NetBeans and FIXME's (and other notes to self)

We recently went through the process of scrubbing our code, that is looking for comments in the code which shouldn't be in a released product. The comments generally start off with FIXME, TODO, and XXX, although they can include anything (I usually start mine with my login id. That way I know its my comment). NetBeans has a couple of tools you can use to easily find all of the 'notes to self' in your source code. The first is the 'To Do' window. If you go to the Window menu, you can select the 'To Do' window (Ctrl-6 for you keyboarders). Once selected, you'll see a window display at the bottom of the NetBeans window which takes the entire width of the window. You'll see 'Current File', 'Opened Files', and 'Selected Folder' tabs. If you have any notes in the file which currently has focus, you'll see them listed. You can select the 'Opened Files' tab to see a list of all of the notes in all of the files which you have open. You can also select the 'Selected Folders' tab and specify a folder. Doing so will give you a list of all the files in and beneath that directory which contain notes. Double-clicking on any line will take you to the line in the correct file. BTW, you can also specify custom text as being 'notes'.

Another tool is the Error Stripe. I recently installed this cool tool by updating my NetBeans 4.1 installation. This displays a vertical bar along the right side of the text editor. If all is well with the current file your displaying, you'll see a small green square at the top of the Error Stripe indicating everything is OK. If you see a red square, you have errors in your file . You can hover the mouse over the square and a popup indicating the number of errors is displayed. If you have errors (e.g. cannot find symbol), you'll see red horizontal stripes in the Error Stripe. If you see a blue horizontal stripe, this indicates you have a note to yourself. The Error Stripe displays these dispersed up and down the Error Stripe to give you and indication of how far down the error is. If you move the mouse over a stripe, the cursor will change to a pointer. You can single click on the stripe and NetBeans will take you to the issue. The Error Stripe gives you a good visual indication of issues with your file.
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Darryl Mocek

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