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back to article Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

When I heard, in a tutorial video, the multi-platform programmer's editor Sublime described as "the cool kids' code editor" (or possibly "the Cool Kid's code editor" - the speaker didn't enunciate his capitals and apostrophes very clearly) I was puzzled. As the goto (or, rather, the call-by-reference) consultant on Agile Harlem …

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There is only one thing a text editor needs

It just needs to be vi

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Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

VI, the only editor that you can count on to be installed anywhere you are doing onsite support.

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Unhappy

Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

OK - I'll mention emacs.

Can we leave it there please? Do we REALLY have to go down this hoary old discussion yet again?

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Happy

Emacs: Rejected

4. The editor should contain no implementation of Lisp

It's in the article!

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Happy

Re: Emacs: Rejected

Lisp is not a really a problem provided you have sufficient parentheses installed.

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Joke

Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

Doesn't VI stand for Venom Incarnate? I think I read that here, but these people may be biased

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Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

I once offered a fiver to anyone that could write a COBOL program in vi without setting off the terminal bell.

No one ever claimed it.

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Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

Maybe 10 years ago, now it's nano.

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to misquote

Vi is the worst text editor.

Except for all the others.

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Alert

Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

.... that you can count on to be installed anywhere.....

You're the sort of person who actually used to use EDLIN rather than carrying around a floppy disk with somethinganything else on it, aren't you?

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If they didn't think to turn it off in their login script then they didn't deserve said quids.

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Go

Speaking of Emacs, ....

,... Emacs 24.3 has just been released. It satisfies quite a few, but not all, of Verity's criteria.

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jai
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Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

i use a text editor as a tool, to make life easier. i could just concat all my code onto the end of a file, i guess, but using a text editor makes it easier to spot mistakes and type in lots of text.

having to type in the commands to control the app as well as type in the text i'm typing doesn't make life easier at all.

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Coat

Re: Speaking of Emacs, ....

Emacs would be a great O/S if only it had a decent text editor...

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Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

You don't know how true your statement about vi running everywhere. I was won over by vi when I absentmindedly tried launching it to edit something when logged on via an ASR-33 teletype..... and IT STILL WORKED !!

Ok, so it had switched to ex mode and was printing out one line at a time, but all the commands and shortcuts worked as normal and it was completely usable. Quite brilliant I thought (especially as I'd never used ex prior to that, or probably since either).

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WTF?

Re: Speaking of Emacs, ....

I use emacs, but to be fair to the others, it must rank as some of the most bloated software ever written. I mean, how many text editors really need at least one adventure game; a tower of Hanoi simulator; Tetris; pong; an implementation of Eliza; a random gibberish generator -and- a mode to plug the random gibberish generator into Eliza?

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Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

Sorry, DECWriter not ASR33, but same principle applies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

"VI, the only editor that you can count on to be installed anywhere you are doing onsite support."

EXACTLY. Doesn't matter if you love or hate it. It's fast, light, works on even quite a badly fubar-ed system and can be found all over the place. Time spent learning it is more than worthwhile.

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Two men sitting at the bar ...

one of them turns to other and asks "What's your IQ?". The other responds "161. Whats yours?". The first man responds "159. What do you think of quantum entanglement and the parametric scattering method of producing photon pairs?". The two then proceed to have a discussion and became friends for life.

A little further down the bar 2 other blokes had seen this and one turns to other and says "My IQ is 120 what is yours". He gets the reply "118. What did you think of the Man U v Chelsea match?". They have a long discussion about all things sport and strike up a lifelong friendship.

Even further down the bar were 2 other blokes who had seen all of this. One turns to other and says "My IQ is 70" and the other responds "Mine is 71. Do you prefer vi or emacs?".

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Re: Speaking of Emacs, ....

Taking this as an insult. Since, even if you use it, you don't really seem to know it. AMOF, I don't really play games in Emacs. First, think how much space does it take? How fast does it load? Run this( in Emacs with M-! or M-1 M-!)

dpkg-query -Wf '${Installed-size}\t${Package}\n' |\

column -t | grep -P 'emacs.*' | \

awk '

{sum+=$1}

END{

printf "-------------------------\nTotal for emacs: %.3f Mb\n",sum/2^10

}'

Outputs:

-------------------------

Total for emacs: 145.402 Mb

BTW, why does ELReg text parser mutilate the text so bad and both pre,code tags are so ugly???

