Field of Science

No time for Perl today

But I did spend some time with a post-doc working on the Discussion of her manuscript. I had forgotten that last time we worked on it we tore the existing Discussion into shreds and came up with a new organization. So this morning I was discouraged to see that we had improved our Discussion out of existence, but our new organization is so much better that we soon had at least half of the text in place.

On the Perl side of things, a very helpful commenter (Neil) pointed out that finding the missing/extraneous curly bracket would have been easy if we were using an editor that highlights and validates syntax. We're using an editor called 'mi'. It lets us specify that our text is Perl, and uses colours to distinguish between different kinds of text (comments are red, text to be printed is grey, functions are green, operators are sort of purplish, 'while's and 'if's and 'my's are blue), but it doesn't sort out hierarchical stuff like the levels of brackets, and the levels of indentation keep going to hell (possibly my own fault). I'd love to hear about a better Perl editor for Macs, if any reader knows of one.


  1. My Mac friends are very fond of TextMate. Not free, but apparently very good.

    ActiveState have a free, open-source, cross-platform editor called Komodo Edit - never tried it, but the description sounds quite good.

    Back in the day I used a Java-based editor called Arachnophilia which has quite a nice GUI.

    These days (as you know from my comment), I'm an Emacs man. Emacs has a reputation for having a steep learning curve but I don't think it's deserved. Learning how to use it just for basic editing doesn't take too long at all - it's just that emacs enthusiasts use it to run their lives :)

  2. I would go with Komodo Edit for Macs. It is free, more limited than TextMate, but did I mention that it is free?

  3. Vim and gvim .. Works great on the Mac, there is more than just syntax highlighting, worth a try, if you don't know vi, it can be a learning curve, but a curve that you will thank later on.

  4. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Learning curves matter, especially because programming is only a tiny bit of what I try to do, so Emacs is out. The Vim page says "It can be made to work with most compilers." This is not a reassuring statement, so I think Vim and Gvim are out too.

    I've just downloaded a demo of the paid version of Komodo, and the free version, to check them out.


    emacs made easy


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