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Pete Writes: Beardy weirdies

2006-02-08Hunting for a text editor, with a few specific requirements...

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"An editor without regex support is like a PC without a CPU." —John Horn

Let me add to that... an editor without full regex support is often far more frustrating than an editor with no regex support at all, because it's listed in search engines and software directories as having regex and then turns out to be useless.

(What's a regular expression? A time-saving feature that permits tasks to be partly automated. Read this and check out the links at the bottom...)

Here's what I need from an editor:

I use Notetab Light at present. Here's what I'd like from an editor:

Let's start off with some non-runners that are well known. Free editors that are let down by their incomplete implementations:

Far too much time spent googling and downloading turned up three shareware suggestions: TextPad, EditPad Pro and UltraEdit. Well, so much for finding an editor as free as Notetab Light. In the interest of fairness (and because I hadn't sat down and tried it) I thought I'd start with Notetab's commercial version.

Experiences with Notetab Pro (4.95):

Experiences with EditPad Pro (5.4.5):

Experiences with UltraEdit (11.20a):

Experiences with TextPad (4.7.3):

I wish Notetab were still in active development.

This is honestly rather disappointing. I had assumed (naively, perhaps) that ponying up some cash for a text editor might provide a superior working experience to an editor that hasn't had a version increment in three years (and hasn't been significantly updated in much longer than that.) The trials of EditPad and UltraEdit have convinced me otherwise. Of the two, UltraEdit is the stronger contender but its tab interface is appallingly amateurish. TextPad is nicer (to me, at least) but is in a development rut and not very configurable.

Help me out here. There has to be at least one decent GUI-driven text editor native to Windows with the above-mentioned features... right? Whilst as a friend pointed out "there is Emacs always" I was rather hoping to get some functionality without having to learn a mode-based application and a new set of terminology.

So, ignoring the fact jEdit is a Java application — I have a Java Virtual Machine installed due to some other software — I thought I'd give it a go... I'm actually typing this in it...

Experiences with jEdit (4.3pre3):

If I can find a way to alter the default mousewheel scrolling behaviour, I think I may be onto something. I have my system defaults set as they are for a reason, dammit.

Due to the weight of the application, jEdit isn't a suitably slim replacement for Notepad — but it is a very competent development environment. I'd also like to hide that pesky horizontal scrollbar, but overall jEdit performs excellently for a freebie.


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