Coding

Komodo IDE 6.0.0 RC1 Review


This was originally going to be a beta3 review, as I downloaded that on the eighth, but apparently I missed the beta3 release for SO LONG that ActiveState released RC1 on the ninth. How the heck did that slip by me? I was looking.

A quick note on beta3:

  • TweakUI was updated to work with it, which meant I could finally put my Code window on the right and leave my Project window on the left. Suddenly I can work in this editor!

I wish I had more to say, but I literally only used it for a few hours before finding out about RC1.

And now, about exactly that.

Sample screenshot

Courtesy of ActiveState, here’s a sample of how the new interface looks:

Mine’s a little different, since I use Windows, but I can’t really display to the world what all projects and such I’m working on.

First thoughts

The vertical tab layout initially repulsed me, just because I have an immediate aesthetic hatred of vertical text. However, I quickly fell in love with it, because I HATED having to click the dropdown, then select which window I wanted open. I have a widescreen monitor, why not use that extra real estate? The right-side tabs don’t default to this, but you can change that in Edit -> Preferences -> Appearances -> Tabs. Though that might just be Tweak UI.

The Projects pane at the bottom of Places is BRILLIANT. Now I can quickly switch between active projects, which is terribly useful. However, it doesn’t automatically remember what windows you had open when you switched, which renders it pretty useless when trying to refer to code from other projects. Thankfully, there are settings for this. Go to Edit -> Preferences -> Projects and Workspace. Then select, “When opening a project, Open no files” and “When closing a project, Close no files.” Now you can swap quickly between projects without having Komodo close any files you might want to refer to.

Problem with the Projects pane, though. It seems to remember the list of projects from somewhere, but I have since then deleted some of them, and there is no way to remove them from the list. No right-click option, the delete button doesn’t work, nothing. Am I missing a setting somewhere?

The database explorer still opens whole separate windows instead of tabs in the interface. This continues to make no sense to me. It would be more consistent and useful to have these things open in tabs, so why the decision to do windows?

Remote Server support on a per-Project basis

It’s not uncommon that I want to work on a remote server (a testing/staging server, identically configured to the live server), but have my changes be reflected in my local files as well (for version control and tracking). NetBeans handles this really well, by letting you configure a remote server and letting you configure a shortcut to upload your local files to the appropriate place on that remote server. Komodo? Not so much.

Out of the box, you have two options:

  • Work locally and manually FTP the files to your remote site, or
  • Work remotely (the remote server browser is actually pretty decent), and FTP the files back to your local folder.

Neither option is very good, and this has been an issue for ever.

Thankfully, there’s an add-on that solves this problem, Uploader. When you configure your remote servers, ensure that the server is named identically to your project, then prepend an asterisk (and ensure the remote directory matches), and Uploader will automatically upload the file to the remote server whenever you save.

Once configured, it works like a dream, but this is honestly another thing that should be a native part of Komodo.

Useful Add-on: Aero Theme

Use Windows 7? Want to pretty up Komodo a bit? Try out the Aero Theme add-on. I really like the look of Komodo after installing this mod, though it’s a shame that the right-hand vertical tabstrip isn’t changed. Still, it’s understandable, given that you have to have installed and played with TweakUI to even see it.

Conclusions

Komodo IDE 6 is finally at a point where I can work with it, day-to-day. I have to say I prefer the new way that Projects work (once the Projects and Workspace settings have been fixed) – it makes it easier to work with multiple projects without having to scroll for a half-hour between all the open projects. There still needs to be a way (or at least a clearer way) to manage projects (delete/rename/etc).

Database support in the editor is nice to have, but it still feels like a bolt-on because it doesn’t follow the rest of the interface’s standards (not part of the tabbed windows).

Komodo does a lot out of the box and for that I’m thankful. But you still require TweakUI and Uploader in order to get it to a really useful point (i.e. to work remotely without an FTP program or see the Code window without swapping back and forth with the Project window). These are pretty glaring problems that most people won’t persevere through.

I’d recommend it, but with the caveat: Once you install all the necessary mods and adjust the settings, it’s pretty damn awesome. Before that point, it’s pretty damn frustrating. Make sure you’re willing to stick past that point.

EDIT: What the heck? I just upgraded to the latest version of TweakUI and it a) moved all my tabs back to the left, and b) now refuses to let me move any back to the right. This is exactly why this kind of thing needs to be part of Komodo natively.

EDIT x2: Apparently TweakUI 1.3.0 had a bad version match, which has since been fixed, and I can confirm that my Code and DOM tabs are back on the right where they’re supposed to be.

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  • Randy

    RandyRandy

    Author

    You shouldn’t need an add-on. What this says is that the developers who develop Komodo, don’t use it. Ditto with Netbeans.

    It’s nuts that you can’t find an IDE that gets connectivity right. I recently found JetBrains PHPStorm, but the connectivity is so stupid, it requires me to download all the files from a remote site, even if I create the project from existing sources. Nor does it give me the option of skipping that step because I’ve already sync’d the code. Finally, it doesn’t notice that the drive where the project is located is a remote network share, so it’s reading and writing to and from the same drive.

    Just my 2 cents.


  • Trent Mick

    Trent MickTrent Mick

    Author

    David,

    Regarding working with remote files: Komodo *IDE* 6 has a new Publishing feature for sync local and remote dirs. The TweakUI issues: please ask in the bug tracker or on the forums (http://community.activestate.com/). Todd, the dev behind TweakUI and the sidebar tab changes, is very responsive.


  • Dan Hulton

    Dan HultonDan Hulton

    Author

    I just took a look at the Publishing feature. Looks neat, but a little intimidating. Does it compare both sites entirely and update all the changes, or just the files I’m working on, or what? I’ll play with it at some point soon, but it’s not terribly discoverable. I really expected something like this to be part of the Project properties.