In search of a Linux code editor

In a recent post, I talked about my migration to Ubuntu Linux on my main laptop. One thing I did not mention was my migration to a new code editor. While the search was long and lonely, I have finally reached an oasis of goodness.

Here’s what I set out to find in a code editor:

  • Great syntax highlighting
  • Remote file editing including SFTP and FTP support
  • Possible use of spaces instead of tabs
  • PHP intellisense
  • Well-built search functionality
  • Class member outlining
  • Shortcut customization
  • All-around good feel
  • FREE!

Quite a task? Indeed. Here are the editors I either knew I would hate or I tried and they just failed miserably:

After a run of those doosies, I finally decided to try out Eclipse, despite my previously disgruntling experiences with it. It turns out it doesn’t natively support remote file browsing, but I found a plugin that would do the job. After getting around a bunch of plugin dependency-related issues, I finally got it working and it lived up to most expectations…until I took it home and tried using it over wireless. For whatever reason, it would lock up while trying to save to a remote FTP server if I was connected to my wireless network. I’d have to manually kill the process and restart Eclipse, feebly hoping my work had been saved. So, my search continued…

I then decided to give Kate a try. I had used this back in 2002 and remembered it was a fairly good editor, but I also knew it was KDE-based and therefore might give me some troubles running it under Gnome. After installing it, I found out it wouldn’t support FTP or SFTP without having the KDE desktop actually installed, though its other features truly looked promising. Before taking the leap of installing the KDE desktop, I searched around a bit more on the web and came across my oasis: Quanta Plus. Quanta Plus happens to be based off Kate, but offers oh-so-many great features I had been thirsting for. Since it also required the KDE desktop for remote file support, I quickly installed kubuntu-desktop (and all its dependent packages,) and now I can use Quanta Plus for all types of remote file editing. Not only that, but it provides EVERY feature I was searching for in a PHP editor. In fact, I may try to get it to work with the Gubed debugger for all my PHP debugging needs. Fantastic editor. Unfortunately, you will need to install kubuntu-desktop (or maybe just specific related packages, but I doubt it) to get the remote file editing capabilities, but you will still be able to run it within Gnome. In summary….two thumbs up! Way up! And you know that’s good…

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