#ApplicationoftheWeek – Komodo Edit

Tough one, this week.  I’ve been on leave for a couple of weeks, so there’s not a great deal I’ve been using.

Five minutes back at work and I’m now up to my neck in editing code.  Which is nice!  I like doing this!  I also like having a decent editor on hand to help me with the tricky stuff.  And, because I’m a poor IT manager with no budget for expensive tools (hah!), I like my editors to be free.  Oh, and they’ve also got to work on both Windows and Linux.  So, no pressure!

In the past, I’ve tried…

  • Eclipse – Java-based, okay for working with PHP but very resource-hungry
  • Aptana – better for web work but based on Eclipse so suffers from the same resource problems
  • Dreamweaver – Lovely on Windows, sucks on Linux.
  • n|vu – Spin-off from the old Netscape Composer.  Nice for pure HTML but no use at all with php
  • SCITE – My Windows text editor of choice
  • Quanta+ – My Linux web editor of choice

Finally, though, I’ve settled on Komodo Edit.

Komodo Edit Logo

It’s the streamlined version of Komodo IDE from ActiveState (those wonderful people who bring Perl to the world). Alright, so there’s no WYSIWYG editor but then I’ve got 2 monitors and always have the project-in-progress open on the second monitor.  It has code hinting, variable completion, an excellent find and replace, good project management and the ability to hook up to my remote servers and edit files directly there.  One thing it doesn’t do that it’s big brother does is work with versioning repositories like GIT and Subversion.  No big loss for me, I’m a one-man coding operation.  Here’s a comparison of what’s different between the two versions, see what’s added in the IDE version and see if you need to shell out the cash.

If you want to take your work with you, Komodo Edit can also be run from a pen drive as a Portable App.  Granted, it’s a little slow to launch the first time it’s run on a given machine (we’re talking go-and-get-a-coffee-and-newspaper-to-do-the-fiendish-sudoku slow here) but it does mean you can have your projects and editor with you at all times.

It’s a very generalist editor, it works well with all manner of different code types, so it doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles many of the other editors possess.  It doesn’t have the web toolkit integration of Dreamweaver, for example.  If you’re wanting to work with jQuery, you’ll be doing it by hand.  But that’s also one of its strengths – it’s not spoon-feeding you stuff you could do with learning, it’s helping you learn it in the first place.

Give it a try for a week and you’ll know whether you love it or hate it.

Over to you…

Other code editors are available.  From Firefox plugins to full-blown integrated development environments to plain old Notepad.  What do you use?

#ApplicationoftheWeek – WordPress for Android

I love WordPress.  It’s a fantastic web application that’s grown from a simple blog into a full-blown contents management system (CMS).  You can have a site up and running, themed to look how you want it to, in a matter of minutes.  WordPress will even host it for you (but you can have more fun extending the site if you host it yourself).  It’s a real contender for anyone looking for a website CMS they can play with.  The fact that it’s open-source, so if you see something wrong or missing you can patch it yourself, is just the icing on the cake.  But why would you pick WordPress over something more powerful like Drupal or Joomla?

Simplicity, for one.  Installing plugins is handled entirely through the web interface, no digging around with an FTP program to get the right files in the right place.  To be fair, Drupal 7 does this as well.  Upgrading is also handled through the web interface – you get a message telling you there’s a new version available and asking if you want to upgrade.  A couple of clicks later and you’re upgraded.  Magic.  Drupal doesn’t do that!  Well, not yet, anyway.

The sweetest thing of all for me, though, is the Android application for site management – available from http://android.wordpress.org/.  I can write and edit posts, upload photos and videos direct from my phone’s camera, approve comments (or trash them for spam).  And it handles multiple blogs through the same app.  The only thing I can’t get from the app is the stats, because I’ve not installed the right plugin to my main site.

Anyone who needs to update their blog when they’re away from their computer should have an app like this to do the job.  Genius.

And I really must work out how to take screenshots from my phone.

#ApplicationoftheWeek – Action Snap

Action SnapI love my camera apps.  Vignette, as I’ve mentioned before, is my favourite app for taking photos.  Action Snap, though, fits a niche that Vignette doesn’t fill at the moment.

On it’s basic settings, it takes 4 photos, a fraction of a second apart.  It snaps action, as the name suggests.  It does exactly what it says on the tin.

It’s got some excellent basic effects built in for taking photos – sepia, assorted LOMO effects – and a couple of different basic layouts.  I love the standard, 4 tall, narrow pictures.

Action Snap Basic LayoutIt’ll do square photos as well, 3×3 layouts, 2×3 layouts.  Superb.  The time delay between photos is configurable as well.  It integrates into anything you’ve got for sharing things on your phone, as well as the http://steply.com/ service (which will, in addition, autopost to Twitter and Facebook).  The only drawback I’ve found is there’s no way to save the photos direct to your phone.  To achieve this, I share photos to Dropbox.com, an app I’ve also got installed.

Yes, there are adds on the photo preview screen, but they’re not obtrusive.  Just ignore them.

This app fills a niche and fills it well.  Enjoy.