Moving to a single editor

abstract: Reaction: move to a single editor

After having vented my frustration with the plethora of editors I have to contend with (see), I try to move as much as possible to a single editor engine.

Editor engine

Programmers have learned that they construct again and again basic editors - with little variability in functionality. The basic editing functionality is available in graphics packages and GUI environments - the difference between products is mostly in the user interface, which --- as has been learned the hard way --- is difficult and time consuming to design.

An editor engine provides a basic set of such functionality in which specialized tools can be integrated. Vim and emacs are likely the oldest, geany is one I see (but have not tried to use for anything beyond simple text editing when I need an editor for large files). Emerged environments to build desktop apps on the base of browser and the corresponding languages (see my blog). An obvious choice for an app to build is an basic but extendable editor - for example Zettlr, atom or vscode.

I tried briefly to use Zettlr because the idea to translate the methods an eminent social science researcher (Luhmann) has used to organize his immense collection of documents and notes I found attractive. Zettlr is a minimalist editor, avoiding distraction and --- unfortunately --- has a single purpose: organizing notes. It cannot become your only editor, at least not for me.


I found that I use three editing environments:

The two are built on electron, TeXstudio seems to be using Qt.

I selected Atom as the base, because my experience with VScode was tainted by problems with the Haskell environment, which did not really integrate well; thus, I thought, if Atom gives the same basics for Haskell and I liked it for Markdown, and felt it slightly less confusing...

Now the question is: Can everything be done in Atom?

A little later, I found that the integration for TeXstudio for working with Haskell is still a bit better than the one I found with Atom. The major frustration with Atom is, however, that I cannot find a light theme (among the thousands offered) that is not grey on grey and not readable for me. For writing, not being able to read line number is ok, but for programming...

Therefore I am back on three (two quite similar): Atom for writing, VScode for coding and TeXstudio for working with latex.

Markdown editing for homepage and blog

Markdown and pandoc is very comfortable and works well - the integration with Atom is ok.

Missing: - a local and a global find function, like the two in VScode. - my adapted pandoc process chain (on command line) - terminal management like VScode.

Negative: - for the light themes, too much light gray text on light gray background. VScode is better.

Unfortunately, writeMarkdown . readMarkdown is not identity (nor is the combination) idempotent. I have a tool to change the ae, oe and ue combination used for german writing to real umlaute. But it garbles the metadate in the beginning of the file; I hope for a solution!


The integration failed for the same reasons as VScode (ghc-mod is outdated).

Missing: - terminal integrated and triggered update when save (like VScode) - find


Not yet tried.


I will migrate to markdown - I see currently little advantage over Markdown and Latex; perhaps my opinion changes after I have tried it.


Perhaps VScode would have been the better choice? But both, VScode and Atom have the same security issue (see heise) inherited from the electron base.

Produced with SGG on with master5.dtpl.