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Geany: a Fast & Lightweight IDE / Text Editor

Note:This article was originally composed at the year’s end, 2007, so I ask the reader consider how much software can change, and improve dramatically– even over the course of a few weeks– with user feedback generating updates.
Geany, as we know it today, has improved far beyond the description here, but the article is still relevant in key areas, such as running GTK software on a Windows-based O/S.
Remarkable changes in Geany, (to be reflected in an updated edition of this page) include such attention to detail as to be offered by the developers in various packaging, including an EXE which includes the GTK+ runtime, enabling Windows users to install Geany with the greatest of ease!

Recommended configurations described here will afford an unfamiliar user with insight into the history of Geany, and the linked media might get the ball rolling more quickly. Enjoy!


Geany Logo Icon

Windows users who are looking for a great, solid, fast, and intelligent source-code editor: your search may end here. Geany, an increasingly popular package in the Linux world due to its versatility in programming language compatibility, and straightforward interface, this text-editor / IDE which happens to be an outstanding PHP / XHTML Web Application Development Environment, is now available to you.

I Dream of Geany

Linux users may be familiar with Geany, an open-source project (which, like SciTE and Notepad++ for Windows, is based on the source code editing component, Scintilla), but Windows users have probably not been exposed to it on any large scale.

Regardless of limited advertising campaigns, and mass distribution channels, Geany is indeed available for Windows, and is in fact designed to be Platform Independent. Because Geany is built using only the GTK2 (a.k.a. GTK+) toolkit, the end-user needs only the GTK+ runtime libraries to run Geany. If you work in source code on a daily basis, and are looking for a fresh tool, Geany may be the editor you’ve been dreaming to find.

G.T.D. with GTK: Cross-Platform

GTD : a Buzzword: “ Getting Things Done ”
The idea of installing the GTK+ runtime environment in order to run Geany is not unlike the requirements of so many popular .NET applications which require Windows users to install the Microsoft .NET Framework before the .NET dependent software will function. A fairly well known, advanced Image Editor, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, or the G.I.M.P., for-short, is powered by GTK. If you’ve installed it on your Win32 system, then you probably remember being told of the GTK prerequisite. In fact, if you’ve installed the G.I.M.P. on your system, you should be able to install Geany, no sweat, straight away. Don’t get anxious– you can download Geany as regular ol’ Windows .exe setup file, conveniently bundled by the Geany developers to include their recommended version of the GTK+ platform.

I invite any programmer working in the Windows environment to try Geany– especially if you’re a web developer who uses PHP and (X)HTML. Geany, unlike its many lightweight text editor brethren, provides intelligent automatic code folding, syntax highlighting, and intellisense proposals for language syntax (e.g. type mysql_ and Geany will pop-up a list of PHP’s built-in MySQL functions as a proper-syntax reminder tool. In Geany, not only do you benefit from the sort of features previously only boasted by so many Pay-ware releases, but just by using it, you’ve become a member of the friendly and helpful, Open Source Software Users Community, There is a remarkable synergy between the users and the developers– to the ultimate benefit of the end-user’s experience in a far superior tool for the job at hand. But, don’t take my word for it. Go get your own! (Update: Feb. 18, 2008: at the time of writing, Geany has recently released a new version, so please pay close attention to changelogs, and instructions guiding you where to find the very best version for your PC environment.

Get Your Wish:

If you’re unfamiliar with code-folding, or intellisense programming language syntax proposal, then get your hands on the latest copy of Geany, and try some simple PHP, CSS, JavaScript, and / or HTML editing just to experience the enhanced editing environment from those features alone.

Geany is FREE to use (as well as open source), and more than worth the effort of downloading and installing to give it a try. As I stated earlier, when you obtain your Windows – Geany setup.exe file, be sure to find the downloadbale Geany package which is marked as being bundled with the GTK runtime. If you’re successful with that bundle, then you’re ready to install– so there’s no need to hunt through separate sites in order to download the GTK+ Runtime separately. However, I have provided various links to more information on Geany, the Geany Manual, and about the GTK+ Toolkit in general (a.k.a.: GTK2, GTK, GDK, GIMP Runtime for Windows).

