Table Of Contents


Methods

These are mostly described by example rather than specified in detail. They are given in shorthand, eliding the JSON-RPC boilerplate. For example, the actual interaction on the wire for new_view is:

to core: {"id":0,"method":"new_view","params":{}}
from core: {"id":0,"result": "view-id-1"}

From front-end to back-end

client_started

client_started {"config_dir": "some/path"?, "client_extras_dir": "some/other/path"?}

Sent by the client immediately after establishing the core connection. This is used to perform initial setup. The two arguments are optional; the config_dir points to a directory where the user’s config files and plugins live, and the client_extras_dir points to a directory where the frontend can package additional resources, such as bundled plugins.

new_view

new_view { "file_path": "path.md"? } -> "view-id-1"

Creates a new view, returning the view identifier as a string. file_path is optional; if specified, the file is loaded into a new buffer; if not a new empty buffer is created. Currently, only a single view into a given file can be open at a time.

Note:, there is currently no mechanism for reporting errors. Also note, the protocol delegates power to load and save arbitrary files. Thus, exposing the protocol to any other agent than a front-end in direct control should be done with extreme caution.

close_view

close_view {"view_id": "view-id-1"}

Closes the view associated with this view_id.

save

save {"view_id": "view-id-4", "file_path": "save.txt"}

Saves the buffer associated with view_id to file_path. See the note for new_view. Errors are not currently reported.

set_theme

set_theme {"theme_name": "InspiredGitHub"}

Asks core to change the theme. If the change succeeds the client will receive a theme_changed notification.

set_language

set_language {"view-id":"view-id-1", "language_id":"Rust"}

Asks core to change the language of the buffer associated with the view_id. If the change succeeds the client will receive a language_changed notification.

modify_user_config

modify_user_config { "domain": Domain, "changes": Object }

Modifies the user’s config settings for the given domain. Domain should be either the string "general" or an object of the form {"syntax": "rust"}, or {"user_override": "view-id-1"}, where "rust" is any valid syntax identifier, and "view-id-1" is the identifier of any open view.

get_config

get_config {"view_id": "view-id-1"} -> Object

Returns the config table for the view associated with this view_id.

edit namespace


edit {"method": "insert", "params": {"chars": "A"}, "view_id": "view-id-4"}

Dispatches the inner method to the per-tab handler, with individual inner methods described below:

Edit methods

insert

insert {"chars":"A"}

Inserts the chars string at the current cursor locations.

paste

paste {"chars": "password"}

Inserts the chars string at the current cursor locations. If there are multiple cursors and chars has the same number of lines as there are cursors, one line will be inserted at each cursor, in order; otherwise the full string will be inserted at each cursor.

copy

copy -> String|Null

Copies the active selection, returning their contents or Null if the selection was empty.

cut

cut -> String|Null

Cut the active selection, returning their contents or Null if the selection was empty.

scroll

scroll [0,18]

Notifies the back-end of the visible scroll region, defined as the first and last (non-inclusive) formatted lines. The visible scroll region is used to compute movement distance for page up and page down commands, and also controls the size of the fragment sent in the update method.

resize

resize {width: 420, height: 400}

Notifies the backend that the size of the view has changed. This is used for word wrapping, if enabled. Width and height are specified in px units / points, not display pixels.

gesture

gesture {"line": 42, "col": 31, "ty": {"select": {"granularity": "point", "multi": false}}

Gestures correspond to certain pointer events on the text window. Currently, the following gesture types are supported:

{"select": {"granularity": "point", "multi": false}}

Adds a new selection region, preserving existing regions if multi is true. Granularity can be one of "point", "word", or "line".

{"select_extend": {"granularity": "point"}}

Modifies the selection to include a location. This gesture is usually mapped to shift+click on the frontend. Granularity can be one of "point", "word", or "line".

"drag"

Extends the selection to the mouse’s new location. Granularity is determined by the preceding select gesture.

goto_line

goto_line {"line": 1}

Sets the cursor to the beginning of the provided line and scrolls to this position.

Other movement and deletion commands

The following edit methods take no parameters, and have similar meanings as NSView actions. The pure movement and selection modification methods will be migrated to a more general method that takes a “movement” enum as a parameter.

delete_backward
delete_forward
insert_newline
duplicate_line
move_up
move_up_and_modify_selection
move_down
move_down_and_modify_selection
move_left
move_left_and_modify_selection
move_right
move_right_and_modify_selection
scroll_page_up
page_up_and_modify_selection
scroll_page_down
page_down_and_modify_selection
yank
transpose
select_all
collapse_selections
add_selection_above
add_selection_below

Transformations

The following methods act by modifying the current selection.

uppercase
lowercase
capitalize
indent
outdent

Number Transformations

The following methods work with a caret or multiple selections. If the beginning of a selection (or the caret) is within a positive or negative number, the number will be transformed accordingly:

increase_number
decrease_number

Recording

These methods allow manipulation and playback of event recordings.

