Changing my text editor

The great editor wars are over. Emacs is dumb and stupid and vi is the One True Editor. Well, actually, I use vim. Or I use gVim if I’m using a desktop environment. But still, I’ve staked out my position.

Until recently. I was getting really frustrated with the Markdown highlighting in gVim. It was usually good, but sometimes it would get confused. Plus, the fact that Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+S, etc. didn’t work in a GUI was just jarring.

So I decided to give Kate a try. Kate is the “KDE Advanced Text Editor”, and since I already use KDE on my Linux machines, it seemed like a good place to start. I liked it so much that I installed on my MacBook Pro via MacPorts on a hotel WiFi connection (that was an overnight operation).

The better Markdown syntax support and word count features have made it my go-to for writing articles and other non-Blog-Fiasco content. I haven’t given it a try with LaTeX or DocBook yet, but I should. I still tend to use vim/gVim for code, in part because of inertia and in part because it’s often done over an SSH connection. I do like how Kate visually distinguishes between hard tabs and soft tabs when I work on Perl code, though.

What editor should I use?

There are many different holy wars to be fought in nerddom.  Star Wars vs Star Trek.  Windows vs Linux vs Mac vs Solaris vs BSD vs DOS 6.22.  Two of the most pointlessimportant happen to be Pirates vs Ninjas and vi vs Emacs.  Personally, I see myself more as a pirate than a ninja.  I’m obnoxious, I make myself known, and I like to drink.  As for editors, I was a Pico man for a long time.  In fact, on my Solaris hosts I still choose pico over vi (vim is my editor of choice on Linux and Mac, although I’ll admit freely that I only know a handful of the commands that make vi so powerful).

Needless to say, I suffered a bit of an identity crisis last week when I came upon a scientific discussion of the editors preferred by pirates and ninjas.  I guess I’m just a double-agent.  That’s pretty cool, too.