121 thoughts on “Kate: What’s cool, and what should be improved?”

    • Powerful formatting capabilities.
    • XML formatting and folding should take into account the short version of tags (i.e. treat as a complete tag, not a first part of unclosed tag).
    • Like: Pretty much everything.
    • Improve: True multiline editing (multicursor), so I can ditch Sublime.
    • Like: easy to use editor with lot’s of ‘little things’ that make working with it more pleasant than other editors.
    • Improve: activity integration with KDE, opening documents from kio exec/file browsers etc. tends to jump to a different Kate instance in some other activity (instead of the one running in the current activity or starting a new instance…)
    • like: comes with KDE, same editing component as KDevelop
    • improve: Open files with line numbers like include/myheader.hh:203 should open the file and place the cursor in line 203.
    • improve 2: show matching bracets for <> especially for C++.
    • like: whats not too like?
    • improve: yeah, it is slow to open and stuff on windows (grasping at straws here!). Oh yeah! The line numbers changing in the periperal vision/status bar is distracting, maybe do them as fading in and out popup under the text cursor?
    1. About that Lua comment: please fill the bugreport, or visit IRC, it’s easy to fix the highlight file yourself with few hints.

    • Like: Stability and reliability. I’m using kate for 3 years, and I haven’t experienced any crash!
    • Improve: Ad-hoc highlighting support and overall improvement of highlighting engine, there is stuff you can not do with existing one.
    • Like: simplicity and ease of use
    • Improve: long lines (for example generated code) get split into multiple lines and this breaks files upon saving. This is totally unacceptable and other editors do not do it.
      1. No, that’s not the problem.
        For really long lines, kate force-wraps them.
        As above, I had to use a different editor to work with these files.
        Yes, the lines were really long, not sure whether the limit was 1000 or 4k, something like that.

        1. Yeah, that is rather annoying. Weird thing is it seems to support longer lines, because when you manually correct it, it works fine. At least that is what I have experienced.

    • Like: inner window tiling, the project plugin, minimap scrolling, fast, integrated with KDE, a lot of configuration options
    • Improve: autocompletion, command feature (like sublime), code navigation, easier to develop plugins (pate integration is halhway there), plugin repository
    • Like: VI input mode
    • Improve: Lines larger than 4096 chars. Even if you cant edit THOSE lines, allow editing the rest of the doc.
  1. Small, fast and clever.
    There are a lot of Syntax highlight definitions, but some of them is missing such as

    • rsync exclude file
    • .gitignore
    • gitolite config

    This would not be problem but the documentation of how to write syntax definition files incomprehensible without clear examples.
    Someone who knows nothing about the structure of the syntax definition xml can not write a simple one (see above) based on this documentation.
    http://kate-editor.org/2005/03/24/writing-a-syntax-highlighting-file/
    So very very pain full to learn the syntax highlight definition.

    The .kateconfig file is useless, because it is applied to all of the files in the directory. What if there are two or more different kind of file in the same directory?
    Lack of http://editorconfig.org/ support.

    Undocumented “Project” feature. Partially implemented UI.
    http://kate-editor.org/2012/11/02/using-the-projects-plugin-in-kate/

    The “F1″ key and the “Help” button is context insensitive. It is always leads to the home page of the documentation. (Which is outdated)

    The UI of the “Font & color schemas” editor is a UX fail.
    Unclear property inheritance. There is no preview at all. There is no customizable text (source code) to preview per language.

    Very few documentation for snippets especially for scripts in the snippet package.

    With this problems (and several more) the KATE is the one of the best editor.
    Thank you

    • Like: Nice best-of-both-worlds spot between KWrite and KDevelop.
    • Improve: Code navigation. Pretty much the only feature I miss from Geany.
    • like: Network transparency, speed, bookmarks and the search/replace features.
    • Improve: clean indention / Autoindent for php code, clean settings dialog, explain difference between plugins and extensions.
    • LIKE: vim input mode, minimap… all ?!
    • IMPROVE: ease the jump to “favorite” files (1)
    • IMPROVE: twig integration

    Yeah, two “improve” items sorry :)
    (1) I often have a lot of files open. I’d like to be able to “pin” some files (sort of “favorite” for my current editing session) so that I can very quickly switch to theses files. I know about the quick open dialog (ctrl-alt-o) and the color code in the filelist side panel but it’s not exactly the same need. Maybe these pinned files could have their own “favorite filelist” side panel, or a tabbar.

