Up to now I have written Okteta, the KDE 4 hex editor, completely on my own. This has pros and cons:
The biggest pro is that I do not have to argue a lot about design decisions, especially as I have some big plans with the co-developed framework Kasten, which Okteta is built on (to serve as testing area) and which might not yet be understood/followed by others (could just be a crazy idea, after all) as I have implemented only parts of it and also added unmarked intermediate shortcuts to get things running already.
The biggest con is that Okteta doesn’t grow as fast as it could.* So there might be some features you, dear Okteta user, are still missing from it. Additionally, remember that I do not really use Okteta myself, it really is almost only a testing area of Kasten for me (I still am happy if Okteta is already a useful tool to many, as this indirectly results in more testers for Kasten). And so I concentrate on things which help to develop Kasten further. I now turned to think about support for very large files, meaning working with data not completely copied to the working memory (just do not hold your breath for this 😉 ).
So, what about the binary filters (e.g. a bit switcher), your export plugins (e.g. Base64) or even complete tools (I can not even imagine) you are missing from Okteta and hoping for in a future release?
For the coming weeks I am going to show you how simple it should be to help yourself, in a series of short tutorials.
Okteta/Kasten has been designed very modular, with a lot of interfaces and plugin-prepared structures. For now everything is hardcoded, but as we have readwrite access to the sources this is of no great problem here 🙂
There is almost one month left for you to decide if you want to make your hands and keyboard dirty with an addition to Okteta, then the soft features freeze will hit the development branch for KDE 4.4. And only November 11th would set the barrier for a basically working solution, so should be enough time to get your plugin done, given it doesn’t include rocket science. Or you could be still pleased if it only will be part of KDE 4.5 next summer (well, still not assumed to include rocket science). In any case I will be happy to help you where doable.
The first tutorial will appear on sunday (September 27th) and teach you how to write a binary filter (Update: online now). So stay tuned if you are in need of a hex editor like Okteta and interested to give the implementation of your needed features yourself a try.
* For sure, the pace of development for Okteta has been quite good, just have a look at the automatic analysis done for Okteta at ohloh.net. 48,042 lines of code have been gathered in the last two or so years. Which, using LOC while admitting it’s an evil metric for code work, is estimated to have, taking the given default average salary of $ 55,000 / year, a “Project Cost” of some $ 641,343. I just hope I never will write myself this bill. Because the moment I do I am for one in big debt to someone and also in trouble because someone doesn’t pay my bill. 😉
Another interesting metric seems behind the assigned property “Well-commented source code”: Well, I have spread the code over quite some files, and each and every file has 20 lines comment from the license header. The other comment I often leave is done with this pattern:
// TODO: some improvement
currently around 560 times. Instead almost all API is missing proper apidox. So, rather not well-commented. Still, I use expressive, thus pretty long names for classes and variables, so comments are not often needed (it’s obvious what
ByteArraySourceCodeStreamEncoderConfigEditorFactory does, or?). But I wonder if this metric takes this into account 😛