General Questions

This section deals with some background information, how to obtain the latest version of jEdit and how to obtain further information/help.

1. About jEdit
Q: What is jEdit?
Q: What is the difference between a text editor and a word processor?
Q: What features does jEdit have?
Q: What is a jEdit “plugin”?
Q: How do I get documentation on jEdit?
Q: Is there a newsgroup or mailing list devoted to jEdit?
Q: Is there a web site devoted to jEdit?
Q: Are there copyright restrictions on the use of jEdit?
Q: Is jEdit only useful for programming in Java?
Q: Do I need to know Java to use jEdit?
Q: What software do I need to install and run jEdit?
Q: I've just started to learn programming. Is jEdit a good choice for my first text editor?
2. Getting answers
Q: How do I get answers to my questions about jEdit?
Q: Where can I get interactive help for jEdit?
3. Reporting bugs
Q: How do I report a bug I have found in jEdit?
Q: What information should I include in a bug report?
Q: How do I track the status of a jEdit bug report?
4. Contacting jEdit developers
Q: How do I contact members of the jEdit developer team?
5. Getting the latest version
Q: How do I obtain the latest version of jEdit?
Q: How do I obtain a copy of the jEdit source code?
Q: Where can I get the latest version of this document?

1. About jEdit

Q: What is jEdit?
Q: What is the difference between a text editor and a word processor?
Q: What features does jEdit have?
Q: What is a jEdit “plugin”?
Q: How do I get documentation on jEdit?
Q: Is there a newsgroup or mailing list devoted to jEdit?
Q: Is there a web site devoted to jEdit?
Q: Are there copyright restrictions on the use of jEdit?
Q: Is jEdit only useful for programming in Java?
Q: Do I need to know Java to use jEdit?
Q: What software do I need to install and run jEdit?
Q: I've just started to learn programming. Is jEdit a good choice for my first text editor?

Q:

What is jEdit?

A:

jEdit is a programmer's text editor written in Java, originally developed by Slava Pestov, now maintained by others. It has an easy to use interface that resembles that of many other Windows and MacOS text editors. It is also highly customizable, and contains a plugin architecture that allows its features to be extended by additional programs.

Q:

What is the difference between a text editor and a word processor?

A:

These categories are not absolute but refer to the primary purpose of an editing program and the focus of its features.

A text editor is an application that edits files containing plain text without automatically formatting the text for printing or other publication. Typically the contents of such a file consists of data used by another application - for example, source code that a compiler will process or markup text that a web browser will display. A word processor deals with the preparation of documents for printing or similar publication. Besides editing text, a modern word processor allows the user to choose multiple fonts, margin sizes, line spacing, indentation, and a variety of other details that affect the appearance of the document being edited. In a text editor, these features are present, if at all, only in a basic form, and for the limited purpose of helping the user compose and organize the text. In place of word processing features, a text editor contains many features that allow the user to prepare and work with text quickly and efficiently.

The jEdit application is a text editor, not a word processor. It contains a large assortment of features for manipulating source code, markup text, and other text files. As a programmer's text editor, it also has many features to help programmers manage their projects and work with other programming tools.

Q:

What features does jEdit have?

A:

The short answer is, too many to list here. There is a detailed list available on the jEdit web site, but here are some of the major features:

  • Comprehensive online help

  • Multiple editor windows and split editing panes within a single editing window

  • Unlimited undo/redo

  • Copy and paste with an unlimited number of clipboards (known as registers)

  • Markers for remembering positions in files to return to later

  • Rectangular selection

  • Multiple selection for manipulating several chunks of text at once

  • Syntax highlighting for more than 80 file types

  • Intelligent bracket matching that skips quoted literals and comments

  • Auto indent and word wrap

  • Abbreviations

  • Folding display mode that hides levels of indented text specified by the user

  • Search and replace using both literal text and regular expressions

  • HyperSearch option to show all found matches in a list

  • File management functions available from within jEdit, including deleting and renaming files and creating new directories

  • Choice of character encoding for loading and saving files

  • Automatic compression and decompression of GZipped (.gz) files

  • Plugin support for loading files from ZIP and TAR archives

  • Plugin support for loading and saving files on FTP servers

  • Fully customizable keyboard shortcuts, tool bar and right-click context menu

  • Macro system permitting recording and writing of macros in the BeanShell scripting language

  • An internal plugin manager that downloads and installs new and updated plugins from within jEdit

Q:

What is a jEdit plugin?