    • Like: Almost Everything
    • Improve: Multi-cursor support, Scrollable minimap (like Sublime Text), when file is really big the minimap is useless.
    • Like: Vi-mode & libkteyteditor
    • Imrove: relative numbering in vi-mode ; support of Vim plugins ; remaps of keys in Vi-mode
    1. Oliver, relative numbering was recently added.
      Vim plugins – we are little bit far from that
      remaping the keys – you can create mappings of your own, the problem is with the original mappins that can’t be remapped I think right now (but we are slowly getting there)

    • Like: simplicity, plugins, context-aware highlighter
    • Improve: Can’t think of much. Some plugins could use more love.
    • Like : syntax coloration, speed, saved sessions, terminal / XML validator integration
    • Would love : ability to group files from a saved session into the docs list on the left into “logical” groups, i.e. when you have say 20 files open, the ability to create groups with a header and drag and drop files into different buckets would help to visually identify what files pertain to.
    • I love the support for practically any script or source code.
    • I would like GetHotNewStuff integration for sharing and downloading color profiles.
    • Like: Sessions
    • Improve: “Projects”. What is that? Why can’t I use it? Why everything related to it is useless?
      Right now on my interface. There is a “Current Project” in my status bar that does nothing. “Projects” in sidebar also does nothing. And in the menu “Projects” there is only “Right” and “Left” which also does nothing.
    • Improve2: The interface could use some clean up. e.g. A side bar tab with only one entry, big status bar with little information, big side bar with only one document…
      1. Some functionality that can’t be used trough the user interface and requires the manual creation of json files to work, shouldn’t be enabled by default.

    • Like: fast, easy open many files to quickly look at new projects from command line.
    • Improve: When searching for a string I often end up looking for the same string in many documents. I cannot just press F3/ctrl-f to search for it again after changing the document, instead I have to enter/paste the search string again.
    • When text is selected, all the same occurence should be highlighted too
    • on the right bar, it should be more easy /more clear to open/close html tag (or hide/display tag’s content). The user experience need to be better to help him to know in wich code part he is. (Check Notepad++)
    • Like: Ease of use.
    • Improve: Alert when file content changes on disc. Change colour, show an asterisk; anything but a modal dialog I have to dismiss to carry on with working on other files.
    • I like the MDI (and just about everything else, because Kate is great)
    • Startup time decreases and a built-in word count option would be nice
    • Like: simple to manage lots of files
    • Improve: please get rid of the character-limit per line
    • (Wish: something like ctrl+tab for switching between documents as implemented in browsers between tabs)
    • changing 1 character in minified files is either impossible right now or nearly kills kate (performance wise).
    1. - pros: Kate is very nice and already has most of the features requested above (for instance, one can switch off line wrapping).
      – cons: It could be easier to use with projects and git (especially without writing your own .project file).

    • Like: Sessions – just sooo good
    • Would like: more/better documentation on scripting, more flexible code folding
  2. Cynic: Please make a file called “.kateproject” and only that, no name before the . in the top level directory of your project. It will be a hidden file in Unix.
    Here are the contents of one of ours (hopefully it won’t crap out in the blog)

    {
    	"name": "Awk",
    	"files": [
    	{  "directory": ".",
    		"filters": ["*.c", "*.h", "*.y", "makefile", "awk.1", "README", "FIXES"],
    		"recursive": 0
    	}],
    	"build": { "directory": ".",
    		"build": "make",
    		"clean": "make clean",
    		"install": "make install"
    	}
    }
  3. Like: EVERYTHING. Seriously there’s just far too much good stuff.

    Improve: I’d like to see use of a scanner so kate stores and handles tokens, and we don’t have the same routines being run over and over, eg there was a change not so long ago that added lexing for C++ i think, and all the info was just thrown away after use. This would also make highlighters and indent scripts run a lot faster, and more accurately for syntax.

