[Mac] Editor on Macintosh?

Russell E. Owen somebody at nojunk.invalid
Sun Sep 29 18:15:21 EDT 2002

In article <1fj7za2.1erbqps1uvzpj8N%news at agapow.net>, news at agapow.net 
(Paul-Michael Agapow) wrote:

>Sadly, it seems like the excellent editor Pepper is going away. (See
><http://www.hekkelman.com>.) I found it the best editor for Python on
>the Macintosh, having never been really happy with the alternatives. 
>So what are other MacPython using? There are some Java-based editors,
>but I'm not persuaded that that they'll perform adequately. There's are
>numerous X11 based options, but who wants to swap into X everytime they
>need to edit a file? The once excellent editor Alpha seems to have
>disappeared permanently into testing for its next release.
>Ideas? Anyone? Bueller?

BBEdit is the standard. On the whole it works well--it's polished, 
reliable, fast and programmable. However, I loathe its find/replace 
dialog box:
- To do a "search in selection" you have to UNCHECK "from the top" or 
"wrap" before you are allowed to check "in selection". What sadist 
programmed that?
- Then when you want to return to normal mode, you uncheck "in 
selection" and then check "wrap" or "from the top", and heaven help you 
if you forget to check one of those, because:
- If you leave both "from the top" and "wrap" unchecked, then a replace 
all does not do what it says, but instead it only replaces from the 
current cursor to the end of the document. I've corrupted quite a few 
source code files that way.
- The dialog box is modal. Good luck if you want to enter text by 
copying from or reading from your document and you forget to read/copy 
it before opening the dialog box. (I agree that it's nice to have the 
box go away after pressing "Find", but a non-modal dialog can be 
programmed to do that, too!).
Also it does not have rectangular selection, and you cannot edit files 
from browser windows (such as a find results window).

jEdit (the Java editor, not the Japanese editor) worked pretty well when 
I tried it, but has an unusual document model (a given window may show 
different files at different times). Maybe I'd get used to it, but I 
decided not to try because I had Pepper.

Alpha is quite configurable and programmable but also quite capable of 
getting into strange states (at least it has done so each of the few 
times I have test-driven it) where typing no longer works at all or does 
really weird things (it's been awhile, I don't remember the details). If 
there's a stable version that runs well under X perhaps you should just 
use it and not worry about future versions?

CodeWarrior's IDE is nice, but does not have Python syntax coloring.

Python has the Mac IDE is a bit limited (need an extra plug-in even to 
do syntax coloring) but OK. IDLE is showing promise and runs w/out 
xfree86 with Tcl/Tk 8.4 (which is now Aqua native). But Tk bugs may play 
havoc with key accelerators and generally cross-platform code doesn't 
seem to feel very Mac-like.

-- Russell

P.S. I wish Nisus Software hadn't stopped supporting Qued. It was a 
superb editor, but I think they couldn't maintain it and Nisus at the 
same time. It had first-rate multiple undo from the beginning, 
rectangular selections and even multiple selections (surprisingly handy).

Pepper is the best I've found and is what I use. It has some rough 
edges, but very clean design. Unfortunately, the author really decided 
to pick up his toys and go home. You cannot buy a license anymore, you 
cannot get a free license, you cannot get source code.

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