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Editor / IDE Consolidation

by trs80 (Priest)
on Aug 25, 2002 at 16:53 UTC ( #192684=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This is a follow up to my original post which was in reply to Recommended Editor which was revisited by
jlongino with the post on IDEs that prompted me to revisit this topic as well.

I don't pretend to think that a list can include or accurately summarize all the editors available, but I want to attempt to shed some light on the options available since several of these were unknown to me until I either stumbled across them or someone pointed them out to me.  I am sure each monks experience is unique.

An editor and the associated development environment can make a huge difference on ones ability to rapidly produce code, while no editor can make you a good programmer a syntax checker can assist in reducing the number of typographical errors you have to wade through while debugging.  An editor becomes in a way your interface to a language and  becoming efficient in one can make your life easier as you learn how to navigate your source and spot errors with its help.

IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment.  The idea is that all the tools needed for writing applications/scripts is available in a single user interface (editing, compiling, debugging etc.).

I understand that IDE is a subjective term and I use it in the most liberal context.  sauoq had a comment regarding an IDE in this node.

One thing that most editors (and/or IDE) lack is built in support for revision control. I find that trend a bit disappointing since revision control is a step (IMHO) in the road to professional/proper development. However in defense of other steps to good development and the companies/individuals that maintain editors and/or an IDE, it is time consuming and difficult to add support for the numerous revision control systems that are available.   Perhaps a compromise would be adding the ability to launch a revision control GUI or console tool directly from within the application would be a step in the right direction.

For a list of GNU editors see:
Text Editors
Text Programming Editors

Other links of note:
Perl Oasis (outside link)
Text Editor other than Simple Text
Favorite Text Editor?
Editor Poll
code editor
an editor for perl
Text editor modifications
Perl mode for GNU Emacs
Perl Development Environments

I have added some links in the comment section that go directly to a reply to some of the other nodes since they contain information that may be helpful for a particular editor.  Many of these links bring up the "holy war" surrounding editors, this is because an editor is such a vital part of a developers ability to get work done. To say one is better then another as a fact would be unwise, but please share your short cuts and tips on your favorite editor so other monks might take another look at your editor of choice or enhance their own arsenal of tricks if they already use it.

Not all of these editors support syntax highlighting, some are just text editors with little value add, but there are cases where your normal environment and tools might not be available so it may be beneficial to at least give the less feature rich examples a quick glance.  Speaking from experience, this can be very important if you are a roaming monk or support multiple platforms with varying methods of access.

GUI or Console
Free - $500
The Free version (if still available) is not recommended since it is an older buggy version.

open file process is cumbersome, nice debugger.  Speed really depends on your hardware, don't come with a slow CPU and/or limited memory and expect to be happy.
Update (25AUG2002): While my hardware didn't change the performance has, in later releases ( 1.2.9 at the time of writing) the performance is better. This editor supports column selection

Right click is "broken" under 2000 and the debugger has to be started two to three times before it runs correctly.
Update (25AUG2002): The broken right click issue under 2000 has been solved in newer releases, however since I don't run a windows environment any longer I can't say anything more then what their readmes on that platform say.

