From time to time I get asked how developers can customize their IDE experience. There are many ways to set options that affect the IDE, registry settings you can change and external 3rd party tools you can use. Here are a few ideas about what you can do to take control of the look and feel of the Embarcadero RAD Studio, Delphi and C++Builder 10 Seattle IDE.
Use the IDE Tools | Options menu items
The tools options dialog box contains a wide array of environment, code editor, tool palette and other options to control the look and feel of the IDE. Included are option settings for
- Environment options – including customizing the Tool Palette, component toolbar, difference and merger viewer, form designer, structure view and project manager.
- Editor options – includes display options, font size, code formatting, code color, code folding, brace matcing and more.
- HTML options – HTML highlighting, color settings, page layout, etc.
- Code Formatting – Pages in the Formatter group define the formatter options that customize the behavior of the source code formatter as you are typing in code for Delphi and C++.
Customize your Desktop layout
You can create any number of desktop layouts to alter the use of screen real estate when you are coding, designing, debugging, exploring and working with different projects and phases of development. Built into the standard IDE install are pre-defined desktop layouts. You can also create and save your own desktop layouts. The following layouts are pre-installed:
- Classic Undocked – Emulates earlier Delphi versions, with separate windows for the menus and palette, designer, etc.
- Debug Layout – Customized for debugging, with call stack, thread, and other views shown instead of the default windows used for designing applications.
- Default Layout – Shows all windows docked into one container, with the most-used designing windows shown, including the tool palette, object inspector, design form, etc.
You can also choose to save a custom desktop layout for IDE form design and code editing operations. You can also save a custom layout for debugging operatiions. To find out more about saving desktop layouts read the DocWiki article at http://docwiki.embarcadero.com/RADStudio/Seattle/en/Saving_Desktop_Layouts
Use the IDE Command Line Switches and Options
The following IDE command line switches and options are available when starting the IDE from the command line. You must precede all options (unless otherwise noted) with either a dash (-) or a slash (/). The options are not case-sensitive. Using command line options you can:
- ns to supress the splash screen
- np to turn off the welcome page
- p to set the programming language personality
- r to set an alternate registry key for the IDE to use
Use an external 3rd party tool to customize your IDE
- One of our MVPs, Rodrigo Ruz, has created an IDE plug-in, the "Delphi IDE Colorizer (DIC)" which lets you skin the look and feel of the RAD Studio, Delphi and C++Builder IDE. His GitHub page says that DIC is compatible with RAD Studio XE2-XE8, 10 Seattle. The source code for the plug-in with screen shots is available on his DIC GitHub page. You can see what else Rodrigo does with Delphi on his blog at https://theroadtodelphi.wordpress.com/
- Erik Berry and a team of community members work on GExperts. GExperts is a free set of tools built to increase the productivity of Delphi and C++Builder programmers by adding several features to the IDE. This open source project have IDE extension features including: ASCII chart (one of my favorites), creating IDE editor shortcuts, code editor enhancements, editor experts, to do list, code proofreader and a whole lot more.
- CnPack IDE Wizards is a free open source plug-in tools set for Delphi and C++Builder. It provides a number of IDE enhancements to improve your productivity inside the IDE. Included in the pack are Code Input Helper, Code Structure Highlighter, Multi-line Component Palette, Uses Unit cleaner and a whole lot more! The CnPack team members are Chinese Delphi and C++Builder community members. They have several open source projects including CnPack IDE Wizards, CnPack Component Package and CVSTracNT. The source code for all projects is available on the CnPack GitHub.
- Parnassus Bookmarks replaces the IDE’s inbuilt bookmark functionality with new, improved navigation. Parnassus Navigator lets you move between any section of code quickly, easily, and without your fingers leaving the keyboard. I really like Navigator's "Minimap" view of your code and how you can jump visually to a spot in the source where you want to explore further. You can find more about Parnassus IDE plug-ins at https://parnassus.co/delphi-tools/
I'm sorry if I didn't list all of the many other ways you can customize, optimize and enhance your RAD Studio, Delphi and C++Builder 10 Seattle IDE look, feel and experience. Post a comment with your other favorite 10 Seattle IDE enhancement tools.