First impressions - RText feature set

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First impressions - RText feature set

Postby Anonymous1981 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:38 am

I've been a long time user of Helios Textpad. But recently decided to start looking for a replacement, certain limitations I am hitting more and more. RText is one of the ones being considered.

After looking at RText, am fairly impressed considering its size, but was wondering on a few things.

1. Any thoughts on adding a spellchecker either into the main product or as a plugin, or integrating with an existing 3rd party spellchecker?

2. Any thoughts to adding block selection and copy and paste?

3. The document properties option shows # characters and # lines, any thought to showing # words

4. You support a lot of syntax highlighting, however I would not mind seeing added BBCode (*.bbc) and Delphi/Pascal (*.pas) highlighting.

5. If the file selection is in split pane view, and the file pane is set to left, any thought to optionally integrating it into the same tabbed portion as the File System/Source browser pane, with it being a 3rd tab on the bottom. Or while it is displayed being able to right click a file in it to close it.

Re: First impressions - RText feature set

Postby Guest » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:44 am

Forgot one last item.

6. Thoughts on adding ability to sort by selection or entire document, starting at a user selectible column?

Re: First impressions - RText feature set

Postby robert » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:26 pm

I'll respond to your suggestions one by one.

1. There is actually a Feature Request for this already, for the editor component at least. I did some initial work on it but never completed it. The actual changes would mostly be in the editor component itself; RText would just come with the spell checker bundled (I believe I tested with Jazzy). Things get a little trickier when spell-checking source code. I think for source the spell checker should be "smart" and only spell check comments. I could look into this more after the next release (which should hopefully be soon).

2. I once explored this as well, as I think it's a really cool feature, and would help RText stand out. I had things mostly working but ran into some difficulties - RSyntaxTextArea, the text component, inherits from the Swing text package, which in no way pretends to support block selection, and thus makes things difficult (code in the Swing library specifically assumes that the selection is not block selection, and you have to work around that). This would take more work than #1, and I might need people to beta test before I felt comfortable releasing it (any takers?).

3. This could certainly be added. I've added a Feature Request so I don't forget about it.

4. Please add a Feature Request to RSyntaxTextArea for any languages you'd like to see added. Languages added to RSTA automatically get supported in RText.

5. This is a good suggestion, I will look into it.

6. Just to be sure I understand you - do you mean you'd like to be able to select a range of lines (or the entire document) and sort them based on a column of your choosing? If so, that should be easy enough to add. Let me know if this is what you mean and I can add a Feature Request for it (my memory is faulty in my old age :)).
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Re: First impressions - RText feature set

Postby Anonymous1981 » Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:22 am

For #1... The spell checker need not be smart enough to handle spell checking code by itself as issued by yourself. A compromise would be to have the spell checker able to be added to on the programmers part, and have the language keywords and syntax added in by the programmers. That way you do not have to deal with conflicts in the various language keywords and syntax. A programmer should be able to make a sample file with all the keywords for their respective language easily enough.

For #2... That is a pity. I use block selection/copy/cut/paste all the time. Both at home for private development and personal projects, and at work.

For #3 and #5. Great, glad the ideas were considered noteworthy.

For #4... I'll see if I can add it after this post. Your existing list is fairly comprehensive. I was a bit surprised not to see BBCode or Delphi/Pascal/Knoppix. A related idea... could you not have user definable syntax files? I know a couple programmer text editor home sites that not only do that, but have a sub page devoted to user submissions such as the Edit+ site ( ). Thus, your users could do the work for you.

For #6... Pretty much correct. Using Textpad as my example, since I know it best, goes a bit further, and offers a bit of a different sort pop up screen depending upon whether you are in block select mode and have only some of the document highlighted or not. At most it allows a sort on 3 columns. Here are its two different screens for example functionality of what I was referring to. ... style1.jpg ... style2.jpg

Re: First impressions - RText feature set

Postby robert » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:25 pm

RE: The spell checker - A first pass at a spell checker "add-on" is now in the SVN repository. It depends on the main RSyntaxTextArea project to build, so you'll need to check that out too.

This will be a small extra jar (under the LGPL) that adds spell checking to RSTA through its addParser() method. The README file in the SpellChecker project has some usage instructions, and the project also has an example program showing usage.

Keep in mind that what's currently pushed can and will change before an "official" release. I've got some more changes to push still, but after that the add-on should be mostly usable (in fact, it already should be, sans bugs). Of course, it'll be fleshed out as feedback comes in before the next RSTA release.

