Scribes – A sleek, lightweight text editor for Linux
Editors used for editing text are dime a dozen. But if you are looking for a text editor which satisfies all your text editing needs, then you should give Scribes a serious try.
Scribes is an open source, lightweight and sleek text editor which has a whole lot of features built-in. It is developed using Python and Python libraries for GNOME. The first time I installed Scribes on my machine running Linux, I was taken in by its spartan interface. It did not even sport a menu as seen in most text editors, rather there was this minimal toolbar which displayed a few icons for searching, opening a new or existing document and so on. Nothing spectacular. But I realised the real power of Scribes once I started using it.
For all its deceptively spartan looks, Scribes has very powerful features built-in that aids programmers to write code. Unlike other text editors which dwell on adding more features,one on top of another, Scribes takes a different view point. It implements features that have been shown to boost productivity, streamline work flow and eliminate obstructions.
A case in point – When I pressed the left Square Bracket ‘
[', Scribes automatically inserted the corresponding closing (right) bracket and positioned the cursor in between them. The supposition is that if you open a bracket, you will want to close it. This feature of Scribes saved me one key stroke each time I opened a bracket. This is just one of the many ways in which Scribes intelligently automates common tasks.
Scribes Text Editor
Installing Scribes text editor
You can install Scribes in Linux by downloading it from its official website. Debian or Ubuntu users can install Scribes using
apt-get as follows :
$ sudo apt-get install scribes
Arch Linux also has this editor in its repository and it can be installed in Arch using
# pacman -Sy scribes
In fact, all major Linux distributions do have Scribes in their repositories and you can use their equivalent package management tool to install it.
Main features of Scribes text editor
- Auto completion of previously typed words
- Syntax highlighting for 43 programming and scripting languages.
- Auto save feature - Scribes saves your open document on a periodic basis.
- Snippets - Scribes has a template editor which can hold all the code and text snippets you can collect. And these snippets can be associated with text triggers. When you type a trigger and press
[TAB]key, the snippet associated with that trigger will be inserted at the cursor position.
- Automatic correction and replacement.
- Automatic indentation.
- On the fly spell checking - This is disabled by default but you can enable it by pressing
[F12]key and selecting the "Enable spell checking" check box.
- Document switcher - Scribes does not have tab support. But it uses a more efficient form of managing open documents using a document switcher.
- Bookmark specific lines in the document.
Earlier in this article, I had mentioned Scribes spartan look and lack of a menu on top. Guess what, Scribes does have a menu but it is accessed using right click of the mouse. By right clicking the mouse, you can access a whole lot of functions which allow you to manage lines, paragraphs and selections in a variety of ways.
Bookmark support in Scribes
Bookmarking specific lines in Scribes is done by moving the cursor to the line to be bookmarked and pressing the shortcut key
[Ctrl+D]. Interestingly the same key shortcut is used to both add a bookmark and to remove it. To navigate through the bookmarks, press
[Alt + right arrow] or
[Alt + left arrow]. Scribes also has a bookmark browser which you can access by pressing
[Ctrl+B]. The bookmark browser will be displayed only if you have at least one bookmark in your document.
To get a feel of the real power of Scribes in writing code, watch this demo.
Scribes is really flexible. For example, tomorrow if you decide to create a new programming language, you can easily add syntax color support to your language.
Scribes sports three inbuilt editors namely "Template Editor", "Auto Replace Editor" and "Syntax Color Editor".
Scribes Template Editor
The "Template Editor" is used to add snippets of code which can be easily inserted by Scribes into your document.
Scribes Auto Replace Editor
The "Auto Replace Editor" holds a list of words which is readily expanded to a its equivalent replacement in Scribes when you press space bar.
Scribes Syntax Color Editor
And lastly, the "Syntax Color Editor" can be used to modify the syntax color shown in your document.
In most software, the status bar of the application is not fully utilized. Not thus in Scribes; The developer(s) have made full use of the status bar. In fact, the status bar shows the line number, the column number and all the messages describing minute actions taken within the editor - such as insert mode, the name and full path of the file that is open and so on.
Making Scribes the default text editor in GNOME
I am so impressed by this text editor that I have made it the default text editor in GNOME. You can do it by right-clicking on a text file and in the pop-up menu click "Open with Other Application". A dialog box will open listing all the GUI applications. Select Scribes editor and click "Open". Now the next time you double click on a text file, it will open in Scribes.
Next time you are in need of editing text, give Scribes a try instead of hunting for other editors.