EditArea vs. CodePress

03 January 2008   5 comments   Web development

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This blog post is 9 years old! Most likely, its content is outdated. Especially if it's technical.

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EditArea and CodePress are two text editors that are run in the browser. They're not WYSIWYG editors and the most important feature it really actually adds is syntax highlighting. First and foremost I think this is a solution to a problem that shouldn't exist: either you go full-on in emacs/vi/eclipse or you don't do any editing at all.

However, if there is a (client) need where you want to allow for source code editing in the browser, either CodePress or EditArea is probably the way.

I seem to remember a EditArea implementation for Zope which replaces the dumb textarea tags in the ZMI for Python Scripts which was a neat idea but I quite quickly turned it off and went back to the plain vanilla solution. My beef with it was simple: speed. It takes almost more than 2 seconds to load it fully and the browser feels unresponsive for a quite a few seconds even after it's fully loaded. And unlike emacs/vi/eclipse, in a web browser the reason you're editing code is probably because you're jotting down a quick hack or editing a tiny detail. Neither activity means that you keep the editor open for a long time.

Some quick thoughts about the difference between the two:

  1. CodePress doesn't seem to have Python highlighting
  2. CodePress has some sort of auto-completion which looks impressive (but probably isn't needed)
  3. EditArea has fullscreen mode which is awesome!
  4. EditArea has some sort of tabs which would be great for making it possible to edit all CSS files in a particular container.
  5. CodePress feels a lot faster than EditArea. EditArea makes my scrollbar stutter in Firefox.
  6. EditArea seems to have more language syntax lexicons but CodePress has SQL which I personally think is cool because you could write a database inspector for a RDBMS like myPhpAdmin.
  7. Both are LGPL which means they're both free and Open Source.


Ian Bicking
The speed is disappointing. Personally I think a textarea with just simple stuff like find-and-replace would be a nice improvement over the normal textarea, and you could leave out syntax highlighting and keep it nice and light.

I think you can turn lots of features off in these, so maybe just configuration would make one of these better?
Max Leynov
I think the Syntax Highlighting is one of the best features of these editors, allowing for easier visual code recognition. Giving Developers a very light IDE to perform basic code edits straight from the browser can really be useful for CMS updates,quick code fixes and web based file managers.

With the release of Google Chrome Browser (Which EditArea now supports) with it's enhanced V8 Javascript engine provides insane speed boosts.

I really hope that IE and Firefox both implement their own versions of some of these enhancements (I tried EditArea in Chrome and the speed is Amazing to say the least).
Connor D
This review is ok, but you need to consider that editarea has a fairly extensive api and documentation which is a plus. The problem is that of course, it is slower, but I still prefer editarea.
Dan Dascalescu
I reviewed 12 JavaScript code editors on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Javascript-based_source_code_editors). For the needs of our project, a template management system (http://sourceforge.net/projects/rthree), Codemirror was the best choice:
+ it supports mixed mode syntax (HTML+JavaScript+CSS, and I'm working on adding PHP to the mix)
+ it's fast
+ it's being actively developed (unlike Codepress) and the author is very responsive.

Codemirror is at http://marijn.haverbeke.nl/codemirror
Peter Bengtsson
Great tip! Thanks. I'll now take the time to look at Codemirror.
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