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Nedit 5.1 released under GPL

By rusty in News
Sun Apr 02, 2000 at 08:05:59 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)
Software

It's a slow news day, so I thought I'd point you toward a pretty good review of Nedit 5.1 on AboutLinux.com. 5.1 is the newest version of the Nirvana Editor, which is now free software, under the terms of the GPL. Nedit has been my code editor of choice for a couple years, and it rocks. I'm glad it's finally open source, because there are a few things I've wished it could do for a while, and now that the code is free, perhaps development will pick up again. Anyone want to hack in CVS/FTP support? :-) (story found on Linux Weekly News)


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Nedit 5.1 released under GPL | 21 comments (21 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Nedit doesn't get the attention Ema... (none / 0) (#4)
by enthalpyX on Sun Apr 02, 2000 at 04:02:21 PM EST

enthalpyX voted 1 on this story.

Nedit doesn't get the attention Emacs or Vim usually does -- and it's neat that this editor is finally under the GPL. Maybe the GPL will increase usage -- it's a neat story.

Re: Nedit doesn't get the attention Ema... (none / 0) (#7)
by rusty on Sun Apr 02, 2000 at 08:48:02 PM EST

I hope so. I really really like it. Although I have to say, I find 5.1 buggier than the older versions were, now that I've used it a bit. Hopefully that'll straighten out soon.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
This looks like a nice editor but..... (none / 0) (#1)
by ramses0 on Sun Apr 02, 2000 at 04:11:02 PM EST

ramses0 voted 1 on this story.

This looks like a nice editor but... what makes it better than vim/gvim? I don't want to start a serious text-editor flamefest, but after downloading it and playing with it, it looks nice if you want to use the mouse a lot.

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

nedit is the BEST! (none / 0) (#14)
by Notromda on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 12:18:48 PM EST

There are a lot a key shorcuts, too, but yes, this editor does expect you to use the mouse some. I don't see how you could do some of these features without the mouse; especially rectangular cut and paste. hold down ctrl, and select the region, then drag with button 3 to where you want it. hold down shift to copy... It's got good find/replace, using regex, and it syntax highlights most common languages already. I've been using it for at least a year and a half, all the time laughing at the emacs/vi debate. Neither one is right.... ;)

[ Parent ]
Actually, I find the editor situati... (none / 0) (#2)
by Nyarlathotep on Sun Apr 02, 2000 at 04:27:42 PM EST

Nyarlathotep voted -1 on this story.

Actually, I find the editor situation pretty funny. Wize people end up using vim or emacs because their "crappy" interfaces force you to do things efficently. I would really like to see someone do real research on which interfaces are most effective at forcing you to use them effeciently. It's really sad when you think about how much effort the user interfaces people waist on things like GUIs without doing any real research. Really makes you wander why they call it Computer Science sometimes.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!

Re: Actually, I find the editor situati... (none / 0) (#6)
by ramses0 on Sun Apr 02, 2000 at 08:45:57 PM EST

There's a branch of computer science called "computer-human-interfaces. Unfortunately, a lot of it has to do with human psychology/ease of use, so the effects are difficult to measure.

As far as I know, computer science is all about "the most efficient way to have a computer perform a task" ... including all your data structures and stuff.

What methods or measurements would you use to rate how "good" an editor is?

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Actually, I find the editor situati... (none / 0) (#8)
by rongen on Sun Apr 02, 2000 at 10:14:42 PM EST

Well, I am no expert.... but I would say a "good" editor is one that makes it easy to perform common (and not so common) tasks, and facilitates, rather then hinders, the editing process. As a programmer, e-mail fanatic, and student I find I spend a ton of time using an editor. Most of the things I do boil down to text at some point.

This text is never just ".txt" though... Windows notepad, or whatever, just doesn't cut it for me... I use Emacs (um, I like vi too, don't hit me, okay?) because the "E" stands for extensible. When I am editing some source code there is a special mode for that language. When I read mail (in the editor) it has a mode for that... A user can write their own functions, etc...

Having said that, when my Mother (an excellent typist, but on a typewriter, she is retired) needed to type up a letter I didn't sit her down in front of Emacs... I fired up Pico and she had learned the basic commands (the keystrokes are displayed in a footer menu) quite rapidly. She got her letter typed. I took the plain text and formatted it in LaTex for her---as a student I find LaTex SO much better than a WYSIWYG editor... but it took a great deal of time and energy to learn it and Emacs is no walk in the park at first either... But I now consider myself to be an "expert" user. For a novice Emacs (or Vi or $EDITOR) can be more of a hindrance than a help... Now pico is good for my Mom, while I dig emacs (it's more of a text based IDE than an editor).

