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Old 03-13-2008, 08:56 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Mac text editor: ForgEdit 1.0

I have been playing with the $29 text editor ForgEdit 1.0 — Programmer’s Text Editor for OS X — and am impressed.

The program has an elegant, clean interface. Most functions are configurable, some are optional. It lacks BBEdit’s many palettes, including ones that insert a DOCTYPE, encoding statement; that searches for and inserts code for images with dimensions and alt statement; brackets selected text with H1, et al; and so on.

It does include a character palette (more accurately, accesses the Mac’s built-in one, which floats on top of everything else on the screen). Not as slick and easy as BBEdit’s, but serviceable; and even better, if you need an Asian character or one of the rarer sets of symbols that BBEdit doesn’t include. I would just slide it onto the dock to get it out of the way when not in use, however.

It lets you automate with AppleScript; will search on plain text and regular expressons. It uses FTP and SFTP so you can quickly edit files on a server. Has coloring, automatic control over indenting and other organizing features; and lets you use existing keyboard shortcuts or create your own. And lots more — you can check the features out at the web site, or download the software for a 30-day trial.

It has a couple of cool features I would love to see in BBEdit:
  • Tabbed file management, instead of a messy stack of documents that you sometimes have to hunt through, as in the typical web site process: CSS, and a bunch of php files. ForgEdit opens a side drawer (similar to the documents drawer in BBEdit) for easy access to a file.
  • Nice touch: Open one file in a directory with ForgEdit and it places the others in the side-drawer for instant, no-search access.
ForgEdit is not a perfect substitute for BBEdit, if that is your frame of reference (as it is mine). On the other hand, I think it would be a great choice for those who want something cheaper than BBEdit. It is definitely worth $29.

I have not spent much time with Bare Bones Software’s free TextWrangler, which seems to offer most of the ForgEdit functions and some others as well, but lacks some of the interface niceties. If you are looking for a coding text editor, I would suggest you consider both. How nice to have two to consider!

   
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:30 PM   #2
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Thanks for that review, Kathleen! Bookmarked.

A few questions:
  • Can it do projects (logical collection of files)?
  • Can you organize/sort the files in the "drawer"? (I'm not fond of drawers, but if that's the only way to organize the files you are working with...)
  • Does the search and replace work across files? All open files? all files in a directory? All files in a project?
  • Is there a block/column editing mode?
  • Can you sort lines in a file?
  • Does it have support for Unicode? Can it save UTF-8 with and without a BOM?
  • Does it have support for different line endings? (PC/MAC/UNIX)

And the "nice touch" you mention of putting other files in a directory on a drawer - is that just a directory list? What about the files in a subdirectory? What if you don't want that but only a list of the open files you are actually working with? Or only the files in the project you are working with? (A current directory list is not terribly useful compared with the other modes I mention.)

(Looking at their bulleted list of features, it actually seems pretty basic for a $29 editor...)

   
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Old 03-14-2008, 05:58 AM   #3
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Not sure about some of those questions, but let me try.

Projects: Not sure what you mean by “do” but it has two side-bar windows. The lower one shows the files in the directory of the file you are working on; there can be only one directory at a time, apparently.

Sort drawer files: No. At least not in the usual way, dragging; list is alphabetical. May be alternatives somewhere.

S&R across files: Yes, across open files or files in a folder. You can opt to include sub-folders.

Block/column edit mode: Not that I can see.

Sort lines in file: Guess not; the Help doesn’t understand any question with “sort” in it.

Support for Unicode: What support? You can set UTF-8 or -16 as default encoding (no BOM mentioned); and in ASCII, ISO Latin-1, Mac OS Roman, and Windows Latin-1.

Line endings: Choose Mac, Unix, or DOS in prefs.

Drawer directory: Just a list, not particularly flexible. It is nicer than juggling through pages, but now that I think of it, the tabbing takes care of that (so long as you don’t want to see two pages at once — not sure if that can be done, which would be a problem for me sometimes).

