Don’t get me wrong. I love text editors which take a lifetime to learn. I’d be lost without vim or emacs. These are the joint kings of the hill when it comes to uber-functionality, customization and downright all-emcompassiveness.
But sometimes, just sometimes, I don’t want all of that.
I want a simple editor which uses the standard keyobard shortcuts for cut, copy and paste. I want to be able to open multiple text files and be easy to switch between them. I want on-the-fly spell checking and word-wrap. It’s not a huge set of requests, I know. gedit, the default text editor for Ubuntu, does all that, but it’s not quite there in a handful of other ways.
I want an editor which starts immediately. gedit doesn’t. I want it to remember my position in files and reload all my open text files when I re-start the editor. gedit doesn’t. I want to be able to set my own keyboard shortcuts, or at least have a set of shortcuts which are consistent with the rest of the world. gedit‘s aren’t. For example, most other apps use Control+Tab to switch between open documents. gedit uses Control+Alt+Page Up or Page Down fer godsakes, and there’s no way to change it. It’s annoying when (almost) all of the other key combos follow the CUA standard. Grrrr….
So, I’m on a quest for a small, light text editor that’s configuarable, can remember my place in files and takes up very little memory. For Ubuntu/Gnome.
I want something I can leave open, scribble notes inside, copy-and-paste URLs and chunks of text from my browser with a swift Control+V and not worry about it consuming oodles of memory.
I’ve tried scribes and will probably revisit it a few times as it’s development progresses. While it is small and light, it’s annoying that they’ve decided against a tabbed interface. I like all my documents in one application window; it keeps the application bar uncluttered, thankyouverymuch. Also, I’d like to be able to turn off the line numbers – that’s good for code, but bad for straight text files.
In the meantime, I’m on a text editor quest.
UPDATE: I’ve settled on cream. Since the last version I looked at it’s improved no end, no longer touches my beloved vim settings and works prefectly. The startup is fast, interface uncluttered and does everything I want with typical vim efficiency.
Control+Tab to switch files? Check. Reload all the open files and remember my place on restart? Check. CUA compliant to cut, copy and paste all work? Check.
What’s more, as an added bonus it’s got a turbo-charged vim powered engine underneath too