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Text Editors

by eweaverp (Scribe)
on Jul 08, 2003 at 20:26 UTC ( [id://272444] : perlmeditation . print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hola Monks...

In a recent OS upgrade by labstaff (in the middle of the day, while everyone was working) my wonderful 'nedit' disappeared. Of course I installed a private copy. But this made me curious--what editors/programming environments are other people here using for Perl?

I assume most people use some vaguely-graphical X app. But what? And what made you choose that one over the 50-odd others that float around in unix-space?

Update: And I see that this has been answered many times. Sorry. But I'm surprised by the number of 'vi' people. I used to be a 'kate' fan, but I don't feel like trying to set up a private KDE install on Solaris... a shame, too.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Text Editors
by gmax (Abbot) on Jul 08, 2003 at 21:32 UTC
      Maybe we should add "favorite_editor" tags to our home nodes for the TinyMicros statistics... It'd save us a bit of re-typing when people either don't search or want the latest info. :)


Re: Text Editors
by thelenm (Vicar) on Jul 08, 2003 at 21:37 UTC

    I generally use Vim as an editor, Linux as an OS. And since I hate hate hate having to use the mouse when I'm trying to get work done, I've also started using The Antidesktop, which is basically a combination of ratpoison (a very minimal window manager) and screen. To complete my progression (regression?) into a 1980's-esque world of text and mouselessness, I'm also trying out and liking elinks as a Web browser, with Mozilla running in a background window for the times when I really need to see images. People think I'm nuts, but I actually like this setup for its simplicity and efficiency.

    -- Mike


Re: Text Editors
by Pug (Monk) on Jul 08, 2003 at 20:30 UTC
    I'm a vim{0,1} person my self. I prefer the console version of vim over the GUI version of vim.

    In addition I have started using screen when telneting to a UNIX box from a Windows computer.
    Other then that I don't use any other tools for developing on perl.


      I agree on both points. The GUI version just slows me down.
Re: Text Editors
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Jul 08, 2003 at 23:21 UTC
    I'd expect the majority of the more serious programmers to use either use an emacs flavour, or a vi-clone, and that most of them don't use it as a graphical application.

    I use vile, or vi, typically inside an xterm. No fancy mode, just a very basic 'Perl' mode, that detects you are editing Perl code and then does auto-indenting/outdenting. Combining that with an editor-macro that saves the file, and gives it to perl to run makes my programming environment. That, and the bottle of coke.


      I'd expect the majority of the more serious programmers to use either use an emacs flavour, or a vi-clone, and that most of them don't use it as a graphical application.

      Why? How would a graphical application possibly be inferior? All it does is add additional interface options, it doesn't mean you have to only use the mouse.

      I'm curious what you think the advantages of vim, emacs, etc are over graphical editors like Kate (other than bloat features like a newsreader).

        I didn't say a graphical application is inferior. I've no doubt Kate is a wonderful editor, with a million times more features than Emacs, which all can be enabled with less keystrokes.

        Except that I've never heard of Kate. Nor do I know anyone that uses Kate. My expectation was purely based on the myriads of serious coders I've met over the years. They use different languages, they work on different projects/jobs. But most of them use either emacs, or vi (or a look-a-like). Rarely something else.


Re: Text Editors
by blue_cowdawg (Monsignor) on Jul 08, 2003 at 21:29 UTC

    I've been using EMACS for so long that I am not comfortable when I have to use another editor. I'm always trying to use the EMACS key sequences that my fingers seem to have in their "firmware" now.

    I do use VIM under certain circumstances. Most notably when I am connected via VPN to one of my servers at work and have to edit something really fast. As much as I love EMACS it takes forever for it to load its GUI over an SSL link.

    You didn't mention IDE's but I'll mention anjuta here. This is a Open Source IDE that is geared towards writing GNOME applications. In spite of that predjudice it is useable for Perl editing as well though I don't see why you would use an IDE of that sort for most Perl work.

    Peter L. BergholdBrewer of Belgian Ales
    Unix Professional
      It may be obvious to you, but "Can't your copy of emacs be used in curses mode?"

        Usually this is just a switch...

