Thanks for the tips and pointers. I haven't had time for exhaustive testing, and haven't yet found an editor I'm completely happy with, but here's an interim report.
First, I don't think I can face trying to learn emacs, nor vi, despite Howard Schwartz's kind words about the latter and learning it here
. Likewise, I think Kedit+REXX would be beyond me. Cash-strapped fans of Kedit might like to look at The Hessling Editor
THE is a powerful text editor modelled on the VM/CMS text editor XEDIT with the best features of Mansfield Software's Kedit.
THE is freeware, distributed under the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE and is available for various Unix platforms (either a text-mode application or as a native X11 application), QNX, OS/2, DOS, Amiga and Win9x/Me/NT/2k/XP.
Like its relatives, THE uses Rexx as its macro language, which means that THE is a highly configurable and versatile editor. Since Version 3.0, THE also has user-configurable syntax highlighting.
Things were made more difficult when I realised I had two other criteria.
Item: a desire for a hotkey that would mark the word the cursor was on, or at least the rest of it. This is common but apparently not universal. TED Notepad and Crimson Editor both have it on Ctrl-D, and much
extra kudos to TED Notepad for making Shift-Ctrl-D extend the selection to the next word. EmEditor has it on Alt-F8, but I couldn't see such a feature in EditPad Pro on short acquaintance.
Item: bookmarks that behave in a particular manner. I prefer the sort where you have just two hotkeys, one of which toggles a bookmark on the line the cursor is on, and the other of which jumps to the next bookmark in a circular queue. Crimson Editor has this, and makes the whole line coloured, which makes bookmarks really stand out from the rest of the text. Some editors seem to use separate hotkeys for each bookmark, which tends to limit them to ten on the number keys. That's what EditPad looked like, but I admit I need to look at it again. Boxer has a hybrid; it uses toggles for the bookmarks, hotkeys, but numbers them, and only allows ten bookmarks per file. However, I was interested to see it allows ten bookmarks per file
for apparently as many files as you have open, and gives you a popup bookmark manager to keep track of them all. I'd still prefer more than ten, but admit that if I really had to had that, I might be in the kind of trouble that would be better approached by cutting the task into smaller parts.
On the matter of non-volatile marked text, I found a kludge in Crimson Editor. It has a command to mark a block of text between two brackets. This only works in code, not plain text (unless I write a custom pseudo-colour highlighting file, I suppose) so I temporarily re-named the file .C, and put brackets where I needed them. This approximates to the F8-F8 dance that Abterix mentions in PSPad and that f0dder offered to make for Notepad++ (thanks for the offer!)
I tried a few editors on my Win98SE laptop (even I will have to upgrade soon!). During installation, EmEditor primly told me to update my Windows. Not realistic in this case, but at least it was a sensible warning. UltraEdit installed without comment and crashed when I tried to load it. At this late stage I don't really mind if programs don't run on Win98, but I do like them not to install if they don't. Fortunately I had installed UE via Total Uninstall, which was just as well, as UE had set a zillion Registry keys. A 10Mb editor that does that fails to appeal to me...
The author of Boxer said that my desire for filters wouldn't work as originally expected because Boxer doesn't run a command shell when it invokes user tools, so it has no access to STDIN/STDOUT, but, one could run then via a batch file, which does. In my case, with SED or AWK scripts, I was able to write a simple wrapper that should work for a large number of filters. This should work for other editors too. A serious drawback is that it means processing the entire file, whereas I would usually prefer to just process a marked block. Plus points for EditPad Pro which has such functionality built in.
I was interested to read DC's Text Editor review
, but it's badly out of date now. I was surprised to find that Wikipedia's list of text editors
was a bit thin in places, like having a blank page for Boxer, and also that the TextEditors.org
was similarly rather light in places. Still, it's a BIG subject.
My own search goes on, if in a desultory manner. I'm getting a little more used to Boxer (hmmm - need to look at word wrap), and the most obvious other thing to do next is to take another look at EditPad Pro, which seems to be a big favourite with many.