Editing easy texts and code with Scribes

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© Maxim Kazim - 123RF.com

© Maxim Kazim - 123RF.com

Toy Box

Working with the Scribes editor isn't completely automatic, but with a little skill, you can save yourself a lot of typing.

Software developers and web designers spend a lot of time working with editors. The Scribes text editor [1] provides an option that is visually neat, yet functionally surprising – in a fairly low version number. Integrating the program into your system is also easy (see the "Installation" box).


As an Ubuntu user, you install Scribes via the package manager – preferably right from the developer's sources to ensure the most current version. Open a terminal and enter the commands in Listing 1. If you prefer the Ubuntu packaged version, look in Software Center for Scribes . Installation takes a mouse click. You start the program as usual using Unity on the Dash or search for scribes using the quick starter (Alt+F2).

Listing 1

Installing Scribes

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mystilleef/scribes-daily
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install scribes

Opening and Creating Files

Once you start Scribes, the tool creates a new file for you. Some users might be surprised at first, because instead of menu bars and icons, you'll see a practically blank screen. The only thing you can see is the cursor and a line number on the left (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Scribes presents itself with an almost empty screen and a neat user interface.

To open an existing file, just move the cursor to the right-hand corner of the workspace, which opens a temporary icon bar. A single click of the folder icon opens a dialog of file names, or you can use Ctrl+O. Clicking the document icon (or typing Ctrl+N) opens a new file.

Easy Writer

Little details often make software convincing in an everyday way. In Scribes, these include functions such as autocompleting character pairs. If you enter a left round or square bracket, you don't need to worry about the matching right one – the editor adds it for you. With Alt+right-arrow, you move text in; with Alt+D, you delete an entire line, regardless of whether it has content.

The autocompletion function also applies to terms – no mean feat for a program of this type. Prolific writers and developers that use the same variables or expressions repeatedly can save themselves a lot of time. The program considers only expressions of more than four characters when autocompleting.

If the algorithms detect that you may want to type a previously used word while you're writing, the program shows a list of possible terms. You can then use the arrow keys to choose the appropriate one from the list and add it with Enter.

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