Thursday, October 19, 2006

Express Yourself With eDeveloper V10

Developers express themselves with logic, and that is what the expression editor is all about. eDeveloper has always been strong when it comes to creating the logic that comprises your business rules. Some have even gone so far as to call eDeveloper a business rules engine. Who besides Magic, you ask? Well, Gartner, for one.

There have been a few improvements worth noting, which Magic did in reasons 32 to 35 of the reasons to upgrade to eDeveloper V10. Let's take a look at each claim and see what's under the hood.

32. Quick Expressions rapidly set expressions on spot by directly typing the expression syntax in the expression placeholder.

This quick editor provides a quick way to enter simple expressions without opening the Expression Editor. Sometimes when things get big and powerful, they get a little clunky. So this brings us back to the lightweight feeling of the early RAD days, so to speak. How, you ask? Well, when you park on a property in the Logic or Data View editors that require an expression (such as the Init or Cnd properties), you can press the equal sign (=), which opens a text box where you can enter an expression. Then you just enter your expression, no fuss, no muss.

You need to press ENTER to save your expression and close the Quick Expression Editor. Esc or F2 closes the Quick Expression Editor without saving the expression. Any other navigation action (such as arrows, tabbing, paging up or down, mouse clicks outside the edit box) saves the entered expression. So, in this reason to upgrade, less is more.

33. Auto Complete
Have eDeveloper automatically complete function names in the expression editor by requesting its automatic completion.

This is another one of those really nice improvements that is just designed as a timesaver. Function Auto Complete is available for functions and operators that begin with a letter. How does it work> Simply type the function or operator prefix and then press CTRL+Space. For example, if you enter ab, the function list opens and the cursor parks on the ABS () function.

When there is only one matching option, the text will be completed automatically.
If there is more than one matching option, a list box with the matching options is displayed. Click to select.

You won't find this Auto Completion Cheat Sheet in the manual. Now, if I could only find a way to auto complete my blog…

34. Expression Formatting
Freely format your expression and make them more readable.

White space? Wrapping? Multiple lines? Oh my.

35. Colored Display Enjoy the enhanced expression editor full display highlighting each element of the expression in customizable colors.

To customize colors in the studio, access the Color Settings from the Options/Settings/Colors menu option and then choose the Studio tab to modify the colors used for any of the listed color uses.

Go ahead. Express Yourself as Madonna would say.

As for me, I'll have to wait till the next blog entry for that.