Third Year Project Allocation

Today my third year project allocation was finalized, and so I am very excited to start talking about it.

A third year project, sometimes known as a final year project (though not by me because I’m on a four year Masters course), is a software development and documentation project spanning from now until the end of the third year. In that time we have to write about how we plan to make a piece of software, make said piece of software and then review how we did, what we created and how we would do things differently if we had our time over.

It is intended to be an exercise in real development for us all, rather than a piece of coursework that lasts only a few short weeks it will last a whole year, have real deadlines and been completely our own idea and run under our own steam. This means we set out own timetable for when work is expected to be completed by and us and us alone make sure said work gets done.

My personal aim with this project is to produce the piece of software that I am most proud of. A hope would be to have something that I could either sell commercially, or release as an open source product that would develop an active community.

So, onto the project I’ve been allocated. Below you can see the project description, originally written by Dr. Martin Walker

Code editor with syntax highlighting & autocomplete      

Although it is possible to program using nothing more than Notepad and a compiler, it is much easier to use an Interactive Development Environment (IDE) as the GUI for programming. Typical features include syntax highlighting, so that the keywords are readily visible, and autocomplete (e.g. like Visual Studio’s Intellisense) to improve efficiency or gain context dependent help.

This project would involve creating your own IDE, such as a simple Notepad++ style program (http://notepad-plus-plus.org). Primary features would include syntax highlighting and autocomplete, but other possibilities include compiler integration (to run the compiler from within your IDE) and feedback on errors, e.g. highlighting lines with errors in red. You could choose to make the IDE specific to a single programming language, or configurable so that it can be used with multiple languages.

My plan to work within this frame, but also add to it, is to create an IDE for the server side programming language PHP – The Hyperscript Pre-processor. This is the programming language I first learnt, and therefore one of the languages — alongside C# — that I am most comfortable with. This means that hopefully, with my years of experience with the language, I will know what developers want in their IDE and be able to implement it in a good way, in fact I already have a few good ideas.

I do know, from years of doing PHP that there isn’t an IDE that makes developers as comfortable as say Visual Studio does for C# or C++ developers. I hope to change this.

One of the other interesting things about this project is that it will go really well with one of the modules I’ve chosen for next year, which is titled “Languages and Their Compilers”.

Expect to hear a lot more about this in the future!

Danny

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