Taking another look at Text Trix

Over the past few months we've had a chance to try out a variety of text editors as we've starting working with various languages. Our recent foray into On The Mark open-source development using JavaFX/NetBeans, plus our use of Matlab for analytic software, on top of good ol' Vim coding for AJAX/CSS/HTML website scripting has reinforced our view that a variety of editors is better than one. It's also prompted us to take another look at Text Trix to see what it offers in addition to these other programming and texting tools, and what work might lay in store to enhance these offerings.

What is the main goal of Text Trix? That's evolved over the years, but the chief goal has been to develop an editor that makes it easy to see and find text and does exactly what you tell it to do. Most programming editors make it a point not to wrap text, to convert tabs to spaces, even have special keystrokes for basic things like copy/pasting. That's exactly what we didn't want in our editor. We wanted something that would wrap-indent visually (ie without changing the text), that would preserve tabs, that would allow for graphical user-friendly copy/paste, etc. And that's what Text Trix offers.

As for performance? The original impetus to write Text Trix was not performance, surprisingly, although it soon became its chief appeal to us. Text Trix grew out of a desire to create a platform where simple text-maniuplating plugins could be written easily. But performance could definitely use a boost, especially after we've added a syntax highlighter and spell-checker (via other open-source projects; spell-checker coming soon) that consume heavy doses of CPU and memory. Our new goal is to make these tools more efficient and also optional for use on slower systems.

And plugins? As I mentioned, Text Trix was originally conceived around plugins. To date, we really only have 3 plugins used on a regular basis (Extra Returns Remover, Song Sheet, and Search, although Line Dance was written on a similar framework). We hope to find ways to make plugin writing even more accessible and feature rich.

Or portability? Text Trix has been and always will be (we hope) portable across platforms. With new MacOS testing, we've been able to ensure that the little editor can go with you to wherever you type. But since we can't test Text Trix on every platform, we welcome your input!

Text Trix may not fit every application, but as a graphical editor that does what you tell it, we hope it has a niche in web application development and even for basic, no-frills programming. But to keep doing that, we need to keep on hacking away and, most importantly, hearing your feedback. Let us know how we can make Text Trix more useful for your work!


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