My review of it , not updated to the current 1.2.9 version however, which I am far more fond of.
Windows 9x/ME/2000
easily execute your scripts and reatin the output in the editor, this is priceless on a 9x or ME machine. Easy to preview your output in your default browser.  Nice default highlighting.
X with Wine
Still good, but haven't taken the time to figure out how to run a DOS command.  I haven't tried real hard either :)
Yes, this is basicly what Komodo is based on so there are many similar functions
Just didn't feel right, haven't used it for at least 4 months.
Update:  I have started to really like this editor, it took me a little while to become comfortabe with it, but it has easier to manage support for various file types then Komodo does.  I also like to use different editors on different projects so I can better mentally separate them.
I really thought this was going to be a more capable editor, but it just never clicked with me.  I haven't used it since 2000 and it is my understanding that a lot has changed since then.
Update: greenFox  likes this editor for its macros and ability to do column selections.
goes against my keep it simple principle, you mean I have to send keystroke to enter the edit mode? How TRS-80
Update (25AUG2002): I still don't like this editor, I went back to look it over after this harsh review, but it just don't work well for/with me.  However this is my bias, this editor can do practically anything and should be explored and not just dismissed out of hand by my comments.  You really might like it.
(should vi and vim be handled as too distinct editors?)
often negelected as an editor and never run it without -wb for the params, this gets you global replace and no force hard return word wrap.
Update (25AUG2002): I love pico.  I have since found some more goodies.  You can go to a particular line number doing Ctrl-w then Ctrl-t , there is ability to go to the top and bottom of a file as well under the Ctrl-w sub menu.  It should be noted that pico is part of the pine project, pine is an email client and pico is the editor used for composing emails.
Might as well use edit in a DOS window :)
I know it is everywhere, but it doesn't do anything to help you, and its support for \n is horrible.  Was that on purpose :)
This could be a really good Perl editor, but it is designed for C++ and C files. If you open a project you are stuck with limited options and I can't get it to create a new perl (.pl) inside of one
I like the file open window and the fact that you can have console at the bottom of the editor, makes it very flexible.
mc - Midnight Commander
This would be a much higher rating if the copy and paste via ssh worked better, maybe it was the version I was using, but it would add an additional tab to each line which made it brutal for remote editing. I did like the ability to place the cursor with the mouse however
See also:
Re: Recommended Editor
Another editor that just didn't click with me.
It does so much, but I find it cumbersome to use since I switch between Linux and Windows frequently.  I tried the windows port, but it just loses so much without the shell power of Linux.
Update (25AUG2002): My new favorite quote on this editor, "a near vertical learning curve" - from The Pragmatic Programmer
See also:
Re: Favorite Text Editor? (premchai21)
ADDED  (25AUG2002): This is one edit I some how forgot on the first go around and have since had more time to use.  It is an ok editor, but no feature in it really stands out.  Thanks to jlongino for reminding me about it.
ADDED  (25AUG2002):
I have tried this for two separate thrity day trial periods, it just didn't click with me, it does however have built in support for debugging using ddd and has some native support for CVS which is nice, but I found it too cumbersome interface wise for my tastes.
Visual Slick Edit

ADDED  (25AUG2002):
Highly recommended by Rex(Wrecks) - "has all the faetures of a great editor, as well as an IDE. It has different precanned setups (Emacs emulation, vi emulation, MS emulation) as well as the ability to totally customize everything." and "multiple select modes, builtin version control support for most basics and the ability to define a new type of version control"
Anywhere Java is supported
ADDED  (25AUG2002):
See also:
Re: Recommended Editor
Below are from the post by jlongino , and are billed as IDEs
ActiveState Perl Development Kit 4.0
This really isn't an IDE or editor, but it was in the original list provided by jlongino.  This is an assortment of tools that assist development on the Windows platform.  I am not sure if this comes with any license for Komodo at the $195 rate, if it does I would consider it an IDE at that point.  ASPN Perl includes a Komodo license.
Crimson Editor 3.4
Re: Recommended Editor(impossiblerobot)
DzSoft Perl Editor 5.2

Perl Builder 2.0d
$279 (Proessional)
$179 (Standard)

Perl-Express 1.1
$59 (individual)
$259 (corporate)

Opti Perl 3.5
$39 - $99

was listed as Visual Perl 2.6, this was most likely changed due to a conflict with a product of a similar name released ActiveState
VMPerl 1.0 b

Open Perl IDE


DISCLAIMER: There is no "perfect" editor / IDE for everyone and it is completely an individual fit for which editor is comfortable and efficent for  each developer.

UPDATE: Removed three columns that were not relavent. This should make it display better on lower resolutions.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by greenFox (Vicar) on Aug 26, 2002 at 01:57 UTC
    I understand that you don't get vi and you don't like it, fair enough :) However your table would be a better reference for the Monastery if it was less biased. Very many of us use vi every day as our primary editor.

    The learning curve is not that great once you understand that vi is modal- in insert mode you can change/insert text and in command mode you can run commands such as delete words or copy and paste text. A vi reference is also helpfull in the beginning.

    If you take the time you will be surprised at how quickly you pickup the key strokes and how simple & powerful vi is - which is why so many people like it so much.

    100th post! :-)

    Until you've lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is. -Margaret Mitchell

Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by FoxtrotUniform (Prior) on Aug 26, 2002 at 02:17 UTC

    GNU Emacs with ``Vigor'' vi-emulation is fast becoming my favourite text editor. Elisp is the big win here, letting you customize just about anything you'd like to about the editor, while Vigor emulation keeps your fingers on home row most of the time.

    Emacs also integrates quite closely with any revision control system you're interested in (and if it doesn't, it's about to: see ``Elisp'', above).

    And then there's iLisp. Mmm.... Every Perl programmer should know at least a little bit of Lisp, if only to be able to use map properly.

