Text Editors for IF

Since… well, since DOS was new, I suppose… I’ve used EDIT.COM for all my text editing needs. Okay, not all of them. I use Word for most everything other than source code… and I use Visual Studio for my .NET development at work… but yeah, if I’m writing HTML, Javascript, Perl, Hugo, others, where I don’t have an IDE and Word isn’t well suited for the task, I use EDIT. I especially liked when EDIT with Windows started allowing ATL+# to have nine documents open.

Last night, I downloaded EditPad Pro (from download.com). It’s amazing. I feel like a goon for not looking into this (or another like it) earlier. I’ll probably end up paying, even at $50, so I can edit syntax rules for Hugo. I’ve configured it with light gray on blue (like EDIT.COM) and larger text, and I can have access to dozens of files in one click.

So, what text editor do the rest of you use, when writing your interactive fiction?

For the longest time I used to use the builtin editor
in Norton Commander.

My favorite editor is Wily (a clone of the plan9 acme editor).
The way it handles navigation and uses mouse-chording
make it a bliss to use for heavy editing and reading
other people’s code. Too bad it requires a real three
button mouse with a proper middle button (not one of
those scrolling wheel thingies) and is suffering from
severe bit rot.

Mostly I use vi. I tried emacs but it hurts my hands
by requiring too many and too long key combos.

Vim has some nice features, but with every new version
that is released, it becomes harder and harder to turn off
all the stuff I don’t want, like syntax highlighting, auto
indenting, etc.

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I use the I7 IDE, works great, and allows me easy access to the manual at the same time.

Depends. If I’m working with Inform 7, then it’s the built-in IDE. If it’s TADS 2 or Hugo or Inform 6, then it’s Crimson Editor (which, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be in active development anymore). Previously it was just old PFE, but I’ve used Crimson Editor ever since I got into the whole “syntax highlighting” feature.

I’m looking for something that is still being actively developed, and free as well.

Well, if anybody is using plain old EDIT or NOTEPAD or something, I’d highly recommend EditPad Pro. Once I get it registered and create Hugo syntax rules (however that works), I’ll see if it can be exported.

I use Crimson Editor for both Inform and TADS stuff. It doesn’t work perfectly for strings-within-strings in TADS 3, but otherwise it’s great. It allows up to ten custom macros, which are real life-savers for me. And it seems to handle customized font and color settings better than other editors I’ve looked at.

It’s also 100% free. 8)


For some reason, I’ve never liked using Crimson Editor… so I’ve shopped around testing various editors, finally settling upon EditPlus.

I mostly use Red0, which is a fairly baisc editor developed by a friend of mine. I’m very happy with it, even though it has still some bugs and unfortunately isn’t under active development anymore. Still, it has some nice features, and is quite configurable (adding special syntax should be straightforward, although I never tested it myself).

This is a zombie, I suppose, but I’m new here and I love text editors. It’s a shame not to have a real one; I’m not sure how people get by with notepad and the like for so long.

I’m on a Mac. There are a few well-regarded ones:

TextMate, which I use, is very extensible and has a cute, context-dependent tab-completion setup. (The E editor for Windows is an approved clone, which uses the same language “bundles” as written for TextMate.) It’s 39 euros.

BBEdit is venerable. Don’t much care for it, myself, but it’s powerful and the Mac old guard swear by it. It’s rather expensive ($125), but there’s a stripped-down free version called TextWrangler that’s perfectly usable.

Smultron is free; I haven’t used it much. It has all the reg’lar features.

SubEthaEdit is for collaborative text editing. Sounds cool, haven’t any use for it.

For windows, I used:

E, as above. It’s as nice as TextMate and a good bit cheaper, too, at $35. Since Windows isn’t guaranteed to have some of the language utilities required by TextMate, E uses Cygwin. (In the background only. I think it can maintain its installation, if you—like me—have a distaste for Cygwin.)

TextPad. Haven’t used it in years, since my beginning programming classes, but I recall it being pretty extensible. I think it’s meant as an IDE replacement.

SlickEdit I used on an internship. Extremely expensive (can’t say how much), but fast, and has most of the bells and whistles to act as a general-purpose Java/C/Python IDE. I think there are Inform 6 and TADS packages running around for it, too, but it’s been a long time. Runs on Windows and Unix.

jEdit. The only Java text editor worth mentioning, really. I used it for ages. It’s very nice, especially if you’re using Java—but even if you’re not. If you know Java, it has Beanshell hooks, very convenient, and a nice macro API. Runs everywhere there’s Java.

