Announcing Perl-based automation of Notepad++



  • At long last, I have a version of my Perl module for automating Notepad++ that I’ve been willing to publish. It’s been a long road from last summer, but here it is.

    For those who haven’t read the original thread last summer, this is not a plugin, though it uses the same hooks into Notepad++ that a plugin uses. You need an external copy of Perl, this module, and a copy of Notepad++ (of course). The perl executable and Notepad++ executable must both have the same bits (64-bit or 32-bit). You can write your scripts inside of Notepad++, but to run, it needs to call the external perl instance.

    Like the PythonScript or LuaScript plugins, this module is able to automate actions in the Notepad++ GUI, and access and modify the contents of the open files inside Notepad++.


    NAME

    Win32::Mechanize::NotepadPlusPlus - Automate the Windows application Notepad++

    SYNOPSIS

    use Win32::Mechanize::NotepadPlusPlus ':main';
    my $npp = notepad();    # main application
    

    DESCRIPTION

    Automate the Windows application Notepad++. This is inspired by the Notepad++ plugin PythonScript, but I decided to automate the application from the outside, rather than from inside a Notepad++ plugin. But this module uses similar naming conventions and interface to the PythonScript plugin.

    LIMITATIONS

    This is the first public release of the module. In general, it works. As with all first releases, there is room for improvement; I welcome feedback.

    The first known limitation is that none of the hooks for Scintilla or Notepad++ callbacks have been enabled. That may come sometime in the future.

    All the testing and development was done with a US-English installation of Notepad++, and all the file encodings have been ANSI or UTF-8. I know that I need to include better tests for encoding, and any help you can provide with that is appreciated.

    Notepad++ is a Windows application, so that’s the intended platform for this module. However, I know Notepad++ can be made to run in Wine and similar environments in Linux, so it may be possible to make this module drive Notepad++ in such an environment. Feedback on this process is welcome.

    INSTALLATION

    To install this module, use your favorite CPAN client.

    I recommend installing the newest 64-bit Strawberry Perl with a 64-bit Notepad++. Then install this module by running cpanm Win32::Mechanize::NotepadPlusPlus. Please note that for the test suite to work, Notepad++ should be in your path, or in one of the standard install locations (%ProgramFiles%\Notepad++ or %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Notepad++)

    For a manual installation of this Perl module, type the following:

    perl Makefile.PL
    make
    make test
    make install
    

    (You may need to use “dmake” or “gmake” instead of “make”, depending on your setup.)

    AUTHOR

    Peter C. Jones

    Please report any bugs or feature requests thru the repository’s interface at https://github.com/pryrt/Win32-Mechanize-NotepadPlusPlus/issues, or by emailing <bug-Win32-Mechanize-NotepadPlusPlus AT rt.cpan.org> or thru the web interface at http://rt.cpan.org/NoAuth/ReportBug.html?Queue=Win32-Mechanize-NotepadPlusPlus.

    COPYRIGHT

    Copyright © 2019,2020 Peter C. Jones

    LICENSE

    This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of either: the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; or the Artistic License. See http://dev.perl.org/licenses/ for more information.



  • Just downloaded it and playing with it now. I ran my first simple script from within Notepad++ (wrote it and i have ‘F10’ shortcut to compile and run current file based on extension) and it worked!!

    #!perl
    
    use strict;
    use warnings;
    
    use Win32::Mechanize::NotepadPlusPlus ':main';
    my $npp = notepad();
    
    $npp->newFile();
    

    Notepad++ 7.8.3 64-bit
    Strawberry Perl 5, version 24, subversion 1 (v5.24.1) built for MSWin32-x64-multi-thread

    Cheers.



  • @Michael-Vincent said in Announcing Perl-based automation of Notepad++:

    and it worked!!

    Thanks for the feedback. Often on my perl releases on CPAN, my post-release test runs are the only passes in cpantesters; if you happen to have the setup necessary to submit cpantester reports manually, it would be appreciated. If not, I hope that the module ends up being useful for you.



