June 25, 2007

Using TextMate's TODO bundle

If you use TextMate, you should really think about using the TODO bundle more often. It’s a simple, low-maintenance bundle that adds tremendous value to your code.

Setting TODO, FIXME, and CHANGELOG

Using the bundle is pretty easy. In any language, just type in a quick comment with the prefix TODO, FIXME or CHANGED like so:

def view
  # TODO: different display for different types of clips: active, processing, etc
  @clip = Clip.find(params[:id])
  # TODO: Make a real related clips dealieo
  @related_clips = Clip.find(:all, :limit => 6, :conditions => ["clips.status = 'processed'"])
end

Using this syntax lets you keep pushing ahead at full steam and leave the hard stuff for later. For example, in the above example I wanted to get a quick functional prototype out the door. It wasn’t mandatory that the Related Clips actually be related: it was only mandatory that there was content present.

You can also use the keywords FIXME or CHANGED throughout your code, like so:

def view
  # FIXME: This totally breaks if an invalid ID is given
  @clip = Clip.find(params[:id])
  # CHANGED: @related_clips now uses a model method related_clips
  @related_clips = Clip.related_clips(params[:id])
end

This lets others working on the code let you know that you know something is broken and/or changed, but you just don’t have time to get to it.

Getting the information back

Well, that’s all fine and well.. but how do you know what needs to be fixed/changed/done ? Just hit Ctr+Shift+T and TextMate will pop up with a pretty little list, hyperlinked and all

Screenshot of the TODO list Ctrl + Shift + T brings up a list of all your todo's

I use this bundle practically every time I open up Textmate. It allows me to keep on a focused track of development, while still keeping a lot of “ooh, I need to do that sometime” kind of tasks on the radar.

If you'd like to keep in touch, I tweet @kneath on Twitter. You're also welcome to send a polite email to kyle@warpspire.com. I don't always get the chance to respond, but email is always the best way to get in touch.

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