...composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries...

© 1994-2017. David Sklar. All rights reserved.

Confidential to XEmacs: jEdit is poaching on your turf

At the risk of getting beat up by elisp hoodlums the next time I find myself alone in a dark digital alley at night, I must admit that I am spending less time with XEmacs these days and more time with jEdit.

Jon turned me on to it at work* after it became his preferred editor for writing Ning apps. The initial thing that made me switch was that jEdit’s SFTP support is excellent, while XEmacs’s is (via tramp) is nonexistent.

You come for the SFTP, but you stay for the rest of the features. jEdit really has been an almost perfect balance of providing all the things I want but otherwise not getting in my way. There has been a bit of a learning curve as I figure out what key combos do what or which plugin is appropriate for a task, but it’s not bad. Each time I think that jEdit doesn’t have some feature I need, it turns out I’m wrong.

When I complained about missing isearch-forward, Jon pointed out that C-, does incremental search (and C-g moves to the next match.) When I thought, “a File-Open dialog box is so clunky compared to C-x o and then typing a path with tab completion”, I discovered that the File-Open dialog box that C-o brings up in jEdit supports tab completion and auto-navigates to subdirectories as you type them.

That said, I am not completely gaga on the jEdit kool-aid yet. XEmacs has better source control system integration and its php-mode does better “indent to the right place (with spaces) when I hit tab”. I also have a juicy set of elisp macros for writing Docbook XML and haven’t tried any XML writing in jEdit yet. jEdit has somewhat better PHP intelligence than XEmacs – its PHPPlugin can find various syntax errors, while XEmacs has nothing like that. However, jEdit’s PHPPlugin isn’t up to the code-completion of, e.g. Zend Studio, which is really nice.

* Does saying “at work” really make sense when I’m in NYC, he’s in BC, and “the office” is in Palo Alto? I suppose “at” is virtual now, too.

Tagged with software , php , infrastructure