Tuesday, October 8, 2013

There's light at the end of the table...

Light Table - a new IDE from Chris Granger on Vimeo.

Light Table is a cross platform code editor with a sleek interface and some really nifty features. I know what you might be thinking, "Oh great, ANOTHER editor." It's true, we have lots of editors already, but a lot of thought went into the design of this one. The closest approximation to an already existing editor would be TextMate with the main differences being that it's free and it's not restricted to just Mac users. It's still in alpha stage, but already quite usable. Probably the coolest feature is what Chris calls InstaREPL, which is basically like inline code evaluation as you type. So if I'm writing a Clojure program and I type (+ 3 4), on the other pane it prints (+ 3 4) => 7. It works with variables too.

It's not a one-trick pony. In keeping with the inline theme, to be reminded of what a function does, just put the cursor (click on) the function name, and the documentation for it appears on the other pane. Under the hood the editor is mostly written in ClojureScript with a little bit of Clojure to evaluate the ClojureScript. Node.js and Chromium are also used in the presentation. The editor currently integrates development with Clojure, Node.js, and Python. More languages are planned for the future.

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