        $ emacs --no-windows

        I prefer xemacs for perl development. I got used to it working on an Xtreme Programming project. I like the syntax highlighting better and the key sequences. Revision control and remote shell access via tramp is nice, too.

        On some of my machines, I forget to change the environment variables for the CVS_EDITOR, and I end up with vi. It feels like I can't do anything with it. This is not because vi is incapable but because I don't know it very well. vi is an excellent editor.

        Yes I could. Just a matter of personal preference of when and where I use emacs vs. some other editor.

        Peter L. BergholdBrewer of Belgian Ales
        Unix Professional
      I'm always trying to use the EMACS key sequences that my fingers seem to have in their "firmware" now.

      That goes both ways. I use Vim almost all day long, but every now and then i tweak something on my Windows box using textpad, and when i go to run it I get a syntax error and sure enough right where i left off typing is the line :wq
Re: Text Editors
by dreadpiratepeter (Priest) on Jul 08, 2003 at 20:36 UTC
    I've been using emacs for 20 years now. Does everything I've ever needed (and if it doesn't I can whip out some elisp to do what I want).
    Nothing like having an editor that is also an operating system.:)

    "Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."
Re: Text Editors
by sauoq (Abbot) on Jul 08, 2003 at 23:01 UTC

    vi, vim, elvis, vile, etc.

    As long as it looks, feels, acts, smells, and quacks like vi, I'm happy.

    I assume most people use some vaguely-graphical X app.

    Ugh. Not me. And I keep my columns to 80 chars too...

    "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
      3 cheers for 80 chars. Nothing worse than trying to work with some code that someone developed in a maximized window, using tabs for every level of indentation. I've seen lines that wrap 3 to 4 times across my little terminal! ... Ugh

      vi and vim++ ( syntax coloring is yummy ).

      MMMMM... Chocolaty Perl Goodness.....
Re: Text Editors
by markexpjp (Novice) on Jul 09, 2003 at 11:50 UTC
    I use Microsoft Word. I don't see any reason to use anything else. Seriously, text editors (for example Notepad) are dated, you really should be using a word processor. Even Wordpad is only a quasi-word processor. I've never heard of emacs or vim, but I'm not sure that a text editor would be very good for programming, how are you going to spell check??

    I am of course joking, I like xemacs locally, and /vim?/ remotely, much like most. Basically because when I started on Linux, those tools are shoved down your throat in docs and howtos. I felt like I would be doing something wrong and laughed at if I tried something else. Now I use them because I've just become so used to them.

    10 poke53280,a:poke53281,a
    20 ?"c64 rules ";
    30 a=a+1:ifa=16thena=0:goto 10
      but I'm not sure that a text editor would be very good for programming, how are you going to spell check??

      M-x spell-buffer


      I use emacs everywhere-- including Windows. If logged in remotely I launch with the -nw switch to ensure console mode, otherwise I typically launch in GUI mode in order to be able to alt-tab between the editor and a console window.
      I use Microsoft Word. I don't see any reason to use anything else. Seriously, text editors (for example Notepad) are dated, you really should be using a word processor. Even Wordpad is only a quasi-word processor. I've never heard of emacs or vim, but I'm not sure that a text editor would be very good for programming, how are you going to spell check??

      *picks jaw up off of floor*

      OK, you got me. I believed you and was contemplating how to best respond without totally flaming. ++.

Re: Text Editors
by jryan (Vicar) on Jul 08, 2003 at 20:30 UTC
Re: Text Editors
by archon (Monk) on Jul 08, 2003 at 21:17 UTC
    i use console vim almost exclusively, but i have to admit that the emacs perl debugging mode was extremely useful for a very large perl project.
Re: Text Editors
by Elgon (Curate) on Jul 09, 2003 at 09:13 UTC

    XEmacs if it's something sizeable or critical and I can write it on a system which can handle this or vi if it's trivial or the system doesn't have the resources to run XEmacs. This, of course being the great virtue of using vi - it'll run on just about anything.

    I'm not proud!


    Please, if this node offends you, re-read it. Think for a bit. I am almost certainly not trying to offend you. Remember - Please never take anything I do or say seriously.

