Thursday, November 5, 2009

Komodo Edit

I've been using Netbeans for Python for several releases now. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad editor. The problem is that I've used Visual Studio which includes Intellisense. In Episode 50 of the Stack Overflow podcast Joel refereed to Intellisense as "crack" -- once developers try it they're hooked. After coding in Visual Basic, VB.NET, and then C# I can say it's a very nice feature.

But I'm writing python now (and playing house with Ruby). Python is a dynamic language. I threw all hope of code completion and automatically displaying method tooltips away.

Then I found Komodo Edit.

It isn't perfect, but it's good enough™, perhaps even the best there is for Python at the moment (though what's the rumor I hear about Visual Studio 2010 supporting python?).

Aside from the code completion support, Komodo Edit has some neat features...

The Toolbox
That's cool! Komodo Edit (KE from this point on) offers a Toolbox running vertically on the right part of the interface. IT allows you to create items in a tree-view format which can do things. Lots of things. Execute a shell script: Check! Open a URL: Check! Insert a custom code snippet: Check! I guarantee you'll find like 10 things to stick there the first time you use it.

For Django development for example I've added items to open...
The project issue tracker
The mercurial repository page

And code snippets to...
Skeleton Admin model
mode_save method
Skeleton Model

I know this is available in other places, but it's amazing to see it as a default in KE. Ctrl+R will launch the command line. I probably find this particularly notable since back in 2001 I released a Windows utility "CmdHotKey" which did pretty much the exact same thing (except it was Windows-wide).

Project File Tree View
I was really surprised to see that KE shows a tree view of the folder structure of your project. I assumed that would only be available in the paid-for version (Komodo IDE).

Color Schemes
What's an editor that forces you to look at a white background and black text?

KE also supports other neat stuff that I didn't mention like recordable macros.

All-in-all it's a very feature-packed editor and for free.

But it has some quirks...

Sadly, it's not perfect.

If one is using the tree view showing the project folders, right-clicking and choosing "Add >" gives several options including:

  • New Folder...
  • New Live Folder...
This is really stupid. New Folder creates a project-only organizational unit which from what I can tell serves no actual purpose. New Live Folder creates an actual disk directory like you'd expect.

Another thing -- If you move or delete a file, perhaps with mercurial so the move changes are in the repository, KE will show the old and new file, but the old file will be marked read and you'll need to remove it form the project manually. It would be nicer if since it detected the change it would just remove it from the project.


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