Re: Great SWT Program

 Owen Jacobson <>
Wed, 26 Sep 2007 04:05:35 -0700
Since we're already firmly into editor flagwaggling...

blmblm @ myrealbox. com wrote:

I wonder whether your idea of a text editor differs from mine.
I have almost no experience with typical Windows editors, so
I don't know how capable they are. Some of the things I like
about vim:

Should you ever find yourself on a Mac, I highly recommend
TextMate[0]. The author is ex Unix, and it shows in the feature set
but not the UI. The following is coloured by half a decade or so of
emacs use.

(*) IDE-like features such as syntax highlighting and automatic
indentation / reformatting of source code. I almost switched to
emacs some years ago just to get access to these features. Then
I discovered that vim had them too.

A fairly straightforward DSL for adding support for new languages,
along with a reasonable array of included language syntax rules for
use as examples (including SQL, python, java, bash scripts, plain
text, diff files, perl, latex, css, html, xml, C++, and a bunch of
others), complete with block awareness. It gets python and XML right
by default; I've been playing with the other modes and they're also
fairly promising.

(*) Interoperability with other tools. I don't know how to say
this better, but some examples: vim makes it easy to import the
output of a command-line command (such as ls), or run selected
lines of a file being edited through an external command (such
as sort). "No one wants to do this"? I dunno. I seem to find
it useful pretty often.


(*) Ability to record and play back macros. This also is
something I seem to find useful pretty often.

This. Plus full-blown AppleScript support, if you can tolerate such a
weenie language and the usual "embed your favourite language here"
support; in this case that language is bash, which the author mostly
uses to invoke ruby.

Probably this marks me as terminally pack-rattish, or otherwise
weird, but I'm apt to accumulate version after version of those
configuration files, accumulating them in one location with names
that show the order in which they were created/saved. So the
problems you describe don't really arise.

Configuration is handled by the OS' standard preferences mechanism (a
preferences file specific to the application stored in ~/Library/
Preferences, which may be either of two textual representations or a
faster binary representation), which can be backed up or shared around
as needed.

In fact, the author's done an amazing job all around of using the
platform standards. All the HIG keystrokes and interface affordances
do the right things At the same time he hasn't been constrained by
it: the presence of a cmd-F search box (the HIG standard keystroke and
behavior) hasn't stopped him from implementing a search-as-you-type
feature too (ctrl-S).

There's another nice feature: it offers to drop a symlink to itself in
whatever directory you prefer, which can be used to run the editor
from the terminal either as a blocking editor like emacs (handy for
svn commit messages) or a via launch services (spinning the process
off away from the terminal and returning control to the shell

The only thing I don't like is the default behaviour towards tabs, but
then, that's another holy war entirely.

[0] -- and in deference to some peoples'
preferences, I'll note here that it costs money. I'm not affiliated
with it in any way save ecstatic user.

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