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#1 2024-03-11 12:39:35

Algaris
Member
From: England
Registered: 2006-01-27
Posts: 535

Favourite Code/Text Editor

What’s your favourite code/text editor that you use as your daily driver and why?

Mine is Nova. I like it for the following reasons:

  • It’s a Mac first app and not built on Electron or another cross platform framework. It looks and functions as a Mac app should. This is very important to me.
  • It uses a pseudo subscription method. I hate subscriptions with a passion (although I know it’s impossible to get away from them entirely). If you’re going to do a subscription this is the way to do it. You buy Nova and get one year of updates. After the year is up you can choose whether to pay for another year’s worth of updates at a reduced cost. If you don’t pay Nova will continue to work until you’re ready to upgrade.
  • Everything is integrated, from the command line, to Git, to publishing your files to a remote server. You can even setup project settings, such as running scripts when a file is saved or committed to a Git branch, etc.
  • I know I’ve touched on this but I love the interface and GUI for Nova, it’s easy and friendly to use. I don’t feel like I have to read a manual or edit config files in order to set things up to my specifications.
  • Themes and add-ons are easy to install through the Extensions Library.

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#2 2024-03-11 13:06:02

jakob
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From: Germany
Registered: 2005-01-20
Posts: 4,595
Website

Re: Favourite Code/Text Editor

Hehe, this is often a very personal thing … here’s a throwback to an earlier year’s discussion.

I use Nova too, mostly (before that Atom and, like you, Espresso), however one thing I’d really like to know is: Does anyone have a syntax auto-completion add-in for textpattern? The HTML/XML is okay, but auto-completion of closing tags cuts off at the underscore, leaving you with </txp:if_>. I’m forever having to go back and correct them.

I still struggle a bit with having many windows and tabs open, especially when working on both forms and page templates on the one hand and (s)css on the other in the same project. I try to open the separate folders in an own window to keep the files “sectioned” from one another, but it’s still sometimes hard to tell nova windows apart on a busy screen. While you can change the color of the icon for each “nova project” in the title bar, that’s often covered up by something on screen. I’d really prefer to give each window / project a slightly different theme, so I can tell them apart more easily. Any tips?

FWIW: I’m not sure other editors resolve that any better.


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#3 2024-03-11 14:25:25

Algaris
Member
From: England
Registered: 2006-01-27
Posts: 535

Re: Favourite Code/Text Editor

jakob wrote #336860:

Hehe, this is often a very personal thing …

Which is one of the reasons I started the thread. I’m interested in finding out exactly what people like about their code/text editors and IDEs.

jakob wrote #336860:

here’s a throwback to an earlier year’s discussion.

I completely forgot about that thread. It has been a few years though. I guess not much has changed for me other than digging deeper into Nova’s settings, and upgrading to the latest version. I was on quite an old one at the time of the thread.

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#4 2024-03-11 14:36:26

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 11,269
Website GitHub

Re: Favourite Code/Text Editor

I’ve never tried Nova. Perhaps I should.

I’ve been through various text editors, most of which I’ve forgotten the names of, but my current squeeze is Sublime Text. I’ve had that for a few years now and, yes, I’m probably too lazy to change. I should probably register it one day or upsticks.

The extensions system is neat and I have all sorts of extensions for viewing git changes in the sidebar, docblock auto-complete, etc. I’ve only really scratched the surface. But cmd-shift-P and typing what you want usually brings up a tonne of extensions to choose from if I find the thing doesn’t do what I want out of the box.

The UI stays out of the way, mostly, which is how I like it. But the chromeless window is – like all such apps including Firefox and Safari – a pain in the arse if you want to move the window out of the way on the screen, ‘cos there’s only about 10 pixels of free space you can click on near the tabs to grab onto and drag.

I’m also guilty of having 50+ (no exaggeration) tabs open at once. Which is great, except finding the one I want is a pain because you have to click the left/right arrows or swipe endlessly. And if I want to move one I’m working on closer to another in a similar group (e.g I’m working on com_connect and want to have the Textpattern/Mail core files open alongside) dragging the tabs about when you have a tonne open is s-l-o-w.

