xiven.com stating the blatantly obvious since 2002


Is it too much to ask to have a text editor that:

  1. Fully supports (100%) typical Unicode encodings (eg. UTF-8, UTF-16)
  2. Has full and correct PHP syntax highlighting (this must include, for example, the ability to correctly highlight HTML containing JavaScript containing PHP)
  3. Has a well-designed user interface
  4. Looks and behaves like a typical application for the operating system on which it is running
  5. Runs on Windows and Linux
  6. Is free (or at least not $100+ for just a single-seat multi-user license)

The first person to point me to an editor that complies with all of the above gets a cookie.

Posted: 2003-12-28 21:32:56 UTC by Xiven | Cross-references (0) | Comments (13)




  • Aquarion (2003-12-28 22:32:56 UTC)

    7. Contains the ability to open and modify documents over FTP.

    If you manage to get all (Or even 80%) of the above, I'll give them a cookie as well :-)

  • no one (2003-12-30 12:09:31 UTC)

    You'll need to do some manual editing of the files (not difficult),
    but here you go: http://www.crimsoneditor.com

  • Xiven (Registered) (2003-12-30 14:22:38 UTC)

    I've just tried Crimson Editor out, and I am pretty impressed. Here's the score:
    1. No. No Unicode support yet
    2. No. Doesn't highlight multi-line strings properly - although it does at least cope with word-wrapped lines (so comes closer than most).
    3. Yes.
    4. Yes.
    5. No. Currently only Windows version available.
    6. Yes.
    7. Yes.

    BTW, what manual editing were you referring to?

  • Kadmium (2003-12-31 12:40:24 UTC)

    I can't remember completely, but I think jEdit fills most (if not all) of those requirements. It's free, Java-based and GPL. http://www.jedit.org

  • Xiven (Registered) (2003-12-31 14:02:56 UTC)

    jEdit is one editor that I had already tried. It certainly is an impressive editor:

    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. No. See 4
    4. No. Like most Java applications, it neither looks nor behaves like a Windows application (when running under Windows)
    5. Yes.
    6. Yes.
    7. Yes. (also has CVS support via plugins)

    By all rights, I should be using this editor right now. Unfortunately for me, I just can't stand the fact that things don't quite work as they should.

    For example, the File Open dialog. The standard Windows File Open dialog is good, especially when combined with TortoiseCVS. However, since this is a Java application, they've had to completely reinvent the thing. And I hate it.

    There are other minor niggles too. (For example, clicking on the titlebar of the application does not close any open menus. This many sound incredibly petty, but to me it is a major annoyance).

    I think I may have to give this editor more of a chance though. Aside from the interface it is a stunning piece of work and I'm sure I could get used to its Java-isms.

  • Kadmium (2004-01-01 09:28:07 UTC)

    jEdit has skin support, takes a bit of niggling though. I'm using an Aqua skin atm, which looks like the rest of my OS because I'm a MacOS wannabe. Not sure if there are any workarounds for the file->open dialog box though. I mainly use jEdit because of the XML plugin, which is very simple but oh so useful - it can automatically close XML tags, for example, and validate to a DTD. Plus, it's GPL, and that gives you that warm fuzzy feeling ^_^.

    I must admit, though, the program's design (like almost anything GPL) leaves something to be desired. Sure as hell beats vi and emacs, though, which most other Linux dorks use. Aside from the File->Open dialog, though, I find it relatively painless when you get used to it. Make sure you try out some of the plugins, btw, because they add a LOT of useful functionality (Buffertabs, for example, is a MUST).

  • Xiven (Registered) (2004-01-05 18:05:30 UTC)

    I am now a jEdit convert! Bye bye UltraEdit.

    After installing the BufferTabs, Jump! and Project Viewer extensions, changing various keyboard shortcuts, altering syntax highlighting colour schemes and replacing the toolbar icons with more Windows-esque ones, I am now happy!

  • no one (2004-01-07 14:00:07 UTC)

    I was talking about combining the syntax files and removing the comments string highlighting,
    thus enabled multiple syntax types in the one document correctly, I'll go try jEdit,
    but if I'm not happy, I too hope that Crimson Editor will do something about multiple types and correct syntax highlighting of string contents :)

  • Kai Hendry (2004-01-10 11:33:04 UTC)

    There is only one editor VIM.

    The UI is well designed, but it's not similar to notepad. It has many modes and keyboard commands to learn which results in a steep learning curve.

    Once you are there, it's plain sailing.

  • Xiven (Registered) (2004-01-12 11:48:32 UTC)

    Okay. VIM:

    1. Yes. (Compile with +multi_byte compile-time option)
    2. Maybe. (If I could figure out how to use it and where to download a decent PHP syntax definition file then I might be able to confirm whether or not the syntax highlighting support is as good as jEdit's)
    3. No. The UI sucks. Any attempt to argue otherwise without supportive evidence (eg. screenshots of its wonderfully intuitive user interface in action) will be met with contemptuous laughter.
    4. No. It does conform to any Windows UI guidelines whilst running under Windows.
    5. Yes.
    6. Yes.
    7. Yes. (Supports FTP/SCP/HTTP/RCP through the netrw.vim plugin)

    In short, it may meet your needs (you being the console loving freak that I know you are) and those of quite a few other people, but for the other 90% of text editor users out there: it sucks.

    Also note that criterion number 3 (UI) is indeed very subjective, so the judge's decision (ie. my decision) is final...

  • Kai Hendry (2004-01-21 17:18:39 UTC)

    2. You could always write you own which does not suck. However, I am sure the default one is satisfactory. I have never been left wanting in this regard.

    3. Can you take screenshots of how wonderful copy and paste works as a UI device? Or some other time saving shortcut? A UI isn't about eye candy for me. It is about getting the work done, with the least amount of effort and time. I believe it's called effiency.

    4. http://www.gulrak.de/down/vim_high.png What UI guidelines? It kind of looks Windozy to me. All those useless icons. :)

    7. Live a little! I always use the !command to run the real command.

  • Richard Allsebrook (2004-01-25 09:53:42 UTC)

    My vote goes to HTML-Kit ( http://www.chami.com ). There are way too many features to mention here, but I does what you need (and FTP too). You need WINE to get it running under Linux though.

  • Archimedix (2004-03-22 21:03:35 UTC)

    Last time I used HTML-Kit about 2 months ago it didn't seem to have full Unicode support if I remember correctly ...

    And I still hate jEdit for being the only editor meeting my needs but not supporting the standard Windows File Dialog along with all the shell extensions and the non-dismissing menus when clicking on the title bar as Xiven already said.