A question for developers

Polytropon freebsd at edvax.de
Sat Jul 25 07:05:22 UTC 2009

On Fri, 24 Jul 2009 22:49:10 -0400, Steve Bertrand <steve at ibctech.ca> wrote:
> I'm looking for a new editor.

I went on a similar journey, and I don't know if I'm already where I
want to be, but maybe my path is helpful to you.

> My desires/don't mind:
> - easily set tab width

mcedit:	PF9, Options, General
joe:	^TD

> - fingers near home row


> - I'm competent/comfortable with CTRL, SHFT etc

Both. Especially joe supports the very comfortable and powerful
control codes (^KB/K/M/C, ^KF/^L).

> - *very* quick basic movements within a file (preferably a single
> keyboard gesture will pg-up/dn, end of line, start of line, top, bot,
> erase line, cp line, insert line etc)

Again, both mcedit and joe support the basic functions of the
keyboard's navigation keys, and anything "more advanced" is done
through key combinations that are "obvious". If cursor keys are
absent (maybe due to defective termcap or crappy implementation
on "Windows" program), joe has a simple Ctrl+character key for
every movement.

> - smooth copy/paste with a mouse if I want to transfer from devel box to
> my workstation, and back into a different window

Can't tell, never needed.

> - syntax highlighting (opening/closing braces/brackets/parens) would be
> really nice, but since my win32 client seems black/white, I think this
> is a pipe dream. I can easily live without this. As a matter of fact, I
> negate this statement

Check for the terminal type settings in your "Windows" client. $TERM
like xterm or xterm-color supports color.

According to the requirement, mcedit and joe have builtin syntax
highlighting. Both can be reconfigured if intended quite easily I have
done this to mcedit's colors because I really couldn't stand them. :-)

> - simple in-editor search/replace would be a nice-have (especially if it
> either understood everything as text, or comprehended Perl-type regexp

Yes, mcedit has this, PF4, and joe has ^KF+R and ^L.

> - be able to have multiple files open simultaneously for editing, and an
> easy way to flip back and forth (a virtual 'tab' system, if you please)

This is something mcedit can't, but joe can; it employs ^KE / ^KR for
loading (with listing and name completition), and ^KN for switching
between them.

Note that each file edited can have a separate (!) edit buffer / marker
that can be changed on both (!) ends and even be edited while (!) being

> Honestly, the only reason I want to switch is because I want a four char
> tab...really.

joe: ^TD8<Enter>. You can, however, set the tab character to any width
you want. There are additional tools that allow you to transform tabs
into spaces and vice versa, and to "resize spaced tabs".

> I don't want/need an excessive amount of features, just
> something that will just work.

Just try mcedit (installed by the Midnight Commander's port) and
joe. I think joe is what you want, but you need to try it and find out
for yourself.

Use it's help, ^KH, and Meta-, and Meta-. to browse help pages.
^C to abort, ^KX to save and exit. Oh yes, and because I may assume
that you don't have Meta keys, use Esc , and Esc . for this. :-)

> In the last few weeks, I've been leaning toward vim.

Yes, vim isn't bad, but the magic of the vi-related editors never
really opened up to me. But I know that vim has syntax highlighting
and (nearly?) every feature you required.

> If you've read this far, then I very much welcome your feedback.

I hope it will help you on your journey, Steve.

>From Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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