It’d be better to have multiple windows open into which I can group related files while I’m working on them. Sublime allows that, but as you both noted above for Nova, all the windows look the damn same so it’s just as impossible to find the one you want. Especially since Cmd-Tab switching between applications only jumps to the ‘first’ open window of the application and doesn’t cycle through the open panels within the app itself. It gets even more annoying when I’ve put one Sublime window on one virtual desktop panel and a second Sublime window on a different virtual desktop. Cmd-Tab doesn’t help.

There might be a shortcut for switching/cycling windows within an app that I haven’t discovered yet, as it seems an obvious omission for people that work on multiple strands of projects at once and like to group their files in a series of separate app windows.

Last edited by Bloke (2024-03-11 14:39:02)


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#5 2024-03-11 17:23:59

giz
Member
From: New Zealand
Registered: 2004-07-26
Posts: 259
Website

Re: Favourite Code/Text Editor

Snap! Long time Nova user, same issues as jakob (Nova auto-completion of Textpattern tags) & Bloke (Mac windowing).

I typically split each Nova window so that my local file system and scss files display in a top row, with remote file system and remote Textpattern forms in the bottom row.

I use Codekit to parse and host my scss, and use Nova’s ‘Publish’ functionality to push the changes to /themes/styles/ on the web server as necessary.

Frustration with syntax auto-completion caused me to revisit my old favourite Bbedit (which felt like a step backwards in workflow). I also tried Sublime, but never got its ftp extension to behave to my liking. Back to Nova!

I use the Beautify extension in Nova to reformat my efforts, but have stopped using it for Textpattern code – it introduces subtle but site-breaking spaces
<html lang="<txp:lang />" dir="<txp:text item=" lang_dir" />"> which browsers mostly handle, but occasionally explode some aspect of my css.

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#6 2024-03-11 19:35:03

bici
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From: vancouver
Registered: 2004-02-24
Posts: 2,075
Website Mastodon

Re: Favourite Code/Text Editor

All though I am a rudimentary user, I love Nova. I used to use Espresso and CSSEdit. Panic makes good software eg. Transmit.


…. texted postive

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#7 2024-03-12 01:30:51

phiw13
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From: Japan
Registered: 2004-02-27
Posts: 3,076
Website

Re: Favourite Code/Text Editor

BBEdit since forever.
I tried Nova a few times, and the session never lasted more than 30 minutes. The UI fails me – smallish, light greyish text (that “search in project” side bar), poor search UI, does it do GREP search (I didn’t find), let me open all my files in separate windows… (10 windows is much much easier to navigate through than 10 tabs with truncated titles).

A BBEdit weakness, just as for the Nova users, is txp tags / syntax. Parsing them as XML kinda works but when nesting leads some unexpected results (odd code colouring, confusion in adding, managing brackets and quotation marks, …).

I don’t care much about autocomplete tags in any editor, BBEdit does great work balancing quotes, brackets e.a (type " and it adds automagically a second ", or < and >).

And BBEdit search UI is still unsurpassed in any code editor (and find differences window).

Order of preferences:

  1. BBEdit
  2. Sublime Text (I would probably use if BBEdit did not exist)
  3. SubEthaEdit
  4. TextEdit (for first drafts of plain text text)

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#8 2024-03-12 07:59:26

phiw13
Plugin Author
From: Japan
Registered: 2004-02-27
Posts: 3,076
Website

Re: Favourite Code/Text Editor

Bloke wrote #336862:

There might be a shortcut for switching/cycling windows within an app that I haven’t discovered yet, as it seems an obvious omission for people that work on multiple strands of projects at once and like to group their files in a series of separate app windows.

cmd-@ (or shift-cmd, depending on keyboard layout) is your friend for cycling through open windows in one app, since OS X10.1, iirc. Keyboard Maestro or similar can possibly configure more and there is a utility of which I forgot the name to show all open windows inside an app exposé style.