Final thought... Most people on the planet are not computer programmers (which is why stores can actually make money selling personal hygiene products, healthy food, and fashionable clothing). Most people don't want to know that "C-c C-f C-r" inserts the reply-to field in an email. They don't use CVS to keep thier grocery list synched up (they should though!). They want a simple text editor, preferably that same one integrated into every task that calls for text entry... Okay, now we still don't know how to tell how "good" an editor is... :)
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]

Re: Actually, I find the editor situati... (none / 0) (#9)
by rusty on Sun Apr 02, 2000 at 10:43:24 PM EST

And that is why I use nedit. Considering my favorite editors (pico and nedit) are never mentioned in the flame wars, I'm pretty much of the live & let live school, when it comes to editor preference. I like both of those because they do what they need to, and they don't get in my way. I really don't need all the stuff that emacs does, basically. I just want a GUI editor that has kebindings for save and search, that can do s'n'r easily and throughly, and the highlights syntax. Beyond that, it just has to not get in my way. So nedit's what I finally settled on.

I must say, though, the new release is hella buggy. I'm rather bummed. I think I'll be going back to the old binary distro until they get it patched up. ctrl-S keeps crashing the damn thing, and that is *bad*.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Actually, I find the editor situati... (none / 0) (#20)
by analog on Tue Apr 04, 2000 at 10:59:22 AM EST

Strange; if anything I've found it to be less buggy than the previous version I was using (5.0.2). Actually, I've only come across one real bug in NEdit (a minor problem in syntax highlighting) and that's fixed in the new version. I certainly haven't had any problems as severe as the one you describe.

Did you compile from sources (I usually don't bother)? I was using the Debian version for a while, which is compiled against lesstif, and it had some strange problems (including one similar to the one you describe). I went and downloaded the binary that was statically linked against Motif and found nirvana again. ;)

[ Parent ]

Re: Actually, I find the editor situati... (none / 0) (#21)
by rusty on Tue Apr 04, 2000 at 06:47:14 PM EST

D'oh. I compiled it against lesstif 0.86, and it reuires >= 0.89.4. I'm recompiling and trying again. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Actually, I find the editor situati... (none / 0) (#10)
by Nyarlathotep on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 01:49:56 AM EST

I'm a math major, but I took an algorithms class as an undergrad. We had this awsome CS prof. who stood up there and told a room of CS graduate studetns and said essentially: the problem with computer since is that it has science in the name. We all know that any field with science in the name, like congitive science, political science, etc., is not a science. Now there are a few parts of computer science which are a science, like algorithms, but most of it is not really a science. It was pretty funny. Actually, computer science has many parts which are scientific and do real research, but on the whole it's less scientific then psychology.

I suppose my complaint was that the human computer interfaces people are studing easy of use instead of efficency of use for an experenced user.

Actually, I'm not shure how much things like editors matter. I know we all spend a lot of time using them, but being able to express simply a simple task that you want the computer to preform may be more importent (and influence our editing experence), i.e. programming algnague efficency is whats really importent. I think the people who are seriouslyi nto programming lghnague (human) efficency are all doing functional stuff like Haskell.


Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]

Re: Actually, I find the editor situati... (none / 0) (#11)
by ramses0 on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 03:20:33 AM EST

Very good points all around... I'll have to remember that "science != science" thing too.

But you raise a great point... easy to use != efficient. This little text-box that I'm typing in right nowisn't efficient at all when you compare it to vi/vim. The real problem comes when you need to cater to both levels of users... novices as well as experts.

For unix experts, you have two choices, emacs or vi. (I use vim, which is "vi-improved") For the newbies, there's pico. Now pico is 100% easier to use than vim (and I would assume that it's at least 50% easier than emacs), but vim supports regular expression searching and replacing. vim supports command repetition (ie, delete 100 lines => "100dd"). vim supports paren/brace flashing and syntax highlighting, and with vim, my fingers never have to leave their natural typing positions (or touch the mouse).

I understand that not everybody wants to use vi/vim. But now that I know vim, I'd much rather use it than pico, even for "simple" tasks like writing a letter, or even a school paper. The efficiency that I have gained will last me for a lifetime, and it is efficiency that I can not have while using pico.

So... the question becomes: at what point does it become more efficient to design a "non-intuitive, custom interface" to a program, rather than sticking with the "easy to use" thing?

Comments? (please? :^)=

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Actually, I find the editor situati... (none / 0) (#12)
by rongen on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 06:07:47 AM EST

So... the question becomes: at what point does it become more efficient to design a "non-intuitive, custom interface" to a program, rather than sticking with the "easy to use" thing?

