Is NP++ starting to lose its way?
I have become rather concerned that new versions of Notepad++ are becoming rather less stable, and don’t contain new features that are useful.
Thus for example, previewing the contents of a window by mousing over the tab seems utterly pointless. For applications that include images, videos, or titles in large font, this might be useful - but none of that applies to information on display in a text editor! Why would anyone wish to read a tab preview that is totally illegible?
These features are clearly complex to include, and destabilise the product as a whole - to the extent that I am now less likely to download the latest version in case I end up disrupting my own work - having encountered a ‘hang’ that wasted my latest edits to a large source file.
I skipped 7.4.0 on the assumption that it would be buggy - only to try 7.4.1, and having to backtrack because it too was buggy.
It seems to me that there are a number of small improvements that would improve NP++, and which would be unlikely to disrupt the core stability of the editor.
I think it would be really helpful if Don and his team were to discuss their plans for NP++ with us all, and give us all some input into this process - right here on this forum.
You absolutely right! The phenomenon is known to modern psychologists as programming addiction. Many programmers never grow up and they can’t live without programming.
The programmer of Notepad++ showed those disturbing signs beginning with version 6. Granted, he had to fix a few bugs. But he couldn’t control himself and added several features that, in turn, added several bugs. It is the vicious cycle of programming: Add new features, therefore add new bugs, therefore new versions are mandatory.
The new feature in version 7.4 is a case-in-point for psychologists. The ungrown child had to satisfy his programming addiction by adding that horrendous Browser-like Preview of tabs. The feature is USELESS alright. The problem is, that feature introduced new terrible bugs (Search-and-replace in All open files or In Files on disk.
The fact that the programmer of Notepad++ doesn’t even say a word about the very serious issue is a strong indication he has a programming addiction. Yes, there is such a psychological impairment: Severe addiction.
The programmer could channel the negative energy in a positive direction. First of all, he has the chance to fix important issues, especially in the search-replace garden. He can also make search-replace work directly with multiple lines ending with Windows EOLs. He can also add what coolheaded programmers call offset: more than one blank character at the beginning of a line (NOT counted as a blank space in the line). The author can also fix the annoyance (serious bug) of pressing Ctrl_Left_Arrow and going to the beginning of the 1st word instead of the beginning of the line starting with empty spaces.
And, OH! The Npp author has LONG, LONG WAYS TO GO when it comes to HELP. All decent applications have a Help facility that comes with the application. The author wrote a meager PDF file that only lists the menu features of an early version. Chinese, or Japanese, or American, or NOT — you gotta have an F1 Help facility. The user doesn’t have to go to an Internet destination that is not meant for help, but for bickering. Offline help is mandatory. It must describe in at least one sentence what the function does. An example for each function is also a must of decency.
The fact that the author is addicted to programming is beyond reasonable doubt: He does NOT care what users say. He only cares about his programming drug addiction. Yes, programming can be a drug. Problem is, the addicted programmer needs users. Kids need an audience when they play with their toys. The author of Notepad++ is now in serious danger of losing his audience. Yes, many users became themselves addicted to Npp. But most Notepad++ users take it as a tool; they do NOT worship a piece of software.
I do NOT worship Notepad++. I stopped at v7.3.3. I should have stopped earlier. Anyone know of a good free text editor that offers column editing?
Thanks for your agreement, although perhaps I would not have expressed myself quite so strongly. I mean, we all appreciate the efforts of Don Ho and his team, but sometimes a little criticism is the kindest gift!
I guess we are most of us programming addicts to some degree, but there always comes a time in any project when it is best to tidy up a few loose ends and freeze it before it starts to degenerate.
One of my biggest gripes is also within search/replace, because it is not possible to do a backward search, or a case sensitive search, etc without in effect configuring that feature on - so unless you forget to cancel it, it messes up subsequent searches.
This makes these features much less useful than they could be.
I particularly agree that some quality help would be very useful. I have used NP++ for years, and I still stumble across features I didn’t know existed!
I never used Notepad++ as a programmer’s editor. It is way too many hats for just one programmer!
I can’t use anything but the IDE/editor of my programming language. The most important reason: The IDE has very good help. I press F1 while on a keyword and I get extensive information on the keyword, plus plenty of examples.
Notepad++ must offer, for the least, basic help on every “programming language” included in the package. Programming it ain’t by any stretch of imagination! In the two languages I program with, I can RUN the code immediately — and observe if the program works or not.
I sometimes use Notepad++ with HTML files just because it renders a good display in one browser (Firefox only). My HTML editor of choice is different, albeit old, though. That HTML editor, among many other useful features, allows me to format text on the fly (e.g. select text, then press Ctr+B or Ctrl+I, or both to emphasize — the editor adds the correct HTML tags automatically).
I don’t think N++ is loosing anything. Just on the contrary - recently the code was greatly refactored and that’s a lot of work (unpleasant one).
@David-Bailey, I understand your point and concern - there might be other more useful features / improvements / bug-fixes that need the developers’ attention although it is subjective opinion too. That’s true. And you are right that a discussion on the forum about what to be fixed / improved would provide a good feedback. It would create new problems of course connected to the fact that someone will find a feature useful and another will insist on having something else (which sometimes may lead to endless talking just in the sake of it, but these forums are no chat). Besides, there is already the ‘Feature Requests’ forum that is meant to get feedback from the users. And frankly speaking in the latest versions Don is trying to fix what many users are complaining about - the Multi-line Tab behavior that moves the active tab’s line to the top. He also provides a new feature to the editor - the tab preview. You can disable it. Just because you are not going to be using something doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. And of course everything new in software creates new bugs that are in turn hunted down and fixed. It’s a normal process you know that. I personally don’t find the new tab preview feature useful and I’m not using it (that’s also the case with the doc preview). But one might find it handy if he / she has many opened files with hard-to-remember names - having a preview (content excerpt / context) might help to find the right doc more easily. Just a thought.
I know Don is stubborn. In the past I’ve felt a bit frustrated when he had rejected some of my pull requests that I (and other users) have found very useful. But N++ is his creation and he has his own perception of what it should look like. He also has the final word, that’s normal. And coding N++ is something he is doing because he likes to do it. Fixing some difficult and messy part of the code is not as inspiring as adding a new feature or realizing a new idea. That’s understandable.
If there weren’t programming addicts you wouldn’t have a free software at all. But you are still asking for a good free text editor.
Those people are doing it for their pleasure and you benefit from that. They are not obliged to do boring and unpleasant work just because you need that. They’ll do (and code) what inspires them. It’s that simple.
If you are not a kid that wants to play with Don’s toy then don’t. Be mature. It’s your choice.
He’ll code for free what he wants - it’s his choice.