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Jedit X: Advanced Text/HTML Editor

Published March 21st, 2007

Jedit X: Powerful Text Editor Based on Cocoa

Jedit X Text EditorOriginally downloaded 10/15/06. I’m sure I’ve been ignoring Jedit X because I thought it was the same as jEdit, a java-based programmer’s editor that runs on most platforms. Frankly, I’d say Jedit X is unfortunately named, and I don’t really “get” what the name means. But having two Jedit text editors for Mac OS X can’t be a good thing. I’m downloading jEdit today, too, since it’s been at least 2 years since I’ve tried it, and presumably it’s much faster now than it used to be. Like Jedit, jEdit has a plethora of plugins and add-ons to extend its usefulness. Of course, the fact that Jedit X is based on Cocoa automatically gives it an advantage in my book, but I’m curious now to try them both. Unlike jEdit, which is an open-source editor, Jedit X is $28 shareware.

Update 3/22/07. So, I finally get around to giving Jedit X a serious try last night. I was immediately impressed by the software’s overall design, and its Cocoa base meant nearly all the components were where I thought they’d be, and worked the way they should. It’s always a mixed blessing when software provides a wealth of preference options, and Jedit provides much more than most. It would be interesting to compare the number of settings you can configure in Jedit X with those in, say, BBEdit or TextMate. For some reason, text editors tend to pile the configuration options on… probably to satisfy customer requests. Philosophically, I side with Apple’s designers in thinking that the fewer options a user has to consider when opening a new piece of software, the better. On the other hand, I’ve often felt that Apple skimps too much in that direction. Fortunately, Jedit X’s preferences are well designed and logically arranged.

Sadly, I didn’t get much further than the 15-20 minutes I spent considering all of the preferences settings I could tweak. As soon as I downloaded a PHP file to see how well it handles typical editing and coding operations, I realized I’d have to say “bye bye” to Jedit X.

Jedit X Showing Its Help Documentation in Main Window, with Drawer

Everyone has a few “must have” requirements when it comes to software, and one of mine for a programmers editor is tabs. I have been using a tabbed editor for a long time now, beginning with BBEdit and for the last year or so, Smultron. I’ll never go back to single windows for each document. I often open 10-15 files at a time when I’m programming, and the desktop just gets too cluttered! No matter how good Jedit X is in other ways, this is one feature I simply can’t live without. I miss it when I’m in TextEdit, too, but I don’t spend nearly as much time there as in Smultron. A really cool widget-building app that I’ve used in the past, Widgetarium, didn’t have tabs either, and it drove me nuts trying to keep “tabs” of all the open files. Unfortunately, Apple’s new Dashcode software for widget making is missing tabs as well.

If you’re programming habits don’t require a tabbed editor, you should definitely give Jedit X a look. it handles a wide variety of syntaxes and appears to be particularly strong in HTML. From what I saw, Jedit X would also make a very nice RTF-style editor like TextEdit… it has a lot of features geared to plain old writing, as opposed to programming. For documentation purposes, it has some nifty tools such as the “bookmarks” tab in its drawer… the accompanying screenshot is a Jedit X document containing the Jedit X Help file, showing the linked navigation in the form of bookmarks. Sounds like PDF, right? There’s much more to Jedit X, but I didn’t get any farther than this. Still, that was far enough to see that at only $29, it’s a great value… If … :-)

Version as tested: 1.39.

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