[IPython-dev] Ace versus CodeMirror

John Fawcett fawce at quantopian.com
Sun Jan 22 23:15:59 EST 2012


On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 10:29 PM, Fernando Perez <fperez.net at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi John,
> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 7:11 PM, John Fawcett <fawce at quantopian.com>
> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > I think the long-form edit case is very promising. It borders on full
> blown
> > development, and seems to imply the eventual unification of the cellular
> > edit style with the file-oriented style of a typical editor. Is that the
> > idea? (Aside: i signed up for c9.io based on the Ace editor project,
> and it
> > is the best online IDE I've tried - they have tabbed editors btw).
> The way I think about it (and others may disagree) is that I want the
> development features that are relevant to interactive-focused
> workflows.  In that regard, I don't focus on competing with tools like
> Microsoft's amazing Visual Studio Python plugin or PyCharm, that do
> very impressive amounts of project management and introspection, at
> what is surely a high cost of development complexity for their
> authors.  So things like sophisticated completion for incomplete
> classes (that requires difficult background analysis of code as it's
> typed) or multi-file refactoring are well outside of our scope.
> But while working interactively on code/data problems, I do want solid
> editing support.  For years many of us have worked with $EDITOR +
> ipython-terminal for this class of problems, but with the notebook
> moving us closer to the browse full-time, I also want an editing
> experience that is as close to that of a full-time editor as is
> reasonable given our resources.  Basically I don't want an editor that
> I curse at while I work if I'm in a browser working remotely and
> firing up an editor local to the files is impractical/impossible.
> This makes a lot of sense to me.

> > - I tried selecting a block in a cell, and it seemed like tab did indent,
> > and shift-tab de-indented. Is that what you meant by indentation support?
> Yes, but for me it doesn't work correctly. On Firefox 9 neither indent
> nor dedent work correctly, as only some lines get indented (meaning
> the code gets mangled). On Chrome only indent seems to work.  On this
> front, Ace works fine.

Both CM and Ace are working for me in Chrome with indent and dedent, but
sounds like Ace wins on this point.

> > - the total lack of docstring support in CM is annoying, maybe it is
> > feasible to patch CM to support it properly?
> Certainly an option, the question is, given our limited resources,
> whether it's worth our time instead of just using Ace (which handles
> this right).  Obviously having two editors has its own issues, so it's
> a valid question.
> > - CM has a decent demo of search/replace, that I think is as good as Ace:
> > http://codemirror.net/demo/search.html
> That looks pretty decent, I seem to remember trying it a while ago and
> finding it much poorer; perhaps they've improved recently.  I would
> want that to be available in *all* cells all the time, actually!


> > My free advice (which is worth what you pay for it :) ) is to aim to have
> > one editor for cell and long-form editing. It seems like getting the
> > docstring and indentation support in CM would have to be compared to
> getting
> > Ace to support multiple editors on one page.
> I *think* for Ace, the hundreds-of-editors option isn't very
> realistic, or would at least require a fairly large restructuring of
> their code b/c that's a use case that is very far from their original
> design intention.  So the question is probably more whether we can
> make CM fill all our needs, or find a good way to live with both that
> is as seamless as possible for the users.
Yup, good point.

> I agree that having only one editor to deal with would be the ideal
> solution all around, both easier for IPython developers and users.
> Perhaps as both Ace and CM mature one of them will fit that bill.
> Thanks for the thoughtful feedback!
Thanks for taking the time to reply!

> Cheers,
> f
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