Sunday, June 12, 2011

Programming Tool: Komodo Edit 6

As I've written before I'm learning Ruby, a programming language. I use two computers one Mac (the laptop) and one PC (the desktop) and I'd been looking for a good text editor to do my programs.

If you've never programmed before, a program is merely a text file that has been written in a language the computer can translate to machine language. The language the program is written on is called a programming language and there are many with different strengths and weaknesses among them: C, C++, C#, Ruby, Python and Java. To write programs two tools are typically used a text editor and an IDE or integrated development environment. For Ruby an IDE is bit of an over shot, so I was looking for a text editor.

The best text editor from everybody I've talked to is Textmate (or BBedit though they're both very similar). Only problem is that it's $60 and only available for Mac (there is a port of Textmate to Windows called E-Text and that one is $40). So I looked for alternatives.

For a while I used Notepad++ on the PC and TextWrangler on the Mac, both free very capable editors but neither had code-completion. Code completion is like the text-completion on word, if you start typing the date it assumes that's what you want and gives you the option of just hitting enter to get it. The same way code completion gives you a list of to chose from if you want, this is great for people like me that occasionally commit typos when naming variables (typos lead to errors that are really hard to find sometimes).

After fielding some suggestions I've found a text editor I really like: Komodo Edit 6. I had heard about it early on but had discarded it based on my previous experience with an earlier version. However this version has everything I want: It's light, fast, relatively easy to understand, and has code completion. As a bonus I can change the way it highlights code so that I can set a scheme that makes it easier to read my program. The program is also cross platform though the Mac version is not as pretty as the windows version.

ps. I use Notepad++ for writing drafts now since you can turn off the automatic spell check for distraction free writing. I use Bean on the Mac for the same purpose.

Update: I have moved on from Komodo Edit. I'm using Netbeans 6.9 now. (9/20/11)

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