That's one of the things I was trying to address in my rambling rant above... Any powerful\versatile system is going to be harder to learn and, initially, to use. But this initial challenge is more than made up for by the efficiency gained in the end.

I often see people in my CS program using DOS "edit" to edit java programs, compiling in another DOS window at the command line. Now granted these people are using the windows machines when there are Unix workstations 3 metres away, so they are probably not the types to learn how to use new, powerful, and specialized systems... But I often wonder how people program complex stuff with an editor that can't even seek to a specific line in the source, etc...

Programming with an IDE (name one, I have tried a couple, including Emacs with JDE-mode, as well as some Visual C++, etc) is almost always less maddening than notepad/edit and compiling at the command line. So what is keeping these people from leaving behind the "basic" system they are using? I don't know. It isn't ease of use so I am betting on the "I like what I know" reason. Vi is confusing at first, until you understand the concept of editing modes, etc (then it seems like the coolest thing ever!) and emacs is so packed with functionality that it is overwhelming at first (try figuring out how to justify a paragraph without knowing "fill" = "justify"... ESC-q isn't really too intuitive either!). So I am guessing they learned to do "Helloworld" in notepad and have just stuck with it since... that's fine, but "WOW" would it seem maddening to me...

PS> I worked with some "nedit" fanatics who were able to convince me it was a good, useful editor for programming (I am not converted though).
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]

Re: Actually, I find the editor situati... (none / 0) (#13)
by rusty on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 08:04:50 AM EST

PS> I worked with some "nedit" fanatics who were able to convince me it was a good, useful editor for programming (I am not converted though).

Good to know there *are* other nedit fanatics out there. :-) My only real criteria is that the editor needs to become transparent at some point-- that is, I need to be able to get into coding and not even realize that there's a mediating layer between me and the program I'm writing.

Granted the needs of a perl developer differ from those who work with compiled languages. I don't need to build my stuff, just reload the page. :-) Now if someone could hack in a panel with the mozilla rendering engine, for testing... hmmm...

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

I never heard of nedit before, but ... (none / 0) (#3)
by xah on Sun Apr 02, 2000 at 07:08:43 PM EST

xah voted 1 on this story.

I never heard of nedit before, but what the heck?

nedit actually looks like a useful ... (none / 0) (#5)
by jrennie on Sun Apr 02, 2000 at 07:57:48 PM EST

jrennie voted 1 on this story.

nedit actually looks like a useful editory. Seems to capture just about all the functionality that I get out of emacs and it has a much more gentle learning curve.

Re: nedit actually looks like a useful ... (none / 0) (#19)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Apr 04, 2000 at 10:13:37 AM EST

Never mind. I tried using nedit for a while. It looks like one of the better editors on the market for non-programmers, but I couldn't live with it. I'm back to using emacs :-) One thing I couldn't deal with is not being able to open a file without using the mouse! Along the same lines, I found it annoying that opening a new file always opens a new window. Also, what's up with not having integrated mouse wheel functionality? Emacs has me spoiled, I guess.

Jason
jrennie@ai.mit.edu

[ Parent ]

What I want in an editor.. (none / 0) (#15)
by henrik on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 01:16:53 PM EST

There's only one feature i care about in an editor - automagic indenting.
when i write
int main()
{<-press enter there
<- i want the cursor to jump here.
and then keep going..

Why should you worry about indenting at all? I just let my editor take care of it and get a nice consistant indenting style without worrying about it. Once you've gotten used to this, everything else is a pain in the a**. Sadly, most editors dont seem to implement this. :(

-henrik

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!

Re: What I want in an editor.. (none / 0) (#16)
by henrik on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 01:18:39 PM EST

Arghh..
What i wanted is the cursor to jump tabsize characters to the right after i pressed enter at the {.

Did i mention i hate HTML? :)

-henrik

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

Re: What I want in an editor.. (none / 0) (#17)
by Matthew Guenther on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 02:27:09 PM EST

I use XEmacs with electric-parenthesis and semicolons to get the effect you describe (don't even have to hit the return), it is built into the cc-mode major mode so it can be used with any emacsen. Have you tried it?

MBG



[ Parent ]
Re: What I want in an editor.. (none / 0) (#18)
by enthalpyX on Mon Apr 03, 2000 at 03:56:48 PM EST

Though unrelated to nedit, Vim has really nice auto-indenting features with lots of customization options. . .

:help smartindent
:help autoindent
:help cindent

In Vim, it's also really nice go be able to go ggvG= to indent the entire file. =)

Now that Nedit's GPL, it might not be out of the question to get auto-indenting as a feature.

[ Parent ]
Nedit 5.1 released under GPL | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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