Zoë Smith’s fantastic new tutorial on Xcode Source Editor Extensions.
On what people used to be able to make:
Plugins allowed us to tweak pretty much everything about Xcode: window layout, syntactic and semantic highlighting, changing UI elements, boilerplate generation, project analysis, bindings for something called Vim (?). Looking back at NSHipster’s favorites, some are now thankfully included as a standard feature: inserting documentation comments, switch statement autocompletion or — astonishingly — line breaks in the issue navigator.
On what people can make now1:
But some bad, if old, news: unlike plugins, these new extensions are seriously limited in scope. They allow pure text manipulation, instigated by the user from a menu command, on one source file at a time — none of the fun stuff, in other words.
File away under Apple becoming less open. It’s also a personal pet peeve of mine when a company has a thriving community around one of their products and they choose to kill it by replacing it with something inadequate.
I tried to migrate an AppleScript of mine that copies a link to the selected text in Xcode on GitHub to the new system but it was too limited to support this (it’s particularly telling that a general purpose technology like AppleScript is more powerful than one purpose-built built for Xcode). ↩︎