The Great Windows Code Editor Hunt: InType

InType Logo
InType Logo

We’re now on the third code editor in our epic hunt for a great windows editor. If you’d like to catch up and see where we’ve been:

The Great Windows Code Editor Hunt: Part 1

Dreamweaver

Komodo Edit

Now it’s on to InType.

InType is still in Alpha and is similar to Textmate for OSX. In fact it’s so similar that it even imports Textmate bundles with a bit of conversion. I just started using Textmate on my OSX installation (switching from Coda for HAML, SASS, and LESS highlighting) and the two do bear a number of similarities.

The Good

InType starts up super fast which is a far cry from the other two editors (Dreamweaver, Komodo Edit) that I’ve looked at so far. Even while rendering video in Handbrake, InType started up with little lag and remained responsive during the entire time used.

A second point for InType is the amazing code completion. With all of the bundles available for InType you’re pretty sure to find the language and code completion you’re looking for. Sure it doesn’t have some of the popular web app languages like Ruby but you shouldn’t be doing ROR dev on a Windows box anyway.

image of the InType bundle list
image of the InType bundle list

InType is also very configurable. While it doesn’t have the wealth of options that Dreamweaver has you also don’t spend an hour looking for an option. Really the most important ones are at your finger tips in the main editor window. Need to change your indentation for HAML to two spaces…go ahead it’s at the bottom of the editor window.

Intpye preferences panel
Intpye preferences panel

That also brings me to another great feature of InType, visualization of your tabs and spaces. I haven’t had an editor that has done this before so when I opened my projects in InType I was greeted by a cacophony of tab and space styles. Ultimately it made more work for me as I went through and changed everything to be 4 spaces but it means I’ve got cleaner code instead of the soup of indentation styles I unknowingly had before.

The Bad

I know InType is still in Alpha and it does show sometimes. One issue that kept cropping up for me would appear when starting InType up, for some reason it would forget it’s location and open with a small window in the upper left corner of my monitor. Now I normally use two monitors and have the code editor open in the bottom right of my second monitor…so InType would jump across my entire desktop on occasion.

InType forgot where it should be
InType forgot where it should be

Another point against InType is the fact that it adds a project file to your project. Not a huge issue but yet another file to declare in my .gitignore file. I’d prefer that we didn’t add a project file but I can live with it.

The code completion of InType could also throw off some users. Sure it’s similar to how Textmate works but it’s also very different from the way Komodo Edit or Dreamweaver does it. Both Komodo Edit and Dreamweaver start hinting while you’re typing while InType waits till you hit tab before providing options to complete you’re typing. So when working in CSS you’ll need to type “background” then press tab, which will present you with all of the options for background. It even shows you the properties that background can take. Again it works but depending on where your experience lies you may find it odd.

Intype's code completion
Intype's code completion

Finally, and probably the biggest point against InType is the fact that it doesn’t have access to remote files. If you’re working with InType you’re working locally. I honestly do this anyway so it’s not a huge issue for me to fire up a FTP client or SSH into the server and transfer the needed files when I’m putting up a project for final client sign-off. It would be nice though to be able to connect to multiple servers out of a project like Dreamweaver does.

The Conclusion

While InType is a bit rough around a few edges overall it’s a pretty solid editor. It has all of the little features like easy theme management, code completion and the few draw backs are hardly show stoppers. At the end of the day InType is happy to just melt into the background and let you interact with your code.