Re: Text Editors
by Mr_Person (Hermit) on Jul 08, 2003 at 21:22 UTC
    For console editing, I like Nano pretty well. It's simple and easy to learn, so you don't have to learn a whole new system just to edit text. The new version even has color syntax highlighting.
Re: Text Editors
by naChoZ (Curate) on Jul 09, 2003 at 03:31 UTC
Re: Text Editors
by MrCromeDome (Deacon) on Jul 09, 2003 at 03:06 UTC
    Well, had you said Windows, I'd have said ConTEXT. It rocks my world :)

    But I also do my share of editing in *nix environments. In those instances, I go with Vi or Vim (whichever is available to me). For Perl, I just don't think you can do better :)


      ConTEXT looked interesting, so I decided to check it out. Unfortunately, there was one really annoying thing about it that was so obvious, I wonder if there's something wonky with the copy I downloaded.

      I went to edit a C or Perl file, and created a new function, as thus:

      sub foo {

      When I pressed enter, though, instead of indenting two spaces from the column "sub" started in (as it should according to the setting of 2 in C/Java Block Indent), it indented two spaces from the column the opening curly brace was in, like so:

      sub foo { # When I pressed enter, #<< cursor started here.

      It worked fine if I put the opening curly on the next line, but that totally goes against my style. This just seems so off that I had to ask... Is this normal? Does your copy do that? Note, I downloaded the newest version available on their website (0.97.2a). I haven't (yet) tried an older version. Er, make that "They don't have an older version available."

      As a side note, I have to say that I personally use Vim exclusively, and usually use GVim unless I'm editing something quick in the console, but I'm evaluating other Windows editors because my girlfriend is taking a couple of programming classes now and she needs something decent, that isn't as complicated as Vim.

      Black flowers blossom
      Fearless on my breath

        *sigh* Until recently I was on the ConTEXT team. The problem that you mention wasn't a problem. It's the smart-tabs feature and can be turned off.

        Having said that, I can't recommend ConTEXT anymore. It has bigger issues. The 0.97.2 version has a serious bug that can, and often will delete any Read-Only file you attempt to open. As if this wasn't bad enough, the developer has dissapeared for several months. Nobody knows where he is, and since the project isn't open-source, we were all at a loss. All we could do was link people to the 0.96.3 version which I had available on my site, and pray that nobody was seriously hurt by the 0.97.2 release that we had no way of removing. IT really chaffed.

        After several months of daily beatings on the ConTEXT forums, I announced I was done, and have started a new project to identify OPen-Source editors that have the same, simlar, or better feature sets than ConTEXT. Once we find them, we plan to rate them, and submit them to the community. We've got a PERP Project Page that is being developed to facilitate this. If you're interested in helping with this project, check out the ConTEXT forum at Code-Foo. Information is available there. =)

        If there's interest, I can post links to the results once we're finished.


Re: Text Editors
by johndageek (Hermit) on Jul 09, 2003 at 20:27 UTC
    vi - plain and simple - vi vi you may ask? cause it does what I need it to. it is fast. it is intuitive (after many years of figuring out what to intuit). and it makes no unwanted assumptions. and it's evrywhere I want to be. :) John
      vi here too. No arrow keys. It's on every box and it rox. caveman
Re: Text Editors
by Eyck (Priest) on Jul 09, 2003 at 14:18 UTC

    That would be Vim. great combination with Makefile like this:

         perl -c

    That way when I type :make, and there are errors, vim gets me to the line they are in.

    Emacs/Xemacs (Here goes your beloved 'X') seems to be better and needs no ugly hacks like the one above, but it's whole OS, and heavyweight at that, so I got a bit tired with waiting 5-55 seconds for my friggin' editor to fire-up.

Re: Text Editors
by tunaboy (Curate) on Jul 09, 2003 at 17:59 UTC

    Since no one else has mentioned it, I will add a thumbs up for SciTE which I have been using for the last year or so.

    IMHO it is a nice blend of power and simplicity, not getting in your way but allowing you to customize as desired.

      Another thumbs up for SciTE. I like it.