    Apart from that, I’d like to see a period of consolidation: the projects plugin showed how good integration can be, and I think there’s a lot of scripting possibilities from that. So in line with the recent improvements to Build Plugin, I’d like to see kate really get polished for KF5 (since my other suggestion is never going to happen in time;)

    (wrt above, just use standard double quote, and it’ll be fine, cynic. you may have to quit the session and restart kate if you make changes; the refresh button doesn’t seem to work in my distro version. i’m upgrading now..)

    • Like: tabs, terminal sync.
    • Improve: button to start/stop terminal sync, document ordering should change when reordering tabs, meld functionality for comparing files.
  4. • Like: Highlighting of identical names when clicking a variable
    • Improve: Files in Document-View should have a more verbose context menu (when right-clicking with the mouse) containing at least “rename” and “open file manager in directory containing this file”

    • like: Block selection, fast start, autocompletion, (probably many many more things that make Kate my favorite graphical editor, …)

    improve: 2 things come to mind:

    • limitations with long lines (I usually raise the limit, but still… Kate becomes a bit slow when there are many loooong lines (i.e. > 8k chars/line) – I move to vim in case I have to modify such files – usually you only want to change a few characters in such files)
    • Regular expression: I’d like to have PCRE. Also, when searching with regexp enabled, Kate does not search/mark the text while typing. This could be enabled (in case the RE is valid)
  5. is kate-part also ok (Kwrite user here)?

    • LIKE: scrollbar mini-map, KDE integration (especially with color schemes), lots of options, powerfull, but small editor.
    • IMPROVE: Configure toolbars, one toolbar apparently consists of two? and it is not possible to move icons around like one would. I think this needs be completly rethink.
    • IMPROVE: as Heiko Tietze suggested, I don’t understand the reasoning behind having options twice (in the menubar and in the settings dialog). This is quite unusual and thus unexpected. Please get rid of it.
    • Like: quick to start, support for every syntax I’ve ever needed, clean interface.
    • Improve: easily changing settings per session, for all the documents in that session but only for that session.
    • Like: User interface.
    • Improve: The code folding is a little to easy to accidentally click, especially if I am trying to select a block of text.
    • KIO integration is the best advantage over other editors.
    • There’s a few “half-baked” features (like the project plugin) that are extremely difficult to use. Give them some attention and love, or drop them altogether rather than leaving things in an awkward, non-user-friendly state.
  6. Loving Everything.
    Wishing the Projects Plugin would expose functionality to ease repository tasks, eg:

    Add file to current project when saving.
    Revert a file to a previous point
    Revert a project
    Get Status of Files vs upstream
    Diff file vs another version
    Add Tags/comments
    Commit / Push / Check-in
    Check-out, Switch Branch
    Etc.

    Of course I mentioned Git in the above but these should probably be VC system agnostic.

  7. I’d like smarter defaults for the location of new files – currently they go to my Documents directory instead of the sub-directory of the project I’m working on… Or generally, some intelligent defaults for detecting and handling “projects” and guessing which open files belong together based on a common root path.

    I like Kate because it has the right amount of balance as a fast and light-weight option between a (too) simple text editor and a massive full-blown IDE.

    • Like: reg exp engine in search/replace :-)
    • Improvement: i) word/character counter so that I do not need to paste the text into LibreOffice just for that simple operation
  8. Like: Powerful formatting options.

    Improve: Paste text at the text-cursor position rather than the mouse cursor position.

  9. Like everything about it! The auto completion support would be complemented by using clang; the existing auto completers are very slow. I do use KDevelop most of the time, but kate is nide for those little edits

  10. Like: everything
    Just 2 wish: please add cursor history I.e jump back and forth between previous cursor positions and do not remove multi window

  11. Like: VI mode, Pate plugin, overall modularity

    Improve:
    o VI mode (split window and navigate between them)
    o Pate plugin (python API) , plugins repository

    Wish:
    o Command Palette to quickly access Kate functionality (Sublime Text, Emacs M-x)
    o Terminal buffer (like emacs ansi-term)
    o Webkit browser plugin to preview markdown document or browse documentation on the web

  12. Like: All the little shortcuts that make life easier, eg shft+alt+down
    Improve: Html highlighting with php and foldable html tags
    Request: ability to save all open files, eg of a session/project, into a folder with their original directory structure, eg save_folder/a/one.php and save_folder/b/two.php

  13. * Very nice, simple and powerful
    * Add Ctrl+click to open css file in tag on HTML code
    * Improve tab manager: add a menu when multiple files are open (like the last release of KDevelop)

  14. I need to use SciTE instead of Kate for only one purpose: to open up files that have their line feeds stripped out and are one long line. This happens a lot in web development when .css or .js files are “minimized” to save precious bytes.