  • If there is no currently active recording, start recording events under the provided name.
  • If there is no provided name, the current recording is saved.
  • If the name provided matches the current recording name, the current recording is saved.
  • If the name provided does not match the current recording name, the events for the current recording are dismissed.
    toggle_recording {
      "recording_name"?: string
    }
    

Execute a set of recorded events and modify the document state:

play_recording {
    "recording_name": string
}

Completely remove a specific recording:

clear_recording {
    "recording_name": string
}

Language Support Oriented features (in Edit Namespace)

Hover

Get Hover for a position in file. The request for hover is made as a notification. The client is forwarded result back via a show_hover rpc

If position is skipped in the request, current cursor position will be used in core.

request_hover {
    "request_id": number,
    "position"?: Position
}
interface Position {
    line: number,
    column: number,
}

Plugin namespace

Note: plugin commands are in flux, and may change.

Example: The following RPC dispatches the inner method to the plugin manager.

plugin {"method": "start", params: {"view_id": "view-id-1", plugin_name: "syntect"}}


Plugin methods

start

start {"view_id": "view-id-1", "plugin_name": "syntect"}

Starts the named plugin for the given view.

stop

stop {"view_id": "view-id-1", "plugin_name": "syntect"}

Stops the named plugin for the given view.

plugin_rpc

plugin_rpc {"view_id": "view-id-1", "receiver": "syntect",
            "notification": {
                "method": "custom_method",
                "params": {"foo": "bar"},
            }}

Sends a custom rpc command to the named receiver. This may be a notification or a request.

Find and replace methods

find

find {"chars": "a", "case_sensitive": false, "regex": false, "whole_words": true} Parameters regex and whole_words are optional and by default false.

Sets the current search query and options.

multi_find

This find command supports multiple search queries.

multi_find [{"id": 1, "chars": "a", "case_sensitive": false, "regex": false, "whole_words": true}] Parameters regex and whole_words are optional and by default false. id is an optional parameter used to uniquely identify a search query. If left empty, the query is considered as a new query and the backend will generate a new ID.

Sets the current search queries and options.

find_next and find_previous

find_next {"wrap_around": true, "allow_same": false, "modify_selection": "set"} find_previous {"wrap_around": true, "allow_same": false, "modify_selection": "set"} All parameters are optional. Boolean parameters are by default false and modify_selection is set by default. If allow_same is set to true the current selection is considered a valid next occurrence. Supported options for modify_selection are:

  • none: the selection is not modified
  • set: the next/previous match will be set as the new selection
  • add: the next/previous match will be added to the current selection
  • add_removing_current: the previously added selection will be removed and the next/previous match will be added to the current selection

Selects the next/previous occurrence matching the search query.

find_all

find_all { }

Selects all occurrences matching the search query.

highlight_find

highlight_find {"visible": true}

Shows/hides active search highlights.

selection_for_find

selection_for_find {"case_sensitive": false} The parameter case_sensitive is optional and false if not set.

Sets the current selection as the search query.

replace

replace {"chars": "a", "preserve_case": false} The parameter preserve_case is currently not implemented and ignored.

Sets the replacement string.

selection_for_replace

selection_for_replace {"case_sensitive": false} The parameter case_sensitive is optional and false if not set.

Sets the current selection as the replacement string.

replace_next

replace_next { }

Replaces the next matching occurrence with the replacement string.

replace_all

replace_all { }

Replaces all matching occurrences with the replacement string.

selection_into_lines

selection_into_lines { }

Splits all current selections into lines.

From back-end to front-end

View update protocol

The following three methods are used to update the view’s contents. The design of the view update protocol, has a few particular goals in mind:

  • Keep everything async.
  • Keep network traffic minimal.
  • Allow the front-end to retain as much information as possible (including text if only cursors are updated).
  • Allow the front-end to use small amounts of memory even when document is large.

Conceptually, the core maintains a full view of the document, which can be considered an array of lines. Each line consists of the text (a string), a set of cursor locations, and a structure representing style information. Many operations update this view, at which point the core sends an update notification to the front-end.

The front-end maintains a cache of this view. Some lines will be present, others will be missing. A cache is consistent with the true state when all present lines match.

To optimize communication, the core keeps some state about the client. One bit of this state is the scroll window; in general, the core tries to proactively update all lines within this window (plus a certain amount of slop on top and bottom). In addition, the core maintains a set of lines in the client’s cache. If a line changes, the update need only be communicated if it is in this set. This set is conservative; if a line is missing in the actual cache held by the front-end (evicted to save memory), no great harm is done updating it. The frontend reports this scroll window to the core by using the scroll method of the edit notification.

def_style

def_style
  id: number
  fg_color?: number // 32-bit ARGB (word-order) value
  bg_color?: number // 32-bit ARGB (word-order) value, default 0
  weight?: number // 100..900, default 400
  italic?: boolean  // default false
  underline?: boolean // default false

(It’s not hard to imagine more style properties such as typeface, size, OpenType features, etc).

