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Newly minted software developers are typically delighted to discover the power of modern programmer's editors, with syntax highlighting and coloring, auto-indenting, incremental search, etc. Their delight quickly disappears when drowning in a sea of print statements needed to watch the changing values of variables. That's the fundamental reason why integrated development environments (IDEs) are a must-have tool for programmers. They make coding, debugging, project management, and other aspects of software development so much easier and faster. This, in turn, allows the developer to focus his energy and attention on less mundane activities, with more creative energy.


Komodo's built-in editor offers features that experienced coders have come to expect of modern programmer's editors: multidocument editing with tabs, syntax highlighting, stream and block selection, multiple undo and redo, smart-indenting and outdenting, incremental and cross-document search, code-folding (collapsing and expanding blocks), split view, keystroke repetition, recordable macros, code block commenting, and text joining and reflowing. Komodo's syntax capabilities are excellent; they include syntax highlighting with color and syntax checking. This instant visual feedback invariably saves time and reduces bugs. Komodo offers syntax highlighting for over 30 languages. Also, the syntax colors are fully customizable (via Edit > Preferences, not the more standard Tools > Options).

Like the better non-IDE programmer's editors, Komodo has extra features, such as code completion ("AutoComplete"), display of language and user-defined function parameter lists ("CallTips"), Emacs-like key binding, and optional removal of whitespace on line endings.

Programmers spend a lot of time searching and replacing text within code. Thus, an IDE's search-and-replace capabilities are of paramount importance. In this regard, Komodo is more than adequate, though not stellar. It allows regular expressions in text searching, including the use of found text dynamically within the replacement string. It is not documented, but uses the standard Python and Perl syntax of grouping using parentheses and replacement strings identified as $1, $2, etc.

Komodo allows searching within directory trees. The menu item is Edit > Find in Files, which I did not even notice at first, being accustomed to having it as part of a single search-and-replace dialog. One nice feature, which I have not seen elsewhere, is the ability to exclude files from searching. This includes wildcard support.

For programmers who find themselves pasting the same type of code frequently, Komodo's code snippets capability should prove quite handy. It allows you to store any piece of code for later reuse. On the other hand, you should use large snippets judiciously, as any copying and pasting should first alert the wise programmer to perhaps modularize that code in a separate function--true reuse.

Developers creating code for applications and websites intended for an international audience will appreciate Komodo's multilingual Input Method Editor (IME) support, which allows standard keyboard codes to enter complex multibyte characters and symbols for French, German, and Spanish, as well as Asian languages.

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