Crimson EditorA Programmer's Friend
2005-09-10 by Paft
I stumbled across a small, lightweight program as I was looking for a good text and source code editor one day. I was looking for a program that could offer me syntax hilighting, a large amount of useful features without bloating the program, and a program that I could hook into the Visual Studio 2003 Toolkit command-line compiler so that I could have a psuedo-IDE to write source code on. After testing many editors such as Arachnophobia, I came across Crimson Editor, and decided to give it a try.
First, I took a look at the size of the editor. The main executable for Crimson Editor is only 636 KB - easily small enough to fit on a floppy. With all the additions, the syntax hilighting and the macros I have created, the entire bundle only weighed in at 2.97 MB, making Crimson Editor one of the smallest programs I have ever seen for as much as it does for text and source code editing.
The next thing that I did was to start exploring some of Crimson Editor's features. For example, the macro feature that I mentioned above - Crimson Editor allows you to make both macros of common tasks that you do (for example, when starting a C++ application, writing WinMain() over and over again gets boring. So make a macro to do it for you!) and allows you to shortcut what they call 'User Tools' - the feature that allows you to hook into compilers and other programs. Both features make your life a lot easier by making tasks that would take minutes to do only take seconds, and just one key combination instead of a lot of typing.
On top of those most useful features, Crimson Editor also has the ability to make 'projects', which is a display on the side of your screen that allows you to create virtual directories to sort through a lot of files - for example, source code for a large project that is broken up into many .cpp and .c and .h files can all be consolidated into this one project window pane for easy access.
Also in the side window is a directory listing. You don't have to open Windows Explorer anymore to find the files you need and then open them from there, no. Instead, Crimson Editor allows you to remain in the program to find and open the files you need, as well as delete or rename files on the fly. This comes in handy if you have a build of some project that loads your directory structure with a bunch of temporary files it didn't clean up - you can just stay in Crimson Editor and clean up the files your program missed.
Crimson Editor also has a very intuitive output pane. What this allows you to do is see information that your compiler or other command-line program would spit out at you, normally in the command window, but now scrolls through in Crimson Editor for you to see more easily. It's a good way to see the status of compilations when the compiler's errors would scroll off the command window - now they're able to be scrolled to in Crimson Editor's buffer.
A few other nifty features of Crimson Editor are those of syntax hilighting and line numbers. Ever wonder what line 1,243 is when you don't have line numbers handy to view? Well, Crimson Editor solves that problem by both allowing you to view the line numbers, and jump directly to the line that you need to with a simple right-click. Now it's fast and easy to get to where you need to be and keep on working on that project you want. And, are you the type who has a hard time seeing matched curly braces or parenthesis? Well, Crimson Editor will point those matching braces and parenthesis out for you, so if you have nested functions and if() statements, you can follow the program flow easily.
This is not the end of Crimson Editor's features, but I hope that this has enlightened you to the virtues of a very good editor and psuedo-IDE interface for programmers to use. Crimson Editor can be found at http://www.crimsoneditor.com/ for download.