Tuesday, September 23, 2008

JavaScript beautifiers suck

I keep looking for an online code beautifier that will convert my distinctly simian-looking Greasemonkey scripts to properly indented, formatted source code. My current favorite code editor (Notepad) doesn't provide proper code formatting. I know what you're thinking: Why aren't you using a proper IDE in the first place? Then you wouldn't have this problem! Well, first of all, I am thinking of upgrading to Wordpad. But it doesn't do formatting either. Second of all, I haven't found a JavaScript IDE worthy of the name, which is why I use Notepad. More on that in a minute.

I spent an hour the other day looking for an online beautifier that would do a makeover on my ugly JavaScript. What I found is that most people point either to this one or this one. (I tried others as well.) They either don't keep my existing newlines, or don't indent "if" blocks properly (or at all), and/or just plain don't indent consistently. Quite unacceptable.

Finally I gave up on the online schlockware and went straight to Flexbuilder (which has been sitting unused on my desktop), and I thought "Surely this will do the trick."

Imagine the look of abject horror on my face when I found that the ActionScript editor could not do the equivalent of Control-Shift-F (for Java in Eclipse). In fact, the formatter built into Flexbuilder's ActionScript editor won't even do auto-indenting: You have to manually grab blocks of code and do the old shift-right/shift-left indent/outdent thing by hand, over and over and over again, throughout your code, until the little beads of blood begin to form on your forehead.

I'm left, alas, with half-solutions. But unfortunately, two or three or ten half-solutions don't add up to a solution. (How fortunate we would all be if it did.)