Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Konsole progress - Searching the history

The "Search History" feature has undergone some changes for Konsole / KDE 4. It now uses an incremental search bar in the same vein as Firefox.
Pressing Ctrl+Shift+F ( or using the menu item ) brings up the search bar. Typing in a search term jumps to the first match and highlights all matches in the currently active window. I have seen similar features introduced or improved in other KDE applications for KDE 4. Currently I believe they all use different implementations of the search bar. Ideally we could unify at least some of them.

As well as searching large blocks of text, this is a convenient way to highlight blocks of text on screen matching given patterns. Typical examples include highlighting errors in compiler output or matches for part of a file name.

Under the hood, the searching of large histories ( particularly when using unlimited history ) has been optimized. History saving now uses the ioslaves mechanism which allows saving over SSH, to remote FTP servers amongst others.

Screenshot of new history search (Please note there are some problems in this shot that I am aware of: Main menu items in the wrong order, 'Debug' menu item, not using the session name in the window title etc.)

It has been suggested that "History" should be renamed to "Scrollback" in KDE 4 to avoid confusion with the command history which is maintained by the shell program and typically accessed via the Up/Down arrows. Opinions on this would be welcome.

Other notes, in no particular order:
- Having received much feedback on my first Konsole post, I am using tabs as the navigation mechanism for the time being, unless I can resolve the problems with the other approaches. I also received some help on getting information about the foreground process in the session which I hope to use to enable more helpful tab titles by default.
- This work is being done in a separate branch as I mentioned earlier. Before merging back into trunk, I need to research/design/implement the new Konsole settings system and fix some outstanding issues with split views.
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