Posts concerning jEdit

MacVim 7.3

23:09 20 Sep 2010

I’ve been slow in upgrading to MacVim 7.3, which came out about a month ago. I’m happy with it, but there are only a couple of features that really matter to me so far:

  • colorcolumn
  • Python 2.6 support.

colorcolumn lets you specify columns that will have a different background color—this is primarily useful for source code where you want to stick to line length limits. This is one of the few features I was still missing from jEdit, although I think jEdit’s solution was nicer: in jEdit the visual line was thin and went between the columns, so between columns e.g. 79 and 80 you could have a line; in Vim 7.3 either column 79 or 80 would have a “line”, i.e. a different background color. Still better than the kludge I use now, though.

Python 2.6 support is nice due to the number of Python scripts I’ve written for Vim, which used to have to be compatible with Python 2.3. The main things I really like here are the ability to use .format on strings, conditional expressions, built-in set support, and generator expressions. That list is inspiring me to edit some of my old scripts right now.

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Vim: the Killer Instinct of Text Editors

23:45 04 Mar 2010. Updated: 00:47 05 Mar 2010

I played Killer Instinct a lot in the mid-90s. It didn’t have the multiplayer depth of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but I wasn’t playing it multiplayer much—rather, I was trying to get the longest combination move I could.

But what does this have to do with text editing?

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Time to Try Vim

09:14 09 Aug 2009

There are three kinds of major text editors: Emacs, vi (now really Vim), and “other”. I’m sure there are some other quirky small ones out there, but those are basically the major categories. “Other” encompasses what I think most people would expect from a text editor: a window in which you can type freely and see your text appear, and which behaves somewhat like other applications, including word processors, in its basic functionality.

I’ve used the “other” category for years. I think that the first one I used heavily (I’m not counting MS-DOS Editor) was TextPad. I stuck with that for quite some time, and then started using HomeSite. I think I played with UltraEdit for a while too. Eventually, however, I wanted a cross-platform and free software editor, and shifted over to jEdit. I’ve used it heavily for several years, and consider it the best of the “other” class.

I have, however, always thought about making the effort to learn vi, because I’ve always loved the keyboard-only approach and like to save time by making my text editor use more efficient.

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Typeface Considerations

23:31 06 Aug 2009. Updated: 09:20 07 Aug 2009

I used to be somewhat obsessed with fonts. When I was doing more graphic design, I regularly looked for new fonts, tried to use just the right font for just the right occasion, and generally was very picky about them. Over time, that’s faded considerably, and I settled down to using fairly unspectacular fonts for most things, accepting that for the most part the “basic” serif and sans serif fonts available on the majority of systems were good enough.

After a system upgrade today, Lucida Sans Typewriter, the font I’ve been using in jEdit, suddenly stopped working properly without anti-aliasing. I couldn’t get it back to what it had looked like before, and so I was left with finding another suitable editor font.

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