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  • What's new in MPS 2.5 M1

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Dependencies analyzer

Dependencies analyzer can be called from main menu or from popup menu on a set of modules/models::

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The lower panel shows usages of items selected in the right panel in the left tree scope selection 

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Module Dependencies Tool

With this tool it is possible to overview all the module (or set of modules) dependencies and used languages, detect cyclic dependencies as well as see in details paths that lead to the given dependency. The tool can be invoked from the project pane when one or more modules selected there.

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Module Dependency Tool shows in the left panel all transitive dependencies of module and optionally all used (directly or indirectly) languages. It is possible to expand any dependency node and get all dependencies of the expanded node as children. These will be again transitive dependency but for the expanded node.

Select one of dependency nodes or set of nodes in the left panel. Right panel shows paths to the each selected module from its "parent" module. You can see brief explanation of each relation between modules in the right tree. It can be depends on, uses language, exports runtime, uses devkit, etc. For convinience the name of the target dependent module is shown in bold.

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There are two types of dependency paths: Dependency and Used Language. When you select module in the Used Language folder in the left tree right tree shows only dependency paths making "used language" relation for the given module. To show "ordinary" dependencies on language as a module you should choose it out of Used Languages folder (like jetbrains.mps.lang.core in the picture below). It is possible to select several nodes (e.g. the same language dependency inside and outside Used Language folder), then you get union of paths.

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If you want to track not only "visible" but also runtime dependencies you should check "runtime" option in toolbar. Only runtime dependencies are marked with "(runtime)" comment in the left tree.

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By default dependency paths are shown in "from the shortest to longest" order. But there are still paths that are not shown: paths with the same tail part as one of the already shown path. It is still possible to see all such paths in the right tree with the "Show all paths" option. Only starting (distinct) part of path is shown, symbols "... -->" mean that there is continueation of the path already shown in the tree; you can follow path by double clicking its last element. Image Removed
Modules participating in dependency cycles are shown in red color in the left tree. It is possible to see paths in cycle by selecting module dependency equal to parent or for convinience by using popup menu:  Image Removed

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For some types of dependencies it is possible to show usages or safe delete with popup menu. For "depends on" (dependency without re-export) Dependencies Analyzer will be invoked on Show Usages.
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Changes in Refactoring language

UI for getting refactoring parameters now is removed from refactoring language. Now choosers for parameters are not called, it is not allowed to show UI in init (e.g. ask and ask boolean), keystroke has no effect. All this functionality should be moved to an action correspondent to the refactoring.

The following constructs added to the refactoring language:

  • is applicable refactoring<Refactoring>(target)
    returns true if refactoring target corresponds to the current target (type, single/multiple) and applicable as in refactoring isApplicable method, and there is no refactoring that overrides current refactoring for this target.
  • execute refactoring<Refactoring>(target : project, parameters );
    executes refactoring for target with parameters
  • create refcontext<Refactoring>(target : project, parameters )
    create refactoring context for refactoring, target and fill parameters in context, this context then can be used for refactoring execution or for further work with parameters; UI is not shown during this call

It is necessary to manually migrate user refactorings. Migration consists of

  • create action for refactoring
  • copy caption, create context parameters
  • add refactoring keystroke with the newly created action to KeymapChangesDeclaration
  • create ActionGroupDeclaration for refactoring that modifies jetbrains.mps.ide.actions.NodeRefactoring action group at default position
  • add isApplicable clause to the action created; usually it is just is applicable refactoring< >() call
  • add execute clause to the action created; all the parameter preparations that were in init of refactoring should be moved here; at the end it is necessary to execute refacoring with prepared parameters (with execute refactoring< >(); statement)
  • remove all parameter preparation from init of refactoring, they should be ready on entry to init; you can still validate parameters and return false if validation fails

Suppressing errors

It is possible to suppress errors in editor (and in model checker) now.

If node is instance of a concept which implements ISuppressErrors interface, then all errors in this node and it's children won't be shown. It is also possible to define child roles, where errors should be suppressed, by overriding interface boolean method suppress(node<> child).

Also if node has attribute of concept implementing ISuppressErrors, errors in such node will be suppressed too.

There is default implementation of ISuppressErrors node attribute. It can be applied only to nodes that are instances of ICanSuppressErrors.

Here is an example of using this attribute and corresponding intention:

There is an error in editor:

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BaseLanguage Statement imlpements ICanSuppressErrors, so user can apply highlighted intention here:

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Now the error isn't highlighted, but there is a cross icon in the left pane. SuppressErrorsAttribute can be removed either by pressing on that cross or by applying corresponding intention

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Table of Contents


Section 1 - IntelliJ IDEA integration

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MPS plugin for IntelliJ IDEA
MPS plugin for IntelliJ IDEA

Section 2 - New Build Language

Build Language

Build Language is an extensible build automation DSL for defining builds in a declarative way. Generated into Ant, it leverages Ant execution power while keeping your sources clean and free from clutter. Organized as a stack of MPS languages with ANT at the bottom, it allows each part of your build procedure to be expressed at a different abstraction level. Building a complex artifact (like an MPS plug-in) could be specified in just one line of code, if you follow the language conventions, but, at the same time, nothing prevents you from diving deeper and customize the details like file management or manifest properties.

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Modular builds

Build script dependencies allow you to organize your build as a sequence of steps, each of which may potentially run on a different machine. At generation time, a sophisticated resolution mechanism transforms the high-level dependencies into the appropriate ANT tasks. For example, a dependency on a java module is replaced with its compiled jar location. Referring to and depending on the elements packaged inside existing archives will implicitly extracts them without any extra effort on your side.

