4 text editors for Linux

Review of 4 text editors for Linux
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This is a short list of my favorite graphical text editors for Linux that can be classified as IDE (integrated development environment). Here, I give the pros and cons of working with the following:


 

gedit

Gedit is probably the text editor I use most and the official text editor of the GNOME desktop environment. I've written more about it here.

While aiming at simplicity and ease of use, gedit is a powerful general purpose text editor is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License and is free software.

Features

gedit includes syntax highlighting for various program code and text markup formats (C, C++, Java, HTML, XML, Python, Perl, and many others). gedit also has GUI tabs for editing multiple files. Tabs can be moved between various windows by the user. It can edit remote files using GVFS (GnomeVFS is now deprecated) libraries. It supports a full undo and redo system as well as search and replace. Other typical code oriented features include line numbering, bracket matching, text wrapping, current line highlighting, automatic indentation, and automatic file backup.

The features of gedit include multilanguage spellchecking and a flexible plugin system allowing the addition of new features, for example snippets and integration with external applications including a Python or Bash terminal. A number of plugins are included in gedit itself, with more plugins in the gedit-plugins package and online.

gedit has an optional side pane displaying the list of open files and (in a different tab of the side pane) a file browser. It also has an optional bottom pane with a Python console and (using gedit-plugins) terminal. gedit automatically detects when an open file is modified on disk by another application and offers to reload that file. Using a plugin (in gedit-plugins package), gedit can save and load sessions, which are lists of currently open tabs

Installation

gedit should be available in all Linux distributions, so you can install it with the package manager of your linux distribution.


Geany

Geany is a small and lightweight IDE. It was developed to be small and fast, which has only a few dependencies from other packages. Another goal was to be as independent as possible from a special Desktop Environment like KDE or GNOME, Geany only requires the GTK2 runtime libraries.

It is free software licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL version 2 or later.

Features

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code folding
  • Symbol name auto-completion
  • Construct completion/snippets
  • Auto-closing of XML and HTML tags
  • Call tips
  • Many supported filetypes including C, Java, PHP, HTML, Python, Perl, Pascal
  • Symbol lists
  • Code navigation
  • Build system to compile and execute your code
  • Simple project management
  • Plugin interface


Sublime Text

Sublime Text is a cross-platform text and source code editor with a Python API. The GUI was inspired by Vim. Its functionality is also extendable with sublime-packages; Sublime Text is not open source software nor free software, but some of the extending packages have free-software licenses and are community-built and maintained.

Features

  • Language support

Sublime Text supports a number of different programming languages and is able to highlight syntax for C, C++, C#, CSS, D, Dylan, Erlang, HTML, Groovy, Haskell, Java, JavaScript, LaTeX, Lisp, Lua, Markdown, MATLAB, OCaml, Perl, PHP, Python, R, Ruby, SQL, Tcl, Textile, and XML. In addition to those that are included with the initial package, users are able to download add-ons to support further languages.

  • Auto completion

A common feature within text editors, Sublime Text will offer to complete entries as the user is typing depending on the language being used. It also auto-completes variables created by the user.

  • Syntax highlight and high contrast display

The dark background on Sublime Text is intended to increase the amount of contrast with the text and as certain types of syntax are highlighted different colours these stand out better compared to the background than if it was light.

  • In-editor code building

This feature allows users to run code for certain languages from within the editor itself which eliminates the need to switch out to the command line and back again. This function can also be set to build the code automatically every time the code is saved.

  • Snippets

This feature allows users to save blocks of frequently used code and assign keywords to them. The user can then type the keyword and press tab to paste the block of code whenever they require it.

  • Goto anything

This feature is a navigation tool that allows users to move between files and also within them.

  • Other features

Sublime Text has a number of features in addition to these including auto save which prevents users from losing their work. Customizable key bindings, a navigational tool which allows users to assign hotkeys to their choice of options in both the menus and the toolbar. The find as you type feature is used to search the document and begins to look for the text being entered as the user types. Similarly the spell check function corrects as you type. Sublime Text offers further automation features including the use of Macros and the ability to repeat the last action.There are also a wide selection of editing commands, including indenting / unindenting, paragraph reformatting and line joining.

