Tools of the trade

Akshat Jiwan Sharma, Mon Apr 15 2013

The first code editor that I ever used was visual studio.It was more of an Integrated development environment that was really the only effective way to program if you are doing anything in c#.It was really good at what it did but was painfully slow to load and sluggish to type in.Therefore when I started programming in nodejs I started looking for some lightweight general purpose code editors.

I was looking for an editor that was

  • Very fast to load.

  • Had a minimal interface.I don’t like too many icons in my application.I like the focus on my code.

  • That I can extend in simple ways like creating snippets for recurring peices of code or some custom themes to suit my prefrences.

  • Had shortcuts for file management

Any discussion on code editors often boil down to one of the two editors Vim or emacs.And for good reason too.These text editors have been out there for decades and have years of development behind them.But I just found them too hard to get into.Emacs and vim can be very powerful once you learn how to use them.However the barrier for learning them is quite high.So I wanted an editor that is almost as powerful as vim but a lot more easier to use.After a lot of searching I found out these three editors that satisfied my needs.

Sublime text

Easily the most powerful text editor that I have come across.The perfect workflow that I used to imagine was easily possible with sublime text.The go to anything feature of the editor is so addictive that it changed the way I look at code editors.However there was one big problem that I had about sublime text it was the price.

Not the actual amount.I think that $70 is quite reasonable for the product that the dev is giving us.What I had trouble with was the actual method of payment.That is pay pal.Pay pal does not like me.It refuses to accept my card and I could not purchase a liscence for it.Sadly I had to look else where.

Brackets

Brackets is interesting for a couple of reasons.First it is an open source project by Adobe.Second it is built on web technologies.Specifically nodejs,html and twitter bootstrap.The same technologies that I have built brislink on.So I am already in possession of all the skills that I need in order to extend the editor.Which is a big plus for me.Another thing that I liked about it was the quick edit feature that allows one edit the code from different files in line(that is from where the code is called).This feature is really useful and can save a lot of time.

However brackets is still in active development and there are certain things like the left hand tabbed interface that I don’t like.All in all I will be using brackets in future but not just now.

textadept

Finally my search for code editors ended with textadept.Even though it is written in lua, a language that I am not familliar with, I had no trouble creating my first extensions,more like a theme but you know what I mean, for it within a day.

It is very light weight.The lightest of all the editors that I have mentioned and just takes 14 mb of memory.Just like sublime it has a command platte abeliet a bit crude.The user interface is minimalistic.Just like sublime there are no icons and the emphasis is on the writing.There are no tabs.All the files that are opened can are added into a buffer from where you can either quick open it by pressing cntrl+b or by cntrl+tab for cycling between the views that were previously opened.Snap open quicly adds all the files of the directory to a temporary buffer.

Right now textadept is the editor that I am going to to use.I have also decided to [contribute](https://github.cokind of a package manager for it.I wonder how sublime text does it?

brislink has reincarnated as specter, the posts in the brislink blog have moved to my personal blog


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