Rake Task Runner

Executing Rake tasks in the NetBeans 6.1 is little bit cumbersome and inconvenient. To run a single Rake task you have to invoke project's context menu, navigate to the desired task, usually with the sluggish help of mouse. Clearly, the same for debugging a Rake task. If you have made a change to the Rakefile you have to manually trigger the Refresh List action, again the same long way through the context menu.

Old, 6.1 way:
6.1.png

Working on the debug-commons project I often ended up in the command line which was kind of bad feeling when working on NetBeans Ruby IDE ;)

This has changed in NetBeans 6.5 with new Rake Task Runner and few related changes. Now running/debugging a Rake task is quicker then using the command line.

  • CLI: rake test<Enter>
  • NetBeans: <Alt+Shift-R>te<Enter>

Few key strokes saved in NetBeans ;) Moreover you will get another bunch of features in Rake Task Runner.

New 6.5 Rake Runner:
6.5.png

It might be easily invoked through Alt+Shift-R (or through the project context menu if you really prefer the mouse way). Then just type few (not necessarily first) letters of the task to be run and press <Enter> like you are used to from Go To File or Go To Type dialogs.

To run the same task again just press Alt+Shift-R, <Enter>. The lastly run task is remembered. Or you might use Rerun button in the Output Window's tab.

Other features, new in 6.5:

  • possibility to pass parameters to Rake tasks (e.g. to db:migrate or test tasks)
  • possibility to see undocumented task (rake tool by default does not show tasks without description)
  • automatic detection of changes in the Rakefile
  • full description of each Rake task
  • merge of Debug and Run task context menu (just check the checkbox to debug the task)
  • better diagnostic when something goes wrong

Another related change is pre-generated useful Rakefile for newly created Ruby project. In 6.1, when you created a new project, you got an empty Rakefile. In 6.5 you will get Rakefile template containing classic tasks like clean, gem, rdoc, test, etc. (thank to Dudley Flanders for suggestions).

Also few menu items among the IDE are tied up with the pre-generated Rakefile, like Build and Clean actions in project's context menu which did nothing in 6.1.

Thanks to Erno, his Test Runner cooperates with the Rake Runner as well. So when you trigger tasks like test or spec, Test Runner will jump in and shows test result in a nice UI manner.

There are still a lot of place for improvements. If you have more ideas which you would like to see in NetBeans let us know. We have only a few days until Feature Freeze, so sooner is better. To try the new features you need to get 6.5 build as described in the wiki. As with all dev builds there might be some not-yet-discovered bugs, so better to keep one dev build, which works for you, back. I'm using 6.5 for my daily Ruby and Java job without too much issues. So encouraging you to try it as well ;). Moreover with 6.5 dev builds we might come with a fix to a bug you find in hours when at least somehow possible. That's much harder with already released 6.1.

Comments:

[Trackback] As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I am researching the new Ruby and Rails features in the upcoming NetBeans IDE 6.5. Last week, Martin Krauskopf and I talked about the work that he is doing. Some of you might know Martin from his earlier work with ...

Posted by Insider Scoop From the Tutorial Divas on July 21, 2008 at 10:56 AM PDT #

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