Hack an Editor: Fonts for Programming

We’ve recently noticed two different fonts aimed at programmers, each with a different approach to editor customization. The first, Fira Code, transparently converts common programming digraphs into single characters. For example, <- becomes an arrow and != (or <>) becomes a proper not equal sign. The other font, Hack (can’t argue with the name), aims to make commonly confused characters distinct. For example, the zero glyph has a very distinct appearance from the letter O.

It is pretty easy to understand how Hack works, but Fira seems a mystery at first. Your C++ compiler expects <- not an arrow, right? Fonts support ligatures–sequences of two symbols that run together (like æ). Clever use of these ligatures means that the compiler still sees -> but the screen displays an arrow.

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Text editor running on your ARM project


Tired of flashing your embedded project over and over just to tweak a few values? So was [Karl], so he wrote a text editor that runs on his ARM dev board.

Having trouble wrapping your mind around the need for this kind of thing? He’s actually playing around with eLua, the embedded version of the Lua programming language. In this case the program files are being stored on an SD card. But still, moving that back and forth between computer and embedded project gets old quickly. So he invested the time to write a rudimentary text editor that he interfaces through this terminal window. Above you can see the help screen which lays out all of the applications features. Right now it sounds like the only gotcha for this is the amount of RAM it needs to run. As it stands, the editor will now work an mbed board, but it works just fine on an STM Discovery.

Javascript Vi

Few would dispute that Vi was a great text editor in its day, but no one has done anything to bring it back until now. A company called Internet Connection has developed JSVI, a clone of Vi that was written in javascript and runs inside editable text areas on virtually any browser with javascript support.

It functions identically to Vi, offering ed/ex command support, vi-keys, unicode awareness, and a number of other features available on Vi. You can see a demo of JSVI here. If you prefer to run vi on your own page, download this javascript document. JSVI is open source, and we certainly agree with [Jason Striegel] that this would make a fitting addition to any Unix blog or forum.

emacs sucks.

[via Hackzine]

Free web development tools

OStatic has a collected some great free tools for web developers. We talked about Quanta in an earlier post, but this article reaches beyond just HTML editors. LaunchSplash can be used to generate splash pages while you build. IBM, responsible for the Eclipse IDE, has built Project Zero to encourage web app development; even the IDE is web based. OpenX is an open ad server. Piwik is a free web analytics package. There are also quite a few open source CMS’s and sites collecting open source designs.