Most of it is Elisp, it is modular and 145Mb really worth it! Here is why for me, personally:

**incremental (regex) search, where you get search results for a pattern while you're typing it in ; configurable regex system

**grep-mode, you do grep command and get a *grep* buffer with the list of matching lines hyper-linked to the place/file

**this idea, that everything is file... I mean a buffer is implemented, special buffers

**run-shell command on a region with or without an argument (M-1) M-|

**very smart keyboard shortcuts, which you can configure and customize to your own liking

** collection of text killing macros, can your editor know what zap-to-char is anyone? Capitalize, change-toupper/lower and so on. Very efficient text editing. I am so used to it I use in Firefox.

**running every command with M-x with an autocompletion

**calc-mode, a Reverse-Polish with inf. precision calculator that can integrate, differentiate, convert units etc. Both stand-alone and embedded. And hey, you can still run pari-gp, (i)maxima, octave in in its own buffer and yes run-shell on a region with dc?

**tramp-mode

**kill-ring browser

**dired-mode, where you can do operation on files and dirs (with tram-mode via ssh remotely)

**unmatched extendibility

**predefined highlighting and indentation, regex highlighting etc

**aspell and calendar-mode

** hey, it got a vi emulation mode, viper-mode. I do like vim (vi is too plain), does vim have an emacs mode? ;-)

** its own terminal-mode, which is Okay

**org-mode, info-mode, tex-mode, w3m-mode ( a decent web browser) and you-name-ti-mode

=============

Wow, this is just 5% of what it can do and I just don't have an idea about it.

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Re: Speaking of Emacs, ....

It satisfies quite a few, but not all, of Verity's criteria.

Well, not sure about the validity of those criteria. IMHO, GNU Emacs satisfies a number of much more serious and important criteria (for me), that no other editor seems to even be aware of.

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Re: Speaking of Emacs, ....

It would be great if those who say so, would really try getting it.

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redundant string

Sorry. Just looked it over again and found that all this string matching piece:

"column -t | grep -P 'emacs.*'" is redundant and could be done in awk '/emacs.*/...'

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Pint

Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

=====> :)

I did that for 15 years. Mine's a pint.

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Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

> having to type in the commands to control the app as well as type in the text i'm typing doesn't make life easier at all.

Well not many people have a telepathy interface, so you've got to find a way to feed the commands into the editor as well as the text. With vi the commands are fed in with the keyboard, originally because that was all that was available. They wanted to be able to use it on all makes of terminal so didn't rely on their being buttons available for all the functions they wanted. But this proved to be its great strength because if you can touch type, even of the random finger selection kind then its bloody quick to use because you don't even have to move your hands. Personally I hate the stupid PC keyboard layout because some damn fool idiot put the [Esc] key out of reach, whereas an IFT keyboard had it just outside the left shift key within easy striking mode. GUIs and mice might be ever so beginner friendly, but all that moving hands around kills the productivity. You end up having to remember all the shortcut key sequences which reduces the so called friendly editor to being just a pale imitation of vi.

But if you can't find vi, ed's not bad either.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Two men sitting at the bar ...

Don't leave us hanging like that! Which editor did IQ 70 prefer?

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Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

...A journal. I remember (I blame the COBOL thread for making me reminisce) the 'full-screen' editor on a DEC VAX 11/780 that simply journalised every editing action. Was fun to crash out of a long editing session, restart the editor and sit back and watch it re-apply every key-stroke up to the point of the crash. Did rectangular-block copy&paste too.

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Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

vi = virtually impossible.

Which is a lie. There is only one editor...

vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, vi, ...

VI.

Simples. It's been around for at least 30 years. Even VIM isn't really an improvement. You can't improve on the core of vi, it's just too cool.

Of course those who down vote it are obviously ignorami, and have never used it in anger. If you use it in anger it saves your bacon -- EVERY TIME.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Two men sitting at the bar ...

The big question -- was this post written by the man with the70 IQ or the 71 IQ?

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Happy

Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

Sigh.

Evidently we DID have to go down this hoary old discussion yet again.

But at least I now know a good joke I'd not heard before.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't leave us hanging like that!

He replied "Actually, I've never had need of more than Edlin."

