Be in the loop

By | December 7, 2014

2 bytes, 1 wordSkoolKit 4.2 has been released. Copies are available, as predictably as ever, from the download page, the Python Package Index, or the Ubuntu PPA.

Of all the new features that find themselves in 4.2, I think I’d have to rank control directive loops as the mainest. Have you ever been working your way through the bits and bytes of a data block, and suddenly realised that they are arranged in a repeating pattern, such as 20 groups each containing two bytes followed by a word? If so, that moment of inspiration was probably quickly followed by a feeling of frustration at having to type out 20 groups of control directives that differ only in their addresses. Well, in 4.2, the ‘L’ (loop) directive comes to the rescue. It can repeat the control directives in an address range any number of times you wish – automatically adjusting the addresses for each repetition, of course. So rather than typing out 20 groups of control directives, you can type a single ‘L’ directive instead.

In the shadow of the ‘L’ directive lurk the table, table_cell, table_header_cell and table_row HTML templates, and also the list and list_item HTML templates. Since HTML templates were introduced in version 4.0, SkoolKit’s dirty little secret was that there were still snippets of hard coded HTML buried in the codebase, specifically in the areas of table-building and list-building. Not any longer, though. Now the format of tables and lists is also under your direct control. Add the relevant [Template:table*] or [Template:list*] sections to your ref file, and you are sorted.

Getting back to control files, the second mainest new feature there is that the location of @ignoreua directives can now be preserved. Before 4.2, SkoolKit assumed that a @ignoreua directive preserved in a control file applied to the following instruction-level comment. But now, by the use of a suitable suffix on the @ignoreua directive’s address, it’s possible to specify that it applies to an entry title, an entry description, a register description section, a mid-block comment, or a block end comment instead.

And that’s about it for the mainest of the main new features. For details of the other changes since 4.1.1, there is always the changelog. Grab SkoolKit 4.2 today, and stay in the loop.

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