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Establishing a standard/recommended editor for AutoHotkey


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Poll: Would having a standard/recommended editor for AutoHotkey interest you? (74 member(s) have cast votes)

Would having a standard/recommended editor for AutoHotkey interest you?

  1. I don't do enough scripting to justify the use of a customized editor. (1 votes [0.93%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.93%

  2. I write scripts frequently but prefer an extremely simple editor such as Notepad or Metapad. (4 votes [3.74%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.74%

  3. It would have to have some compelling benefits to get me to switch from the editor I use now. (12 votes [11.21%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.21%

  4. If a customized editor became standard/recommended, there's at least a 40% chance I'd use it. (5 votes [4.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.67%

  5. If a customized editor became standard/recommended, there's at least an 80% chance I'd use it. (63 votes [58.88%])

    Percentage of vote: 58.88%

  6. I already use an editor customized for AutoHotkey that has all the features I'm likely to want. (21 votes [19.63%])

    Percentage of vote: 19.63%

  7. Other (1 votes [0.93%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.93%

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Chris
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Edit: This topic was formerly part of the topic Complex syntax?. It seemed best to make it a new topic because it's probably of high interest to anyone considering a better editor for AutoHotkey scripting.

I think AHK needs to "clean up" on its user tools and make those more "user friendly" and "sophisticated". What, in my opinion, AutoHotKey needs is its own Editor (AHKEditor and AHKStudio are coming long, but still have far to go), a better AU3Recorder (well its own TRUE AHKrecorder w/ Control Clicks...), etc.

I appreciate these suggestions because of their candor and also because of your experience with so many automation tools and programming languages (from your detailed reviews on the web, it's clear you've tried just about everything and weighed their pro's and con's).

Concerning an AHK Editor, many users prefer to stick to their chosen editor -- such as PSPad, TextPad, or even the really basic Metapad -- because of the time they've invested in learning it or just because they like the feel of it. Even so, I realize that there is high demand for a custom AHK editor that has built-in IntelliSense, syntax coloring, context sensitive help, and shortcuts such as "Run Script" (PSPad probably comes the closest while still being free). Rather than reinventing the wheel, I think the approach taken by Jos van der Zande for AutoIt is better: customize an existing editor that already has a great core set of features and a proven history of reliability, namely SciTE/Scintilla (there may be others that would qualify).

The main obstacle is the sheer amount of time involved. It is my impression that customizations of SciTE have a much steeper learning curve than doing the same things in something like PSPad (but as a reward, SciTE offers more power and flexibility). Assuming the benefits seem worthwhile, it would be ideal to have a volunteer to do the customized version of SciTE, preferably someone with SciTE experience. If anyone is interested, Jos van der Zande's SciTE4AutoIt3 might provide some good ideas.

Alternatively, PSPad could be examined in greater detail to find out which AHK customizations it's missing, and whether it's possible to add them. If there is enough interest, perhaps a preconfigured version of PSPad can be offered as a new download (assuming permission can be acquired).

AHKnow
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Forgive me Chris, but I would have to disagree a bit about using SciTE.

1. I have used SciTe and a lot of the functionality of SciTe4AutoIt3, is the shortcut key linking to other AutoIt scripts like AU3recorder, AutoMacroGenerator, GuiBuilder, etc... as well as AU3 the syntax files. f1 = help, f2 = GuiBuilder, etc...

The fact that it links all these different users tools to the editor is what makes it great, more than using SciTe with LUA.

AutoHotKey users can use easier to configure editors like Crimson Editor or "homemade" editors like AHKEditor and AHK Studio and get the same effect.

2. The other element of SciTe4AutoIt3 is integration with help. Rajat's IntelliSense, Syntax highlighting, AHK's help, etc... can all be added to those editors.

3. Another advantage is that you could be using AHK script to make and to configure the editor as oppose to using LUA or whatever.

4. AHK Studio's code is available to everybody (thanks to Titan) which means anybody can contribute.

With SciTe, it looks like the AutoIt user JdeB is the one that mostly maintains it. JdeB is kind of like an alternative version of Rajat, where one user has contributed at a huge level. If I'm not mistaken, I think he was already a knowledgable LUA user too.

It would be hard to ask an individual AHK user to take on such a huge project. Yeah, it will get easier once you have something functional and after a while, but using something "homegrown" appears that it would be easier and people can add little bits to it.

It might really be worth it to continue to work on AHK Editor, AHK Studio, etc... until they have the functionality of SciTe4AutoIt3.

5. I think another reason why various "hardcore" AutoIt users went with SciTe was because they were also programming in other languages/scripting languages and were using SciTe for more than one language.

Like you, I agree that SciTe will create a problem for making configuration changes to it. It may be better to go with Crimson Editor or another freeware editor so that you are able to use it for other programming languages and AutoHotkey at the same time.