The guarantee on id is that it is not currently in use in any lines in the view. However, in practice, it will probably just count up. It can also be assumed to be small, so using it as an index into a dense array is reasonable.

Deprecated: There are two reserved style IDs, so new style IDs will begin at 2. Style ID 0 is reserved for selections and ID 1 is reserved for find results. Reserved style IDs will be supported for backward compatibility for a limited time. Instead, selections and find matches are now represented as annotations.

scroll_to

scroll_to: [number, number]  // line, column (in utf-8 code units)

This notification indicates that the frontend should scroll its cursor to the given line and column.

update

update
  rev?: number
  ops: Op[]
  view-id: string
  pristine: bool
  annotations: AnnotationSlice[]

interface Op {
  op: "copy" | "skip" | "invalidate" | "update" | "ins"
  n: number  // number of lines affected
  lines?: Line[]  // only present when op is "update" or "ins"
  ln?: number // the logical number for this line; null if this line is a soft break
}

interface AnnotationSlice {
  type: "find" | "selection" | ...
  ranges: [[number, number, number, number]]  // start_line, start_col, end_line, end_col
  payloads: [{}]    // can be any json object or value
  n: number // number of ranges
}

The pristine flag indicates whether or not, after this update, this document has unsaved changes.

The rev field is not present in current builds, but will be at some point in the future.

An update request can be seen as a function from the old client cache state to a new one. During evaluation, maintain an index (old_ix) into the old lines array, initially 0, and a new lines array, initially empty. [Note that this document specifies the semantics. The actual implementation will almost certainly represent at least initial and trailing sequences of invalid lines by their count; and the editing operations may be more efficiently done in-place than by copying from the old state to the new].

The “copy” op appends the n lines [old_ix .. old_ix + n] to the new lines array, and increments old_ix by n. Additionally, “copy” includes the ln field; this represents the new logical line number (that is, the ‘real’ line number, ignoring word wrap) of the first line to be copied. Note: if the first line to be copied is itself a wrapped line, the ln number will need to be incremented in order to be correct for the first ‘real’ line.

The “skip” op increments old_ix by n.

The “invalidate” op appends n invalid lines to the new lines array.

The “ins” op appends new lines, specified by the “lines” parameter, specified in more detail below. For this op, n must equal lines.length (alternative: make n optional in this case). It does not update old_ix.

The “update” op updates the cursor and/or style of n existing lines. As in “ins”, n must equal lines.length. It also increments old_ix by n.

Note: The “update” op is not currently used by core.

In all cases, n is guaranteed positive and nonzero (as a consequence, any line present in the old state is copied at most once to the new state).

interface Line {
  text?: string  // present when op is "update"
  ln?: number // the logical/'real' line number for this line.
  cursor?: number[]  // utf-8 code point offsets, in increasing order
  styles?: number[]  // length is a multiple of 3, see below
}

The interpretation of a line is different for “update” or “ins” ops. In an “ins” op, text is always present, and missing cursor or styles properties are interpreted as empty (no cursors on that line, no styles).

In an “update” op, then the text property is absent from the line, and text is copied from the previous state (or left invalid if the previous state is invalid), and the cursor and styles are updated if present. To delete cursors from a line, the core sets the cursor property to the empty list.

The styles property represents style spans, in an efficient encoding. It is conceptually an array of triples (though flattened, so triple at is styles[i*3], styles[i*3 + 1], styles[i*3 + 2]). The first element of the triple is the start index (in utf-8 code units), but encoded as a delta relative to the end of the last span (or relative to 0 for the first triple). It may be negative, if spans overlap. The second element is the length (in utf-8 code units). It is guaranteed nonzero and positive. The third element is a style id. The core guarantees that any style id sent in a styles property will have previously been set in a set_style request.

The number of lines in the new lines array always matches the view as maintained by the core. Another way of saying this is that adding all “n” values except for “skip” operations is the number of lines. [Discussion: the last line always represents a partial line, so an empty document is one empty line. But I think the initial state should be the empty array. Then, the empty array represents the state that no updates have been processed].

interface Line {
  text?: string  // present when op is "update"
  cursor?: number[]  // utf-8 code point offsets, in increasing order
  styles?: number[]  // length is a multiple of 3, see below
}

“annotations” are used to associate some type data with some document regions. For example, annotations are used to represent selections and find highlights. The Annotations RFC provides a detailed description of the API.

measure_width

measure_width [{"id": number, "strings": string[]}] <- {"id":0, "result":[[28.0,8.0]]}

Asks the frontend to measure the display widths (the width when rendered and presented on screen) of a group of strings. The frontend should return an array of arrays, one for each item in the input array, containing the widths of each of that item’s strings when rendered with the style indicated by that items id argument.

