Painless text-editing with Scribes 0.4 on Ubuntu

Colleagues keep laughing at me.
It seems that I missed the point in a programmer’s life where he faces a shimmering light at the end of the dark terminal tunnel, where he suddently gets enlightened… and switches to eclipse or Textmate.

Being an IDE-reject I’m used to work with bare-bones text editors, which support syntax-coloring, a bright background and a few well-established keyboard shortcuts like Cmd+c Cmd+v.

That’s all I need.

Ever since I can remember I disliked IDEs and how they suppressed my way of organizing files, tools and minds. And they are slow.

The last 4 years I worked with nedit and my own small file-browser kebap. Two weeks ago me and my colleague Felix discovered scribes, a text-editor for Linux written in Python. Dozens of text-editor came and went away in my life, but for some reasons I really like scribes. Some of its key features I already love are

  • streamlined workflows with a simple and clean UI
  • jump to files with the F9 file-dialog by typing their name
  • code templates which can be triggered while typing
  • character pair completion -yeah i hate to close a bracket and move back the cursor by hand
  • word completion while typing remembers phrases you typed, like long function names and cryptic variables
  • sufficient syntax-coloring for Ruby and PHP (well that could be better)

I really was distracted by the tab-less UI first. “What a mess!” came to my mind. A couple of days later I was conviced that the arrogant attitude of scribes is… cool.
It’s useless to organize your docs in tabs, the more docs you open, the sooner you forget which tabpanel holds the code file you’re looking for. So why not let the F9 file browser keep track of all those files?

Today I noticed that I had 46 opened scribes documents – each in a separate window – while programming at work. Since I simply hit F9 and type in a few characters to jump to the file I completely forgot the “need” for MDIs, tabs, project managers and other “tools”.

Enough praising, let’s hit the keyboard.

Installing scribes 0.4-dev on Ubuntu Jaunty

The 0.3 version shipped with Ubuntu has some bugs, so I recommend the 0.4 version which is almost stable.

sudo apt-get install bzr libglib2.0-dev gnome-common
bzr branch lp:scribes
cd scribes/
./autogen.sh
make
sudo make install

When starting scribes in a terminal, you might get a python exception bitching about
ImportError: No module named gtksourceview2

Well, just do

sudo apt-get install python-gtksourceview2 python-gnome2-desktop-dev python-gnome2-extras-dev

and have fun experiencing a smart, but not too smart editor. Thanks, mystilleef!

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