Thus Spake Gaksloope: The future of browse and code

My strange friend Gaksloope, who lives in an alternative-reality cubicle, fourteen minutes into the future, sent me an IM message today that i thought i'd share.

(first, recall that alternative universes only ever seem to inter-communicate via instant messaging services. And Google talk is weapon-of-choice for most trans-temporal-cross-reality chatters. But we digress.)

Here is what Gaksloope has to say:

gaks:It 'trigues me that you whine about syntax highlighting for the web, when here, in my alternative-reality cubicle, fourteen minutes into the future, we have very nice syntax highlighting features available from all of the seven popular browsers.

leon:syntax highlighting controls? i don't get it?

gaks:oh it's easy, you start typing and it highlights for you and has intellisense too

leon://show me the code//, gakza, i can sell this to some fools i know

gaks:here goes. first you drop a textarea tag into your document like this:
<textarea> </textarea>

leon:OK, np.

gaks:next you set the syntax attribute, to tell it what syntax to use:
<textarea syntax=""></textarea>

leon:So what does that do?

gaks:That tells the browser what syntax we're expecting.

leon:The browser? Don't you mean the server?

gaks:The browser, the browser, man, everything interestng happens on the browser. anyway forget the server. We don't have those here -- everyone's machines act as nodes in giant peer-to-peer clusters. Client machines are more powerful than servers these days anyway. it's the "reverse 'big-fish-eats-little-fish' rule of computing." Sheesh - sometimes i think you must be //sixteen// minutes behind in your alternative reality cubicle.

leon:so the browser loads and parses that document... Csharp.syntax, before it renders the textarea tag? must be slow.

gaks:no, it axs for it.


gaks:Asynchronous Xml Slurping. Tell me, for the love of god, you've got AXS?

leon:oh //that// 'AXS'. yes, even our shoe laces can do that here... um.

gaks:so the browser axs the syntax file. notice that i ax'd it from, rather than the more popular one located at


gaks:since bought they own the spec to c-sharp as well.

leon:dot org? did you say HA!

gaks:typo sorry. microsoft.borg. they got their own top level domain, right before steve ballmer went insane and crushed bill gates to death in his giant grip, then ate him.

leon:that happened in your reality?

gaks:oh, that happens in every reality. it's one of the five universal constants. you mustn't have reached that bit yet.

leon:i'll.. i'll look out for it.

gaks:so anyway, the syntax file tells the browser that the language has certain symbols for comments, certain keywords, operators and the like. this is all simple stuff that has been well understood in every reality for a long time. And it's the next attribute that tells the browser how to style each of these particles; what colors and fonts and so on. This is the 'highlight' attribute:

<textarea syntax=""
    highlight="http://www.csszengarden/styles/highlights/DancingSea.css" >

leon:and that's it? syntax highlighting in the browser?

gaks:oh it doesn't stop there. there's intellisense as well -- just specify the dictionary of possibilities:

<textarea syntax=""
    intellisense="" >

gaks:one more trick -- we let the user expand the intellisense possbilities with their own, local, list of terms.

<textarea syntax=""
    clientIntellisense="csharp.terms" >

gaks:It works like a Custom Dicionary in Apple Word.

leon:abra cadabra

** gaks may not reply because his/her status has changed to 'no available ripple in trans-reality fibril or offline' **

Ah... there you have it. Maybe i'll share again, next time i hear from Gaksloope. Best of luck.


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