Ok, well, maybe.
This is about text editors, not political affiliations by the way.
I’ve been using nedit for a while. I had just switched to it when I started working on my thesis … er … a while ago. It was nice, as the same editor worked nicely on Irix and OS/2. My thesis was written in TeX (and yes, it was assembled with a Makefile), nedit was a great editor for this …
It was a terrific editor for Fortran programming, and not bad for C, Perl, C++, …
But … as with all things … it is showing its age. It hasn’t been updated in years … nearly 6 now. It depends upon Motif. Motif is/was a toolkit for building applications that would display in a consistent manner across Unix OS variants. It has a decidedly Irix-like feel.
It also doesn’t know much about modern fonts, modern display devices, …
So as I find myself working on coding projects, I find this editor harder to work with. Maybe my eyes are getting old (ok, thats happening), but I want to see clean fonts, and not have to worry about bitmapped jagged fonts. It is 2010.
But there are things that nedit does that most editors don’t do very well if at all.
Split window support: I like to have several different views of different regions of the same code open at once. Nedit does this very well. Its simple, its easy to use.
Reasonable wrapping: I don’t want to scroll the window to see a long line. I want it to wrap in the window so I can edit without using the mouse to scroll.
Syntax highlighting: I work in a fair number programming languages. I want reasonable highlighting support … I specifically like nedit’s functionality when I hover over an opening or closing brace or parenthesis. It will highlight the matching closing or opening object. This is one of the best functions I have used, and I can’t live without it.
What I need is similar functionality. I’d like it to be cross platform … Linux and Windows.
Gvim gives me some of this. But its vi at the core, and vi isn’t that friendly. I am competent in vi, I can make good use of it, and am pretty proficient with it. But I don’t like using it.
Of course, there is emacs operating system version 1 million and 1. With keystroke combos sufficiently arcane to make vi look easy. Enough said? It does run everywhere though.
Then there is eclipse. There are positive things about eclipse, and there are negative. Among the latter is that it is a huge java app, and that means that, no matter what you do, it isn’t fast or lightweight. It also means that cut and paste is sometimes broken as java often has a “my way or highway” approach to dealing with the native OS clipboard.
Editors that look good so far include kate, Komodo from ActiveState is very good (we use it for Perl development). Many of the other text editors I’ve played with aren’t that good at the basic operations of text editing, or have some marginally useful functionality (block folding).
I’m open to ideas. Feel free to point me to good ones. I did play with Jedit and wasn’t impressed. Pico/nano don’t meet my needs either. There are system config editors and there are programmer editors, pico/nano/vi are definitely in the system config editor space.
Yeah, its taken me ~17 years to change my main editor, but the writing is on the wall, and nedit is getting harder to use over time.