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Matts (1087)

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I work for MessageLabs [] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Monday June 01, 2009
07:05 PM

Early Komodo Edit review

[ #39063 ]

Recently I started using Komodo Edit (the free version of Komodo IDE). This is an early review, of having used it for my work for about a week, which isn't really enough to know whether I'll be sticking with it, but it's a good start. I started to get a bit tired of the limitations of TextMate - an editor I like, and paid for, but the v2 which they keep hinting at seems to never be coming, and it has some short-falls which I find very annoying.

ActiveState actually asked me to do a review of Komodo IDE a while ago and I never got around to it, so I never got a free license key from them. Maybe they'll read this ;-)

This review is of using it on my MacBook (non-pro) 2.4Ghz, 4GB Ram.

The Good

Generally it has everything I'm looking for:

- all documents in tabs
- mostly the right keystrokes for everything (i.e. it's not VI or Emacs, though I believe it has vi emulation for the die-hards) - I only had to fix Cmd-[ and Cmd-] for indent/deindent.
- open over scp/sftp.
- syntax highlighting seems to just work (haven't found any flaws yet, though Perl can be tricky that way!).
- shows line numbers, folds, etc in a nice way
- autoindent mostly works well
- macros in Javascript/Python make it VERY flexible
- "show current file changes" (before you save) is an AWESOME feature, and loads them into the proper "diff" window
- macros even allow you to access that diff window, so writing some macros to access our version control system (AccuRev - don't ask!) was relatively straightforward for a non-Javascript coder like myself
- macro output looks like it'll be easy enough to write a Prove/ runner

The Missing

There are always things missing in editors, usually things I've experienced elsewhere that I'd love to see replicated:

- I *love* textmate's ability to re-indent code when I paste it in, at the correct current level.
- I wish open over sftp would allow me to open a whole directory (i.e. treat it like a temporary project)
- I wish I could open a directory instead of have to create a project.
- I wish tabs would double over instead of flow off the side (as an option) as I tend to keep a lot of files open
- I wish the project pane would highlight the current file/tab instead of the last file I double clicked on
- Documentation of the macro stuff is a bit weak, though the forums are good for help on this (I haven't posted, but the search has helped a lot, and most posts seem to get a reply).

The Buggy/Broken Bits

- There's sometimes an oddness with macros - sometimes I edit them and the edits don't "take" - restarting fixes this.
- Can be a TINY bit slow. I'm on a fast mac, so I suspect this would be much worse on my G4 laptop.
- The find options seem a bit odd to me - there's multiple locations for "find" - in the toolbar and in a separate window, be nice if it were unified and accessible with Cmd-F
- Open over sftp seemed a bit fragile and has hung on me once

Overall though, I like it. I'm not really sure what Komodo IDE could add over and above this, I suspect it'll just come with a lot of cool plugins and macros that do clever things...

I'll maybe post more on this if I keep using it.

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  • On my Linux box, Ctrl+f opens the find dialog, and F3 does the expected. Ctrl+r brings up the find/replace. Can't remember if I customized these keys, but a I'm nut about that. Coming from a VIM background and the latest version (on my latest, faster machine) is finally up to the task. I won't be going back! For Linux Perl development, Komodo rocks!
  • If you get a moment, a brief review of Padre would be handy too.

    It might not be good enough to live a week using nothing but it yet, but a list of "Get Matts onto Padre" bugs would be a nice one to add to our list.

    • Couldn't get it working on OSX (mostly I think it was the GUI library - Wx). Spent about an hour on it and then gave up.

      Komodo has a .dmg file I just opened and it worked.

    • There is an old strawberry installer linked from the the wiki. Is there a more recent one that installs it an all deps easily? (esp the GTK things are a bit tricky IIRC)

  • "I'm not really sure what Komodo IDE could add over and above this"

    Simple: It includes a full visual runtime debugger which allows you to step through your code, set breakpoints at any line as well as evaluate expressions on the current state of your code while debugging it. Additionally there's automatic syntax-checking: X seconds after you stop typing it runs the open file through Perl's syntax check and then highlights all lines with errors or warnings.
    • Komodo Edit does the second thing there.

      I know there's lots of things the IDE adds (there's a comparison table on ActiveState's site), but most of them wouldn't be very useful to me.