Editing a large source file for any computer language is cumbersome, to say the least. For many years we have had a dream about a nice development environment for IF languages, as there have come to evolve for general computer languages. In the last few years, a possibility to do this in a way which require only a fraction of the work previously required have emerged.

So without further ado, here is AlanIDE:

  • Syntactic highlighting with keyword recognition
  • Instant compilation
  • Error indications directly in the source
  • Outline view

AlanIDE is currently in an experimental stage, but works and might actually be useful. Future plans include source formatting, debugging support, graphical editing of the map, class navigation, typing completion, wizards for creating new classes, include files, refactorings for Alan source such as renaming of identifers, introducing classes in the hierarchy, lifting and lowering of attributes, ....

Well, for now Alan IDE is at version 0.0.8. You can take a look at some inspiring live demonstrations. Following the hints in the installation demo you should be able to get it up and running on your own computer. A fairly modern setup is required.

AlanIDE usage

What you need to know:

  • You need to set up preferences pointing to an Alan compiler that you must download separately
  • You save your file with Ctrl-S (Cmd-S on MacOSX), or by clicking on the save icon
  • When you save the game it is automatically compiled
  • If you have set up the preferences to point to a command line compiler you will get annotations where there are errors
  • If there are no errors your game file will be in the same folder as your main source file (which will be in the "workspace" folder inside the AlanIDE installation directory tree
  • To run the game you need to use an interpreter outside of AlanIDE such as WinAlan or Gargoyle, or one of the command line interpreters. If you have downloaded and set up an external interpreter, you can probably (on most platforms) double click the game file in the navigator view to run the game.

AlanIDE demonstration

These short videos uses a very early version of AlanIDE, but might still be helpful to get an idea of how it works.

The demos are produced with Wink


Once installed AlanIDE is automatically updated over the internet when updates are available. You can see the changes between versions here.

How to install

AlanIDE is based on the Java-based platform Eclipse. You will need a Java runtime to run AlanIDE. You can visit http://java.com to download one if you don't have one yet. A binary distribution of JRE 1.8 (8.0) or greater will work.

Download a suitable package from the AlanIDE section of the Download Area and unpack it to a suitable location. Add a shortcut from your desktop, configure AlanIDE to know where your Alan compiler is located and you are set to go.

NOTE! You should set up AlanIDE to use the command line version of the compiler.

Once you have downloaded and unpacked the Eclipse distribution and possibly added a shortcut to the Eclipse program to your desktop or favorite programs, you can start it and follow the instructions in the installation video.


Robert DeFord has created an excellet guide to installing and using the AlanIDE that is available from the alan-docs project.

What They Say

"I think it's the best IF language I've ever seen - and I *am* a programmer."

Andrew Heale