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Plug-ins packaging

Distributing languages as plug-ins for either IntelliJ IDEA, MPS or as your own standalone IDE has become an extremely easy task. The functionality has been packaged into an extension to Build Language, which knows how to build MPS modules and supports all kinds of packaging. You can either write the whole script by hand or rely on the Build Solution Wizard, which helps you start with a new script.

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You can refer to the User Guide and to the Build Language documentation for more details.

Section 3 - Improvements to the out-of-the-box languages

Customizable scopes

An element that contains a reference to some other element typically knows nothing about the scope applicable to the reference. In such cases the best solution for finding applicable elements is to forward the request upwards in the AST. By implementing the ScopeProvider interface you can intercept such requests coming from your descendants and have full control over their scopes. Since BaseLanguage itself now also follows this strategy, you can easily restrict visible elements in embedded statements or expressions.

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Textual references

The reference representation can now vary depending on the reference location, as it is in many existing textual languages. It allows languages to support the notion of qualified reference when simple name of the target element is not enough. The new API requires developers to provide the referenceText value as a part of the Scope implementation (see jetbrains.mps.scope.Scope). All references in BaseLanguage now support java-style resolving. Also, in case of broken references the referenceText serves as a hint to the developer to fix it easily.

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Custom persistence for MPS models through stubs

With the improved jetbrains.mps.lang.stubs language, which now supports write as well as read operations, it is now possible to declare a custom stubs model manager that supports model saving functionality. Using this extension point you can teach MPS how to interoperate with any custom persistence syntax. You can load and save your models from and into a format that fits your needs best. Read more at the Stubs and custom persistence page.

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Suppressing errors

One of very effective ways to maintain high quality of code in MPS is the instant on-the-fly code analysis that highlights errors, warnings or potential problems directly in code. Just like with other code quality reporting tools, it is essential for the user to be able to mark false positives so that they are not reported repeatedly. MPS now provides the language developers with a customizable way to suppress errors in their languages. This functionality was used to implement Suppress Errors intention for BaseLanguage:
One place where this feature is also useful are the generators, since type errors, for example, are sometimes unavoidable in the templates.

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New XML language

A new language named jetbrains.mps.core.xml was introduced in MPS 2.5. This XML language has been designed in accordance to the XML specification.

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Anchor
refactorings
refactorings

Changes in the Refactoring language

In order to make the structure of MPS core languages more consistent and clear, the Refactoring language has been changed considerably. Several new and easy-to-use constructs have been added and parts of the functionality was deprecated and moved into the Actions language.

Section 4 - IDE enhancements

Dependencies analyzer

The Dependencies Analyzer can analyze and report dependencies among modules or models. It detects and highlights the elements that your code really refers to.

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Module Dependencies Tool

The Module Dependencies Tool allows the user to overview all the dependencies and used languages of a module or a set of modules, to detect potential cyclic dependencies as well as to see detailed paths that form the dependencies. The tool can be invoked from the project pane when one or more modules are selected.

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Save Transient Models indicator

It's not a secret that you can save transient models during code generation for debugging purposes. In MPS 2.5 you can switch now on/off saving of transient models just by clicking onto a button in the status bar:

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Version control

In MPS 2.0 the Merge Driver has been introduced to resolve merge conflicts inside MPS-specific files. In MPS 2.5 the Merge driver has been modified in order to handle merge conflicts in a more reliable way:

  • Merge driver is now handling .msd/.mpl files in addition to the model files
  • Model files are always kept in a valid state, even during merge conflict resolution
  • Merge dialog would appear each time you try to open a model with conflicts

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Debugging

Using MPS projectional editing functionality and improved debugger support it is possible to implement cell-based highlighting of DSL code instead of the usual single-line highlighting typical for text-based debuggers:
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Java Debugger

In addition to changes in the general debugger framework a number of improvements were implemented for Java-specific debugging

  • "Copy value" popup menu action for inspected variables in the variables view
  • Special highligting for incorrectly placed breakpoints
  • Use Alt+F8 to copy selected code from the editor into the Evaluate window
  • High-level (Domain-specific) types and variable names are calculated for variables in the evaluation and watches windows. Low-level (java) types are shown in brackets.
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Comfortable way to run MPS from MPS

A Run Configuration, which starts another instance of MPS from MPS, can now automatically open a selected project on start. You can either choose an arbitrary project path or open the current project that is already open in the current MPS instance.
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Section 5 - Other

New Productivity Guide

Good command of the tools is undoubtedly one of the attributes of an efficient developer. MPS 2.5 can monitor your actions and give you statistics on how frequently you use its most prominent editing and refactoring capabilities. Go to Help | Productivity Guide to see how well you do. Additionally, we've prepared a list of a couple dozen tricks you could learn through the Tip of the Day window to become more fluent with the MPS editor.

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MPS.Classpath module removed

There are four specific modules used to expose all available Java API of the platform and MPS as JavaStub models:

  • MPS.Core
  • MPS.Editor
  • MPS.Platform
  • MPS.Workbench

These modules were created as a substitution for the MPS.Classpath module that existed in previous versions. In essence, MPS.Classpath has been split into these four modules to isolate the core functionality from any dependencies on UI-/Editor-/Platform- specific APIs.

Distribution

One of the goals for MPS 2.5 release was making our platform modular. By exploring Plugins page in setting dialog it's easy to see increased number of plugin forming MPS 2.5 platform. If some plugins are not necessary for current tasks those plugins can be simply switched of increasing performance of the platform. Same trick can be used to create reduced IDE for some specific DSLs based on MPS.

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Migration

If you already use MPS in your projects, you may benefit from reading our migration guide with detailed description of the migration process.