Two new editors

Wednesday 14 February 2007

I spend much of my day working in a text editor, so I’m pretty sensitive to how well it does (or doesn’t) work. I’m always on the lookout for new entrants into the field, hoping for the perfect Windows programmer’s editor.

Over the past few years, I’ve used (and paid for) a number of editors that came close, but which ultimately disappointed in some way, most recently Zeus, EditPad Pro, and TextPad. There are also a dozen more that I’ve downloaded and played with enough to see that they weren’t for me: Alleycode, Boxer, ConTEXT, Cream, Crimson Editor, e, EditPlus, Emacs, EmEditor, Jed, jEdit, Notepad++, PSPad, Slickedit, UliPad, Ultra-Edit, vim, Xint.

In the past month, two new possibilities have appeared:

Intype Intype is a new editor modelled after the much-vaunted TextMate. They are only just getting started, but as an example of how much they are following the TextMate model, they’ve implemented bundles before most other things you need in an editor (tabbed interface, undo, etc).

Although Intype has a long way to go to be a complete editor, the first looks are promising: it is polished and thoughtful, and the team is conducting itself in the modern way (screencasts, forums, releasing often, etc). And the interest is quite intense: someone has written a project manager for Intype which hijacks Intype editor windows to present the tabbed interface Intype hasn’t built yet!

Overall Intype is very interesting, and I’ll be watching its progress.

Komodo Edit Komodo Edit is a free subset of Komodo IDE. For my tastes, it chooses almost the exact right subset of features. For example, it doesn’t include Subversion integration, but I use svn from the command line anyway. It gets projects right: a directory spec, with file patterns to include and exclude dynamically. If the Find In Files features could search the files in a project, it would probably be perfect.

Comments

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Bill Mill 10:47 AM on 14 Feb 2007

Out of curiosity, what do you actually use?

(Asks a Vim + Visual Studio guy)

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Brandon Corfman 11:45 AM on 14 Feb 2007

Find References may help with your Python code (in lieu of Find in Files).

The ActiveState guys are pretty responsive if you let them know about your feature requests.

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Barry 2:00 PM on 14 Feb 2007

Not tried Scite (scintilla.org)?

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Trent Mick 3:34 PM on 14 Feb 2007

Ned, I work on Komodo and implemented a lot of the Find functionality. I'm also mainly a Python guy and happily use cog here and there.

"Find in project" will very likely appear in Komodo 4.1 (expected in a few months). As Brandon mentioned, please throw feedback our way.

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andrew 3:50 PM on 14 Feb 2007

I use notepad++ a lot. A lot more than I should. It has a lot of quirks, but it is a pretty good pan-language editor.

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patrick 7:51 PM on 14 Feb 2007

I use SciTE as well, have for years. Also, recently I started getting the hang of Vim and am finding it a lot less annoying as I once thought. It's one of those things you try to use, and give up, 3 or 4 times before it clicks, and then you start to wonder how you ever got around without it :)

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Ned Batchelder 9:05 AM on 15 Feb 2007

Bill: I use Eclipse for at-work big projects, and currently Komodo Edit for on-my-own smaller projects.

I have looked at SciTE, but maybe I need to look at it again. It seemed kind of bare bones the last time.

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patrick 1:54 PM on 16 Feb 2007

SciTe isn't that good out of the box, it needs some configuring to get it just right, but there are a lot of options and the options are well documented. It doesn't have project management, but it does remember which tabs you had open last (tabs are turned off by default). It's execution method works really well, better than most of the other packages I've tried. You can configure whether you want the output to clear on multiple runs or to keep a history, you can double click on errors to go to the error, and you can easily halt a task that's stuck in a loop. I suppose most of these things are probably in things like Komodo or Eclipse, but I like the small footprint SciTE has.

I am interested in trying out the free Komodo however.

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AGrren 11:10 PM on 16 Feb 2007

I've used quite a few editors myself and have been itching to find a TextMate variant for Windows. I picked up on InType about a week ago when it popped up on reddit and, I must say, I'm pretty impressed, although it seems to have quite a way to go before it's really going to become useful. I also ran across a slightly more mature TextMate clone just the other day. The "e" editor http://www.e-texteditor.com/ has what appears to be full support for existing TextMate snippets and grammars without the need to import and convert (the InType folks say they have converters and a suite of snippets, but I haven't seen anything yet). Personally I can't say that I'm completely comfortable with either of these editors, although I think they show promise. I tend to bounce between Notepad++, Notepad2, and Textpad -- occasionally opening up DreamWeaver (ugh) or Eclipse.

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Howard Kapustein 11:40 AM on 18 Feb 2007

You haven't tried TSE yet, have you?

http://www.semware.com/

Yeah, the main page is a bit...active.
But it's a solid editor.
TSE, hailing its evolution all the way back to Qedit in the deep dark past (though significantly evolved since those days (rewritten at least once)).

It's "text" based, but I find that works better than "GUI" editors. It's a native Windows app, and pixel-based, just presents a text-style interface; no MDI or such. Supports native fonts, native print dialog and so forth (it _is_ a Windows app) so all the usual goodness is there.

I've been using it for about 20 years now.
Blazingly fast file load + save + search, plus all the usual amenities like full undo and regex and more. SAL (the script language) is very nice - powerful while being very approachable and flexible. [It's not Python, but no one's perfect :-]

A few minor nits -- e.g. regex is nice though not fully Perl5 -- but even so it's mighty sweet. I've looked at alternatives over the years and every time, the best I've found were almost tolerable, but I always keep going back to TSE.

You can download a testdrive of TSE Pro from their website.

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Ned Batchelder 11:54 AM on 18 Feb 2007

Howard: I had looked briefly at TSE before, and just downloaded the trial now. While I am impressed at the lineage, and their determination to keep the product going in a GUI environment, I find the character-cell UI too jarring and unconventional. For example, when first run, it asks if I want to use Ctrl-C for copy in addition to the "usual" shortcuts. Yeah, Ctrl-C is the usual shortcut, and has been for nearly twenty years.

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Jonathan M. Hollin 6:19 AM on 20 Feb 2007

Komodo IDE is the best programmer's editor and IDE I have ever used. Nothing else comes close and I'd be totally lost without it. Ned I recommend you give the full IDE a try.

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EuGeNe 3:37 PM on 8 Mar 2007

Hi Ned,

Discovered e-texteditor http://www.e-texteditor.com/ today (20070308) and remembered your post. Maybe worth a test drive ...

Cheers,

EuGeNe

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