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xcode 4 preview 2 has problems

July 26th, 2010

I need somewhere to list my frustrations moving from xcode 3 to what is supposed to be the a move forward. Here is that place. Let me start by saying I don’t even see xcode 4 as an improvement just yet; while they seem to have finally understood people don’t want to manage 10,000 windows while working on a project, they still haven’t understood that one layout doesn’t suit all, and have in my opinion made some very bad design choices.

It has only been a few days though, so I’m willing to give things time to set in. Here are problems that make the current preview quite unusable:

  • “Navigate to Counterpart” shortcut combination no longer works (cmd-opt-up).
  • Designating shortcut keys gives no feedback if there are multiple assignments of the same key. It just chooses the first in the list and uses it.
  • You have to manually open new tabs! This leads me to believe that apple don’t understand how tabs are supposed to work, which baffles me as they usually understand user interface paradigms. Is the xcode team a bit out of touch?
  • Trying to bind “New Tab” to cmd-t fails. It seems there is a shortcut hard-wired to this key.
  • Project bookmarks are gone. In the migration guide it mentions their presence in the Organizer, but following instructions only gives help document bookmarks, not project bookmarks.
  • There is even less feedback while building (used to see “x of x files compiled”, now it’s just a progress bar). This is quite an annoyance for large projects.

  • Has problems saving project file to disk.  Should at least give an option to overwrite.

  • I can’t seem to find where the colour scheme configurations are stored.  Have yet to take the time to manually recreate my pastels-on-dark theme because of this.
  • Auto-completion of overrides no longer works correctly in classes which inherit; it seems to only show overrides from the base (NSObject/NSView) class.  This is a real hit, and actually makes working in the current build of xcode 4 a chore.

Then there are things I think should be added in order to bring xcode into the 21st century, which have still not been addressed:

  • There is still no automated handling of IBOutlets in a way that generates code-behind.  Microsoft have mastered this over the years, and while that may be an unfair comparison, MonoTouch also provides this functionality on the iPhone platform via their MonoDevelop IDE!
  • There is still no automated/shortcut method of making an instance variable, property, and @synthesize in one go.
  • The handling of linking delegates/outlets in the “interface builder” mode is still as painfully ugly as ever.
  • Files are still not automatically sorted alphabetically in project navigation pane.  I honestly don’t understand this.
  • Light-on-dark anti-aliased text still looks horrible.  Okay, so this is an OS-level problem, but it’s my one biggest gripe so I had to tag it on ;) .

I will be updating this post as I find more issues. If anyone has an obvious solution which I have overlooked to any, please fill me in!

10 comments to “xcode 4 preview 2 has problems”

  1. Hear, hear. I grant this is a preview release but, still….

    My biggest gripe which you touched on is they’ve switched all the key bindings. Xcode3 and Xcode4 key bindings are totally different. How does it benefit anyone getting rid of the bindings that folks (as in, me) have spent the time to memorize?

  2. I rebound most of the keyboard shortcuts in 3, and will probably have to do the same from scratch again. But it does seem a bit backwards to change the defaults, without giving a fallback profile to select from.

    At least the xcode3 binding window *tells* you when you try and bind a key to two different commands… configuring a custom setup on 4 at the moment is near impossible.

  3. Where is the context menu item “show in documentation” when you select a work then right click?

    My two biggest peeves with XCode, which I hoped they would have fixed, but didn’t:
    1. Select a block of code, then hit TAB or Shift+TAB. What would you ( and every other editor in the world ) expect? Indent, Reverse Indent of course.
    2. Select a word/phrase. Hit CMD+F3. Wouldn’t you expect the selected text to show up in the search box? Of course you would! But Apple likes to make people type more.

  4. You can actually do code indentation using Cmd-[ Cmd-] keys. These *should* be bindable.

    For the record I have since uninstalled xcode 4. It was too painful to go on :P .

  5. Everything you point out is right on but your criticism is still too generous. Let’s be honest. Xcode 4 is an abomination designed for retarded monkeys. It is Xcode 2 meets iTunes with everything good about XCode 3 removed. How about not being able to select non-dialogue-box-friendly binaries for executables (like ruby)? how about not being able to try LLDB with a rake build system because Xcode interprets rake’s output as errors? “Failed with 0 issues” – explain that one to me. How about seeing an updated log of build messages as soon as you hit build rather than being stuck on the last log you might have been looking at? The list goes on and on. I keep telling myself that if I just dedicate myself to using it then it will be better. I’ve given it 3 or 4 different tries now at 4-6 hours each… I can say conclusively that there is nothing good about Xcode 4 and much that is bad. Give us back Xcode 3 with the new features (like LLDB) added to 4.

  6. Any idea what are the key bindings for block comment and uncomment.
    In Xcode-3 it used to be Cmd+/ both ways, but I cant seem to find the bindings for them nor can I locate it anywhere in the Menu

  7. I’ve been readily *enjoying* the forced upgrade to XCode4, and it’s nice to see that just about all of the horrid design changes are now in the official release. If you like using the mouse, you’ll LOVE dragging it from left to right across your widescreen monitor in Interface Builder. Marvel at just how convoluted it is now to bring up “file info” to change a file’s path. And behold the wonders of living without keyboard combinations; you know the ones you love: APPLE-SHIFT-UP to toggle between header/source; APPLE-` to flip through your now non-existent windows; APPLE-SHIFT-F to pop open a Find-All-In-Project Window complete with source snippets of found phrases. Don’t try to pop-out any windows, overlapping lines cause apple-designers to wet their pants. I admit, the form-factor and proportional beauty are breathtaking. It truly excels in form. Now anyone using iTunes can look at XCode 4 and think “hey I can program too”.

  8. Note – there is a tiny link to the right of the “Download Xcode 4″ button on the iOS developer site that will allow you to download XCode 3.2.6 for iOS 4.3.

  9. Out of interest, it looks like your using proggy tiny font. It also looks like you managed to get it anti-aliased, how?

    Also, I’ve noticed that “run to this line” no longer works. You used to be able to hover in gutter and get a run arrow…

  10. Some additional gripes about Xcode 4: auto-complete often doesn’t work, curly brace matching doesn’t work, hard to get info about files… to top it all off reverting is really time consuming. Think it’s time for some open source iOS IDE!

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