Software Development with Linux

Kate Get an Edge in Editing

SUN, 01 FEB 2009

Today I'll review Kate version 3.2.0 (using KDE 4.2.00).
Kate is a multi document editor, based on a rewritten version of the kwrite editing widget of KDE, offering all the features of that plus a bunch of its own. -- Kate's website
I'm using Kate since a couple of years now, and it's definitely my preferred source code editor. It got all the features you may want in a good source code editor, without anything else. This result in a better source code editor, that always work and don't consume all your memory and CPU resources, like many Integrated Development Environment (IDE) do.

When you start Kate (which start fast!), you get a clean and simple interface.

You have the opened documents listed at the left, with the current one highlighted.

Kate have syntax highlighting. It automatically detect the correct scheme to use, but you can also select one from the "Tools -> Highlighting" menu.

The list of available scheme is quite large and probably include everything you need (C, C++, assembler, Apache conf., XML, Perl, PHP, SQL, Verilog, LaTeX, Matlab, Bash, AWK, Doxygen, Makefile, etc.). But, if you want to add more, it's also possible.

Other mandatory features for a source code editor which included in Kate are :

  • Regex based find & replace

  • Code folding

  • Line numbering

  • Automatic indentation

  • Automatic word completion

  • Spell checking

  • Open matching .h/.cpp/.c

  • Plugin architecture (add your own cool feature!)

  • ...

Also, you can have a terminal displayed. It will be kept synchronized with the currently opened document. This way, you can quickly use grep, find, or any other commands, resulting in an infinite amount features, without compromising the stability and speed of the editor itself.

Other great "goodies", that I haven't found often in other source code editors are :

  • Google selection

  • Email CVS diff

  • Run script

  • Pipe to terminal

  • Compile / Make integration (parse error messages)

  • Backtrace navigation

  • ...

All in all, Kate really is a great source code editor. Everywhere I worked, I often heard co-workers complaining about their IDE. I happily show them Kate.

When people complain that you cannot debug with Kate, I answer that it's not harder to start you debugger manually from the command line, than it is to press a button. That way, your source code editor never crash :)