Disable Formatter for Code Sections in SQL Developer


In this blog post I show how you can disable the formatter for some parts of your code. IntelliJ IDEA and the Eclipse IDE use tags in comments to identify sections of code that must not be formatted. By default these tags are @formatter:off and @formatter:on.


When I format this code with SQL Developer 20.2 and the default Trivadis PL/SQL & SQL Formatter Settings (plus lowercase keywords, lowercase identifiers) the result looks like this:

Argh, I do not want the PL/SQL block to be formatted. I spent enough time to format it manually and I want to keep it that way. Let’s add @formatter:off and @formatter:on tags to the original code like this:

Now the formatter keeps the PL/SQL block as it is and formats only the rest.

This does not work out of the box. Therefore you have to configure SQL Developer accordingly. Either by importing the latest Trivadis PL/SQL & SQL Formatter Settings (as I’ve done) or by adding an Arbori query yourself. I explain the latter in the next section.

Configure SQL Developer

To configure this solution you need SQL Developer 19.2 or later. Open the preferences dialog and go to Code Editor -> Format -> Advanced Format -> Custom Format .

Add the following Arbori query (e.g. after the dontFormatNode query). The position is not that important.

Here are some explanations:

SQL Developer’s formatter class has a public field named unformattedPositions of type  Set<Integer>. It contains all token positions that must not be formatted. We just have to extend this set. However, the parse tree contains only relevant tokens. Whitespaces and comments are not relevant. But we need single-line and multi-line comments to disable and enable the formatter. That’s why we read all tokens on line 5. Now we can determine if a token should be added to the unformattedPositions on line 29. The variable i contains the current token position. The hiddenTokenCount contains the number of preceding tokens that are not part of the parse tree. i-hiddenTokenCount equates to the token position in the parse tree. The rest should be self-explanatory.

Read this post to learn more about Arbori and how the formatter works.

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