Monthly Archives: December 2013

Getting The Look & Feel Of An Editor Right

As developers, we all have an editor of choice. We all have one that we consider to be “perfect for our way of working” and no others will do. Sure, in a bind we can make do with alternatives, but they never seem to “feel” right. For me, this editor is nedit. I guess it’s because it was the graphical editor suggested by my professor in school. But I often feel crippled when I have to use something else. Unfortunately, nedit is showing its age. It was made in a time before Unicode was even a concept, using a widget toolkit that has simply not kept up with the times.

Sadly the developers do not seem to be working on it anymore, the last update was version 5.5 in 2004, nearly a decade ago :-(. Often I am still able to make use of nedit on my Linux install, but I’d love to see a spiritual successor developed using a modern toolkit. I’ve looked, nothing quite fits the bill. gedit comes close, but I find its keyboard bindings awkward and it is completely lacking some advanced features such as regular expression based search and replace, and rectangular selection. So I’ve decided in my spare time time to try to develop an editor using Qt, that is a work-alike for nedit and a spiritual successor. For now, the working title is “nedit2“. I make no promises on timeline, but I plan to do my best to create modern maintainable code resulting in an editor that any nedit user will feel comfortable using.

So why I am talking so much and not showing code yet? Well, this task is all about the details. In my initial tests I encountered something which was driving me a bit batty, and I wanted to share with you my findings :-).
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