Difference between revisions of "Yi"

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* cua mode
* cua mode
* Nail-down the last remnants of C
** C-code don't belong to yi but to low-level libraries
** Will ease Fully-dynamic Yi.
* Fully-dynamic Yi.
* Fully-dynamic Yi.

Revision as of 06:29, 22 May 2007

Yi homepage


The obligatory screenshoot



(Recent items first)

  • Dired mode (thanks Ben Moseley)
  • Yi 0.2 released!
  • Multiple marks per buffer
  • All keymaps use a unified mechanism! (and are therefore potentially composable)
  • Miniwindows for vty frontend
  • Miniwindows for GTK frontend
  • Basic support for query-replace (emacs)
  • Rudimentary support for indentation
  • Syntax highlighting in GTK frontend (using SourceView)
  • Completion for file names
  • Incremental search (emacs)
  • Completion for M-x, and buffer switch.
  • History for emacs mode minibuffer
  • New commands and keybindings can be defined easily and dynamically
  • Yi is an haskell interpreter!
    • Possibility to run editor actions interactively (similar to emacs M-x)
    • Configuration is just a haskell module exporting (yiMain :: Action)
  • Possibility to evaluate haskell expressions interactively.
  • New, unified way to define Keybindings
  • Vty frontend supports Haskell (lexical) syntax highlighting
  • GTK frontend works in Win32
  • GTK frontend (in addition of Vty frontend) (requires gtk>=
  • Linewrap support
  • Bugfixes in scrolling
  • Lots of simplifications in the cursor management
  • Keymaps can now process typed events instead of Chars (no extra decode step)
  • Yi.Debug added for debugging
  • Vty frontend replaces Curses frontend


  • vi: delete (d) seems broken
  • emacs: matching names can make the window oversized.
  • emacs: isearch should unset the selection
  • vty: home,end: keys are not correctly supported
    • This is a vty library problem. sorear: it works fine on the linux console but fails to handle $TERM. (vty 3.1 will wrap ncurses)
  • vty: haskell syntax highlight chokes on {- -} comments
  • vty: killing the last line of a buffer brings the point to the beginning of the buffer
  • gtk: regexp search is not implemented
  • gtk: leftE at the beginning of buffer goes to end.

How to Configure Yi

You can find configuration file examples here:


A good start is to copy YiConfig.hs in your ~/.yi directory (create it if needed), and hack as needed.

Development plan

Also read: http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~dons/yi/TODO

Test suite

The test suite has to be made up to date and re-instated.

Build test: regular, gtk, and haddock html doc should be buildable at all times.


The below describes possible refactorings to investigate:

  • Buffers
    • All the buffer-only code should not modify the Editor state (ie. should work at the buffer level)
    • Duplicating Buffer functions at the Core level by wrapping them in withBuffer is ugly

New features

Roughly by order of easy to do / reverse importance.

  • Window stuff
    • Add option to deactivate line-wrap (and truncate lines instead)
      • gtk: attribute textViewWrapMode
    • vty: horizontal scrolling
    • Independent window scrolling (without moving the Point)
  • Open multiple windows on a buffer (each with a different point)
  • have a console that behaves more or less like ghci
    • prompt
    • direct evaluation (not only of (EditorM a))
  • cua mode
  • Nail-down the last remnants of C
    • C-code don't belong to yi but to low-level libraries
    • Will ease Fully-dynamic Yi.
  • Fully-dynamic Yi.
    • Most of Yi should not be pre-compiled in a package, but rather distributed as source and compiled on the fly. This would solve the problems of
      • un-needed dependencies for optional modules
      • unconfigurability of pre-compiled modules
      • awkwardness of yi-gtk/yi-vty cabal specs.
  • Buffers
    • Per-buffer specific state. Ideally this should be statically typed and fit the per-buffer keymap.
    • Do Undo/Redo on the "interactive" transaction boundaries
    • Re-think the Buffer interface/implementation (so it supports unicode (utf8), better marks, etc.)
    • Re-write the FastBuffer so it uses ByteString (or something else) instead of directly the C pointers
      • Look at other possibilities for buffer storage; e.g. Simon Tatham has had success using lazily-constructed size-annotated 2-3-4 trees for editing >10GB files. [1]
  • Invent/discover a system to have annotated buffers (syntax highlight, interactive content)
    • see emacs overlays

Yi ideas

This section is meant to gather ideas people have for Yi.


