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Customizing the Ruby In Steel IDE

How to make it look and work just the way you want
by Huw Collingbourne
Wednesday 8 October 2008.

If you are new to Ruby In Steel or to Visual Studio, you may not realize just how massively customizable this IDE really is. Here are a few pointers...

Docked, tabbed, floating windows, customizable colors and keystrokes, full-screen editing, auto-indenting, variable tabs, recordable and programmable macros - you can change the IDE almost endlessly to make it look and work the way you like...

NOTE: Most customization options apply to all editions of Ruby In Steel including the free Personal Edition. The commercial editions do, however, have a number of additional options which are described in the manual supplied with the relevant edition of the software.

Change the Colors

All the colors in the Ruby and Rails code editors can be changed. You can even change both the foreground and background colors of windows such as the IRB and Ruby consoles. Go to Tools/Options/Fonts and Colors to customize these. Select Text Editor or the names of specific windows such as ‘IRB Console’ or ‘Call Stack’ from the list at the top of the Customize dialog. You can also change font sizes and character styles.

- Hint: We includes a number of ready to use Color Schemes. Load these from Tools/Import Export Settings

- We have an online Tutorial on color customization. Here : Customize the Colours of the Ruby In Steel IDE

If the colors don’t look ‘right’, you may need to refresh the Visual Studio font cache. Often a simple reload of Visual Studio will suffice. You may force a font cache refresh by selecting Reset Fonts and Colors from the Ruby menu. But see the FAQ on this subject.

Change the Window Sizes and Positions

All the windows in Visual studio can be moved, resized or closed and your settings will be ‘remembered’. To make windows dockable, tabbed or floating, right-click their caption bar and drag to dock windows set to dockable.

Code windows can be split (select from the Window menu or drag the ‘split’ bar at the top right-hand corner of a window). Multiple tabbed groups can also be created to view different groups of files (once again, this option is on the Window menu).

If you want to toggle the editor to full screen press Shift+Alt+Enter.

For a more complete guide to the Editor see: The Ruby Editor. Note that some options described in this tutorial (particularly those options related to IntelliSense) apply only to the Developer Edition of Ruby In Steel.

Ruby In Steel here with customized colors and toggled to full-screen editing

Customize The Toolbars and Keyboard

Select Tools/Customize. Now you can drag items onto and off the toolbars in the IDE. Click the ‘Keyboard’ button to customize the keys for each function or pick a ready-to-run keyboard definition from a list. If you need help, click the ‘?’ at the top of the Customize dialog.

Completely Customize The Environment

Select Tools/Options. The Options dialog lets you customize everything from your auto-recover options to the user interface (the General branch lets you choose a multiple-document interface instead of tabbed windows). Ruby In Steel has its own additional options under Projects and Solutions/Ruby In Steel. These options can be used to set paths to the Ruby interpreter, databases and so on. Also select Text Editor/Ruby and Text Editor/Erb - these include options to select default tab spacing and indenting.

To set a specific set of options for the current project only, use the Project/Properties menu and dialog.

Note: All the configuration options are explained in the PDF manual supplied with the software and also in the online Help.

Tools, Macros and Snippets

If you want to add menu items to launch external tools, you can set up a Visual Studio shortcut,. We have a tutorial showing how to create a shortcut to launch MySQL.

Visual Studio has a powerful macro language and dedicated macro editor. You can record simple keystroke macros from the Tools/Macros menu or you can write your own macro programs in the Macro IDE. The commercial editions of Ruby In Steel also contain a macro library to add editing functionality specific to Ruby and Rails plus a macro library manual (these can be found beneath your Ruby In Steel installation).

Commercial (the Text and Developer) editions of Ruby in Steel also come with sets of Ruby and Rails auto-expanding macros plus a dedicated macro editor. Once again these are found under your Ruby In Steel installation and are accompanied by a manual.

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