2. A Strongly Integrated Environment
Two main visible components dominate your view of InstantC: the main
frame window (the window you see when you first start the program,
titled "InstantC") and the editor frame window (titled "InstantC Editor").
The main frame window, along with the command window in its client area,
is always present. Other components and windows -- for editing, debugging,
analysis, and environment control -- appear (often automatically) as needed,
while still other components, like the source formatter, the compiler, and the
linker, work invisibly.
Many of these components correspond to tools in traditional programming
environments. However, they are much more strongly integrated with each
other -- and with your code -- than traditional tools:
- All tools are loaded in memory simultaneously. From any point in the
environment, the right tool for your task either is invoked automatically
or can be accessed with one or two keystrokes.
- Your code is also held in memory, in compiled form, making it instantly
accessible, too. In effect, your code becomes part of the InstantC
- InstantC also builds a complete database of information about your
program as you load your code. The appropriate components always have
instant access to this information.
InstantC's strong integration has two consequences:
- You save the completely unproductive time you would normally waste
shutting down one stand-alone tool to start another. When you consider
that this traditional shut-down/start-up process may be repeated dozens
even hundreds -- of times in a typical day, it adds up to a significant
- You always have complete, current program information at your
fingertips. Your source is up to date, and you can easily view code
and data at several levels, from overall structure to finest detail.
Whenever possible, InstantC also automatically provides you with data
that is likely to be relevant to your present programming task.
Here are some examples of the value of InstantC's strong integration:
- When you load a source file, InstantC invokes the compiler to compile
the file as it loads. No separate command is needed; linking is also
- If it encounters a syntax error during compilation, InstantC
automatically invokes the editor to display the code containing
the error. InstantC also tells you what the error is, in a clear,
detailed error message. You can then fix the problem and continue
compiling the file.
- When you execute code, you automatically invoke InstantC's
run-time checker. If InstantC encounters an error, it suspends
execution, automatically displays the problem source code in a
debug window, and again issues an error message. It also shows
you the value of data elements local to or referenced by the function
that contains the error.
Unlike other environments, you don't have to issue a special
debug command or otherwise enter debugging mode, or manually set
breakpoints, in order to detect errors and display problem code.
InstantC always checks for run-time errors automatically, whenever
you run your program. It also spots errors like invalid pointer
references right away, instead of waiting for a symptom to show
up hundreds or thousands of lines later. You're shown the exact
error location immediately.
The InstantC integrated environment allows you to move quickly and
easily between tools, without wasting time or breaking concentration.
It also makes sure you get the program information you need, when
you need it.
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Last modified 97/04/18,