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Organizing your code-snippets

Saturday, June 1st, 2013 by Servage

Snippets are a copy and paste coder’s best ally. These reusable, generally small bits of information aid in achieving function and minimizing need for repetition. A snippet manager is a tool for organizing and using code snippets to hopefully improve development workflow. While it’s possible to use something as simple as Google Docs or own makeshift method, it is generally not feasible when considering the features found with modern snippet managers. At same time, a good snippet manager need not be feature laden, as rapid search and implementation are the two biggest benefits for such a tool.

Here are core features to consider for a snippet manager that will help with your development work:

  • search function
  • organize / store
  • publishing / sharing
  • colored syntax
  • amount of languages / syntaxes
  • accessibility / online repository
  • tagging / keywords / description / folders
  • commenting / rating (for shared snippets)
  • text expansion / shortcuts
  • ability to import other snippet libraries
  • importing or saving snippets / collecting snippets

And essentially there are three types of snippet managers:

Platform dependent

  1. For Windows users – Snippet Manager (aptly named) is popular example
  2. For Mac users – Dash and Code Collector Pro are two quality examples
Included with Code Editors
  1. Many popular code, or text, editors include an in-app snippet manager
  2. See our other articles on the many available, and quality, text editors available
Online Tools (or platform independent)
  • Snipplr, Gist (on Github), and Code Barrel are fairly popular examples

Online snippet management takes things to another level where collaboration features are more emphasized. At same time, with net based managers security and privacy are also sought. HTML5Snippet.net is one, of many examples that emphasizes collaboration. And then there are innovative tools like Google’s Tag Manager, which helps maintain snippets on any site you administer via a central user interface, courtesy of Google.

The important thing with a snippet manager is that it works for your needs. It is perhaps best to start small and simple on a platform, or with an application, that fits your current coding workflow. There are plenty of managers and related innovations should you decide to explore what’s around. Here is an April 2013 article from TrendLeaks that lists 30 snippet managers, including most of those noted in this article.

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Categories: Software & Webapps

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