JEditAs with any programmer, I have a set of tools I use on a frequent basis. Coming from a Windows background, you need a powerful text editor for basic tasks. It needs the ability to read files coming in from Unix as well as Windows, hopefully has the capability to run external programs, an easy interface for working with large file sets, and maybe syntax highlighting.

If I’m on a *nix machine and coming in over a terminal, I will be using Vim. When I’m on Windows, I used to use EditPlus. Now, I’m finding myself more and more on different operating systems but working with the same set of files. So I decided to see what was available that was cross platform and didn’t run in a terminal window.

jEdit rose to the top. However, I had a few issues to get past. The first and foremost being the non-native look and feel of a Java Swing application. Not a java application, but a Swing application… Important distinction.

So I left jEdit and went back to EditPlus on Windows, and BBEdit on Mac. Vim stuck around for *nix. The problem was, I was still switching back and forth between platforms and after 6 months or so, I decided to give jEdit another try.

The initial turn off factor was that for some reason, us programmers aren’t very artistic or graphically predisposed. This time around, I found out that jEdit is very skinnable. So I set about making jEdit look how I want it to look. Attached is the result.

With a bit of polish jEdit is that much closer to looking like it belongs. There are still some Swingish issues, like font display, non-native windowing components, and the fact that jEdit takes 4 or 5 times longer to start then EditPlus does. But the benefit of a single app now outweighs everything else. It feels so great to be working with the same application on every platform I deal with day to day.

Unfortunately, the icons are not free. You can purchase them at stockicons.com. Specifically, its the Harmony and Harmony DB icon set. At least take a gander, these guys brought professional, custom looking icons down to a price the masses can afford. If you pick up a set, give me a ring, I’ll show you how to add them to jEdit.

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