    Kate can open them, but complains. Kate is also VERY SLOW at scrolling such a file when “word wrap” is turned on. Agonizingly slow. And thus I need to use Gedit or SciTE.

    Is there any way that Kate can have arbitrarily long lines?

  15. - like: internal terminal, split views, search in folder
    - improve: Multi-line edit like in VIM and Sublime, more and better color schemas

  16. + light, fast
    - can’t edit very long lines
    - slow with large files
    - search & replace ui is absolutely horrible

  17. Cool: The syntax-highlighting :)
    To be improved: It should remember spell-checking, line-break etc. settings, per session (not just kate, also all the programs using KatePart – it’s seriously annoying to have to set up all of this again each time I start Kile)

  18. Like: navigating in folder tree structure
    Improve: drag and drop function like in Quanta (all files should be dropped into html as relative links, except images that are dropped like img tags)

  19. Like: Mini-map scrolling

    Improve: Bracket block minimizing (the highlighting will work great, but it’ll roll up the whole rest of the document or at least a lot of extra stuff)

  20. Like: the new column edit – been asking for and wanting it for years
    Improve: smart brackets 1) mark some text, press opening bracket/parenthesis/quotes, have automatic closing of same character. 2) do NOT overwrite closing bracket/parenthesis/quotes when typing one next to it.

  21. like:
    Kile
    the over all usability

    improve:
    a biblatex syntax highlighting
    the multiple file management is a bit awkward

  22. like: lots: multi-document, multi-window
    improve: meld functionality for comparing views (not just on saved files, but also unsaved documents)

  23. Love: the documents tree.

    Wish: I wish the plugin API was both more powerful and better documented. The other day I wanted to write a plugin that lets me click (or ctrl-click or something) on code and have it send me to the docs for that function. It seems like the plugin support is almost only for what has already been thought of, or for new widgets.

  24. What’s cool : Kate + VI mode = the best of both worlds.
    What’s should be improved : better default color schemes.

    Thank for your great work ! I use Kate everyday and it’s a such a powerfull editor. There is too much low-quality/useless applications shipped with KDE vanilla, but Kate is really a killer app.

  25. If i could have a second chance, I would say
    What should be improved: better automatic code folding (now the only option is to fold top level nodes, no way to fold everything) and option to save all opened files to a folder but into subfolders keeping the structure of the directories they originally lay into.

  26. like: very good support for regexps. Before kate I have used perl onliners for search replace a lot. With kate is is much more convenient to do it.

    impovements: please have very close look to textmate on Mac. This is the only comparable editor to kate. So it would not hurt to get some inspiration and copy some little small improvements which kate is still missing. To get some idea, look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmhp1-nHd9c but certaily there is more.

  27. 1. it is really multi-functional and universal tool
    2. ability open files which paths given (written) in opened document (for example the “include” files or other text files)

  28. Likes:

    * It’s really fast, yet has most of the features I want from an advanced text editor such as split view, good syntax highlighting, block selection, search in files, session management, and “highlight selection” extension. In fact, Kate & Dolphin were the major reason why I moved from GNOME to KDE, after seeing how fast & featured Kate & Dolphin were, even on GNOME!

    Wishlist:

    * Allow to go back & forward in view history. eg: You press PageDown a few times then switch to a different tab. Hitting “Back” should go back to that place in the original tab and then “Back” several times again should take you back to the original location. Currently, Alt+Left/Right goes through your recent tab history but not your recent location history.

    * The “Search in Files” feature is extremely useful (particularly for programmers), but it is a hassle to open & close the panel. It should be easy to open it (eg: with a shortcut) and close it (eg: with a shortcut and with a Close button). Currently you have to click on “Edit -> Search in Files” to open it, and “View -> Tool Views -> Show Search and Replace” to close it, so this is hard to find and becomes annoying if you want to do it often. Also, it would be great if the “Search in Files” results was shown either as a single list or if the current tree view had all items open, so you can easily just scroll down to see all results in all files at once, instead of clicking to view results from one file at a time.