  • I use NppConsole (modified) to get a PowerShell console in a N++ dockable. I also wrote App::PerlShell which provides a REPL-like shell-like interactive Perl. So a quick Batch script called “nppplsh.bat”:

    @echo off
    
    plsh -P Win32::Mechanize::NotepadPlusPlus -p "npp> "
    

    … and now from my NppConsole, I can run nppplsh.bat and then:

    PS MVINCENT ~ > nppplsh.bat
    
    npp> print notepad()->getCurrentFilename();
    C:\Users\mvincent\source\pynetsim\Notes.md
    npp> print notepad()->getNumberOpenFiles();
    8
    npp> print notepad()->getNumberOpenFiles(1);
    6
    npp> print editor->getSelText();
    This is the text I selected for the 
    plsh and Win32::Mechanize::NotepadPlusPlus demo!
    npp> exit
    PS MVINCENT ~ >
    

    Cheers.



  • Perhaps an even more interesting demo using the same selected text from the previous demo and some code from a recent post, I can get the MD5 hash of each line:

    PS MVINCENT ~\source\pynetsim > nppplsh
    
    npp> use Digest::MD5;
    
    npp> $eol = ("\r\n", "\r", "\n")[editor->getEOLMode()];
    
    npp> @lines = split /$eol/, editor->getSelText();
    
    npp> for $line (@lines) {
    More? $ctx = Digest::MD5->new();
    More? $ctx->add($line);
    More? printf qq(%32.32s\n), $ctx->hexdigest();
    More? }
    eae987951e7acc2d994c4d1d279f7112
    a00f5ac7854397bcac1c348685dc429c
    
    npp>
    

    Cheers.



  • @Michael-Vincent,

    I had never really gotten into REPL – never found one that I liked enough to frequently use – but I think App::PerlShell might be the one that starts me down that road, especially with this solution for NppConsole to embed the REPL in Notepad++. (If I ever get around to the v2.0 features – specifically, writing a wrapper Notepad++ plugin and thus enabling the notifications – I will probably try to use a combination of NppConsole as the starting code and @Ekopalypse’s experiments with embedding perl in a plugin, and include App::PerlShell as the default REPL for the plugin. That said, I have to get from early versions into a sold v1.0 before I work on v2.0 feastures. :-) )

    Speaking of working toward v1.0: I am working on documenting the hashes that are used for holding the message name/value pairs, and the argument name/value pairs (equivalent to PythonScript’s enum documentation). But I’m wondering if I should change from having just a couple hashes with messages and message-arguments intertwined (%nppm, %nppidm, and %scimsg) into having a different named hash for the messages compared to the arguments (pythonscript uses a separate enum/class for each type of argument). Or maybe go the other direction, and have a big hash-of-hashes like %enum = ( NPPMSG => { … } , SCINTILLAMSG => { … } , MENUCMD => { FILE_CLOSE => …, …}, … ), so if you were going for the FILE_CLOSE, it would be $enum{MENUCMD}{FILE_CLOSE}.

    I had originally kept them as just those three hashes, because that was easy from my convert-.h-to-hash method. But since I’m moving over to manual .pm for the messages/arguments, to allow for easier POD documentation of those hashes, now seems like a good time to make changes to the structure, if it makes sense.

    So, if it were up to you(*), would you prefer just the enums as they are, split into multiple separate hash variables, or combined into one mega hash-of-hashs? Or should I just do all three (I could easily build the existing-three out of individual variables, and the mega hash-of-hashes could actually just embed the individual variables.

    *: “up to you”, where “you” is defined as @Michael-Vincent , or anyone else who is likely to use Win32::Mechanize::NotepadPlusPlus as more than a one-or-two-time curiosity. :-)



  • @PeterJones said in Announcing Perl-based automation of Notepad++:

    So, if it were up to you(*)

    Let me give it think. My first instinct is to keep them separate instead of a single big hash-of-hash. To me that just makes more sense grouping N++, messages and Scintilla with their like instead of mixing.

    More on App::PerlShell - if you read the POD, there are other REPL’s for Perl that excel at certain aspects of REPL - one duplicates Python look and feel, another uses PPI for correct Perl parsing at the expense of many dependencies, etc. I wanted one that behaved more like a shell (e.g., bash, Powershell) but took Perl commands and none did that. That said, my implementation is probably pretty poor, rough around the edges and makes a multitude of assumptions. All this to say, happy for you to use it, that’s what it’s there for … but “production ready” it may not be like say Devel::REPL.