These widths are used to determine how to calculate line breaks and other attributes that depend on the behaviour of the client’s text rendering system.


theme_changed

theme_changed {"name": "InspiredGitHub", "theme": Theme}

Notifies the client that the theme has been changed. The client should use the new theme to set colors as appropriate. The Theme object is directly serialized from a syntect::highlighting::ThemeSettings instance.

available_themes

available_themes {"themes": ["InspiredGitHub"]}

Notifies the client of the available themes.

language_changed

language_changed {"view_id": "view-id-1", "language_id": "Rust"}

Notifies the client that the language used for syntax highlighting has been changed.

available_languages

available_languages {"languages": ["Rust"]}

Notifies the client of the available languages.

config_changed

config_changed {"view_id": "view-id-1", "changes": {} }

Notifies the client that the config settings for a view have changed. This is called once when a new view is created, with changes containing all config settings; afterwards changes only contains the key/value pairs that have new values.

available_plugins

available_plugins {"view_id": "view-id-1", "plugins": [{"name": "syntect", "running": true]}

Notifies the client of the plugins available to the given view.

plugin_started

plugin_started {"view_id": "view-id-1", "plugin": "syntect"}

Notifies the client that the named plugin is running.

plugin_stopped

plugin_stopped {"view_id": "view-id-1", "plugin": "syntect", "code" 101}

Notifies the client that the named plugin has stopped. The code field is an integer exit code; currently 0 indicates a user-initiated exit and 1 indicates an abnormal exit, i.e. a plugin crash.

update_cmds

update_cmds {"view_id": "view-id-1", "plugin", "syntect", "cmds": [Command]}

Notifies the client of a change in the available commands for a given plugin. The cmds field is a list of all commands currently available to this plugin. Clients should store commands on a per-plugin basis; when the cmds argument is an empty list it means that this plugin is providing no commands; any previously available commands should be disabled.

The format for describing a Command is in flux. The best place to look for a working example is in the tests in core-lib/src/plugins/manifest.rs. As of this writing, the following is valid json for a Command object:

    {
        "title": "Test Command",
        "description": "Passes the current test",
        "rpc_cmd": {
            "rpc_type": "notification",
            "method": "test.cmd",
            "params": {
                "view": "",
                "non_arg": "plugin supplied value",
                "arg_one": "",
                "arg_two": ""
            }
        },
        "args": [
            {
                "title": "First argument",
                "description": "Indicates something",
                "key": "arg_one",
                "arg_type": "Bool"
            },
            {
                "title": "Favourite Number",
                "description": "A number used in a test.",
                "key": "arg_two",
                "arg_type": "Choice",
                "options": [
                    {"title": "Five", "value": 5},
                    {"title": "Ten", "value": 10}
                ]
            }
        ]
    }

update_spans

update_spans {"start": 0, "len": 20, "spans": [{ "start": 1, "end": 3, "scope_id": 4 }], "rev": 3 }

Updates existing scope spans starting at offset start until offset len.

update_annotations

update_annotations {"start": 0, "len": 20, "spans": [{ "start": 0, "end": 4, "data": null }], "annotation_type": "find", "rev": 3 }

Updates existing annotations and adds new annotations starting at offset start until offset len.

Language Support Specific Commands

Show Hover

show_hover { request_id: number, result: string }

Status Bar Commands

add_status_item

add_status_item { "source": "status_example", "key": "my_key", "value": "hello", "alignment": "left" }

Adds a status item, which will be displayed on the frontend’s status bar. Status items have a reference to whichever plugin added them. The alignment key dictates whether this item appears on the left side or the right side of the bar. This alignment can only be set when the item is added.

update_status_item

update_status_item { "key": "my_key", "value": "hello"}

Update a status item with the specified key with the new value.

remove_status_item

remove_status_item { "key": "my_key" }

Removes a status item from the front end.

Find and replace commands

find_status

Find supports multiple search queries.

find_status {"view_id": "view-id-1", "queries": [{"id": 1, "chars": "a", "case_sensitive": false, "is_regex": false, "whole_words": true, "matches": 6, "lines": [1, 3, 3, 6]}]}

Notifies the client about the current search queries and search options. lines indicates for each match its line number.

replace_status

replace_status {"view_id": "view-id-1", "status": {"chars": "a", "preserve_case": false}}

Notifies the client about the current replacement string and replace options.

Other future extensions

Things the protocol will need to cover:

  • Dirty state (for visual indication and dialog on unsaved changes).

  • Minimal invalidation.

  • General configuration options (word wrap, etc).

  • Display of autocomplete options.