Linux Editor Update

Erica Kastner · May 1, 2008

Well, no sooner than I had written the previous article, did I consider NetBeans.  At this point I was willing to try anything, so I downloaded the special Ruby distribution and gave it a whirl.  One of the prereqs was the Java 1.6 runtime, a hefty download.  As NetBeans opened for the first time, I was greeted with a splash screen with a progress bar inching along as various Java libraries were loaded.  This did not bode well!  My bloat-meter was starting to register.  

However, once NetBeans was up and running, I found it to be pretty intuitive and it runs very well.  Response to input is instantaneous and the editor does a good job of not getting in the way.  I really enjoy the SVN integration as well.  It’s very easy to ignore files and perform the usual updates/commits.  The merging tool has some of the slickness of Apple’s FileMerge and many of the features of my favorite diff tool, Beyond Compare.

My only beef so far is that auto-complete is invoked with CTRL+space and I don’t think you can map it to TAB and still be able to use TAB for its original purpose.  The autocomplete also only works by selecting items from a drop-down.  It won’t just guess what you want.  

But overall, NetBeans has been my favorite Linux text editor for Rails.  However, I think I’ll have to stick with gedit or Eclipse for my Perl editing.

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