Chapter 18. Implementing a Simple Plugin

Table of Contents

There are many applications for the leading operating systems that provide a scratch-pad or sticky note facility for the desktop display. A similar type of facility operating within the jEdit display would be a convenience. The use of dockable windows would allow the notepad to be displayed or hidden with a single mouse click or keypress (if a keyboard shortcut were defined). The contents of the notepad could be saved at program exit (or, if earlier, deactivation of the plugin) and retrieved at program startup or plugin activation.

We will keep the capabilities of this plugin modest, but a few other features would be worthwhile. The user should be able to write the contents of the notepad to storage on demand. It should also be possible to choose the name and location of the file that will be used to hold the notepad text. This would allow the user to load other files into the notepad display. The path of the notepad file should be displayed in the plugin window, but will give the user the option to hide the file name. Finally, there should be an action by which a single click or keypress would cause the contents of the notepad to be written to the new text buffer for further processing.

The full source code for QuickNotepad is contained in jEdit's source code distribution. We will provide excerpts in this discussion where it is helpful to illustrate specific points. You are invited to obtain the source code for further study or to use as a starting point for your own plugin.