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benh

jEdit my dream editor.

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I was listing to the 8.12.05 show and there was the rundown of a few Text Editors. One that I found missing was my beloved jEdit. It's a free java based editor that has a lot of features I have never seen on any other editor, and now that I've used them I cant live with out.

 

This will be a small overview, there's so much that this editor offers that I don't use and I'm sure many that I don't even know about. Just like any good editor you get language based color coding. You get to open multiple files in the same window and can switch between them. All the 'standard' editor features, but this is where things get really fun.

 

By far and away the feature that I cant live without is bracket matching. I saw this first on SciTE where when your courser is on one end of a bracket then the other end gets hilited and there is a line that is drawn to show the link. If I lost you heres an example to show what's going on. Heres a code example:

if (something) {

Code

Code

Code

}

 

So if I have my text courser just past the '{' bracket (it would look like '{|' ) then the '}' gets a box draw over it. Then in the gutter (the side bar with the line numbers) has a line that marks the start and end and every line in-between. Sweet! No more run-away brackets.

 

The other super feature is code folding. If you don't know what this is it allows you to 'fold' up sections of code that you don't need to see right now. This allows for you to only deal with sections of your file that your dealing with this right now. This is something that I've seen in a few editors but jEdit gives you two modes to do this. You can specify fold points but I find this tedious and unnecessary, though you might like it. The mode that I use is that you can fold based on indention, so in the if example above you can fold up that block and it would look like:

if (something) { [3 lines]

}

This is a small example but because this works on indention, you can reduce your latest and grates 2000 line wonder to a manageable 200 line file.

 

Along with the code folding you can also split the view port in to sections. They can be both vertical and horizontal splits and you can sub divide splits ad nauseam. These splits then act as a new buffer that you can edit the same file or a new file. This is really handy if you are working on your CSS doc for your home page and need to edit both at the same time, you can just copy and paste across then and see your edits. Also because you can edit at two points of the same file you can see all the functions that you have stuffed at the top of a file when you are working on the end.

 

To add to this brilliant editor, there is also a plugin API. By extending the core with plugins you can now add features as you need them. The plug in that I use the most is FTP. This allows you to edit remote files on a FTP or SCP server. Now I never need to use Dreamweaver again, and you don't want to get me started on that topic. Other plugins include version control solutions, project management, spelling, XML code hints... the list just goes on and on.

 

Ok I said this would be short so I'll wrap this up.

Other features that are worth a mention:

- macros

- regex searching that works correctly

- per buffer options

- its java so it's portable and can be run off an iPod or FlashDrive on any java enabled platform.

- Just check out there feature list: http://www.jedit.org/index.php?page=features

 

Just like all the other reviews, Pros and Cons:

PROS:

- Bracket matching

- code folding

- plug-ins

- window splitting

- well everything

 

CONS

- it's java based, so you need to have java installed, this isn't an issue for my mac but I have jEdit installed on my iPod so I just keep the javaVM installer for when I find a windows box that needs the java VM.

- The MacOS plugin that makes it act more like a true mac app has a problem. But I have not noticed this as a problem but every-time I open up jEdit i get an error. It's a known issue.

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I did some more digging and I found the posted fix for the MacOS.jar error that I wrote about. Just download the patched MacOS.jar here: http://community.jedit.org/?q=taxonomy/page/or/26 and then install that in your jedit/jars folder (replace the existing one) and all is well.

 

it looks like the issue is due to the Apple Java 1.4.2 upgrade?

 

ben~

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