It’s common for writers – fiction, non-fiction, and even code writers – to be excited about starting a project only to become paralyzed by a blank screen on opening their editor. I help myself past this initial hurdle by starting every project with a template. My template provides the basic framework of a generic program that helps me get out of the blocks a little faster. The organization of the template directs my creativity to the task at hand.
If you don’t have your own template you can start with the one included here. Download and extract the files from the P2 Template zip, available below under Source Code. Move the file called p2_template.spin2 to the Propeller Tool\Templates folder. Move the other files to the Propeller Tool\Library folder. As of version 2.4.x, there is a Propeller Tool folder under Documents; you can find the Templates and Library folders under that.
Propeller Tool makes it easy to specify a starting template for new projects. Press the F5 key (or click on Edit\Preferences…) to open the Preferences dialog. Now click on the Files & Folders tab. Click on the Browse button and navigate to your Templates folder using the Select Template File dialog. Select the desired template file, then click on Open to return to the Preferences dialog. Finally, click Accept on the Preferences dialog and the template will be ready for use.
There are three ways to start a project using the template:
- Click File\New (From P2 Template)
- Use the keyboard shortcut: [Ctrl]+[Alt]+
- Right-click on any open tab in the editor and select New (From P2 Template)
Regardless of the method used to create your file, you’ll have a new tab that will be named UntitledNN (where NN is a 1- or 2-digit number). It is a good habit to immediately update the info header at the top new file and save it with an appropriate name to a project folder (make sure the extension in the Save As… dialog is set to .spin2). The old edict still holds true: Save early, save often.
In the Summary view, the code blocks will condense.
The template has a serial object attached that allows the program to send information to a terminal. As PST (Propeller Serial Terminal) is installed with Propeller Tool, the program defaults to its use. If you’re using a VT100 terminal, change the terminal type with this line:
T_TYPE = T_ANSI
The included ANSI object provides methods that simplify the use of ANSI terminals, allowing cursor control and colorful text output from your programs.
Now that you’re no longer staring at a blank page, it’s time to create something fantastic with the incredible P2!