a GTK+: Note – If you have problems with Geany, or other GTK programs running on windows, due perhaps to an Entry Point error in libglib-2.0-0.dll, then I recommend you definitely come back and check out the GTK links I’ve compiled as a GTK+ Quick Reference, below. You might begin with the following: Wiki Entry on Gtk4Win32 . (it’s definitely a random, G-find, but it looks like a good starting point for anyone to set forth in troubleshooting. Why? because this guy (college stud. apparently) has well documented, thorough notes, easy to understand explanations, etc., for each of the steps before during and after installation of GTK for windows. Also– other uses have jumped on and provided their own “How to install GTK+ / GTK4Win”.
In my first experience with Geany: I had already installed– for no real reason– the GTK+ runtime environment. It was just sitting on my sys– so, when i did Geany, i d/l the bundle w/out GTK, and Geany was up and running just as right as rain. I mention this variable as– it has been, thus far, the only time if had ZERO probs w/ the Geany meets GTK 4 Win32 – whole install -to- effective use process. Admittedly, I add, this very addendum is the result of my own research on how deal with the DLL problem, as Geany, CSSED, and gimpSHOP (all GTK+ Platfrom depended) have ceased working, when GTK, i believe, was updated upon CSSED installation.! GRRRR. but, this is how we learn!, so it’s all good! … see? and now you too will know. ;-)

Geany Plugins: the File Explorer panel

Having downloaded and installed the brand new release of Geany, 0.13, at face value, I didn’t recognize much of a difference from the previous stable release, 0.12, until I took a look at the tools menu to find the Plugin Manager option. With the added functionality of the user-contributed plugins, Geany has proved to have everything I need in a development environment. After installing the plugins of my choice, I noticed no loss in Geany’s remarkable startup speed, and it maintains its solid stability.

Geany - File Explorer Plugin
Geany Plugin Manager

Selecting Plugin Manager, I was delighted to peruse the available options for my new Geany plugins. In particular, i wanted to see how I might tweak the File Browser itself. The File Browser panel (which can be placed on either side of the main editor window) seamlessly integrates the ability to browse your local filesystem, without a need to obscure your workspace by launching an Open dialogue. Reminiscent of the Windows Explorer folder tree, the File Browser plugin works great– no quirks there!

Whatever your chosen directory, the File Browser gives you access to those files without ever leaving your editing environment by integrating itself as a third tab to Geany’s existing multi-functional side-panel. Without any plugins, Geany’s sidebar has two tabs, giving the user a view of the symbols of the active document (e.g. variables, classes, user-defined functions, and other code-specific dynamic data laid out in a hierarchical, sortable tree view), or to browse through a list of all files opened currently in the editor (a handy feature for large projects).

Geany - File Explorer Plugin
File Browser Options

Geany, in its stripped-down original state is nonetheless suitable to me for all of my needs in a web developer’s text editor. Expecting the File Explorer Plugin, however, would add to Geany’s project management dimension enough to reaffirm its rank among the other so-called full-featured Web Development IDE’s, I decided to explore just how well this enhancement would meet my expectations

With the File Browser Plugin enabled, not only can I benefit from its superior integration of the Scintilla editor component for the core prerequisite of editing source code, but explore the local folder structure, verifying what files exist, whether they are .CSS, .PHP, .HTML, etc, and as a opening them into Geany with a simple double-click, but what options might be available via right-click (a.k.a. via alternate mouse button). As I set out browsing a web site on my testing server, i decided I’d like to right click an image file, for previewing it in Explorer (or whatever Windows would use to open a .jpg file– IrfanView perhaps. the convenient filesystem navigation panelI realized that the File Browser plugin, although perfect in its own right, it was shipped without 100% Windows-friendly functionality . Geany’s output window, another multi-functional area of the GUI, told me that the path to Nautilus did not exist. Nautilus, you ask? Nautilus is default Explorer-like, file-manager GUI of GNOME, the X-Server shell (X, or X11 Server, the Linux windows-based environment, now taking the world by storm as the default desktop window manager, currently popularized by the likes of Debian Ubuntu and Red Hat Fedora). Seeing a reference to Nautilus returned as the standard output from the super-supportive, straightforward, Geany status-console, my own ample experience with GNOME and what it means for a programif , indicated precisely what to do in order to fix the problem. the File Browser plugin failed at first.

Knowing that Geany was looking for Nautilus, based on the feedback it provided me in its command-output / status window, i decided to look for the appropriate setting for entering the path to explorer.exe on my system. Turns out, the plugin developer planned for this need already, and it’s so easy to configure!

The Geany File Browser plugin can be configured to point to your preferred filesystem explorer without the need to edit any configuration files! (doh!) Take a look at the second thumbnail here to see where, and what I entered. The dialogue shown in that thumbnail is found by selecting options from File Browser, in the Geany Plugin Manager dialogue (first thumbnail shown above).

Why Get Geany?

Web Developers:
If you are sick of bloated IDE’s which leave you waiting for what seems to be an eternity, loading a thousand bells and whistles before you can begin your work; if you want to put aside old Mr. Slow Boots for a solid, intelligent editor that’s not too lean on features, then I urge you to drop what you’re doing and download the latest Geany release. Use the links below to learn more. Go to the Geany Official Homepage to get your copy now!

Related Links:

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