2011
07.07

Not dead… still coding stuff…

I finally got fed up with using pspad and especially gedit. pspad is fine on Windows, but it’s so 90s… and gedit is too limited but I can’t find any code editor on Linux that suits my needs (but I must have very special coding needs).

So I decided to code my own windows/linux code editor. Sounds crazy uh ? Especially with the bazillions of existing code editors. Well, if I exclude the big IDE like Code::Blocks, CodeLite and so on (I’m not looking for an IDE but for a simple code editor), most existing products fall into three categories :

  • the zen, minimalist ones. The most promising is bend, but it seems to have disappeared from the internet. Most of the other ones like DarkRoom really lack basic features.

  • the 90s UI porn ones with hundreds of icons, 6 levels deep menus and 4 digits features numbers. Fuck that. I’d rather use notepad than dive into this earthworm nest UI (btw pspad, my favorite editor, falls into that category).

  • the 70s pre-mouse era editors that you can use only if you already know how to use it. Usage knowledge is transmitted through oral tradition by ancient bearded men. No troll intended. I show an emacs screenshot, but vi falls in the same basket…

So I took my pspad and my MSys command line window and started to code the dream editor, that perfectly suits my own personal egotistical needs. Zen and minimalist as DarkRoom, easy to use as a hairy pspad, powerful as vi. Obviously, this won’t be a universal editor that everybody likes. Some people will probably hate it. But at least one person will love it : me πŸ™‚

The little one is already good enough to code itself and make me forget pspad, though I have to stop it everytime I compile because windows locks the .exe files for running programs. My goal is to use it and no other editor for this year ARRP release. If I succeed, I’ll release it to the public..

10 comments so far

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  1. The best programming comes from motivated individuals who have a need that isn’t being met. Something as necessary as an editor is even more important to make comfortable and personal… too many people suffer with editors that annoy them.

    Disclaimer: I am a bearded old man, and I use vi.

  2. πŸ™‚
    wise words. Thanks.

  3. From what I gather you want an uncluttered UI (i.e. minimal) that is as powerful as Vi(m). Well, Vi is uncluttered, so I guess you want a modern Vim. πŸ™‚ Did you check out Cream Vim?

    At any rate, I’d be curious to know what your special needs. Minimal. Compile & Run. Intellisense? Project/folder management? Embedded console window (for compile results, etc.) ? Maybe list the features you’d like, as a roadmap of sorts.

  4. (vanilla) vi has minimal UI, but it’s not sexy. I want a sexy minimal UI πŸ™‚ I don’t know if cream is modern, but it surely doesn’t look modern.

    My needs : fast and easy access to the 5% of features I use 95% of the time and remove or hide everything else. I mean… what coder needs copy/cut/paste icons ?… come on…
    I focus on C++ language. Others might come later.
    I need to be able to navigate through my code in a wink, without having a code browser, project tree or outline view eating half of my screen space. With a big enough project, even a project tree is slow to navigate. You have to scroll to find the right file. I don’t even mention the tab switching hell when you have 30 tabs open…

    Compile & run is not needed, but eclipse-like code navigation is a must (for exemple Ctrl-click a function/variable/whatever to get to the code of that whatever).
    Auto completion with in-editor documentation would also be cool. I know eclipse has that kind of stuff (though I’ve never managed to make eclipse work properly with C++. Besides, eclipse is not really lightweight…)

    Right now, I’m toying with it rather than having a clean roadmap. I’m also using it to get some experience in wxwidgets.

  5. Did you try Geany? I’m finally sticking with vim now that I can use it comfortably after a couple of years using it on and off – but as far as non-bearded unix editors go, Geany was my favourite.

  6. Personally, I find that good old Notepad++ does exactly what I need, and is rather minimal, but it doesn’t have many fancy programming support features, apart from syntax highlighting. And the worst thing – it’s pretty much limited to Windows. Aaargh! I’m really interested to see how this turns out – I do a lot of C/C++-related coding and could really use a slim and effective editor. Thumbs up!

  7. @TSMI : from why I can see, geany is more to be compared to Code::Blocks or CodeLite than pspad. Still has a lot of buttons, windows and stuff.

    @XLambda : hey thx, it’s good to see I’m not alone looking for a minimal but modern coding environment πŸ™‚

  8. @Jice: It does come with some needless buttons up the top, but you can easily just uncheck them in view –
    here’s what my setup looks like (featuring my very incomplete ruby libtcod bindings) http://i.imgur.com/ysKJx.png

  9. Not to discourage you from your own editor dev journey however:D

  10. @TSMI : indeed it looks pretty slick that way. I’ll have a look at it ! Thanks (but I’ll keep working on my next-gen ΓΌber experimental editor!)