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Friday, September 26, 2003

What I want in an editor

A few things in Visual Interdev have really been bugging me the last few days because I've been using it so heavily. Yes, it's a 1998-era IDE, but it's all I really have to work with (my application is traditional ASP). I'm doing all client-side work right now, but a lot of this carries over to server script as well

  • Server-side include statements and script elements that point to an external file are not read when working in a page. So I get no IntelliSense on my JavaScript functions which I keep in a separate library. I would like to not have to keep 2 windows open jsut to reference my code.
  • Task List doesn't work well - barely at all. I know VS.NET fixes this quite well.
  • DOM knowledge is stuck at what MS supported around 1998. IE 6 handles a lot of stuff that InterDev doesn't know anything about. But when you upgrade server components, it can pick those up just fine.
  • On top of that, as you start going through the motions of creating elements, eventually the objects & methods get nested deep enough that InterDev gives up.
  • The CSS editor isn't even worth mentioning. It hosed my CSS file and I haven't let it go near since. And won't let you edit the source.
  • The ability to plug in other text editors. Supposedly one can plug the Win32 version of vim into Visual C++. Not so with InterDev. Vim has some features I use a lot (better syntax highlighting, easier commands on the keyboard, bracket matching) but I'm stuck with InterDev's editor.

So by now you're asking yourself "why doesn't he use something else?" Well, there are some features of InterDev I do need a lot. Namely project file management and source control. The Task List, if it worked properly, would also be a must-have - but I just use it as a fancy pad of post-it notes right now. But I also don't know what else is out there. Vim doesn't have all the features I need, it's just a killer text editor. It'd be great as part of a suite, but not as a solution on its own.

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