I just quit my job. Whether or not I’ll wind up with a new job in the technology sector remains up in the air. I would prefer not, but it just pays better than any other job you can get with a high school diploma.

That said, I’m hoping to free up some energy for programming efforts I actually like. The problem with working a job in a field that you consider your hobby, is it saps your energy to pursue your real life, and to pursue your hobby as a hobby. Perhaps now Mousepad will get back into shape.

I have a roadmap of sorts for Mousepad. My goal is to get the Mousepad rewrite up to the functionality of the last release. The only real difference should be that Mousepad will be more maintainable than the old Leafpad mess, and potentially faster. This should only take a day or three, should I find the time. This will become the 0.3.0 release. The 0.3.0 “series” (har har) will be the last of “classic” Mousepad.

The goal for the 0.3.0 series is to have a text editor that opens fast, provides no real frills, and has no dependencies outside of those provided by or required for the current stable version of Xfce.

0.3.1 – recent file support. I have a half finished little lib that handles the spec, which I will likely polish off.

0.3.2 – session support. If 4.4 is out, we can just depend on libexo outright, if not, we’ll probably want have a little “miniexo” inside the Mousepad tree.

At this point, I’d like to begin taking Mousepad in a somewhat more feature heavy direction. That may upset some people, who are just looking for a Notepad clone. These people may fork with my blessing. They can move to requiring libexo for session support, using the recent file support that will appear in Gtk+ 2.10, and maybe even using D-bus to keep all Mousepad windows shoehorned in the same process. Up to them. I need a little more from my text editor than that.

The new goal of Mousepad is to be a fast and slim general purpose text editor, much in the vein of BBedit (the classic Macintosh editor) and Nedit (the greatest editor ever that doesn’t use Gtk). Tentatively this is the direction at that point.

0.4.x – Syntax highlighting (with GtkSourceView, or possibly Scintilla)
0.5.x – Tabs.
0.6.0 – Miscellania – templates, open as copy, revert to saved, yadda yadda. The tiny little time savers release.
0.7.0 – Scripts. Little snippets of code in any language which can either process the whole document, or just a selection.
0.8.0+ – The future! GtkSpell, maybe? Toolbar perhaps? A real plugin system? A function browser?

Syntax highlighting and tabs are no brainers as features, and will likely be simple to implement. After that, I’ll need a little input from users, so all of this is subject to change.

A real concern I have is that by adding features I lose what makes Mousepad appealing now (speed, simplicity) while not bringing enough to the table to be useful relative to older text editors (Vi, Emacs, Nedit, or my console editor of choice, Joe), thus bringing the Gedit hell to Xfce. I think I can walk that line. We’ll just have to wait and see.

14 thoughts on “Status

  1. Hey, you got balls for quitting your job, but I can understand with you reasons.

    I look forward to mousepad. Of all the editors currently in existence for linux, I have yet to find one that suits my needs. My favourite editor is notepad++ for windows.

    Good luck!

  2. … or you could help the yzis guys. :) Of course it won’t be your own code, but it would still allow you to experiment with features such as tabs etc. An yzis frontend for Xfce, hmm? :)

  3. If the new mousepad is going to be better (faster and ligthweigth) than Nedit, go for it !!! :-)

    What I would not like is to get another Gedit … :-(

  4. Lets not be too hard on Gedit. Gedit suffers from startup trouble, just like any other Gnome app, but the basic idea – a text editor that nicely matches your desktop, supports syntax highlighting and tabs, and has a little toolbar – is not a bad one. In fact, I found myself very attracted to Gedit when I first moved to Gnome. After all, on windows I’d been writing Perl with Notepad, and, before that, QBasic in DOS Edit.

    Then you become frustrated when you try to edit some tiny little rc file, and Gedit takes ages to open. Or on the other end of the spectrum, when you can’t add a little “build” script to a menu somewhere, so that you don’t have to switch to a terminal to build the current project. Gedit’s abiding history is one of too much weight for too little substance. I haven’t tried out the new_mdi branch of Gedit which is generating so much buzz, but it seems to be addressing that question by beefing up the features. I’d like to try it.

    All that said, being better than Nedit is just about impossible, for most definitions of better. But I will try. I imagine that I’ll wind up less featureful, and hopefully slightly more lightweight (though that would be hard to do), but nicely works with Gtk+, is built for i18n and a11y, and has a simple little extension system inside. If I can get to version 0.6 or 0.7 or so while still opening faster than Nedit, than I’ll be very pleased.

