git @ Cat's Eye Technologies tideay / master

Tree @master (Download .tar.gz)


We don't drink yaedit here... we drink tideay.

tideay is an experimental-ish fork of pfh's yaedit which may (or may not) suit my personal editing style (and probably won't suit yours.)

It aims to keep my development environment neat and... tideay (ugh.)

See "Notes", below, for my thoughts (= rant) on editors, and why I decided to start this project.



Ctrl+O                 open (or create) a file into a buffer
Ctrl+W                 close buffer

Ctrl+I                 jump to line
Ctrl+F                 find text
Ctrl+P                 alter common prefix of selected lines
Ctrl+Enter             execute shell command and insert result

Tab                    "productively" rewrite string to left of cursor
Shift+Backspace        "destructively" rewrite string to left of cursor

Ctrl+Z                 undo
Ctrl+Shift+Z           redo
Ctrl+X                 cut
Ctrl+C                 copy
Ctrl+V                 paste
Ctrl+A                 select all

Ctrl+Q                 quit tideay


Other changes/improvements over yaedit





command execution

find and replace


other wild ideas

low priority


I guess this fork was precipitated by this article in a roundabout way.

OK, I guess I can't talk about editing without first talking about typing. There are developers who consider typing ability to be a paramount skill. I'm not one of them. I'm only a touch-typist in the loosest sense; the words "home row" mean nothing to me; I favour my right hand while my left hand is sometimes close to useless. For a software developer, being able to type quickly is a "nice-to-have". Here are some skills that are more valuable than typing quickly: ability to conceptualize, ability to explain things clearly, ability to break large problems into smaller parts, foresight, mathematical maturity, ability to step back and see the bigger picture, time management, insight into how humans deal with change... (point made yet, or should I go on?)

And I also guess I can't talk about editors without talking about Those Two.

My first exposure to Emacs was its port to the Amiga that came with Amiga OS 1.3. Consider that, wow, this new computer is one of the next generation: it has a mouse, and a GUI, with windows and menus and... and you want me to edit with... what's this terminal-based thing? This makes no sense. Amiga Basic was naff, but at least its program editor was comprehensible.

My first exposure to Vim was vi, on the servers at the university. I failed to see the attraction (but, of course, did not fail to meet people who had seen the attraction, and hear them talk about the attraction.) If I had to edit something on the server, I would use pico (these days it's nano or, on FreeBSD and friends, easyedit). If I didn't have to edit something on the server, I wouldn't. To this day, :q! is pretty much all the vi I know.

I've never seen the attraction of editors that insist on putting you into one of several "modes" and which only grudgingly accept that we're now in the age of the GUI.

When I first switched to FreeBSD as my development platform, I used nedit. It was OK, but I wasn't a fan of its mass of dependencies.

At some point, I switched to SciTE, for two reasons:

At some other point, I also read Raskin's The Humane Interface and had some thoughts about some of his points about UI's.

A few years ago, Elliott Hird pointed me at yaedit, not really as a recommendation so much as a "this is interesting, this is how one guy has approached building his own editor." I took it for a spin and couldn't really get the hang of it. When you've built up that Ctrl+S habit to save your work, and it's no longer needed, bleah, it feels so awkward; and it rubs that inner engineer of yours wrong for any program to be constantly writing to the disk like that when it doesn't "have" to.

But then, fast forward a few years to now, and I come across that article I mentioned, and I start to think about how I use SciTE. Taking inventory, I realize I only use a fraction of its features. Code folding is nice, but I only use it once in a blue moon. I seriously under-use its Lua scripting. I don't use any of its IDE-like features (except by accident, at which point they annoy me.) I always seem to be losing track of its configuration files, so features I'd like to use, like abbreviation expansion, I haven't always taken the time to set up.

And I have developed some bad habits with SciTE. The worst, which surely predates SciTE itself, is probably that I'll start and close the editor in a very ad-hoc fashion. I want to edit some files, OK, scite *.py in the shell. OK, I'm done editing, oh, should I close SciTE, or suspend it and bg and keep it up? But then I might forget that it's running and run scite again and have two copies of open and out of sync and OK, I better just close SciTE, I'll open it again for the next edit...

So — all in all, I thought, you know, maybe I could just find a bare-bones editor, and add the things I do use to it, in ways that suit me. And I remembered yaedit, and that it was good enough, and small enough to hack on. And, in the age of version control, maybe saving constantly — treating the disk as if it were the main volatile store, the "core memory" for works of text — is not a bad paradigm. Maybe, in fact, it's a better one. And maybe with it, I can figure out a way to keep my editor running all the time instead of starting and closing it randomly.

As a closing note, I have to say, it's a somewhat odd feeling, both acclimating yourself to a new editor (oh but that urge to press Ctrl+S will die hard!), and at the same time hacking on it, to acclimate it to you.