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Happy

Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

"You're the sort of person who actually used to use EDLIN rather than carrying around a floppy disk with somethinganything else on it, aren't you?"

Nope. I never "did" MS-DOS.....

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Joke

Re: Two men sitting at the bar ...

I would add as an ending:

Both were arrested a short time later for drunken brawling...

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Re: redundant string

eulampios.....are you the author of emacs?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Speaking of Emacs, ....

That's why I don't use emacs, I expect my text editor to be smaller than the OS on which it's running :)

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Angel

Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

SEDT, wasn't it? Long gone, but fondly remembered.

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Re: redundant string

Greg, even if I weren't, using the definite article is incorrect, since Emacs authors are aplenty, a much bigger number of any other editor or/and IDE.

My knowledge of Elisp didn't get me any further than a few custom lines in .emacs and some .el files. So, no.

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Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs

I remember (I blame the COBOL thread for making me reminisce) the 'full-screen' editor on a DEC VAX 11/780 that simply journalised every editing action.

EDT/TPU. I also have fond memories of it, from the days when I had to write VAX assembly code over a 1200bps dialup connection that would frequently drop for no good reason. Curse, dial back in, log back in, run the recovery and watch all my uncommitted changes be replayed. Lovely.

Re the COBOL mention: My preferred editor is vi - actually vim - and I write COBOL code in it more days than not. (Most of the code I work on these days is in either C or COBOL, though there's a smattering of each of at least a dozen other languages.) I have hacked vim to add a bit more support for when I must use COBOL's old-style fixed format rather than nice modern free format, and added some keywords to vim's cobol.vim syntax file, but aside from that it does just fine.

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Crimson Editor

My favourite editor by far on Windows is Crimson Editor (Also known as Emerald editor). Sadly, it's no longer developed... But still available. I use it extensively at work. It is a little bit slow at starting up, but not too horrendous.. It's still faster than any of my IDEs by far. Out of any editor I've ever used it has the best macros, block editing, and regex functionality. Block Editing is a godsend... I guess that's what you call multiple cursors here. Crimson is the first editor I ever saw that implemented it and it's still the best. A sizeable amount of my daily work consists of 'TARDEP' tasks... A lot of converting lists of data into SQL inserts and such... and the Block editing is the only way to go.

http://www.crimsoneditor.com/english/home.html

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Re: Crimson Editor

Crimson used to be my go to editor(*), but didn't handle non-latin character sets well.

So if you only have to edit files written in english I would recommended it, if you are using all of unicode I wouldn't.

(*)not 'goto editor'

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Law
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Re: Crimson Editor

Used to use Crimson too... these days I use Notepad++ as its still being developed and wasn't that dissimilar to CE.

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Re: Crimson Editor

I'm still using Crimson Editor. In my opinion the only thing it's missing is the ability to replace multiple lines at a go, however to be fair I rarely need to do that sort of replacement.

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Shame, could have been a useful article; but went for pompous and unfunny instead.

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Facepalm

Welcome to Stob...

You're new here aren't you?

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Ha, Ha, swing and a miss.

Remember, the keystrokes for switching on humour detection is "Ctrl+F and then Ctrl+alt+U".

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Windows

My Preferred Editor is...

(And this is just MY opinion and I'm NOT saying anyone else should be swayed by it.)

UltraEdit-32. Version 12b to be exact. On Windows.

Yes, it's old, Yes it's a bit clunky in places. But it loads massive files in a flash, has user configurable syntax and colour highlighting, and the must-have feature for me... the ability to add a button or menu entry to launch other programs with the currently edited file (or automatic temporary copy if not recently saved) as a parameter.

I'm also very lazy, and after 12 or so years using UltraEdit, I'm not inclined to use/learn anything else.

-Jar

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Anonymous Coward

Re: My Preferred Editor is...

UltraEdit is still fantastic; I've converted may Neo-wannabes to it, simply by demonstrating "Column Mode" editing (stitch that Notepad++)

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Go

Re: My Preferred Editor is...

UltraEdit is God's Text Editor. No question about it.

The genius of UltraEdit is how it is shockingly easy and pleasantly obvious to do highly complex tasks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: My Preferred Editor is...

Notepad++ can do "column editing". In fact most serious editors I know of can do this. I can't believe the author was amazed at how much easier his "TARDEP" editing was.

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