[TxMt] Features request: columnar editing mode and fixed/delimiter conversion

Allan Odgaard allan at macromates.com
Fri Jul 22 13:05:25 UTC 2005

On 22/07/2005, at 13.23, Luc Heinrich wrote:

> Right. The question is: is supporting column selections of  
> arbitrary size really a good choice as opposed to SubEthaEdit's  
> block editing ? Can you enumerate any advantage ?

Yes -- I use it on average probably daily. If you can't imagine why  
you'd do a column selection and delete it, replace it, transpose the  
lines, convert tabs to spaces, do a replace in selection, overtype  
it, toggle case of letters etc. then you probably edit other types of  
stuff than me.

> I've already showed why I think that a 0-width column is a bad  
> thing visually. Here are two more examples.

But you didn't say what to do instead. Isn't the caret then also bad  

> Consider this (not so) contrived text sample (with line numbers  
> shown for convenience):

Well, the data for which I use column selection very very rarely have  
lines in between, mostly it's data structures, bullet lists, or two  
or more partial identical lines, where I need to make the same change 

> With TextMate column selection:
> [...]
> With SubEthaEdit block editing:
> [...]

Now, remove the comments to get what to me is the typical case, and  
you need to grab, drag, and click the mouse in SEE multiple times, do  
your change, and then leave the mode, where in TM you can place caret  
at line 1 before text, press option-shift down, tab option once, and  
you have the zero-width selection and can start typing (and when  
you're done, you just move along).

> Multiply the number of steps in A by the number of steps in B by  
> the number of transformations, and you'll see how fast this can  
> become tedious :)

You can make up worst-case examples for almost any feature -- as  
mentioned, I use the feature daily, I have also tried block edit,  
it's not the same, and I wouldn't swap -- if anything, it could be an  
additional mode, but I don't think it's worth it (at least compared  
to what other editing features I have in mind :) ).

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