But, once an AHK editor (or studio) was more developed, than perhaps it could be configured to handle syntax and help files from another language. Another approach may to configure an AHK editor to use the configuration files from free and existing and easy to configure editors like Crimson Editor too.

6. Lastly, the fact that AutoHotkey does not come with a FREE editor with the POWER of SciTe is one of the main things that puts it an a disadvantage. A more advanced AHK editor/studio would go along way in making it easy for new AutoHotkey users.

Chris
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The fact that it links all these different users tools to the editor is what makes it great, more than using SciTe with LUA.

Good point. I've never used SciTE in any form, but was under the impression that it facilitates Intellisense for AutoIt, as well as things like code-folding and highly custom syntax coloring. It is also my impression that editors like Crimson and PSPad are less powerful and flexible in these areas.

4. AHK Studio's code is available to everybody (thanks to Titan) which means anybody can contribute.

It might really be worth it to continue to work on AHK Editor, AHK Studio, etc... until they have the functionality of SciTe4AutoIt3.

Although I won't discourage this line of development, I don't have high hopes for it becoming the preferred editor. This is because creating something with the core features of Crimson or PSPad from scratch seems daunting -- perhaps more so than customizing SciTE. Even if a RichEdit control became available in AHK, it might prove inadequate or overly complicated to make it do the things Crimson and PSPad do effortlessly.

It would be hard to ask an individual AHK user to take on such a huge project.
...
5. I think another reason why various "hardcore" AutoIt users went with SciTe was because they were also programming in other languages/scripting languages and were using SciTe for more than one language.

Thanks; I think this helps bring me back to reality a little. I suspect SciTE, while extremely powerful, is more oriented to hardcore programmers than something like Crimson or PSPad. Therefore, while I do hope that an AHK configuration becomes available for SciTE someday, I'll put most of my "recommended editor" hopes behind PSPad or Crimson (I don't use either one personally yet).

In case anyone doesn't know, PSPad can already be given many AutoHotkey features such as syntax highlighting and a clip library. The script to enable these is in the Extras folder distributed with AutoHotkey. This is thanks to the efforts of Scott Greenberg, Beardboy, and possibly others.

I'm hoping someone will provide a configuration for Crimson Editor someday since other than PSPad, it's one of the few free editors that's both powerful and easy to learn.

6. Lastly, the fact that AutoHotkey does not come with a FREE editor with the POWER of SciTe is one of the main things that puts it an a disadvantage.

Although I don't expect to ever bundle an editor directly with AutoHotkey (mostly due to the increase in download time), I am interested in providing a new download of something like PSPad or Crimson that is customized for AutoHotkey out of the box.

If anyone has an interest in any area of this topic, please vote in the poll and post your thoughts here.

toralf
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I voted "Other" since there was no option for:
"I'm not interessted since I use a powerful editor already"

I use UltraEdit since I edit different type of files. And UltraEdit with UltraComapre has everything I need (of cause also a lot I'll most probably never use).
- support and conversion from to UNIX/Windows format
- Powerful search and replace
- syntaxhighlighting (I need minimum of 2)
- column edit mode
- tabs for files
- comparing two text files
- list of function/subroutines for quick navigation

Thus I suggest to create extra tools for an existing freeware editor (that is already powerful) to add the needed rest of functionality. I assume that the tools can be so well designed, the user will not recognize them as an add-on.

But as I said, I personally will propably not switch.
Ciao
toralf
 
I use the latest AHK version (1.1.15+)
Please ask questions in forum on ahkscript.org. Why?
For online reference please use these Docs.

Chris
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Thanks for those comments. I know how attached we all get to our favorite software; and an editor is about as personal as you can get.

I voted "Other" since there was no option for:
"I'm not interessted since I use a powerful editor already"

I clarified one of the poll choices -- which is probably what you would have selected -- to: "It would have to have some compelling benefits to get me to switch from the editor I use now."

toralf
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I clarified one of the poll choices -- which is probably what you would have selected -- to: "It would have to have some compelling benefits to get me to switch from the editor I use now."

yeah, that is probably the best describtion. But I do not see my vote in the statistic.
Ciao
toralf
 
I use the latest AHK version (1.1.15+)
Please ask questions in forum on ahkscript.org. Why?
For online reference please use these Docs.

Chris
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I just added a new category and revised the poll to get your vote into the new category.

AHKnow
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For comparison purposes, I'm putting the links to AHK editors here too.

