Looking for the Perfect Editor

Ramon Diaz-Uriarte rdiaz02 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 14 23:19:05 CEST 2006

Sorry, I could not resist, since almost every editor under the sun has
been suggested as the solution, but (X)Emacs only got a minor mention.

On 7 Sep 2006 13:18:22 -0700, Omar <outstretchedarm at hotmail.com> wrote:
> I'd love the perfect editor that would be:
> a) free

Emacs does of course qualify here.

> b) enable me to drag and drop code snippets from a sort of browser into
> the code

piece of cake; either using shortcuts (wich you can configure) or from
the "Python" menu

> c) can run programs right from within

But of course. And, contrary to some others (e.g., JEdit, which I
think forces you to use Jython, so you are stuck with Python 2.1 for
now) you use the current python interpreter you have installed.

And you can run Python, but also many, many, many other things as
well. (For instance, for me it is of great importance that I use an
almost identical way of working when editing/executing Python as when
working with R, and very similar to what I do with LaTeX, C, etc).

> d) can edit

Emacs can edit (almost) anything. With syntax highlight and bells and whistles:

>       - PYTHON

Yes, of course

>       - Javascript

I think so (but I stay away from JS)

>       - HTML


>       - actionscript (since I'm also learning flash)

No idea

> e) easy to learn

Well ...that depends on what you mean and on so many other factors (I
mean, why should it be "Ctrl-O" for open instead of "Ctrl-X Ctrl-F"?)

... but honestly, Emacs is probably harder to learn (at the beggining)
than JEdit, or SPE, or UliPad, or Scite, or Eclipse. I've tried all
these others, always to return back to Emacs. Because Emacs is a
general purpose editor, and then some: I find it a lot more flexible
and powerful than any of the alternatives suggested so far. However,
the initial barrier might be too high (keybindings are sometimes an
issue, but there is CUA mode, though I've never used it), and Emacs is
so huge that you never really learn it all (and that might lead to
feeling overwhelmed). And needing emacs lisp for
extending/configuring, well, many people (including myself) do not
find ideal.

However, as has been mentioned here before, choosing an editor is a
very personal thing, where idiosincratic issues can (and should) play
a role. I'd suggest you play with a few, then go for one or two, and
make a point of learning it well: if you spend a lot of time editing
code, learning your main tool is of paramount importance and will
definitely increase your productivity. I think many of the ones
mentioned here (including, but not limited to, SPE, JEdit, UliPad) are
very fine editors.



P.D: Another very nice editor, which can be extended using Python, is
vim. (But I have little experience with it.)
> suggestions?
> --
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list

Ramon Diaz-Uriarte
Bioinformatics Unit
Spanish National Cancer Centre (CNIO)

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