Linux text editors: Do any make the grade?

Our exacting editor test-drives a whopping nine Linux text editors. Which ones crossed the finish line ahead of the pack?

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The UI is sleek, and while all features aren't necessarily intuitive, you can start using Komodo Edit at a basic level right away, and then turn to the manual as you decide you want more customization features. In fact, Komodo Edit has just about everything I look for in an editor except spell check.

Komodo Edit
Komodo Edit's strengths include color syntax, matching braces and recordable macros. (Click for larger view.)

I subsequently purchased the $295 Komodo IDE (or, more accurately, talked my boss into purchasing it for me at work) and find it a great piece of software for development work.

Komodo Edit ratings (on a scale of 1 to 10):

Ease of learning and use: 8

Look and feel: 9

Content editing (spell check, search/replace, etc.): 7

Simple HTML editing (bold, line breaks, ordered lists, etc.): 9

Customization (macro power, ease of creating): 10

Total: 43



NEdit seems targeted more for people writing code than for people writing and editing articles or flat HTML pages. There are no tool bars or one-click HTML coding that I could find, nor are there writer/editor options such as spell check.

NEdit has a clean, simple look with fairly powerful coding capabilities. (Click for larger view.)

NEdit does have recordable macros, which is a nice plus, as well as a fairly powerful macro-writing capability. There's also sophisticated search and replace, which makes sense for a developer's tool. I liked the Make Backup Copy and Incremental Backup options. I missed being able to get to the beginning and end of lines by hitting Home and End, which I freely admit is just a Windows convention I'm used to.

NEdit could stand to have some more functions to do simple text manipulation, however. In researching how to create a macro to join lines, I found this in a Web post:

set_cursor_pos(search("^", $cursor, "regex", "backward"))
s = $cursor
set_cursor_pos(search("[^ \t]", $cursor, "regex"))
indent = get_selection()
insert_string(" ")
set_cursor_pos(search("^", $cursor, "regex"))

That's quite a bit larger investment of effort than clicking a command in a tool bar that says "join lines."

If you're looking for something clean and fairly powerful, NEdit is an interesting option with a number of fans among Computerworld readers. If NEdit were the only tool available to me, I think I could make it do many of the things I need. However, with so many other editors available, this isn't one I'd choose in my search for an app that elegantly handles the intersection of writing, editing and coding.

NEdit ratings (on a scale of 1 to 10):
Ease of learning and use: 6
Look and feel: 6
Content editing (spell check, search/replace, etc.): 5
Simple HTML editing (bold, line breaks, ordered lists, etc.): 5
Customization (macro power, ease of creating): 7
Total: 29

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