Titan's AHKStudio (Great Job!!!)

https://ahknet.autohotkey.com/~Titan/ Titan

Source

https://ahknet.autoh...n/AHKStudio.ahk

Mtuslechat's AHK_Editor


http://www.autohotke..._Editor_120.exe Motuslechat


There was also some initial work to customize Crimson Editor below:

Daonlyfreez's Crimson Editor files

http://daonlyfreez.n...imsonEditor.zip (AHK Syntax file for Crimson Editor)

http://daonlyfreez.n...ting/ce_run.zip (Crimson Editor run)

http://daonlyfreez.n.../scripting.html



Others scripts that can be added to editors:


Rajat's intellisense ( of course )

http://www.autohotke...opic.php?t=1371


SyntaxTidy cont'd

http://www.autohotke...ht=syntax&sid=0


Smartgui (Rajat)

http://www.autohotke...775&highlight=0


Intellitype (Rajat and Jordi)

http://www.autohotke...971&highlight=0


Context Sensitive Help ( Rajat )

http://www.autohotke...ewtopic.php?t=0


(AHK search help)

http://www.autohotke...363&highlight=0


Folder Menu by Rajat

http://www.autohotke...topic.php?t=299


AHK Menu Editor ( Landvermesser )

http://www.autohotke... ... 1521&sid=0


Autoupdating Menu ( GRE )

http://www.autohotke...ewtopic.php?t=0


Self compiling scripts ( Mike G )

http://www.autohotke... ... =253&sid=0


ToolTip with Picture by [¤GoO¤]

http://www.autohotke...opic.php?t=2494


Auto script for msgboxes by sleepyy35

http://www.autohotke...ewprofile&u=110

DocSavage
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I am just getting my feet wet with a little programing. I am using AutoHotkey to get started. For a year or so I have used Crimson Editor to augment some Dreamweaver work. I went to Crimson looking for AHK plug-in & discovered they are aligned with an editor-under-development, Emerald Editor. Maybe you guys can work together to provide Newbies with an editor that integrates well with AHK.
http://www.emeraldeditor.com/
dk

John B.
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From what I can tell, none of the free editors handle regular expressions in search/replace very well.

* sigh*

Maybe this Emerald Editor will do better. Apparently multi-line search and replace is very difficult to implement. So I voted for "compelling reason" because TextPad has such great regexp support that I can't see switching to another editor (even though it hasn't been updated in years). But I do a lot more text processing than I do script writing...

More on topic, do you think that a custom editor would be of more benefit to the newbie, or the mid-level/advanced scrip writer? While I thought the "development environment" available for AutoIt was interesting, I would not have bothered to download and install it because of having to learn a new editor.

Thanks,
John B.

jonny
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AutoHotkey is not a complex language. Development environments are useful for large-scale projects where it's necessary to be able to quickly search and browse header files, classes, and the like, but I think the overload of features they provide isn't worth it for a scripting language. Even for scripts of several hundred lines, I prefer simplicity.

I'm not really sure what to say for newbies, though... it could be helpful to have certain integrated features like running and reloading a script, but how many would they find useful, and how many would just add to the confusion? It would be a delicate balance.

Thalon
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I mostly use PSPad, because it can complete every word written in the file (I use it most time for descriptive variable-names). Btw: Which other editors do have this?

It has also project-management I use first time since a couple of days.

Thalon

PhiLho
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I mostly use PSPad, because it can complete every word written in the file (I use it most time for descriptive variable-names). Btw: Which other editors do have this?

SciTE...
I wouldn't take it as is as a base for an AHK "IDE", as it is too complex for a newbie, but editors made upon Scintilla are, IMHO, the best... :-) (I am biased...)
So hacking Notepad++ or Notepad2 could be a solution, I suppose.
Posted Image vPhiLho := RegExReplace("Philippe Lhoste", "^(\w{3})\w*\s+\b(\w{3})\w*$", "$1$2")

ahklerner
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IMHO, the best... (I am biased...)


I am not biased...And I agree...

Micahs
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I agree. Scintilla-based in general and SciTE in particular.
SciTE is portable, lightweight and flexible. I agree also that it may be a little much for beginners, but according to the license to SciTE it is possible for someone to distribute a "branded" version configured specifically as needed.

Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its documentation for any purpose

Here is my portaSciTE setup:
1. It uses PhiLho's lexer
2. AHK compile/run/help already set up (followed PhiLho's instructions)
3. AHK is the default language
4. SciTElauncher modifies autohotkeydir setting in ahk.properties for current drive letter and allows help, autocomplete, compile and run from usb drive
5. SciTElauncher maximizes SciTE after loading itThis allows beginners to just start - without configuring SciTE! If they want to learn to make custom config changes, they can. If not, it works as is.
I have it set up like this:
USB drive root
  +-----AHK
         +-----SciTE
         +-----AutoHotKey
         ------SciTElauncher.exe
This is a standard SciTE v1.71 just set up for AHK. Autohotkey is not included in the rar.
Download
(If you download this, please scan it with your antivirus software before opening it, just in case.)

Here's PhiLho's SciLexer thread and SciTE home if you want to put it together yourself.
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