Pragmatism in code

Waxing lyrical about life the universe and everything software related since lunchtime 2006.

Linux Programming Editors

A week or so in and I am really digging my Ubuntu installation, so much so that I'm almost regretting spending the cash on the new laptop - Installing Ubuntu on my old Dell Latitude has speeded it up end - it's now a much more useable machine. So far I have only had one issue with the Ubuntu installation - I've not yet been able to get WEP authentication working on wireless - the wireless card connects to non-secured networks no problem - but doesn't connect to WEP secured networks. Anyways - it's not a major issue and I'm sure I will sort it out in time.

EDIT: I reconfigured my router to use WEP Open Authentication and now it works!

I've decided to transfer over my web development onto the Ubuntu machine - I figure that if I can manage to comfortably use ubuntu to write code then I will junk my copy of Windoze Vista on the new laptop and make the jump over to linux permanent. The few programs that I need to run in windows can be run inside of VXWorks.

My biggest issue is finding a replacement of Ultraedit - I've been using Ultraedit (Studio) for about the past 7 years and have found it hard to move away from using it, it simply has too many usefull features that many other editors do not. In the past I have tried many different open source editors for the Windoze platform but none quite hit the mark (I use Notepad++ on my work machine as they are too tight to cough up for a copy of Ultraedit). Linux appears to be no different.

The main 'advanced' features I use for editing are syntax highlighting, function lists, bracket matching, project management, cvs integration, column editing, find / replace in files and php syntax checking.

I mainly use Uedit Studio for my web development - PHP / HTML / CSS, however it does get used for more specialist programming endeavours such as robot programming and so things like compiler integration is very handy.

After quite a bit of searching about I've singled out two packages to test drive - Bluefish and KDevelop. I've excluded other 'obvious' choices such as VIM and Emacs as they appear to bear little resemblance to the Uedit interface, this was important for me as I would like the transition to be as smooth as possible. I've also exluded programs such as Eclipse and Netbeans as they are predominantly Java IDE's. (More on those in a later article)

It is also worth mentioning that Bluefish is a straight forward text editor whilst KDevlop is an IDE - this means that there are a whole bunch of features that KDevelop will posess that a straight forward editor will not. In effect it is the same as comparing Uedit with Uedit Studio

Bluefish was very easy to install under Ubuntu (Gutsy) - simply type 'apt-get install bluefish' into a terminal window and the rest is taken care of for you (It doesn't get much easier than that!!).

(Note! - you can also install applications using the Add/Remove link under the Applications menu or the Synaptic Package Manager under the System > Administration menu)

First impressions are that it looks to be a very capable program, The first thing that jumps out at me is the custom menu, with it's array of tags and text snippets - very usefull. It also includes project management. Unfortunately it does not have a column mode for text selection but does have syntax highlighting (although it needs to be manually turned on when creating a file). Another missing component for me is 'find in files' - an invaluable tool when updating code changes across a whole project.

KDevelop is just as easy to install - Just type 'apt-get install kdevelop' into a terminal window as before. It takes a little longer to install but then it is a bigger app. After installation you will see a number of applications appear under the 'programming' tab in the Applications menu. The application I'm interested in is the 'scripting' application.

First impressions are not really that impressionable, but dig a little deeper - look inside a few menus and the usefullness of this program is soon apparent. Whilst testing the applications I created a small 'hello world' php file, the syntax highlighting automatically detected what type of file I had created - very impressive. There is a column mode (although they refer to it as block selection), find in files, even pre included php documentation.

My conclusions are that KDevelop is a very good replacement for UEStudio, it includes most of the advanced features required for my useage and possibly even external compiler integration (I've yet to look into setting this up but it appears to be supported) For any UEStudio users swapping to Linux from the Windows platform I reccomend KDevelop as a worthy editor.

If your requirements are less advanced, I would reccomend Bluefish as a more than capable editor. It is intuitive to use and comes bundled with a plethora of usefull tools for web code authoring.

For the time being I will keep both apps installed and test them further - I will give you an update in the coming weeks.

As my search for suitable applications for my new Linux machine continues, one of the coming articles will hopefully be an impression of other available development envioronments such as NetBeans and Eclipse. I have always predominantly devloped in Visual Basic, with a little work within C++ but have been meaning to investigate Java as it is cross platform compatible. With the excercise of trying to replace Windoze with Linux I now need to find a suitable alternative to VB as I have a new project looming in the near future.

Wine At Christmas

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