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Brackets 0.42.0

An interesting code editor for web developers

by Mike Williams

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License: Open Source
Operating Systems: Linux, Mac OS X, Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, Windows Server, Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:
Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 22 August 2014
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 780
Developer: Brackets
RSS News Feed:
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/brackets
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/codebrackets
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Brackets 0.42.0
An interesting code editor for web developers

Launched by Adobe in 2012, Brackets is an open-source code editor for web developers.

At first glance, the program looks rather basic. A left-hand bar lists your current working files (HTML, images, CSS), an unnecessary sidebar contains only two lonely-looking icons, there's a menu bar, the document you're editing, and that's about it. Start work, though, and extra features quickly appear.

There's plenty of code hinting-type power. Just type and Brackets displays matching HTML, CSS or JavaScript, helping you enter code quickly and without mistakes. This even works with your own functions: type the name and it'll (usually) remind you of the names and types of whatever arguments you need.

As your code gets more lengthy, so Brackets helps to ease navigation. Click in an HTML tag name, a class or ID attribute, choose the Quick Edit option, and any relevant rules appear in an inline editor. You get to see and tweak CSS code as required, without having to manually switch between files.

Click the Live Preview button on the sidebar and life gets even easier. Chrome pops up (as long as you've installed it, of course) to render the current page, and this preview display is then updated in real time, as you edit your HTML and CSS. It's all very smooth, no messy screen refreshes required, and great for providing immediate feedback on your ideas.

There are plenty of other worthwhile features. Hover your mouse over an image, colour or gradient, and a preview appears; WebPlatform.org-sourced documentation is available on CSS properties and values, as required; there are "Find", "Find in files" and "Replace" tools, all with regular expression support.

What's really surprising, though, is that Brackets is itself largely written in JavaScript, CSS and HTML. This makes the program interesting in itself, just as a practical example of how to build a JavaScript text editor. But it also means it's relatively easy to customise, and there are already a host of add-ons to extend Brackets even further (notably Theseus, a JavaScript debugger for Node.js and Chrome).

What's new in 0.42?

- Theme Support. Brackets now has built-in support for editor themes, and includes default light and dark themes. Additional themes can be installed via Extension Manager.
- Replace in Files: Check/Uncheck All Matches for a File. When doing a batch or multi-file replace, you can now check/uncheck the matches for an entire file.
- Change Language Mode. Change the language mode for an individual file by selecting the language from the dropdown menu in the status bar.
Turn off Code Hints. New preferences to disable all code hints or hints from an individual provider.
Drag and Drop Installation of Extensions. Install extensions by dragging zip files onto the Extension Manager dialog.

Verdict:

It's still very much a work in progress, but Brackets is already a very capable source code editor, easy to use but with many time-saving features.

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