CoronaComplete - Completes the Development Requirements

In 2009, there was a start-up that brought making mobile apps to the masses. This changed the landscape for mobile development and made developers out of many. Strangely, this framework while it made development easy, it actually came with nothing, no IDE, no Editor, Nothing.... just a simulator.

This framework was CoronaSDK, one of the many frameworks that are available, but one of the very few that actually make development easier. During these three years since 2009, many a developers have created utilities to complement/supplement CoronaSDK, providing a Text Editor, providing a Project Manager, etc. During this time there was also a young bright lad that had ideas that soared high in the skies, while he worked at his job at Air Traffic Control. It is not a surprise that many a developers use his products and are very content with them. In fact the user base for his products spread wide from the CoronaSDK users to those that use Cocos2D as well. If you are still wondering who this is, it is Vladu Bogdan, he is the person that became the household name with Level Helper and Sprite Helper. These two utilities made game development easier. Now there is a new gem from him, it is called Corona Complete, this is the IDE that Ansca should have had with CoronaSDK.

First Impressions

On starting the app, I got a window that any developer on a Mac Platform will recognize portions of. There is the familiar new xcode look and feel with the View button on the top right hand side that allows a user to show/hide the various panes. The Top Toolbar section is quite simple, it has a large play button (run), another button that says Simulate, three buttons in the centre labeled as Continue, Step Into and Step Over.

The screen is divided into three sections the first is the Project Viewer (list of files and assets) the middle section has the File or the graphic preview on the top and the command/console at the bottom. On the right hand side, you have the Corona Help/Documentation.

So, first impressions, clean nice UI interface, looks familiar as would a professional developer toolkit.


Opening a project is very easy, it will load the entire directory into the project explorer (There will be a file filter in the next update) Clicking on a source code file or an image will instantly display the same in the middle preview window. The source code is not only displayed, it is syntax highlighted and displayed.

If one simply presses the Play (Run) button the app will start in the simulator and the console will have all the debug output showing (if any)

Now, what is so special, this is what anyone can achieve in many programs. BBEdit, TextMate will also display the project and all the files (though they cannot display the non text assets) and can also run the simulator for you. The real strength of Corona Complete comes when you start to develop.

Create a new file and just type the letters dis and wait for a brief second, Autocomplete kicks in and you get a list of Popups. This displays a popup list of options and the return type, it is a simple process of scroll through the list and press enter. This is one feature that is missing from many a text editors and xCode does not allow for changes as the previous version 3.x did. So for that, this should be the new Editor of choice for anyone serious with development.

The autocomplete also places place holder variable names that indicate by colour as to if they are optional or required. No more wondering what the syntax for a particular command was, it is as simple as just selecting it and removing the optional arguments that you do not need.

Note: Bogdan has already made a note of some enhancements that will be made available soon in the next release, including parsing and listing functions for quick access to that point in code.

And while you are selecting the API / command to type, the last section of the screen that holds the documentation displays the API and the description (this is NOT displayed off the Ansca sites, but the developer has painstakingly entered the data. Ansca has made things easy for developers, but at the same time very difficult for 3rd party developers and have lousy documentation. (I had been in touch with Carlos on several occasions while I was working on the Mobile CoronaSDK Documentation and found that it was just not feasible to type all of the API and it's associated data into the app, so my project was put on hold). With CoronaComplete, you have not only a wonderful Text Editor with AutoComplete but also the Corona API documentation viewer amongst other things.


A good text editor and an API viewer are ummm, good things to have. If that is how you feel, not convinced as yet, then this is the feather in the cap, the ultimate feature.

While browsing your source code, if you simply tap on the line numbers, you can set the breakpoints or simply tapping again toggles. Again a very familiar interface if you have worked with xCode or any development IDE.

Tap the Button that says Simulate to change it to Debug, and then press Run, the familiar CoronaSDK dialog pops up, that asks you to select the project that you want to debug, one of the issues with the Corona debugger, though it is a command line utility, it spawns this GUI form to select the project (breaks the workflow/automation, if any).

I cannot but repeat that though Ansca made CoronaSDK an easy to use development framework, they have sucked at everything else, be it documentation or auxillary tools. The debugger is a hybrid as just discussed which breaks the workflow (if you have automated the process). Once the debugging starts, the code stops and breaks at the breakpoints, this is the time when you can examine the variables, step-through the code or simply continue running the app. Just double tap on a variable and it gets pulled into the Variables Watch section. This will list out the value of the variable, if this is a table, it will display all the members of that table and it also places a small graphic to indicate the type of the variable, Number, Table, Bool and String.

There are some limitations on the way this works as imposed by Ansca.

One of the most common impediment that most developers face is spotting the cryptic errors thrown into the developers face. In many instances the secret crashes, where the user hardly gets a chance to even see what happened. Now that is all a thing of the past, With CoronaComplete, if there is an error, it is immediately displayed in the tab with the warning icon (an exclamation mark inside a triangle). Double click on the line and it will jump to the source code and highlight it. No more searching for the line in your code.

What else

Well, if all of that was not enough, starting a new project allows the user to select a template for the app, presently the templates are the standard ones that are offered by Ansca, I am sure this will also soon have an integrated Library Manager, so the users can just integrate a 3rd party library into their projects.

Now, let's start to see what do we have,
We have a Project Manager
We have a Text Editor with Autocomplete (I think there are no other Editors that offer AutoComplete)
We have the CoronaSDK Documentation viewer
We have a Debugger with functionality to watch variables and step through code, etc
We have an Error Visualiser
We have a Template Manager

Given the price of the two Project Managers for CoronaSDK at $75 each, Text Editors at approximately $50, Documentation Viewer at approximately $20, and the other functionality at about $30. If one was to buy these separately, it would be so many different apps and would cost approximately $150-$200. However, CoronaComplete is much more affordable and is not an Annual License like CoronaSDK.


If you are a developer that relies on your tolls to deliver quality products, this is one tool that you must have. It replaces so many other wonderful and expensive tools. It is an app that has been made specifically for the users of CoronaSDK and it does just that. No such all in one tool, actually call it an IDE as it offers all functionalities of an IDE. For $29.99, need we even discuss if this is a worthy choice? The text editing itself is worth lots more. The product pays for itself several times over.

Software : CoronaComplete
Version : 1.0
Publisher : Vladu Bogdan
Website :
Twitter : @vladubogdan
Platform : Mac OS X (10.6.x or higher)
Demo : 7 days
Price : $29.99 (If you pre-order, you could get it at a special price of $19.99)
Mac App Store : Coming Soon
Trial Link :

And we have a copy of CoronaComplete for one lucky winner, all you need to do
1. Follow @whatsin4me
2. Retweet the message "Read, follow @whatsin4me and RT this msg. You might win a copy of #CoronaComplete from @vladubogdan"

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