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Dealing with VisualWorks' Quirks (code highlighting, handling infinite loops, etc)

VisualWorks has many quirks that make it a unique environment when compared with Visual Studio for example. Listed below are some of the most common quirks along with recommended solutions.

Code Highlighting

To enable syntax highlighting in the system browser, follow these steps:
  1. If you are already connected to the VisualWorks repository, go to step 4.
  2. In the main VisualWorks window (VisualWorks NonCommercial), select Store->Connect to Repository...
  3. Select "Cincom Public Repository" from the Connection Profile list and click Connect.
  4. Once this operation completes, select Store->Published Items.
  5. Enter "RBCodeHighlighting" in the search field.
  6. Right click the latest version in the list to the right, and select "Load".
  7. Answer yes to the dialog box that asks if you want to load this package.

Handling Infinite Loops

If you ever write code that causes VisualWorks to fall into an infinite loop or to hang indefinitely, VisualWorks has Process Monitor that functions similar to the Windows' task manager. The Process Monitor can be opened from the main VisualWorks window by selecting Debug->Process Monitor. It allows you to kill processes or windows by right clicking the process and selecting "Terminate." Unfortunately, if your code does cause VisualWorks to hang, you will not be able to open the Process Monitor. The best option in this case is to wait for a few minutes until VisualWorks realizes that it is hanging. It will then present you with the Process Monitor and allow you to terminate the offending process.

Saving Code

An important distinction between VisualWorks and other development environments is the way in which code is saved. In VisualWorks, your code is never permanently saved until you save your image with File->Save Image. While using the system browser, if you edit your code and press CTRL+S, your code is saved temporarily. This will allow you to view other classes or methods. However, if you close VisualWorks without saving your image then all of your changes and additions will not be visible the next time you open VisualWorks. If you edit your code in the system browser and then attempt to view another class or method without pressing CTRL+S, VisualWorks will prompt you with a dialog box asking "Accept unsaved text changes?" You will be presented with three options: Yes, No, and Cancel. The only safe option is Cancel. Pressing Yes or No will not save your code, and you will lose any changes you made. The safest option is to press Cancel and then manually save your code with CTRL+S. Again, answering Yes to that dialog box will not save your code.

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