My text editor

I use jEdit for my text editor. It is a very nice editor that loads fast, has lots of plugins available, and has nice syntax highighting. People wonder why I don’t use Eclipse. Find out why not. jedit_screenshot



I use jEdit for my text editor. It is a very nice editor that loads fast, has lots of plugins available, and has nice syntax highighting. jedit_screenshot

My search for a great text editor is somewhat of a long saga. I started out learning and writing the web languages such as HTML and Perl over 11 years ago. I used NOTEPAD! Can you believe it? Well that got pretty tedious in a hurry. I almost immediately switched to EditPad Classic.

This is a great editor and it lasted me many years. Some things that it lacked was syntax highlighting (in the free version, anyway). I wasn’t about to shell out the forty bucks right away, so I went on the search again, and found SciTE (Scintilla Text Editor). This is a very nice program and I continue to use it to this day because it has a very, very small footprint in memory and loads in the blink of an eye. It is very full featured, with a tabbed buffer switcher, syntax highlighting, and node folding.

Then a friend of mine that was getting interested in programming, but preferred to use a mac, got me back on the search for a text editor that would do everything SciTE does, but run on a mac. That’s when I found jEdit – Programmer’s Text Editor. jEdit will also run on pretty much any flavor of linux.

Along the way I also tried other text editors such as Eclipse. Well, you Eclipse folks are going to argue that it’s an entire IDE, and that’s fine–but I don’t yet have the need or want for an IDE at this point, I’m still somewhat a “text editing purist.” And I didn’t like Eclipse’s slow loading and bloated interface. jEdit has a satisfying selection of plugins, of which I only use a few, but I’ll highlight the ones that I use and why.

Also, jEdit’s syntax highlighter supports a huge variety of languages and standards. The first screenshot, above, shows a css file open, with syntax highlighting and folding demonstrated.

To the right is a screenshot of jEdit’s plugin manager, listing the plugins that I use. Click it to enlarge. Some of them are only on the list because they are dependent on others, (and some I don’t use anymore) so I won’t comment on quite all of them.

  • BufferTabs, the buffer switcher. You can position it at the top or bottom.
  • ConfigurableFoldHandler This is where we get the collapsing of sections, such as blocks of perl or php code between curly braces.
  • JDiffPlugin Does very nice dual diff screen for finding differences between files. It adds highlighting in different colors to added, removed. and changed lines.
  • XML This plugin enables tree-style browsing of XML and HTML document node structure. It also works with the folding plugins to allow collapsing nodes.

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