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#9 2024-03-12 09:22:14

Algaris
Member
From: England
Registered: 2006-01-27
Posts: 535

Re: Favourite Code/Text Editor

This is very interesting, thank you everyone for posting. I’m enjoying reading about everyone’s favourite editor and how they work with it. It’s nice to know what other editors are out there and how people use them.

Maybe it’s the kind of people that Textpattern attracts, but I find it fascinating that so far nobody is using Visual Studio Code. I find it impossible to avoid, work colleges use it, friends use it, and a lot of people online use it (for instance when I’m watching video tutorials, or reading technical guides).

After dabbling with VS Code (while looking for a replacement to Espresso) I decided it wasn’t for me. It felt very un-Mac like and overly complicated. I also tried Atom and Brackets and rejected them for similar reasons before I settled on Nova.

Since everyone is sharing their workflow (which I love) this is how I work with Nova.

I typically have one window for the files I’m working on. I split the window horizontally with a terminal at the bottom of the window for running scripts. I use a bash script to compile my SCSS to CSS and sync all files to my development server for previewing. When I’m ready for publishing to production I use Nova’s built in system. If I ever need to reference a file while working I’ll open it in another Nova window and place it on one of my other monitors.

One of the downsides of Nova that others have touched on it’s easy to get lots when I have multiple tabs open at once. I try to keep the number I have open low so I can easily see at a glance which files I’m working on. I also have to agree with phiw13, the search side panel is not great, I find the text way too small to easily read.

Last edited by Algaris (2024-03-12 09:23:59)

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#10 2024-03-12 11:05:48

jakob
Admin
From: Germany
Registered: 2005-01-20
Posts: 4,595
Website

Re: Favourite Code/Text Editor

Great to see your different tips and gripes, and good to hear it’s not just me!!

This is all getting a bit Nova specific, but here are some further tips and also questions of mine:

  • I am so curious to know whether Phil took this Textpattern nova extension any further. I so hope so!
  • There are some window handling improvements in the newer version like being able to pin a tab, or if working with split panes to temporarily full-size one window you may be working on.
  • If you have space, you can also split the sidebar pane and put some of the tools in the bottom section.
  • The built-in “Symbols” pane (I think that’s what it’s called) gives a breakdown of the current file contents – HTML tree, PHP function list, css selectors, etc. I find that more useful than a minimap. It will show you a txp:tag tree as well, but comes a cropper on tags with an underscore and txp:else, so you get nicely nested txp:if_ setups (= we really need that Textpattern autocompletion syntax).
  • The Tablist extension gives you a sidebar pane of your open tabs and will group them by type. Handy when you’re working on tabs with forms / pages as well as css or js.
  • The TODO extension gives you a great way of leaving yourself notes of things to come back to that you can actually find again. You can use a variety of Flag-words and abuse it to set yourself markers to quickly jump to in your code.
  • I don’t use it, but there is a Navigation extension that keeps a log of what you last visited, which could be helpful if regularly switching back and forth.
  • Search does, of course, have regex, both in-file and across files in a project (dropdown with “contains, “matches”, “begins with”, “ends with”, “regex expression”). I find it somewhat annoying that doing a search in one window changes the search field in another, especially when you’ve been labouring to get a regex working. There is, at least, a search expression history in the tiny dropdown symbol to the left of the search field, so you can get back to previous items. If you have things like .sql backup files or node_modules or build folders, it can be useful to mark them to be excluded from search, so that you don’t keep on getting matches in files you don’t want to change.

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#11 2024-03-12 11:49:04

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 11,269
Website GitHub

Re: Favourite Code/Text Editor

phiw13 wrote #336866:

cmd-@ (or shift-cmd, depending on keyboard layout) is your friend for cycling through open windows in one app

Knew I had to be missing something. Thank you. That could be a game changer.


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#12 2024-03-12 12:06:12

phiw13
Plugin Author
From: Japan
Registered: 2004-02-27
Posts: 3,076
Website

Re: Favourite Code/Text Editor

Bloke wrote #336869:

Knew I had to be missing something. Thank you. That could be a game changer.

BTW, if cmd-@ fails, try with cmd-` (and / or check what is listed in the Finder menu, Window > Cycle Through Windows).


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