Bespin 0.7.3 released: usability improvements, docs and fixes

Havi Hoffman

The Bespin team has just released Bespin 0.7.3, a minor update to the Bespin server and Bespin Embedded packages. We’ve made a whole bunch of improvements since the release of 0.7.2.

From a day-to-day usability perspective, my favorite new feature in Bespin 0.7.3 is the new file completion for the “open” command (which, incidentally, is now available via cmd-O/ctrl-O). Take a look at the screen shot below:

After typing “open pldev/com”, you can see that Bespin found two files that match: commands.js in the “plugindev” directory and commands.js in the “bespin_server” directory. Those two match because those letters that I typed can be found in that order in both names. The one in plugindev (which is the one I was looking for) was a better match, so it appears at the top. You can see that in faint letters Bespin is showing the full path for the top hit. This is what I get if I hit <tab>. Also convenient is that I can press <alt-2> to select the second match in the list from the keyboard. I could also click on one of the choices with the mouse. Joe put in a good deal of work to make this slick and usable, and I expect we’ll be adding a lot more useful completions to the command line over time.

With this release, we’ve knocked off 3 of the items requested via our feedback forum (thanks for submitting and voting on the items there!). The preview command is back, you can now log in using your email address (assuming you only have 1 account associated with that address). The “I forgot my password” feature also returns in this release. Thanks to Julian and Patrick for a bunch of fixes in 0.7.3.

Plugins

Plugin development has also gotten easier, with the addition of the “ep” and “plugin info” commands. These commands provide you with a bunch of information about what’s available in Bespin.

On the topic of plugins, the first plugin has landed in the plugin gallery! It’s an experimental PHP syntax highlighter by Scott Teglasi. You can install it by running “plugin install php”. You can also download it from https://bespin.mozillalabs.com/plugin/download/php/current/. Thanks, Scott!

Add to this a bunch of bug fixes, and I think we’ve got a nice, but minor, update for you.  We’re planning for a meatier release for our next one (codenamed “Cheviot”).

Docs

The Bespin wiki was very out of date. I salvaged what I could, and moved more docs into our Mercurial repository. Those docs are visible at https://bespin.mozillalabs.com/docs/. A generic wiki is really a bad tool for software documentation, so we’ll be sticking with having the main docs in Mercurial for the time being.

Embedded

Bespin 0.7.3 has goodies for Bespin Embedded users as well. In addition to the general fixes made, there are now a bunch of new methods available on the bespin object for working with the text that the user is editing. These are documented in the Embedders’ Guide.

Pick up the latest Bespin Embedded release in its usual home: http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/labs/bespin/Embedded/

Thanks for all of the feedback and activity! Between now and the “Cheviot” release of Bespin, keep an eye on this space for some new tutorials.

(This article has been changed to reflect the codename of “Cheviot” for the next release of Bespin.)

Kevin Dangoor, on behalf of the Bespin team