Vim, TextMate and Gedit, make your editor rich featured

Editors => Idioters

There are hundreds of editors available in the market, both free and paid, depending upon ones need. I mostly work on Ruby or ROR, Web2.0 stuff and I prefer to work fast, efficient and effective way and editor plays a very important role for every developer, so as system (OS) but its a different discussion as of now.

I’ll make my assumptions on the basis you like working either on MacOS X or linux (Ubuntu, fedora or any other flavour) and can dig yourself to get your things working like the way you want to work on your machine. Sorry, I don’t recommend Windows for development and I presume that you like to learn shortcuts and emphasize more upon your keyboard instead of mouse.

I started development during my college days on Vim or GEdit on Linux. Truly speaking VIM seemed flamboyant with its unmatched capabilities. I always wanted to work/handson/try Emacs there after, but still lazy enough to start exploring it.

After college, I started development on Mac OS X and got paid version of TextMate and as said its best for development for Ruby on Rails application. I was pretty happy and used to install some bundles from time to time to make it work the way I want to code fast and effective and started coding with as many shortcuts I can learn and remember. As a rescue I used Vim and always feel overwhelmed about Linux community and such a powerful and fast editor, which can’t be replaced by anything (with same regard for Emacs).

With time I worked more on Vim and TextMate and trying to point some of their key features which I liked and used the most.

Vim (all terminal based and though fast):

  • Searching (/search_string)
  • Search and replace (:%s/search/replace/gi)
  • Macro (record and play on a file of any size), at par feature
  • Practically open file of any size (tried with gigs of sql files)
  • Use of CTags (extremely powerful feature when working on a project)
  • GVIM with more additional feature
  • Split (horizontal and vertical) views (:sp or :vsp <filename>)
  • Automated indentation
  • Color schema makes one feel geeky developer 🙂 especially after watching MatriX
  • Thousands of other feature and plugin and it makes it extremely powerful and fast to work till now

TextMate (a high-hyped editor):

  • Snippets to call your programming structures e.g. def+tab will complete the function block
  • Supports almost all languages and frameworks
  • It can open your whole project (in a side pane, left or right side), I prefer right side. I love this feature
  • Allows you to remove reference certain files or folders from project to apply search upon e.g logs, images etc
  • except common feature, it allows full project search (even regular expression)
  • Star Me and CmdT allows to reach any part of the file and to file in your open project by just typing some literals
  • Auto file indent (Cmd] or SftCmd[ )
  • Cmd/ to auto comment line or lines
  • Most importantly, it won’t annoy you some red or green light here and there or extra fancy stuff and provide more space to code and keep it elegant
  • I like the twilight theme to work upon
  • Takes up very less memory(as compared to most rich featured editors) and its pleasant to work upon it

Textmate

Recently, I moved to Delhi and started working on Linux and to be frank its a hard transition to work without TextMate. Thanks to VIM again, it wasn’t a hard transition. Gedit is good but its like Notepad of windows and reasonably nothing is there. Than I started making it feature rich owing to the fact its always fast to load and can be my textmate on linux. Thanks to hundreds of plugins available and for such a vibrant community around and the research already done by other folks.

So lets talk about different plugins for Gedit to make it work fast, efficient, elegant and more like TextMate

Gedit (conventional and basic editor):

Here are hundreds of plugins available but choosing the right one is important.

How to install additional Gedit plugins

While Gedit ships with a set of default plugins, you can surely add as many as you like. To install a plugin for Gedit, you must first download it to a local folder and then extract the contents to ‘~/.gnome2/gedit/plugins/’ directory. Also look for a package named “gedit-plugins” in your distribution’s package manager, this package contains some additional plugins for gedit. Once you have installed the plugin you want, you need to enable it via Edit -> Preferences and then the Plugins Tab.

  • Snippets -> allows you to insert frequently typed phrases and text by using hotkeys or a shortcode, it supports mostly all the languages
  • Auto Tab  -> detects the indent/space settings in a file and adjusts tabbing accordingly on the fly
  • File Browser Pane -> It open up a whole project in directory structure ( file structure)
  • Right Pane -> For right hand side pane for project viewer
  • Code Comment -> To comment your code (CTL+m)
  • External Tools -> Execute external commands and shell scripts


  • Quick Open -> Its good but not as good as CMDT of textmate
  • Regex Search and replace -> CTL + H for regex search and replace
  • Gemini -> character completion
  • Change Case -> for fast switching case for selected text
  • Class Browser -> List all the methods of class or module, uses Ctags and side pan view
  • Commander -> to provide command line interface
  • Document Statistics -> Analyses the current document and reports the number of words, lines, characters and non-space characters in it.
  • Embedded Terminal and Open terminal here
  • File Search -> Search for text in all files in a directory
  • Session Saver -> Session saver allows you to save you current workspace
  • Snap Open -> A regex open file dialog that resembles that of Textmate
  • Tag List -> Provides a method to easily insert into a document commonly used tags/strings without having to type them
  • Word Completion -> suggestions from all words in all documents in all windows, annoying sometimes

Colors and fonts:

Get all themes from here. But I prefer these two.

  • Rubycious
  • Twilight

So, after go through of important features of all these editors. Its one like and dislike or any editor (other than these three). Vim is always the winner, as it comes with these features and the moment you do code review or sit on someone else computers, it takes no time to work on new machine. Vim is a must for any programmer (If I infer it right, it makes you think above conventional ways). On top of it, while working on a project and other than terminal TextMate (Mac) and Gedit (Linux) is no-doubt a better option.

To comment on Windows based editors GVim, e-text editor with cygwin and notepad ++  seems to be better and fast option.
Happy Coding!