RE: Delphi highlighting, I'm also working on that now, and it should be pushed tonight or tomorrow. If you're interested, I ask that you check it out from SVN and try it out, and give feedback on any issues you find before the "official" release comes out.
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Re: First impressions - RText feature set

Postby Alexandrei » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:46 am


I've been a heavy user of jEdit - but truth is that I do not need all it's features. But there are several things that kept me with it:
- block edit (YEY!)
- split window (vertically, horizontally, and as many times needed, and each split has the tab, so you can compare any documents,or the same, independently)
- hyper-search (open a new window/tab, with the list of found results, and the line; click to browse to the location; just like RText's 'find in files')
- integrated filebrowser and tagbrowser
- cross-platform

Well.. I've just found out RText, and I am quite impressed for the moment! It has most of the features that I need, and it appears faster and smaller than jEdit.

I just wanted to say a 'me too' to support the addition of the block selection/insertion/edit feature! Once you get used to it.. you can't live without :P The second one would be the split functionality, but that seems more complicated.

I'll keep an eye on RText :)
Keep up the good work!

Have a nice day,

Re: First impressions - RText feature set

Postby robert » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:38 pm

A way to split the current view is also something I've looked into. I don't know if I'd go as far as allowing "unlimited" splitting, but even just allowing a single vertical-or-horizontal split would be a huge benefit for many.

This seemed straightforward at first, but handling the undo manager gives me problems with this feature. Swing's undo support is not text component-specific, you can actually use it with other components as well. Which is "a Good Thing," but it causes problems in the case where you want two JTextComponents to share the same Document (i.e. a split view). At least, it's something I can't find an easy solution.

I'll definitely keep hacking at that one though because it's a feature I want as well.
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Re: First impressions - RText feature set

Postby alexandrei » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:23 pm

robert wrote:A way to split the current view is also something I've looked into. I don't know if I'd go as far as allowing "unlimited" splitting, but even just allowing a single vertical-or-horizontal split would be a huge benefit for many.

Indeed, usually a single split is enough, and the option to do it horizontally or vertically is quite important.

And, I find it quite important that you can switch the contents of each split independently. I've seen some editors that supported splitting, but only for the current document. Switching the document kept the "split" but also switched content in both views.. so.. it was not very useful.

The best implementation in my opinion was the one used in jEdit (the complete set of tabs, of all opened documents, appeared for each "view"). It's also ok the implementation of Kate (with a single tab bar), but it's not very natural to see what it's open in which view, and how to switch the document.

Anyway, good to hear that you find it an interesting feature! :)


Re: First impressions - RText feature set

Postby robert » Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:47 am

Just a quick note that many of the features requested in this thread are already in SVN, and will be in the next RText release (1.0, finally!):

  • A spell checker will be integrated. Using Jazzy, you can spell check either American or British English. You can also add unknown words to a user-defined dictionary file, or choose to ignore certain words for the current session only. Words are squiggle-underlined, and a focusable tool tip is used to offer suggestions for the spelling error (a la Eclipse). I'm very satisfied with this implementation, especially for a first pass.
  • Word count has been added to the Document Properties dialog.
  • BBCode and Delphi/Pascal highlighting support have been added (as has Scala, as well).
  • In the "split pane" view, the file list is now in a tabbed panel, just like the plugins, making things much more nicely integrated.

Everything else I plan (hope) to add post-1.0:

  • Block selection
  • Sorting the document, or a group of lines, by column.
  • Context menu on file list view for closing files, etc.
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Re: First impressions - RText feature set

Postby VCase » Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:34 pm

I ran across RText when looking for an alternative to TextPad that also works on Linux. I find that the feature set addresses most of my needs and that the interface is more natural than JEdit (imho). If I may, I would like for you to consider two possible features.

First, I often use my text editor to monitor log files as they change. RText does notice when changes are made outside of the editor, but has the following limitations.

1- There is no option to automatically update the file without responding to a dialog prompt. Having to click "Yes" to update every couple of seconds makes it difficult to work on other documents.

2- After clicking "Yes" to re-load a file that has been modified outside of the editor, the cursor moves to the top of the (potentially very long) file. It would be helpful if the cursor remained on the same line number or (more simply) moved to the end of the file. This allows you avoid a context switch and the time necessary to re-establish the context.

3- When multiple files are open in separate tabs, and a change happens to a file in a tab other than the actively displayed document, clicking "Yes" to re-load the document changes the active tab to the document that was reloaded. This makes it extremely difficult to work on a 2nd document when the first is being repeatedly modified outside of the editor

Second, and this is a minor point. I open and close many documents. It would be nice if the open file tabs each included a "close icon" so that a file could be closed with a single click.

Thanks for the great editor.


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