mainThe OO-Browser - Summary

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Id: #11580
System Name: oo-browser
Name: The OO-Browser
Group Type: Official GNU software

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This project is part of the GNU Project.

The OO-Browser

The OO-Browser is a multi-windowed, interactive object-oriented class browser similar in use to the well-known Smalltalk browsers. It is unique in a number of respects foremost of which is that it works well with a multiplicity of object-oriented languages. It provides both textual views within an editor and graphical views under the X window system and Windows.

Support for all popular OO Languages on UNIX

- Support for C, C++, Common Lisp and its Object System (CLOS), Eiffel, Java, Objective-C, Python and Smalltalk class browsing is included. Additionally, support for browsing large amounts of material in Info format by node name (a popular online documentation format with cross references and hierarchical structure) is included. All languages provide class browsing via either a textual or a graphical interface.

- Method and typically attribute browsing is supported for all languages except Smalltalk. CLOS supports browsing all elements defined with (def== constructs. In-source feature browsing is also supported for all of these languages. One simply selects a feature name to jump to its corresponding source. Method name overloading in C++ and inherited feature renaming in Eiffel are fully supported.

- Under C++, one can click on a method call, function call or attribute reference to jump to its associated definition. If multiple definitions are possible, a structured dynamic list of possible method signatures are shown and can be clicked upon to jump to any selected definition.

- Under C++, friend classes and functions may be browsed easily.

- C code browsing is supported for C++, Objective-C and C source code.

- Objective-C category and formal protocol browsing is supported.

- C++ parameterized template classes and methods are supported.

- Java abstract and native (externally defined) method browsing is supported.

- All classes that implement a particular feature name, protocol (or interface) name, or class category name may be listed and then browsed.

- Immediate switching among languages is allowed. One can switch from Eiffel browsing to C++ browsing in an instant, if so desired. Or simply run two OO-Browsers side by side.

- Multiple inheritance support is built-in, where applicable.

- Statistics on classes and Environments may be displayed.

- Language-specific class information may be shown. Presently this feature is supported under Python and Eiffel, where a listing of class parents, attributes, routines and best guess (highly accurate) list of routine calls may be displayed. Outputs from the Eiffel `short' and `flat' commands may also be shown.

For Serious Use

- Library (stable) and System (in development) classes may be maintained and listed separately or together. Any number of Libraries and Systems may be combined for listing in a single Environment. There are no fixed limits on the number of classes per Environment nor on the number of Environments that may be browsed.

- All source code is included and is heavily documented.

Ease of Use

- Machine-independent mouse support is included along with an extremely intuitive point and click interface that uses just two mouse keys. The OO-Browser is pre-configured for use unser the X window system or Windows when using InfoDock, GNU Emacs or XEmacs. Online mouse usage help is always one key away.

- Popup and pulldown command menus are available under InfoDock, Emacs and XEmacs.

- The OO-Browser help display gives short descriptions of all of the commands and key bindings available in the browser. By clicking on any such selection, the corresponding command is executed.

- One may also click on class names to see ancestors, descendants or the class itself. Just select a class name and the OO-Browser immediately will display or edit the class source. Once a class file has been loaded, one can quickly switch to it by selection from a menu of such files.

- For a number of languages, one may also select a feature (method) name or declaration and move directly to the definition of the feature. The browser accounts for the complexities of member name overloading in C++ and unlimited feature renaming in Eiffel so that you need not. Just click on a declaration and watch the browser display jump to the proper definition.

- In C++, one can jump to the declaration of a listing entry or be prompted within any buffer for a class and feature name whose declaration one wants to browse. One can jump back and forth between declarations and their associated definitions (between header and code files) with a single command.

- Jump back to a previously visited class or feature by selecting from a list of recently visited buffers.

- OO-Browser commands may also be invoked from the keyboard, allowing unrestricted use via standard terminal interfaces.


- Building Environments is fast compared to many other tools and browser startup, once an Environment has been built, is very fast. Response times on workstations are excellent; for example, in one test case, less than two real seconds were required to display a set of complex inheritance graphs involving over 400 classes.


- An X-specific or Windows-specific hierarchy display browser is included. It provides views of class inheritance structure and lexically included elements, which allows for quick random access to entire Environments. A click on a class or element name immediately jumps to it in the editor, providing rapid, visual browsing. One can pop up several graphical browsers to gain different views of classes in the same or in multiple environments. All graphical browser sessions can communicate with a single textual browser, so one can quickly display and edit classes from different environments (even different languages). Multiple inheritance is handled through repetition of nodes throughout the tree; repeated nodes are followed by ellipses to indicate multiple inheritance.

- The OO-Browser uses class source code only, hence no compiler is necessary for proper browser operation. This allows one to explore class libraries without the need for additional tools.

- Class inheritance networks may be displayed. Either a single inheritance level (parents or children) or the entire inheritance network (ancestors or descendants) for a set of classes may be shown.

- Class files may be added as a group by specifying a root directory below which all class files are found, including those in subdirectories.

- A menu of class files can be displayed for random access to specific code modules.

- On startup, the OO-Browser lists all currently known classes within a particular Environment. Any desired classes may be found by searching or by matching a regular expression or string to the set of class names. This may be done repeatedly to achieve an "and"-type relational query effect.

- The number of listing windows is limited only by the screen width and the width setting used for listing windows.

- The OO-Browser is adaptable to any class-based object-oriented language.

Editor Integration

- The OO-Browser works with the powerful, freely distributable, GNU Emacs editor; it works on any UNIX system display supported by Emacs. It is included as part of the InfoDock integrated development environment and is also compatible with XEmacs.

- All OO-Browser outputs are text which may be edited as desired or saved to files.

- OO-Browser functions may be used standalone within the editor without using the multi-windowed browser interface. One useful example is to point to a class name such as a parent class in the text of another class and have the parent's source appear in an editable fashion.

- The user need not know the location of class source; the browser will display or edit a class based solely upon its class name.

Registration Date: Tue 19 Apr 2016 06:21:25 PM UTC
License: GNU General Public License v3 or later
Development Status: 0 - Undefined


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