Padre - Perl IDE

I have dragged myself, kicking and screaming, into the century of the fruit bat... and I am trying out Padre.

Mac, Linux, Windows

My initial installation problems were many. Here are a few:

  • Linux - would not install with 'cpan Padre' but once I manually installed Wx and Alien::wxWidgets then it worked.
  • Windows - two machines, both would not run after installing the MSI with built in Strawberry Perl. Turned out that you need to reboot twice to get it to run
  • Mac OS X - too many problems to mention, but got it working eventually, with some help. Most of the issues due to multiple versions of Perl installed.

So now I have Padre running everywhere. Once it was running, installing plugins etc seem to be very smooth.

Initial impressions from a VI man

Well... you may be surprised, but I like it. It does not mean I will be replacing VI tomorrow, but there may be some uses which are custom made for Padre. Not least of which is better handling of errors, syntax and refactoring !

What don't I like... so far:

  • White background. Just so bad for your eyes. Everyone using white backgrounds editing text all day could end up with some serious eye problems. The problem is, every time you try and find a study on this, people point to readability for short term. But there is a simpler solution, how about a simple control to change the background colour only - thus being able to make it a little off white, yellow or grey.
  • Editing fingers - moving my fingers off the home keys (I am a very fast touch typer) onto the arrow keys for moving around drives me nuts. The problem is that plugins never get this right - and there is a good reasons, you really can't hack VI into another product. I will think about this further.
  • Opening files from the command line - can't get this to work, seems to always open a new IDE.
  • Keyboard shortcuts don't make sense - on the Mac anyway. E.g. the menu for Save has no shortcut key ! Perhaps, time permitting, I can make some mods for Mac can be made, to use standard keys including the more unusual ones (such as Apple-, to open preferences).

As you can see, a pretty short list. I must say I am very impressed. Well done to the team who brought us this product :-)

Keys I expect on Mac OS X

Here are a list of keys I expect to work, which are currently not.

  • Apple-S - Save current document
  • Apple-F - Find
  • Apple-W - Close current file
  • Apple-O - Open a file