      Like many other editors, though, it does have its own ... quirks. Long lines (as in very long) don't scroll properly, for example, and it munches memory when reverting to a saved file.

Re: Text Editors
by trs80 (Priest) on Jul 09, 2003 at 18:39 UTC
Re: Text Editors
by Juerd (Abbot) on Jul 09, 2003 at 15:46 UTC


    It indents and un-indents automatically in many cases, has fancy syntax colouring and DWIM.

    I used pico, nano, joe and mcedit before I moved to vim. I've tried lots of other editors, including emacs of course, but found them unpleasant.

    Juerd # { site => '', plp_site => '', do_not_use => 'spamtrap' }

Re: Text Editors
by Rex(Wrecks) (Curate) on Jul 09, 2003 at 16:55 UTC
    Visual SlickEdit for all Platforms I use. It does vi, emacs, Visual Dev, and any other editor you want via emulation. It has enough configuration and macro support that you will not be left wnating.

    In cases where it is not available I use notepad on a Windows machine and I learned enough *shudder* vi to use on *nix machines. I like slick for the same reason many like vi, I can set it up so that everything is done via keyboard, and I never have to touch the mouse.

    "Nothing is sure but death and taxes" I say combine the two and its death to all taxes!
Re: Text Editors
by educated_foo (Vicar) on Jul 09, 2003 at 18:03 UTC
Re: Text Editors
by Lachesis (Friar) on Jul 09, 2003 at 08:32 UTC
    Personally I use jedit because the macros can be really useful. I've got one set up to search for all the subroutines in a file and show them in the search panel which is great if you're working with unfamiliar code. The only problem is that sometimes the syntax highlighting does fall down.
    Where I do work directly through the console its always vim for me. If you haven't come across it already check out this node Vim for Perl developers for setup advice.
Re: Text Editors
by jmanning2k (Pilgrim) on Jul 09, 2003 at 19:20 UTC
    I use emacs. Rather than just another me too, I thought I'd share how I get around the slow startup problem so many people have mentioned.
    (It's actually xemacs that I use, but emacs has a slightly different server mode that you can use too.)
    Two aliases:
    alias gnuserv 'xemacs -e gnuserv-start -unmapped &' alias xe 'gnuclient'

    I run 'gnuserv' when I first login for the day. The unmapped option makes it run in an invisible window on X. Then, rather than using 'xemacs', I use 'xe'. Opens much much faster. 'C-x #' closes the window without exiting the server.

    Great feature, hardly ever used.

    hints: for emacs:
    emacs doesn't have the unmapped option, so I iconify it. I can't actually get this to work, so suggestions are welcome.
    alias eserv 'emacs -e server-start -e iconify-frame &' alias em 'emacsclient'
Re: Text Editors
by demerphq (Chancellor) on Jul 09, 2003 at 22:53 UTC

    I use Ultraedit. I work on Win32 pretty well exclusively, and though exposed to both emacs and vi never liked either of them. I keep meaning to learn emacs, but I also keep meaning to learn German, to learn to drive, to learn to cook, and frankly all of the latter seem to be a lot more important than learning a text editor.

    I suppose it'll happen if ever end having to work on a *nix platform though.


    <Elian> And I do take a kind of perverse pleasure in having an OO assembly language...
Re: Text Editors
by matsmats (Monk) on Jul 09, 2003 at 11:15 UTC

    I generally use vi. On Windows I'm using a small editor called NoteTab Pro, which is nice, but I'm mainly going with it of old habit and because I spent $10 buying it back in the 90s and want to get the most out of that money :)

    I'm wondering, though, why has no one mentioned using ActiveState Komodo? I haven't tried it in quite a while, because I didn't like the version I got then, but certainly there's got to be some Komodo users here?

      Yeah I've been using activestates komodo (for linux though it comes in both windows and linux flavors) since around 1.x when work found it a worthy enough editor to buy for us.

      It has tons of neat features but is kinda resource hungry if you are just after code highlighting.