For Windows it might seem expensive at $29; for the Mac, not a bad price. I wouldn’t give up BBEdit for it, though, at any price.

   
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for looking - I guess I'll just go with Parallels (still need to register that) and use my trusted UltraEdit - far more powerful - in combination with Eclipse (cross-platform IDE) and whatever lightweight free OS X text editor I decide on (I have some candidates but need to evaluate and I've had precious little evaluating tuits lately - or tuits of any kind for that matter).

From looking at the site and what you told me, anywhere between $0 and $15 for ForgEdit sounds about right - nowhere near $30 material. The features overview had me raising my eyebrows a few times - like "well, of course, without that it wouldn't deserve the name 'programmer's editor'" - even little Crimson editor (Win freeware) does block/column mode editing, has configurable syntax highlighting and is scriptable. The "bookmarks" feature I found especially confusiong - doesn't sound like bookmarks at all, but some kind of fake projects (but not savable). A programmer's editor without (real) bookmarks?

If all even halfway decent Mac software is as expensive like this and feels crippled like this, I guess investing in one copy of Parallels is going to save me a lot of money as I could simply go on using my already-registered (and more powerful) or freeware tools.

I did know there's good software for the Mac that's expensive. What I didn't expect is that almost everything halfway decent seems twice as expensive as similar software for Windows, or unlimited more expensive sinc the equivalent on Windows is free, and you may have a choice of five instead of a single one for the Mac.

Wishlist:
1. Parallels
2. Replacement for Finder

Off to bed now - sorry for the rant - maybe tomorrow will be more fun than today...

   
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Old 03-15-2008, 06:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamback View Post
Wishlist:
1. Parallels
2. Replacement for Finder
Instead of Parallels my Mac guru prefers VMWare — I do not remember all his arguments, but you might at least want to look into it.

Finder replacements: Seem to be a lot of them. I have no idea which, if any, is an improvement — look forward to your discoveries. I have read another rant on this topic, from Sven On Tech. And a calmer discussion on Squidoo.

Here are some replacements I have heard of:

LiquiFile
Path Finder
Disk Order
X-File
ForkLift

And here’s an article that seems zany to me but might be right up your alley: “Replace the Finder with any application!” on MacOS Hints.

   
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:52 PM   #6
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Instead of Parallels my Mac guru prefers VMWare — I do not remember all his arguments, but you might at least want to look into it.
I did, actually - but the basic mode of operation of Parallels is quite different from that of VMware: Parallels concentrates on seamless integration, while VMware concentrates on clean isolation, and although each can do some of the other, they are not exactly equivalent. For instance: with Parallels I can double-click on a file somewhere on my local computer or on the network, and have it open in a Windows program, opened in its own window on the Mac desktop (with corresponding icon in the Dock); and then I can drag and drop things from that program back to Finder or another Mac program. That suits my way of working and thinking thoroughly; apart from that, tests have shown that Parallels is the most efficient way to run Windows on a Mac (even more so than with BootCamp). So although I downloaded a trial of VMware, I did not even try it anymore.

Quote:
Finder replacements: I have read another rant on this topic, from Sven On Tech. And a calmer discussion on Squidoo.

And here’s an article that seems zany to me but might be right up your alley: “Replace the Finder with any application!” on MacOS Hints.
Off reading...

OK, I see mention of Path Finder and XFile; looking through the respective sites, I already like XFile for instance:
Quote:
* Nothing is hidden - absolutely nothing
* Drill down into bundles effortlessly
Which addresses two of my major problems with Finder (and there's much more). It's the philosophy: OS X is Unix-based, and XFile is a Unix file manager. Read this mind-boggling story which illustrates that eminently.

