When Ben and I first started to use Bespin, at the time that we developed Bespin we would argue, or “discuss” subtle nuance of the coding experience. This inspired us more in the creation of the project, as we want to create an editor that Web developers can tweak and change in the language, platform, and tools that they use in their own lives.
Making the time to trick out and customize your developer tool is crucial. We spend day after day in our tools, and if you don’t take the time to learn them and trick them out, you aren’t going to be as efficient and productive as you can be.
Developer tools are often expert systems, and so we want to make Bespin as extensible as possible. Common attributes are wrapped in settings, and one of them is called
strictlines. It is one of the places that Ben and I differ on how we like our editors to work (and disagreeing is fine because we get to choose for ourselves!)
The default behavior of the Bespin editor right now is to have this setting turned off, and that means:
- You can click the mouse on ANY area that you can see in the editor and the cursor will go there and allow you to start typing.
- If you position yourself at the beginning of the line and hit the left arrow, you will not budge.
- If you position yourself at the end of the line and hit the right arrow, you will keep moving right
This is how IntelliJ IDEA works by default.
Contrast this to strictlines mode (where you have to explicitly
set strictlines on). Now:
- If you click off to the right you will be placed at the last column of the row
- If you position yourself at the beginning of the line and hit the left arrow, you will go up a row and placed at the last character (so backwards).
- If you position yourself at the end of the line and hit the right arrow, you will move to the start of the next line (so forewards).
I prefer strictlines, and most editors seem to come with that mode on. I don’t like the feeling of being able to click anywhere and not knowing if there is space in the file over there or not. I like being able to hold down left and go through the lines backwards, and vice versa for heading right.
Below is a video showing the two modes so you can see them in action:
What do you think? What would you like to see as default? To vote, comment on the blog or get on Twitter and “@bespin set strictlines on|off”.
Vote on! :)