Kubuntu 10.04: One Month In, Impressions

Hacking It With Kate

I am a programmer by training and interest.  My academic work has all been in embedded systems AI work, my professional work has all been web development, and my personal interest is Python and how I can use Python to make my computing life more complete.  Thankfully, I don’t need to worry much about the AI work anymore because I am not in academia, and it’s hard to do embedded work in Kenya while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer.  My other two programming areas are still much used however, and I like to have one application that serves both functions.  I also prefer apps that lean more towards editors and less towards environments, but if there is a hot, lightweight, IDE out there, I don’t hesitate to change my habits.  And to those who are asking themselves this, yes I use Emacs and Vi both, but neither of them is a silver bullet when it comes to my needs.

This is where I hit a snag.  Kate is the default power text editor, and it’s good.  It has good syntax detection and an appropriately-configurable interface.  It’s responsive and light on the resource use.  In using it, I have hit two annoying snags.  When you configure the interface, it will only stay configured to your liking if you save it as the default session.  A minor gripe, but something that is useful to know if you are new to the environment.  Second, for some reason it handles tabs and spacing in an odd fashion, which is critical when hacking Python.  Both IDLE and Gedit complain about the tabs and spacing that Kate produces.  If someone is able to explain this behavior, please advise!

The problem with Kate is that there is nowhere to go from there.  When I switched to KDE, I did so under the impression that there was a vibrant Qt ecosystem, apparent when I would search for new software for GNOME and would only find applications with a prominent K in their title.  Yet in the IDE space there does not seem to be a good Qt-based solution.  At least not one with any type of focus on Python or scripting development in general.  If Komodo weren’t so resource-hungry I would be using that, but no such luck for my netbook.

There also seems to be a lack in Qt-based Mercurial clients.  Alone, this might not be indicative of anything, but I am starting to wonder what the, “proper,” Qt-based development workflow consists of.  Anything Qt/KDE-using Python hackers want to share some insight? It would be greatly appreciated.

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