I keep trying all the latest and greatest editors out there. I fought with Eclipse and have tried the newer more PHP centric offerings built on Eclipse. I recently tried out Komodo Edit for a week. I had tried the Komodo IDE when it came out for Mac a while back. But, I just keep coming back to jEdit.
What I like about it
The main thing that I like about jEdit over the other top contenders of the new generation is that it has a simple file browser. It does not have the concept of “projects”. Eclipse and Komodo both have these concepts. But, when I really got to looking at the projects in Komodo, you basically set a point in your filesystem and tell it that everything in this dir is Project Foo. So, really, you have to have your code organized on disk anyway. It also bugged me (in Komodo Edit at least) that my project file had to live in the same dir with my project’s code. That just seemed awkward. Not everyone that shares my SVN is gonna want that and its gonna be sitting there in my svn status as an unknown file.
Another thing I like about jEdit is the rather large plugin repository. Now, it’s an older project, so that is something that you would hope any established application would have. But, if I am thinking about switching today, I have to give the nod to jEdit here. The list is a bit Java-centric of course. It’s a Java application after all. But, there are some good ones in there like a PHP code structure browser. I can’t live without that. Makes finding functions or methods really easy in large libraries.
What I don’t like
Its Java so its not quite like working with a native application. The dialogs are funny and the UI is just a bit off even with the Mac plugin that makes it more Mac looking. Having said that, I don’t want a truly “Mac like” editor. BBEdit and XCode are not my kind of editors. I like tabbed interfaces vs. multi windowed UIs.
Its not an IDE, its an editor. There is no debugging, at least, not easily. There looks to be some ability to hook in debugging tools, but I have not gone through the trouble. Of course, that could be said of many of the IDEs out there. PHP has never had the ease of debugging that say Visual Basic had (still has?) back in 1998 when that was my full time job. That was one thing about VB I loved. The language was “eh”. But the IDE was really nice.
Things I don’t care about that you might
jEdit does not have an SVN plugin that I can find. I like my command line. I know one coworker is addicted to the Eclipse real time SVN diff highlighting. There is a CVS plugin, but I don’t know how good it is. I am not aware of any PHP code completion, but it may be there. I have an odd knack for remembering stuff like that and those little pop ups just annoy me. Oh, and did I mention its Java? That put me off for a long time. But, it won me over.