SciTE shows off a text editing component for Windows and GTK, but is nice in its own right. Speedy. Configurable, but annoying to do so—be prepared to search through config files the option you’re looking for. It opens extremely large files quite well.

Hey, who doesn’t love zombies.

I just wanted to mention, for anyone who doesn’t know, that the latest TADS 3 release now uses SciTE as its built-in editor in the Windows Workbench. It’s pretty cool.

I use the IDE for Inform 7, and Vim and Geany for general programming.q

You’re insane. I use vim. :laughing:

Even on Windows, there’s a fair amount of much better text editors for free, you don’t need to be a masochist.

well, I used to use vim to program in I7 using the command-line interface to compile and run but recently I just moved to the Gnome IDE for I7, which is much more well suited for it anyway. Still, vim and emacs are two of the most powerful and flexible general-purpose text editors out there.

Just to add to the insanity…I recently took the plunge and started using vim as well (transitioning from SciTE). I still don’t have it working fully as well as SciTE, but what it does do is pretty good.

However for I7 I use the IDE too. It’s probably the only IDE I’ve ever enjoyed using.

No doubt. vi is the simplest, easier-going text editor ever once people get past their bias against its minimalist interface, modal behavior and very particular way of dealing with text editing. Vim is only a greatly enhanced vi.

Getting rid of bias is one thing. But liking or disliking its modal behaviour must surely be a personal preference.

I think it’s simply bias because I was once a heavy emacs user. Just got fed up of all the manual dexterity needed. Far less such clutter with vi, despite hitting ESC so much… it was not a matter of preference for me: just learning to use it and being more comfortable.

Other editors just offer menus instead, but power-users will generally bind most used commands to keycombos anyway, so turning it effectivelly into mini-emacs. :slight_smile:

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My favorite text editor is ConTEXT (Windows), which is completely free. I even use it for writing text documents, sometimes. It has an Inform 6 syntax highlighter file that can be downloaded from its archive of syntax highlighters:

I’ve been working on making a Hugo syntax highlighter.

However, I also use Implementor, a somewhat outdated IF programming environment that supports TADS 2, Inform 6, Hugo, and ALAN 2. It can be configured to launch the compilers and interpreters. It also seems to feature a spelling checker, but I’ve never used the feature.

Implementor is available on the IF Archive:
ifarchive.org/if-archive/pro … p13Win.zip

What does Implementor do Bainespal?

When you unzip it, the archive is set up with directories where you can install put the executables for the compilers and interpreters and also the library files for the supported authoring systems. However, you can also edit the configuration file (there’s a different one for each IF system) to point it to the path on your hard drive where you have your compiler and interpreter, and you can set compiler switches in the configuration file to point to the IF system’s library location, so you don’t need to put everything in Implementor’s directiory. When you launch the compiler from Implementor, any error messages are saved and displayed in a pane below the source code. The commands to compile or run the compiled gamefile are found in the menu produced when right-clicking.

Implementor also comes with indexes that explain the keywords, commands, library routines, ect. in each of the systems. These are displayed when you press F1, or from the menu. However, this reference material is probably not up to date with the latest versions. It’s definitely not current with the latest release of Hugo, but it’s still helpful.

You can edit the configuration file for the system that you’re working with inside of Implementor without needing to restart it. There’s a Configure command on the menu, which opens the configuration file. You can make any changes necessary, and when you close it, Implementor displays “Configuration Updated”, apparently having re-loaded the saved file.

Implementor has other features, but many of them are probably standard to programming text editors (commenting/uncommenting source code and increasing/decreasing indent, for instance). It may have other features that I don’t know how to use, but it’s not really all that complicated. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be able to match braces.

Its interface is definitely retro; it looks like it could have been a GUI DOS program, or maybe Windows 3.1. However, it has all the functionality of more modern applications, including re-sizable panes.

It’s definitely a very capable piece of software, probably one of the best applications made specifically for creating IF. I alternated between using Implementor and ConTEXT for “Dreary Lands”, and I think for another Inform 6 project that I never finished. I’ve also been using it for Hugo, but I’ll probably switch to ConTEXT eventually, because I’m more comfortable with it in general.

Paying using of UltraEdit for over 10 years.

It has fantastic search/replace, handles huge files easily and fast, and has column mode, which is just freaky, but it’s great.

David C.