    Cheers.



  • v0.002 released to CPAN

    • Reorganize the hash variables for easier and clearer use going forward (#13)
    • editor->getLine() on an empty line will now correctly return an empty string, not “\0” (fixed #14)
    • update API for getNumberOpenFiles to correctly use the constants (#17)
    • add notepad->getNppVar() for accessing the “user variables”, like FULL_CURRENT_PATH and CURRENT_WORD (#19)
    • improve documentation internal links (#20)
    • make the editor->hwnd() a public method (instead of using editor()->{_hwnd})
    • make the notepad->hwnd() a public method (instead of using notepad()->{_hwnd})
    • add helper editor->getEOLString(): convert EOL Mode integer to a string
    • editor->getFileEndPosition(): gives the end position of the whole document
    • improve test coverage: add encoding names and getLanguageName coverage to npp-buffer.t
    • examples/ folder: adding more example usages
    • improve Editor documentation on ->findText and some other methods, and clean up set/get pairs, so they share the same information
    • improve Notepad documentation, especially fixing the link for menuCmdID source file


  • v0.003 released to CPAN

    The user-centric changes that were made:

    • some of the Scintilla v4.2.0 messages that were implemented in Notepad++ v7.8 were missing, so add them (#29: thanks @Michael-Vincent for pointing this out!)
    • runPluginsCommand() = fixed command cache feature and improved test (#30)
    • added version notes, to say which messages and “enums” (hashes/keys) require NPP v7.8 (because these are the Scintilla v4.2.0 updates)

    I keep trying to improve this, and make it more usable. Suggestions and bug reports welcome.



  • @PeterJones

    Saw your N++ commit updating Perl keywords and the autocomplete API. BRAVO!!! I had an updated perl.xml autocomplete, but yours is way more complete and I’ve started using it this morning to test.

    Thanks for keeping Perl updated in N++!!

    Cheers.



  • This post is deleted!


  • @Michael-Vincent,

    I was trying to figure out if I had a place to reply with that link, or whether I’d have to create a new post. I guess here was as good a place as any. Since Don accepted the PR, it should be in the next official release! (This is my first contribution to the main Notepad++, rather than just documentation or UDL, so I’m happy about that!)

    I basically wrote a regex to trim out just the functions (=item) and the brief summary line (=for Pod::Functions) from perlfunc.pod, then used another few regex to merge those together into the auto-complete format; that way, I am hopeful I didn’t miss any functions from v5.30.



  • @PeterJones said in Announcing Perl-based automation of Notepad++:

    I basically wrote a regex

    I did mine by hand. Happy to throw that away for your more complete and automated creation solution. I’ll be grabbing 7.8.7 when officially released.

    Cheers.



  • v0.005 released to CPAN

    The user-centric changes that were made:

    • replace %ENCODINGKEY with %BUFFERENCODING, because the old hash had wrong values that didn’t match getEncoding()'s return values (#50)
    • add setEncoding() command to call NPPM_SETBUFFERENCODING as the logical pair to getEncoding() (#51)

    I had apparently missed announcing v0.004 and bugfix 0.004001, so for historical purposes, quoting from my CHANGES file

    v0.004001 2020-Jun-20

    • fix bug in notepad->prompt(), which only used two of the three
      arguments, in wrong order (#47); test suite verifies default
      values for title and default when they aren’t used
    • added new examples/pasteSpecial.pl to show how to paste a
      clipboard entry other than CF_TEXT into Notepad++

    v0.004 2020-Jun-04

    • fix bug in propertyNames() which deleted final char (#45)
    • implemented helper methods: forEachLine, deleteLine, replaceWholeLine,
      replaceLine, flash, getWord, getCurrentWord, getUserLineSelection,
      getUserCharSelection (#15)
    • make setTarget an alias of setTargetRange, and write an alias of
      addText, for PythonScript compatibility (#15)
    • implemented new auto-wrapper to get searchInTarget and similar calls
      to work right (#42)
    • fixed replaceTarget() and replaceTargetRE() replacing target with the
      empty string (#41)
    • fixed length bug in getTargetText() (#40)
    • fixed bug in editor->setText(’’) which had empty strings
      cause crash (#39)

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