Just gimme a good editor, dammit

Ok. My frustrations are now permanent. I’m looking for a good editor. One that serves the dual purpose of both being good at editing stuff with angle brackets, and that is more than half-decent for client-side web programming, plus some occasional Python
Before anyone suggests anything at all, here’s the list of what I don’t want.
* VI, VIM or any related editor: “Having to make your own parchment, ink, and quill, and then persuade elves to hide and retrieve your documents from their secret cave in the enchanted forest would be a major improvement to using vi to edit files on any computer system.”:http://virtuelvis.com/archives/2005/09/vi
* Emacs. I _used_ to use Emacs years ago, and if I have to edit anything in a shell, I use Emacs because I can’t stand VI. Emacs on Linux, even the Emacs 22 snapshots look like a total ass on any system I’ve tried it (Yes, I have tried this, but that particular package refuses to provide anything but some proportional font, no matter what I put in .Xresources). While the menus now use pretty fonts, the actual text you edit looks like shit. Add to it that Emacs is not particularily good at editing HTML. Plus, configuring Emacs is a major pain, and rather than spending a couple of days setting it up properly after having avoided it for anything but editing cron jobs and .htaccess files, I don’t want to redo them all. Nor do I want to spend time writing a decent JavaScript mode. I know one exists, and it’s not decent by any means. (Nor do I have the neccesary lisp-fu to do so).
* Bluefish. I gave up on Bluefish back when it crashed if you pressed “Esc” when a warning dialog was open. I don’t miss it.
* Screem: By default, it uses almost all of my screen estate on icons, is far too “friendly” (no, I _didn’t_ want to close that tag, dammit. Listen to me. Listen to me.), is wizard and click-oriented and lacks elementary text editing functions.
* Anjuta: While venting my editor frustrations on IRC, I installed Anjuta, tried to open an SVG and ran away in horror. I might sound superficial, but when the color sense of the developer of a tool is this hideous, I don’t actually trust that he knows what it means to edit anything at all.
* SciTE: Since switching from Windows, this is what I’ve mostly been using, mostly because it doesn’t attempt any hand-holding. It is however missing a few features, and writing markup can sometimes be a bit painful, because keyboard shortcuts are a bit missing, especially ones special to editing markup. Plus, it’s wrapping functionality borders on braindead. The only options you have is either to have wrap on or off, which means screen edge, not word wrap after some specified column.
But, instead of ranting, I am repeating what I did with Media Players, “ask”:http://virtuelvis.com/archives/2006/11/media-managers-part-one. Are there any non-sucky editors out there? Please don’t suggest Kate, I know a few people are satisfied with it, but KDE is going nowhere near my boxes. Nor is suggesting Eclipse any good, because while the editing facilities are OK, it’s totally overkill, and for editing out-of-project static markup documents it’s certainly not suitable.
So, what do I want? When I still was a Windows user, I mostly used EditPlus, which was well-suited for what I do, but running it under Wine is sadly not an option. An editor should have a featureset similar to EditPlus, UltraEdit and similar editors.

Leave a comment


  1. WildEnte

     /  2007-03-05

    don’t know if that would satisfy your needs – there is a java-based editor called jedit ( http://www.jedit.org/ )
    A programmer friend of mine said some good things about it – mostly that it’s customizable to all ends if I recall correctly. I didn’t use it because I don’t do programming, and for me the startup time (java app) was just too long.

  2. WildEnte: Unfortunately, jEdit integrates quite poorly with GTK, which makes it an absolute no-go for me. I enjoy my UI consistency.

  3. Kevin

     /  2007-03-05

    With ActiveState’s latest release of Komodo (IDE for dynamic languages, based on Mozilla/Gecko), they’ve made the editor component available as a separate, free (as in beer) download.
    Unfortunately it’s not open source, if that matters.

  4. Scribes is looking pretty good. Not quite as featurey as those Windows ones, but on its way — plus, it doesn’t feel encrusted with barnacles yet, which is nice.

  5. I love jEdit, and would recommend it heartily. Cross-platform no-nonsense and developer-centric. Add a plethora of plugins, and you’re good to go 🙂

  6. Asbjørn Ulsberg

     /  2007-03-06

    What about “gedit”:http://www.gnome.org/projects/gedit/?

  7. bq. What about gedit?
    Asbjørn: Surely, you’re joking? gedit is roughly comparable to Notepad.
    bq. I love jEdit, and would recommend it heartily. Cross-platform no-nonsense and developer-centric.
    Jakob: Here’s the thing. Gnome has made me rather religious about UI consistency. Is there any way to make jEdit look and feel like it actually belongs in Gnome?

  8. Have you checked out this thread on the Textmate Blog? Windows/Linux alternative.
    Just do the switch and get over to OS X, so you can enjoy Textmate. 🙂

  9. I’m so happy to stay on Windows, no need to hunt for adequeate replacements for tools like NoteTabPro and Total Commander 🙂
    When will Linux be ready for non-command-line-loving power users?
    Excuse me for this somewhat off-topic comment.

  10. Rijk: It is ready. If you want a Total Commander replacement, Gnome Commander works quite well, and there is a similar tool for KDE. However, you’ll soon realise that you rely less on those tools as a Linux user than you did in windows, since the rest of the system actually works and doesn’t have a half-assed attempt at file exploration in the form of explorer.exe which doubles as a web browser.
    As for editors, I’m evaluating what’s been suggested, and Komodo Edit doesn’t seem to be half bad.

  11. Add to it that bash and other shells are useful, contrary to their Windows defaults. For the last three years of my Windows use, I relied on Cygwin to have a shell.

  12. algkalv

     /  2007-03-08

    I do not have any suggestions, given your list, but really, no need to exaggerate so.
    vi|m is a perfectly good editor for a different class of users.

  13. I’m tied to WXP+UltraEdit for this *same* reason. The only good option I’ve found is to install some Virtual Machine and run WXP+UEdit from there … no way.
    Have you tried Quanta+ , NVU or Anjuta? … Quanta’s GUI is QT based (KDE friendly) but I think that editor deservers a try, and the other two are GTK based and are good too. But it will be up to you.
    I’d wish IDM guys read this post, I’m seriously tied to this editor… really love it.

  14. Juan: Did you actually _read_ my post? Nothing that has anything to do with KDE goes anywhere near my system, and Anjuta is an abomination.
    As far as NVU is concerned, a WYSIWYG tool is always the wrong tool for any job.

  15. Sorry, fish memory 😛