The only problem with Sublime Text is that it’s not free and not open source. However you can use the evaluation version which is functionally identical to the full version, There is no enforced time limit for the evaluation. The only difference is a pop-up window that asks you to consider buying the full version ($70).

The software can be downloaded from the official website for linux at 32 and 64 bit.


jEdit

jEdit is a mature programmer’s text editor with hundreds (counting the time developing plugins) of person-years of development behind it.While jEdit beats many expensive development tools for features and ease of use, it is released as free software with full source code, provided under the terms of the GPL 2.0.

Features

  • Written in Java, so it runs on Mac OS X, OS/2, Unix, VMS and Windows.
  • Built-in macro language; extensible plugin architecture. Hundreds of macros and plugins available.
  • Plugins can be downloaded and installed from within jEdit using the “plugin manager” feature.
  • Auto indent, and syntax highlighting for more than 200 languages.
  • Supports a large number of character encodings including UTF8 and Unicode.
  • Folding for selectively hiding regions of text.
  • Word wrap.
  • Highly configurable and customizable.

 

Originally posted on Linuxaria. Reposted under Creative Commons.

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19 Comments

Daniel_###'s picture

Have a look at Kate. Its designed in such a way that it can be anything from a distraction free writing environment to a fairly decent IDE with little effort. Gedit is not even in the same league. Syntax highlighting? Got it. Auto completion? Got it. Custom colour schemes? Oh yes. In app compilation? Even that and so much more! Even better it is available on Linux, OSX, Windows and the BSDs.

Then you get KDevelop which uses Kate in a sense but extends it even further to produce one of the best IDEs available.

KDE apps aren't all bloated and slow. Give them a go occasionally and consider them in your comparisons. They have a lot to offer and are very feature rich with a strong developer community that puts users first unlike Gnome or Ubuntu.

Rubberman's picture
Community Member

Conspicuous by its absence is nedit. I never boot up without it! :-)

Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real-time!

brideoflinux's picture

Also don't forget Bluefish. I don't leave home without it! ;-)

Dragan's picture

How can Kate be missed in such a comparison. It's one of the best and definitely worth a look. Or maybe it should have a review on its own, yes it is that good.

Symbal's picture

With over 10 years coding almost daily, I'd agree with the sentiments above; where's Kate or Bluefish? Two very capable editors and some.

Sublime is good but, very overrated in the same way Apple products are.

Anonymous Coward's picture

Sublime Text...pay $60 for a text editor that cannot print. LoL

alepapadpp's picture

I am a vim fan and i use it for almost everything but when i need a gui editor then kate is the best solution

Unidentified's picture

nano

Linuxaria's picture
Open Enthusiast

Thanks for the feedback.

I use Bluefish as well when I've to code in html/xml/php, I've not thiught at it as simple "Text editor", but I've covered it in another article:

http://linuxaria.com/article/bluefish-a-powerful-html-editor-and-more?la...

Regarding Kate..I used it a lot of years ago, probably it's time to do some tests as it seems so powerful.

Bamm's picture

I think the best text editor is Kate. I would set it up to be as simple as Notepad, but the powerful features are there when I need it.

aviceda's picture

Column or block-editing is important for me, so Kate is only choice.

Jenny Boyd's picture

Glad to know that Free Geek provides jobs and free classes to the community. In this current time, getting this sort of thing is really rare

Jim Doherty's picture

For those of us that work remotely on source via ssh it seems that an old standby like "vim" which also contains many of the features for editing ie: regular expressions, syntax highlighting etc...

Unidentified's picture

What about Aptana? Great for PHP

Unidentified's picture

Scintilla Text Editor, AKA SciTE

billrobo's picture

+1 for Scite

Unidentified's picture

Vim with the plugins you need for your purpose and everyone should consider using:
- Nerdtree
- syntastic
- CTRLP
- tabular
- supertab
- snipmate
as plugins.

Art Olin's picture

A lot of us are still using emacs, Stallman's original open source editor, and I see nothing in this review to drive me to change. I would have thought that emacs as well as gedit should be part of the standard to which the upstarts are compared.

Warren's picture

I'll often run Notepad++ under Wine. Seriously.