    Still awfully bloated, though... even without GUI components compiled in, my emacs executable weighs in at around 4 megs.

    F o x t r o t U n i f o r m
    Found a typo in this node? /msg me
    The hell with paco, vote for Erudil!

Re: rate vi/vim separeted (Editor / IDE Consolidation)
by Tomte (Priest) on Aug 26, 2002 at 09:08 UTC
    should vi and vim be handled as too distinct editors?

    Definitly; while vi is handy and everywhere there's a unix, vim is so much more. I have Revision-Control (cvs, but there are more plugins available) embedded, nested syntax-hilighting here and there, expanding snippets, the possibility to enhance it with very own and cool colorscheme.

    Yeah, I'm biased too, but I think the point is they should be rated seperatly.

    There's a project, Cream, that will make vim suiteable and maybe fun to use for people who are experienced in 'normal' (one-mode-only) editor-usage.

Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by kodo (Hermit) on Aug 26, 2002 at 09:27 UTC
    Well this issn't the first time I comment on that topic (it's getting a bit boring slowly...) but most likely it also won't be the last time. I tried some editors already and my final conclusion is that VIM is the one that works best for me. What means best? I can edit text very fast and efficient with it and it works logical for me (didn't in the first few weeks) now. I can use it at my linux box at home, at my win-box at work and it works fine with anything else I use. There are plenty of good usefull plugins available but even with the default-VIM and without my pretty huge vimrc I can still work very well with it.
    I think it's a thing of personal preference if you like vim or not, if you like emacs or not. Depends on what OS you started on, if you are a win32-person you probably won't like VIM very much because it's not win-ish IMO. If you come from unix-systems you like vim because you have to learn VI because it's the one editor that's on every box wherever you go. Emacs got some other nice extensions but you usually need your config-files etc to work with it and it's not available on every box.
    Well okay I know VI(m) is hard to learn when you aren't used to it. But once you understand the logic of it a bit and know some more commands you'll pretty fast see how fast you can work with it...

Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by Anonymous Monk on Aug 25, 2002 at 20:17 UTC
    Heard of (yes) Should you edit the platform for pico among others? (yes) Should you add nano to the list? (yes)

      Yes, and Cygwin removes (or helps to alleviate) this criticism:

      "I tried the windows port, but it just loses so much without the shell power of Linux."

      of using Emacs in a Windows environment.

      All in all, an interesting comparison matrix, though. I'd like to see this maintained with links to pages of pro/con comments for each.

        This is exactly the reason I prefer EMACS on win32. Eshell comes as close as possible (for me at least) to the Unix shell. The thing I like so much about eshell above dos and 4dos is screen scrolling. I wonder why Active State doesn't bundle XEMACS with Perl. That's my $.02.
Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by Django (Pilgrim) on Aug 26, 2002 at 05:25 UTC

    Having to work on Windows machines most of my time, I got very comfortable with UltraEdit. Of course it's a shame that this software is not free, but its features and usability may outweigh that.

    Most of all, I enjoy defining my own key commands - you don't have to learn the editor - the editor learns from you! Same with user defined macros or even languages. I've never felt lacking a feature with this one, instead there are so many small functions to make your work easier, like "add/remove indents", multiple clipboards etc.

    OK, the internal DIFF doesn't work quite well and the internal regexes are nothing to perls, but you can quickly use DOS commands to avoid these.

Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by converter (Priest) on Aug 26, 2002 at 05:06 UTC
Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by sauoq (Abbot) on Aug 27, 2002 at 01:24 UTC

    I don't know how this thread has gone on this long here without a single mention of vile! Vi Like Emacs can be built with an embedded perl interpreter on Unix and Win32. (That's according to the README. I can only vouch for the Unix half of that claim.)

    And don't you just love the self-referential name?

    Ok. That said, I have a few comments...

Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by davorg (Chancellor) on Aug 26, 2002 at 08:50 UTC

    I'm not sure that you should be listing GNU Emacs and Xemacs together. It's true that most keystokes you use in Emacs will work just fine in Xemacs, but the reason that I use Xemacs is that I don't need to remember all of that. Most of the functionality that I use in Xemacs is just a menu or a mouse click away. It's like Notepad on steroids :)


    "The first rule of Perl club is you do not talk about Perl club."
    -- Chip Salzenberg

Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by jeorgen (Pilgrim) on Aug 26, 2002 at 08:35 UTC
    My favorite on Windows is Texpad. It has a really well-designed GUI. There are tools, i.e. menu commands that you define yourself. Got ones for running perl, checking syntax, running with ptkdb, checking into CS-RCS, etc...