      Though not unique to komodo my favorite feature is the whitespace view because I hate when you see whitespace before code that would match /\s{2}\t\s\t{2}/;

      It's not OSS but IMHO it's worth a look.
      I'm wondering, though, why has no one mentioned using ActiveState Komodo? I haven't tried it in quite a while, because I didn't like the version I got then, but certainly there's got to be some Komodo users here?
      When I'm looking for a text editor, I generally don't go for a full-blown IDE. I don't need project management from my text editor (or any of the other features that come with an IDE), and I prefer not to pay for my text editor. So I'm using SciTE on Windows, and mi on OS X. Personal preference, of course.

        When I'm looking for a text editor, I generally don't go for a full-blown IDE. I don't need project management from my text editor (or any of the other features that come with an IDE),

        I misphrased a bit. I assumed the intention of the question was what is being used to edit perl code, and supposed that some people use Komodo for this. Mostly out of curiosity if/how/why people use Komodo, as I'm with you on what features I want from my text editor (generally).

Re: Text Editors
by zentara (Archbishop) on Jul 09, 2003 at 15:22 UTC
    Considering how many linux users use Midnight Commander, I'm surprised to find that I'm the first to mention that I prefer to use "mcedit"...just hit the old F4 button. Reasons are....nice color syntaxing and when you are done editing, a quick press of the enter key runs the script. Plus the F3 key gives a built-in hex-editor for close examination of output. It also has "good enough" cut'n'paste abilities from console or xterm.
      Another free Windows editor that includes highlighting and many other features is Crimson Editor. If you're used EditPlus, Crimson is extremely similar. That said, I'm using gvim on a sun and considering moving on to emacs soon.
Re: Text Editors
by michaeld (Monk) on Jul 09, 2003 at 19:11 UTC

    MED Programmer's Editor on Win XP
    Call me a weirdo...but it suits me fine...


Re: Text Editors
by YAFZ (Pilgrim) on Jul 11, 2003 at 11:50 UTC
    Even though my fellow programmers at the office force me to use CodeWright I still keep on using vim both on Windows 2000 and Debian GNU/Linux platform.

    You'd better not be surprised by the number of vim lovers like me ;-)

    BTW I also think CodeWright is a very powerful code editing system but it gives nothing that does not exist in, cannot be plugged into or programmed using scripting in VIM.
Re: Text Editors
by agby (Initiate) on Jul 13, 2003 at 21:09 UTC
    BBEdit all the way, except for the built-in FTP browser, which churns and churns and churns... However, when I'm near an SSH terminal, it's vim or vi. I like the fact that you can find them on 99.9% of *nix/BSD/OSX boxes. -- A closed mouth gathers no foot

      BBEdit has been my friend too for many years. Almost since I started using Perl. Using it on Mac OS X is a joy.

      A vi variant when I have no alternative.

Re: Text Editors
by kutsu (Priest) on Jul 09, 2003 at 18:47 UTC

    My favorite text editor is proably ex, where else can you put 10, 25 w !mail foo, that said I use vi or vim more then anything else, and if I miss ex I just hit :

    "Pain is weakness leaving the body, I find myself in pain everyday" -me

Re: Text Editors
by Jenda (Abbot) on Jul 10, 2003 at 15:19 UTC


    Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.
       -- Rick Osborne

    Edit by castaway: Closed small tag in signature

Re: Text Editors
by MadWeezel (Initiate) on Jul 10, 2003 at 22:07 UTC
    Well when i'm in a telnet or ssh connection I like vi. If i'm on a gui interface i like jedit, witch has built in Auto indenting, and syntax highlighting for perl and a few other programming languages. One of the best plugins is the ftp plugin, that will allow you to open a file on a ftp server then re-save it, without an external program, it does have one problem with not setting permissions back to what the file was. It also has plugins for a whole slew of other functions.

    Dont Worry, Its just another Mad Weezel..
Re: Text Editors
by spacewarp (Pilgrim) on Jul 14, 2003 at 06:06 UTC
    Well, let's see.. in Linux, I use vim.. and in Windows, I use vim. I've been using various versions of vi since I was 7, 20 years ago!


    Use of this advanced computing technology does not imply an endorsement
    of Western industrial civilization.