Coming from an Emacs background, I think a few things are essential, mainly the introspection capabilities of Emacs.

Emacs goodness

The following are things I like about Emacs, as an extensible environment:

Really good online documentation
Emacs can tell you a lot about a function or variable with a keypress--- the current value, where it is declared, and a hypertext formation string
All (good) apps allow users to extend, through, e.g., hooks --- a list of functions that are run before/after some event (like saving a file)
It is really easy in Emacs to have one package interact with another. Thus, I can, e.g., insert a new appointment from my mail app into the diary.
Everything is One Language
Ignoring the actual language (Lisp!), everything is handled in a uniform language --- from binding keys to writing apps.
Easy to start hacking
I can start playing with the system from the second I start up, and things pretty much work as expected. I.e., I can type a bit of code in, execute it, and the result is displayed in the minibuffer. The good docs help immeasurably.
Written for the frequent user
Lots of key shortcuts (and famous for it). There are still menus, for those who like em, but you aren't forced to pretend you just started using it.
A tonne of code
Well, Haskell has this to some degree. Haskell is (IMHO) much easier to write than ELisp, so maybe people will be encouraged to contribute.

Emacs badness

So, why replace it?:

Dynamically scoped, Dynamically typed, ugly, old. 'Nuff said
What's a Parser?
A lot of apps in emacs do stuff with text, usually text that is in some language. There is no standard parser (like, e.g. parsec), so a lot of it is ugly handwritten spaghetti. This also means that adding analysis tools isn't really done (or done nicely).
ELisp again
Haskell is a lot cleaner to write, especially because of the large number of libraries.

Emacs maybeness (?)

Some things that are sometimes bad, sometimes good:

Everything is a buffer
Makes some sense, but sometimes doesn't. It is nice to have uniform key bindings do the right thing (e.g., C-Space sets the mark, and the region can then be used, e.g. to delete a sequence of emails in Wl) Sometimes, however, you just want some sort of GUI widget.
OTOH, having the minibuffer be a special kind of buffer is a good idea.
It is possible to associate arbitrary properties with symbols. This means you can annotate a symbol and then use that information at a later date

Vi ?

What about vi? I believe we want Yi to subsume vi as well.


An extension to GHCi to support documentation of symbols.
This seems to be (reasonably) straightforward, as GHCi already has :info. It would mean hacking the type environment (what about values?) to add documentation information. The main problem would seem to be populating this --- maybe hack haddock to produce something from the library docs? I assume that using package GHC uses the parent RTS (package GHC seems to be the way to go, but more investigation is required --- don?)
Views on data
Rather than just editing a file, you would open a view onto the file, i.e. there is no longer a 1-1 correspondence between buffers and files. Why? Well, for aggregate buffers (i.e., editing multiple files in the one view), or for multiple views of a file (e.g. AST and source-level). There would be some primitive ops for editing a buffer (insertChar, delete, etc.), which would then call update functions on anything observing that file.
Remote attach so I can work from home, but still use a remote machine
Haddock documentation
(no brainer), maybe associate with .hi files for binaries.
A class MiniBufferRead (or PromptingRead) which allows the user to

invoke a function similar to M-x in Emacs, but without requiring (interactive)

This means that given f :: String -> Int -> Action, (makeInteractive f) :: Action would prompt the user for a String then an Int and run the corresponding action.
Maybe a class YiShow, which all config items must be a member of? This is to emulate describe-variable



Per mode/file/buffer/whatever Monads, or reload/recompile? Or some hybrid? How does this interact with the documentation aspects? Do we want to have separate sorts of symbols a la emacs (describe-function, describe-variable), or is everything a function? I would think that configuration info doesn't change that frequently --- is this globally true though?
We can probably use a GHCi-like "let". Rebinding a function would then be synonym to assign a variable, thereby achieve unification between functions and variables.
Also possible: use something similar to the GHCi debugger to "tune" the behavior of some functions.
Interface to the runtime
The scheduler, docs, etc.
Introspection of e.g. what processes are running.
There are already libraries in Haskell for processes, but they don't give Yi any extra information --- we really want a layer on top.


Sjw 09:15, 2 June 2006 (UTC)