For a long time I have been a Netbeans ‘person’ when it comes to Ruby IDEs. However when Oracle announced that they will discontinue Ruby support for Netbeans, I decided to start looking for alternatives instead of ranting how Darth Ellison is screwing the OSS community in his quest to rule the interwebs.
I went hunting and found Rubymine the slick Ruby editor from Jetbrains with a lot of bells and whistles. Rubymine turned out to be a solid IDE and it is what presently my colleagues at work use. Its got good support for other ruby frameworks such as Cucumber, Rspec and Shoulda. It seemed like a mature IDE.
After the 30 day free trial period was over, I continued the search. I tried Vim for a few days but my vim skills are not as sharp so I left it just for editing system and config files. Later I tried Redcar. It was cool and kinda much lighter than Netbeans and Rubymine. I used it for a couple of weeks then decided to move on since it seemed new and was still trying to get traction.
I once tried Aptana 2 years ago and I dread ever going back. At the time I was just getting into Ruby from Java and I needed an IDE that looked like Eclipse. I ended up trashing it a few days later as it constantly crashed on me. Maybe they’ve improved it.
Then I came across some blog post of a guy who modified his Gedit to look like Textmate. The idea of using such a lightweight editor and the fact that it wouldn’t hog on my limited resources as a fully fledged IDE would seemed a good enough reason to try it. I spent quite some time tweaking the syntax highlighting color scheme and the more I did the more I liked the result. I installed a few plugins and that’s when I really got hooked. That kinda addiction you get after you’ve spent a few hours playing Minecraft. A few months later while setting up a new workstation I come across Gmate and since then I’ve never looked at another IDE again. I swear!
So what Gmate really is is its a set of plugins and improvements to make Gedit a powerful programmer code editor.
To setup Gmate just do the following (Assuming youre running Linux already and you have Gedit installed)
$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-on-rails/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install gedit-gmate
Then install the gedit plugins
$ sudo apt-get install gedit-plugins
That’s it. All you have to do thereafter is just edit the Gedit preferences to your liking.
My setup consists of the following
- Tab width: 2 spaces.
- Line numbering enabled.
- Right margin at column 80
- Turned on Automatic Indentation
- Font: Liberation Mono 11
- Color Scheme: Customized Railscasts black. If you need to customize any of the color schemes, check under the folder /usr/share/gtksourceview-2.0/styles/. They are just XML files with hex color codes. You can overwrite a pre-existing one but I prefer using one as a template and editing it like hell.
- Embeded Terminal
- File browser Pane
- TODO List
- Tab Switch
- Textmate Style autocompletion
- Code comment
- Find in Files
- Rails Extract Partial