Orion 4.0 M2 – New and Noteworthy

It’s been a busy summer for the Orion project. Since our 3.0 release at the end of June, the team has been busy on enhancements to the Orion editor, JavaScript tools, and some major long term efforts we’re not quite ready to blog about yet. Check out the latest stable build now on OrionHub, or download your own server.

Embedded markdown renderer

Orion now has built-in support for rendering markdown files, using the marked markdown parser. If you select a folder containing a readme.md file in the navigation pane, the editor will now show the rendered readme file in the editor pane.


Bracket completion

The Orion editor will now automatically close braces, brackets, and single and double quotes. When you type an opening brace, bracket or quote, the closing character will be inserted automatically and the cursor placed between the matching pair. If you select some text and type an open bracket or quote, the entire selection will be enclosed in a matching pair. Bracket and quote completion can be enabled or disabled from the editor settings page.

Smart indent

The Orion JavaScript editor now supports smart indentation. When you press return after an opening brace character, the following line will be indented by one additional tab. If you don’t like it, smart indentation can be turned off from the editor settings page.

Block comment completion

The Orion JavaScript editor will now auto-complete block comments. If you press return on a line containing only /* or /**, the editor will insert the closing comment characters, and automatically begin each line within the block comment with a * character.


Option to show whitespace characters

A new option has been added to the Orion editor to display a visible character for whitespace (tabs and spaces).


Trim trailing whitespace on save

The Orion editor can now optionally trim all trailing whitespace from the file on save. This setting is turned off by default, but can be be enabled from the Editor settings page.

Customized editor rulers

New options have been introduced to customize what rulers are shown in the margins of the Orion editor. You can display or hide line numbers, the code folding bar, the annotation ruler, and the overview ruler on the right hand side. The following image shows the same editor with all rulers removed on the left, and revealed on the right.


Customize local editor settings dropdown

You can now customize what editor settings appear in the local editor settings menu. Use the circles next to each setting in the full settings page to select which settings appear in the editor (wrench) menu. Put settings here if you find you need to change them frequently, and remove them to avoid clutter if they are settings that you never touch.


Toggle regular expression search in search bar

An indicator icon has been added to the search and replace slideout in the editor to show whether you are doing a simple search or regular expression search. A blue icon indicates that regular expression mode is enabled, and grey indicates simple search mode. The icon can be touched or clicked to toggle between modes.


Search support for replacing with whitespace characters

When performing search and replace in the Orion editor, you can now include the following whitespace characters in the replacement text:

  • \t (tab)
  • \n (linefeed)
  • \r (carriage return)
  • \R (current file line delimeter)

This feature only works when regular expression mode is enabled in the search and replace bar.

Content assist more tolerant of syntax errors

Enhancements have been made to Orion’s content assist to make it more tolerant of missing braces and brackets. It will now compute correct proposals in many more cases of partially incomplete code.


Support for tern indexes in content assist

The Orion content assist engine now supports proposals driven by pre-built type index files. The currently supported index file format is taken from tern. While Orion currently only includes pre-built index files for default JavaScript types, this will enable future enhancements to enable content assist across multiple script files.

Navigate content assist with page up/down

You can now navigate through a large list of content assist proposals using the Page Up and Page Down keys on your keyboard.

Auto-save now transfers only file deltas

Editor auto-save has been enhanced so that it only sends the changed portions of the file rather than the entire file contents. This won’t be a noticeable change for most users, but it significantly improves the performance and bandwidth characteristics when editor auto-save is turned on.

Editor runs on Internet Explorer 8

The Orion editor now tolerates running on Internet Explorer 8. The rest of Orion still requires a modern web browser (most recent version of IE, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari).

JSLint can be turned off

A new setting has been introduced to turn off JSLint validation. The setting is found on the Validation section of the settings page.

Git blame

Support has been added to enable in-editor Git blame on a file. After installing the Git Blame plugin (install URL: "/plugins/gitBlamePlugin.html"), a new blame button is added to the editor page. Clicking on the button creates blame annotations in the line ruler and the overview ruler. The blame markers are colored based on the date of their commit with the lighter shades coming earlier. Hovering over a blame annotation will highlight all parts of the same commit and display a tooltip with the commit information. Clicking on the link in the tooltip will open up the Git Commit page that for the particular commit.


Git revert command added

Support for the git revert command has been added to Orion. Beside each commit in the Log page, there is a new button that will revert the effect of that commit in your current active branch.


Upgraded to JGit 3.0

The Orion Git integration has been upgraded to use a new major version of JGit, version 3.0.

Mixed content blocking and Orion

While not a change in Orion itself, a recent browser change has an impact for people hosting Orion plugins and Orion-based web applications. Major browsers are now consistently blocking sites served over HTTPS from incorporating scripts from raw HTTP sites. This is referred to in the security community as active mixed content, and is now blocked by default in Chrome 19 and Firefox 23 or newer. We recommend all Orion installations use HTTPS, and therefore all Orion plug-ins must now also be served over HTTPS or they will be blocked by user browsers. If you are currently hosting a public Orion plug-in you must ensure that it is provided over HTTPS, or Orion installations will no longer be able to install or use it.

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