Build So Good

Continuing in my series of posts praising Xcode 41, I’d like to talk about the build confirmation sheet. This one:

If you press Command-B while Xcode 4 is already building, Xcode will bring down a sheet over the project window, saying “Stop build? A build action is already running”. There is also an option to not show the alert again.

Now, if I ever actually had to press that Stop button, this would not be a praise post. This would be the other thing. But in fact, under normal circumstances2, I never press that button. What happens instead is that Xcode chugs away on the current build, and then when that build is done, the sheet goes away, and a new build automatically starts.

This is so exactly what I want Xcode to do, it almost hurts.3

The sheets becomes a little UI reminder: Hey, you may have to wait a little longer for the build you just scheduled. And it’ll be easy to tell when it actually starts, because the sheet will animate away. I almost always want to wait for the build to finish anyway before doing anything else; I want to see whether the code I just wrote compiles without error and warning. So the sheet doesn’t impede me at all. It fits in with my workflow exactly.

And it’s been in Xcode 4 since the very beginning, as far as I remember.

1. If, on the other hand, you want to hear me complain about Xcode 4, follow me on Twitter. Or just read the second footnote. ↩︎
2. Under abnormal-but-still-frequent circumstances in Xcode 4.3, alas, the build never finishes, and I eventually have to force-quit Xcode to complete a build again. ↩︎
3. While it might seem logical to want a toggle, in practice, that’s not the case. Incremental builds never take long (if they don’t take forever, see above), so waiting isn’t hardship, and a toggle would always require two taps of Cmd-B, and having to be sure you get the timing right, or you’ll stop your own build. ↩︎
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