    * Allow manually shuffling around the tabs, such as if you want a few tabs to always be at the start of the list or grouped together compared to other tabs. I currently have to close all files and re-open them in a certain order to get this! (I’m using “Multiline Tab Bar”). Even adding “Move tab higher / lower” to the context menu of the tab-bar would allow this.

  29. Like:

    So much… but one of my favorite features is that remote file handling works same as local. No separate widgets for FTP, SFTP, etc… one unified whole. Why does no other editor have that?

    Dislike:

    Only that my favorite KDE feature ever has disappeared once again. Used to be that with automatic brace/parens/quote matching (not the extension but the built-in feature that is now gone) you could do all sorts of cool things such as highlight a string, hit the left parens ‘(‘ and automatically the text would be wrapped with a right parens. It also worked for braces, brackets, single and double quotes. Quite simply the best timesaver I have seen in a text editor, and now… GONE.

  30. My favorite feature of Kate is its syntax highlighting. It has the most beautiful syntax highlighting I have ever used in any text editor. Kate is also feature-rich, with several useful plugins, and it is under constant development. These are some of my favorite features of this remarkable text editor.

    As for shortcomings, the following are what I can think of. Although Kate supports many programming languages, some are absent, a prominent example being the lack of Squirrel support. Another shortcoming is its lack of documentation concerning some of its plugins, which prevents me from understanding how to use them.

    I have some other gripes with Kate, but that is largely because I tend to view Kate as a replacement to other Integrated Development Environments, and, as such, I suppose it is not proper to list them as shortcomings. Moreover, Kate is already becoming better and better with each version, and I would like to thank the hard-working developers who labor on each new release.

    Overall, Kate, as I have said, is remarkable. Therefore, it is right now the principal tool I use for my development projects. I look forward to the new features Kate has to offer to make a developer’s life even easier.

    Thanks for your effort! I appreciate it. :)

  31. I really like to see reStructuredText text highlighting for code blocks:

    .. code:: python

    print(“A literal block directive explicitly marked as python code”)

    Thanx! :) (BTW vim support it!)

  32. Like: Customizable highlighting, uncluttered design.

    Dislike: Alt-Left and Alt-Right going by position in the document list (useless) and not by opened document history for the specific window (very useful). Ordered by “last time document changed in this window”.

  33. A few people have mentioned wanting a syntax higlighting file, or a “missing language”.
    If you want it added, /join #kate on IRC: chat.freenode.net and I for one will help you write the highlighter file; 9 times out of 10 they’re very easy, but it does require someone who uses the language to drive the effort, and add new keywords etc over time.

    There’s a couple of others in there who regularly work on higlighters too; everyone in the channel is very supportive, so get involved. :-)

    1. Thanx for good idea! :) But ReST and markdown are a little more complicated than just add new keywords. It could be probably good idea to make python plugin for it ..

  34. I love working with Kate, but https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=83301 should finally be addressed – it’s been open for over 10 years now, and it’s probably no biggie to implement. Writing LaTeX or other text documents with lines as wide as your screen doesn’t exactly make text more readable. It should be possible to have lines break dynamically at e.g. the position for hard line breaks.

    Another thing that should be addressed is making it possible for regular expressions to be non-greedy, e.g. \w+? is an errorneous expression according to Kate.

  35. *) LIKE : its lighweight :D
    *) IMPROVE : i wish there’s plugin that enable to chat with friends (gtalk,jabber,facebook, etc.)

    sorry for my bad english :)

  36. * Like: Split view, the documents sidebar, and Ctrl-D to comment code
    * Improve: folder display in documents sidebar. If I’m editing files in A/src/ and B/src/, it’s not helpful to see two top-level folders called src/, because I can’t tell which is which (frequently, I have ~10 folders named “src/” listed in the sidebar at once). Include the A and B to make the pathnames unique.

    1. as a workaround you could (create and) open file at A and B folders. (for example create todo or readme)

      I like to have shortcut to find file name in doc sidebar (I have open pretty much of them)

  37. * Like: Easy to learn but powerful
    * Improve: Restoration of External Tools plugin
    * Improve: Richer JavaScript API. For example, a function like system() in VIM, which gets the output of the shell command, in place of External Tools plugin.

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