Quote:
Here are some replacements I have heard of:

LiquiFile
Path Finder
Disk Order
X-File
ForkLift
Off to look at the others as well...
  • Liquifile: all interface, no file management - can it even show hidden files or permissions? They don't say so I guess that means not...
  • Disk Order: sounds interesting, especially with built-in FTP (maybe, if it does SFTP) and browsing into archives. English with a "East-European accent" - sure enough there's a .ru email address at the bottom of window. And they're upfront about the duration of the trial period (something that seems to be an exception in Mac-land) But no tree view?
  • ForkLift: (S)FTP and other remote file access and archive support is interesting (like Disk Order), dual pane can be helpful (idem), remote edit useful. But I see no tree view of the file system?
That's just a quickie impression looking at their sites and screenshots, but Liquifile is definitely not worth a look, and both Disk Order and Forklift look like Finder with a new UI painted on top of it and some extras, not a fundamentally different approach to file management.

One thing that seems to be missing everywhere (or well hidden and not shown in screenshots) is a location field (complete path for currently-viewed directory) for easy editing and copy & paste. We'll see...

I'll take a real look at XFile first.

   
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:32 PM   #7
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I did, actually - but the basic mode of operation of Parallels is quite different from that of VMware: Parallels concentrates on seamless integration, while VMware concentrates on clean isolation, and although each can do some of the other, they are not exactly equivalent. For instance: with Parallels I can double-click on a file somewhere on my local computer or on the network, and have it open in a Windows program, opened in its own window on the Mac desktop (with corresponding icon in the Dock); and then I can drag and drop things from that program back to Finder or another Mac program. That suits my way of working and thinking thoroughly; apart from that, tests have shown that Parallels is the most efficient way to run Windows on a Mac (even more so than with BootCamp). So although I downloaded a trial of VMware, I did not even try it anymore.
Thanks. I am going to ask him why he prefers VMWare; reading your comparison, I would want Parallels, I am pretty sure. Though for now I get by with just my Mac.

Quote:
Read this mind-boggling story …
Very interesting. I have been avoiding tricks that needed me to use terminal. Now I am thinking it looks like fun.

Quote:
One thing that seems to be missing everywhere (or well hidden and not shown in screenshots) is a location field (complete path for currently-viewed directory) for easy editing and copy & paste. We'll see...

I'll take a real look at XFile first.
Isn’t complete path information now in Leopard (with the latest update)? I think I read that somewhere. (Still not using Leopard.) Or do you mean something else?

Let us know how you find XFile.

   
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:50 AM   #8
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Very interesting. I have been avoiding tricks that needed me to use terminal. Now I am thinking it looks like fun.
It is.

Quote:
Isn’t complete path information now in Leopard (with the latest update)? I think I read that somewhere. (Still not using Leopard.) Or do you mean something else?
I'm not running Leopard either (yet), so I don't know. I need it in a copy-and-pasteable format.

Quote:
Let us know how you find XFile.
I will!

   
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:47 AM   #9
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Isn’t complete path information now in Leopard (with the latest update)? I think I read that somewhere. (Still not using Leopard.) Or do you mean something else?
I know this isn't what you both are looking for, but still it might be useful. When I want to see what all -- invisible files included -- is in a folder or, for that matter, an entire disk/drive, I drag that folder/drive/disk onto a BBEdit window and instantly have the entire contents of every enclosed folder, each indented to show its level in the hierarchy.

I use that to create plain text catalogs of the contents of CDs/DVDs I'm burning and can store those text files live on my system (as well as throwing it on the disk to be burned). Live on my system I use BBEdit again to search through the entire folder of those plain text catalogs and can track down files on offline drives/disks.

As I say, not exactly what you're asking for, but useful and cool nonetheless.

   
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:01 AM   #10
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I know this isn't what you both are looking for, but still it might be useful. When I want to see what all -- invisible files included -- is in a folder or, for that matter, an entire disk/drive, I drag that folder/drive/disk onto a BBEdit window and instantly have the entire contents of every enclosed folder, each indented to show its level in the hierarchy.
Absolutely! I use BBEdit the same way.

But Marjolein suggests it should be possible at the system/Finder level, and I like that idea myself.

   
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