visual Studio 2008
* go-to-error with the error pad sometimes highlights the offending
item, and sometimes just places the caret
* go-to-definition just places the caret
* on-the-fly errors are highlighted with red squiggle, compile errors
are highlighted with a blue squiggle, compile warnings are highlighted
with a green squiggle. All have tooltips with details.

* go-to-definition selects the entire target line
* compile errors have an icon in the gutter/margin, and paints the
entire line with a highlight, with the details painted in an arrow on
the far right.

I'm not a fan of the Xcode error markers - I think they're too
intrusive, and painting the description inline wastes editor width. I
also don't think it makes sense to select text at the jump target
unless the user actually would want a selection. Fortunately it would
be very straightforward to add different-coloured squiggles for
different error/warning types - I did this for HTML/XML
errors/warnings already.

For these reasons, I suggest we add the caret pulse on jump, caret
pulse command, and blue/green error/warning underlines for compiler

Michael Hutchinson

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