Saturday, 23 July 2011

Geany text editor

Anyone who has done programming on Ubuntu has probably used Gedit. It's the pre-installed text editor that does a pretty good job, with numerous languages for syntax highlighting and a range of features to make programming easier.

Recently I discovered another editor, Geany. This is basically a vastly improved version of Gedit, and I can see why it's not installed by default as a standard user wouldn't need to use half the features. For developers on the other hand, Geany is way more useful then Gedit, let me show you  a few of the reasons why.

Built-in terminal:
Geany's terminal lets you run your code without switching windows.
At the bottom of the Geany window is a row of tabs, for various functions. One of these is the terminal, which stays visible when you edit your code up top. Using a normal terminal window can be a pain because it covers the editor and you have to Alt-Tab or the like between windows. The built-in terminal is completely unobtrusive and allows you to quickly test and fix bugs in your program.


Smart home key:
If you like to keep your code neat, you'll be used to nesting lines of code. Especially in HTML and Python, it's not uncommon to get over 3 tabs in and you find yourself using the left and right arrow keys a lot. The smart home key fixes this by jumping to the start of the text, not the start of the line, saving time having to adjust the cursor.

Indexing your code:
Quickly navigate your code with Geany's tree
The Geany window has a tree down the left hand side which contains all of the functions, classes, definitions etc in your file. When you have a large file that becomes hard to navigate, it might be time to use this because it really saves time scrolling through to find what you want. Simply clicking the entry in the tree jumps to the right place in the file without any unnecessary searching.


Geany also has support for compiling (though I use Python so I haven't tried this out) and hosts a load of other amazing tools, so try it if you haven't yet! If you don't use Gedit or Geany then what's your favourite editor?

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