    And there is syntax coloring too.


Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by giulienk (Curate) on Aug 26, 2002 at 11:21 UTC
    I'd add Edit+: it's always been my favourite under Windows. And maybe it would be wise to change the "COST" column in a "LICENSE" column, it's better to avoid the "free" word.


Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by jackdied (Monk) on Aug 26, 2002 at 08:01 UTC
    'ed' is bar far the best editor ever written. (I believe DOS even has it in 'edlin'). It is supported everywhere, mainly because it is about 1500 lines of portable code. Monks should love it because it forces you to get your regular expressions down pat. You only choice is to retype a line or regexp s/// it, so you get _GOOD_ at regular expressions fast or die. It even helps you empathize with the blind.

    Hmm, I'm only mostly kidding. Most of what I learned from regexps was from coding on a mud that only supported ed (until I learned about ange-ftp for emacs, then ed died fast)

Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by PetaMem (Priest) on Aug 26, 2002 at 09:04 UTC

    we use Emacs here at our company for all Perl projects. The decision for it was kind of Top-Down, made by the "pointy-haired-boss" and yet there is still one developer that secretly uses vi. :-)

    The reason for Emacs is mainly because of the availability of folding. And because of the unicode support it provides.

    Fairly good syntax-highlighting and indentation as well as CVS interaction make it a acceptable solution for developmnet under the Linux OS.

    JM2c. YMMV.


      Folding is now part of VIM as well. Basically any feature you can quote will be ported from one to the other. The only real differences between VIM and (X)Emacs are modal commands vs chording commands and text editor vs kitchen sink debates. Most features fit well into both schemes.
Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by jlongino (Parson) on Aug 27, 2002 at 01:10 UTC
    Some notes on Open Perl IDE:
    • Platform - Windows
    • Column Select Support - No (I assume this is like rectangular blocking of text?)
    • Notes:
      • Although billed as an IDE, you specify the location to your standard Perl distribution. I use ActiveState Perl.
      • Syntax highlighting, auto-indent.
      • Separate windows for source, console output, error output , breakpoints, variables, modules and callstacks.
    • Opinion - Great for small/medium size Perl programs. I've occasionally encountered glitches when renaming (Save as) programs. I've also had programs that worked fine (no errors/messages) under Unix (update: also ran without problems at the DOS command prompt) but locked up this IDE (particularly those using LWP/HTTP modules).
    Also, I might mention TextPad, which is a Windows platform text editor. It has many features that I like, but I mainly use it for HTML source or data editing/viewing. It is Shareware, free to try, $27 USD if you decide to keep. Of the half dozen or so Shareware products I ever purchased this one has probably gotten the most use.


Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by astaines (Curate) on Aug 26, 2002 at 09:23 UTC

    My favourite editor on Windows is PFE - Programmer's File Editor. While this is not being developed further, it is a superb and very fast editor, with reasonable integration with the command line. It is invaluable for certain types of data-munging and quite good for Perl developement.

    Look for it here

    Anthony Staines
Ultra Edit notes
by Notromda (Pilgrim) on Aug 27, 2002 at 18:05 UTC
    I use Ultra Edit for all my programming. It support several features that I use a lot:
    • customizable syntax highlighting modes
    • column (rectangle) selection/cut/paste/
    • search/replace in multiple files
    • file diff comparison
    • projects
    • understands DOS/UNIX/MAC line endings, macros can convert a file quickly
    • brace matching (I just found this - awesome)
    • bookmarks (helpful in large codebases)
    • color selector (good for html)
Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by Anonymous Monk on Aug 27, 2002 at 20:16 UTC
    I began Perl programming under Windows and quickly became enamored with UltraEdit. It is still my preferred Perl editor for Windows. But when I migrated to Linux, the choices included in the Red Hat distribution were pretty grim. Casting a wider net, I discovered Glimmer. It doesn't quite rise to UltraEdit's exalted level, but it comes pretty close. I recommend it for inclusion in your list!
Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by hiseldl (Priest) on Jul 11, 2003 at 12:57 UTC

    Since you mentioned Crimson Editor, you should also mention 1st Page, it's free and it does Perl, HTML syntax hilighting, etc. And, if you add 1st Page, you should add HomeSite because it is, IMO, more extensible than 1stPage and has similar features. N.B. Homesite is not free.

    What time is it? It's Camel Time!

Re: Editor / IDE Consolidation
by dwhitney (Beadle) on May 18, 2004 at 18:50 UTC

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