  5. Well, i’m looking forward having mousepad in debian stable to install it, well actually i could compile and install it even right now, but i’m kind a sure that it’s not that mature yet… still i’m keeping on my eye on this project. But for now, Thanks for nedit!! It’s awsome and just what i needed. no Gnome deps or qt. Thanks, thanks… thanks thanks thanks thanks

  6. I really like current way it is: simple, fast and stable. What I really want out of it IS a notepad clone. Syntax hilighting? No, thanks, I’d go with my emacs and gvim. Tabs? maybe, if not at the price of performance. Session and recent files? I can’t care less. Scripts? Oh no, not another script language. Don’t get into that mess, it’s messy enough already. Even more features? That’s defintely when I will stop updating it.

    I’ve always believed that there are three kinds of text editors in the world: vi, emacs and others. I am trying to find a 4th kind, a simple and lightweight one that I can use more or less like a scratch paper and text file viewer. I really hope mousepad can be my 4th kind. Please don’t make it “just another text editor”.

    One suggestion: read only mode. There is also an app called Tofu on Mac OS X, which I use a lot as a text viewer. You can check it out if you are interested. It’s a very handy app.

    I hope you don’t find my comment disappointing. I am just being honest about my opinion (which might count, might not, depending on you).


  7. Have you considered adding support for .RTF, or another format more featureful than plaintext? Apple’s TextEdit is a great little app in this regard. You can create simple tables and lists, have different fonts and sizes, and it still opens quite quickly. Something to think about.

  8. Erik,

    Mousepad is one of the best simple text editors I have used on linux, and first of all I want to congratulate you for the work.

    Now, some suggestions:

    The highlighting features using scintilla will be a perfect fit for mousepad, I think that is one of the primary needs, as code coloring is a must on any editor. Remember also, instead of only detecting the coloring scheme from the file extension (or some regexps), to provide a menu to select the coloring scheme, some editors lacks it, and only perform code coloring throught file extension, and this is a Pain in the ass, as you need to stick with predetermined file extensions.

    Tabs, templates and etc… are cool too, if you keep the editor sanely fast and small as it is today :)

    A plugin interface would improve the editor very much as it will add the ability for us to develop cool extensions.

    About your concern on expand features and loose the mousepad appeal, I think that the best way to avoid it is to keep everything customizable… and perhaps modular… so the user can fine tune his mousepad to fit his needs.

    Also I have 2 more features that I think would be killer on mousepad:

    1.) Code completion and hinting support (…doesn’t scintilla provides resources for it?!?!?)
    It will be a remarkably feature… as some IDE’s are lacking on linux world today, decent, fast, small and not full of bullsheat IDE’s for PHP, Python, Perl, Shell Script, CSS, Javascript, Ruby, Rails, etc…

    2.) Support to ftp, samba shares and even SSHFS (access file systems remotely as ftp using ssh protocol and regular ssh servers). This all can be achieved using FUSE, allowing the user to activate those features on compile time would be a must as you can adapt gtk file browser to read fuse mounts, would help a lot developers and system admins.

    3.) Some sidebar features for coding and file navigation.
    A optional sidebar with a file tree and why not the FUSE Filesystems mountings, so throught a sidebar I can open a file on my server on another tab of mousepad, etc…
    A class browser for php, python, ruby would be cool too.
    Also, all those features could be enabled/disabled by the user, avoiding those which wishes purely text editor simplicity to have them, and those in need for a advanced text/code editor with IDE features, to be happy too.

    4.) Integration with Debugger throught plugin interface.
    Integration with debugger like DBG and others throught a plugin interface would be cool.
    Also a toolbar with buttons to step, trace, follow cursor, run.
    Support to configure a php CLI for example to allow php developers to execute their code directly from mousepad.

  9. I strongly second Deling Ren’s comment. Mousepad is the sort of minimalist text editor I’m looking for. Being a Vim guy myself, I need to keep a lightweight viewer/editor handy for whatever jobs GVim proves to be too bloated, e.g. take a quick look at a script or edit a few lines in a file.

    There are already enough programs out their with their own scripting language. Mousepad doesn’t have to join them. I will use something else if I ever need syntax highlighting, tab completion, FTP support or Pong. Other times, I just want a simple editor that gets straight to the point.

    I like your program, but no matter how hard you try, you will not beat the mainstream editors in features! So why not try to excel at something else? Do one thing, and do it well. Thank you for taking time to read.

  10. may i throw my name in the hat for more textpad-ish features? regex find/replace, line numbering, syntax highlighting, extensible via script.

    greatest. editor. ever.

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