My new favourite editor

The innocent-seeming question of “Which text editor do you use?” is the source of considerable conflict in the Linux world – mostly of a humorous nature. I’ve seen a number of polls across various forums, and while there’s no clear winner in most cases, the two front runners would probably be vi and emacs. I’ve tried them both at various times but I have to say I don’t particularly care for either – for me there’s just too much work involved in learning to use them, and they lack a lot of the features found in most modern IDEs. For that reason I’ve mostly stuck with gedit – plain jane it may be, but it’s easy to use and doesn’t require a tutorial to learn.

But I still miss all the good stuff like tab autocompletion, calltips, code folding, etc. I know that a lot of those features can be enabled in gedit by installing plugins, but it’s just a lot easier when they’re built-in, so the other day I decided to give Komodo Edit a try. It’s not available in the Ubuntu repositories, but it can be downloaded direct (and for free) from ActiveState. Installation is easy and is well documented – you need to add the path to the komodo executable to your PATH variable after running the install script, but once that’s done you’re away:

Screenshot-Start Page - Komodo Edit 5.1

Overall, I like the look and feel of it – and all of those ‘nice’ features that I expect in a modern IDE are there. With the exception of a debugging tool, which would require the Komodo IDE (the pay version), it’s very easy to enable language-specific support, for a very large range of programming languages. I’ve recently been playing around with Django (more about that later), and enabling syntax support for that was as easy as adding a few extra directories to the python import directories in the ‘Preferences’ screen:

Screenshot-Preferences

I’ll still be using gedit for quick and dirty stuff, but for anything serious, this is my editor of choice.

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