Geany: open-source SublimeText for front-end developer

Posted by Thanh Tran on April 13, 2012. 2 min read.

When I started doing JavaScript, I kept searching for an ideal JS code editor that is free, lightweight and fast just like FlashDevelop, my favorite ActionScript counter part. (In case you're wondering, I have made a Wine mod of FD4 and been able to run it on Linux). Most JS editors I tried were Java-based, heavy and code assistance is as not good as I expected.

Then I discovered SublimeText 2 and Geany. The former is commercial and the latter is opensource. Both of them are cross platform, lightweight, fast and has syntax highlighting for quite a number languages. For JavaScript and front-end stuff in particular, they both have some support for code hinting and auto completion but fairly limited.

Geany interface

I tried them both for coding JavaScript. I have to admit that SublimeText is more elegant, stylish, and has better syntax highlighting in some cases. But it is not free (as in free speech and free beer). I'm not bashing SublimeText but as someone who advocates open source, I'm determined to embrace Geany, and you should give Geany some favors too.

The more I use Geany, the more potential I think it has. Thanks to its current support of extra configuration files, I found it is relatively easy to fix some issues of its current syntax highlighting and add some automatic code completion for a specific language.

So I created some supplement files to enhance Geany in coding of HTML/CSS/JS (required some manual works with Copy-n-Paste and some regular-expression search-replace). I have posted them on GitHub for version control and for anyone interested to contribute to it. I also have a more detailed instruction at the GitHub project on how to install these files and what have been enhanced.

Here are some screen shots featuring my Geany's enhancement for front-end dev:

- Better source code highlighting

- Code completion for JavaScript (currently: core classes, some DOM & Mootools)

- Function parameters hinting for JavaScript:

- Property completion for CSS (with latest CSS3):

I'm looking into enhance it further. But for now Geany-for-front-end-dev is quite nice for me to work with.