A:

A plugin is an application that is designed to work with jEdit by providing additional features that can be used from within the main program. Often the plugin will provide a visible user interface in a window that can be docked to jEdit's main view window.

There are currently over 120 publicly available plugins that provide such services as a Java source code browser, a command-line shell, templated text insertion, and source code project management. They can be downloaded, installed, and kept current from within jEdit's Plugin Manager. There is also a section of the jEdit web site called Plugin Central that maintains a descriptive index and download links for all publicly available plugins.

Additional questions and answers regarding plugins may be found in the section of this document entitled Working with Plugins.

Q:

How do I get documentation on jEdit?

A:

There is a comprehensive User's Guide available from within the program using the Help menu. The User's Guide can also be downloaded from the jEdit web site in Portable Document Format (PDF), suitable for online display or printing.

Q:

Is there a newsgroup or mailing list devoted to jEdit?

A:

Currently there is no newsgroup devoted to jEdit. There are three active mailing lists that are freely available by subscription:

  • The jedit-users list, for comments and questions about using jEdit and its features

  • The jedit-devel list, for discussion of development issues by members of the developer team and other interested persons

  • The jedit-announce list, a low-volume list used for announcing new releases of jEdit and plugins

Each of these lists can be obtained on a full-text message or a daily digest basis. The daily digest bundles groups of postings in a single email message.

If you are only interested in version announcements and plugin updates, subscribe to the jedit-announce list. If you would like to participate in discussion or ask questions regarding jEdit, subscribe to the jedit-users list. If you are interested in jEdit's development or want to write plugins, subscribe to jedit-devel.

Do not cross-post to both lists. All jEdit developers are subscribed to both the jedit-users and jedit-devel lists, so a post to jedit-users will be seen by most members of both lists. Also, keep in mind that both jEdit-users and jEdit-devel are high-traffic lists, and can fill up your mailbox unless you check your email regularly.

Q:

Is there a web site devoted to jEdit?

A:

There are several. The official jEdit web site contains extensive information on all things having to do with jEdit. There are also resources available for those interested in jEdit development on the jEdit project page of the SourceForge web site.

The jEdit Community web site has articles on jEdit and related topics, user-submitted macros and other download resources, and listings of web links of interest to jEdit users. It has a message board system to allow users to ask questions and provide feedback on the project without having to subscribe to jEdit's mailing lists. Because the message boards have relatively low volume, using the mailing lists will often be a more effective approach.

The jEdit Community site also has an Interactive FAQ facility that allows you to post questions to be answered by other users, and a screenshot gallery containing images submitted by users.

Q:

Are there copyright restrictions on the use of jEdit?

A:

The jEdit application is free, Open Source software released under the GNU General Public License 2.0. This ensures that jEdit and its source code remains freely available for use and distribution by the public. For specific copyright questions, you should review the GPL 2.0 and seek appropriate advice. Broadly speaking, there are no restrictions on the use of the program as a text editor, and its source code can be copied or modified for use in another program that is governed by the General Public License.

Plugin application that are available using jEdit's Plugin Manager facility, as well as plugins available through the Plugin Central web site or jEdit Community, are governed either by the General Public License or another commonly recognized Open Source software license. This means that use of the application, including use for commercial purposes, is unrestricted without any requirement of royalty or license fee payments. To incorporate source code or an application or plugin as a whole in another application, you must consult the specific license terms to determine whether and on what basis you are permitted to do so.

Q:

Is jEdit only useful for programming in Java?

A:

Absolutely not. Many of the jEdit's plugin applications, and a few of the macros distributed with the program, target the Java language or integrate tools used in Java development. However, the core application is designed to work with any programming or markup language. Included with jEdit are packages providing syntax highlighting, abbreviations and other programming support for over 60 programming languages and file types, including C, C++, C#, Cobol, HTML, Java, Javascript, Lisp, Pascal, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, TCL, Visual Basic and XML. The full list can be found on the jEdit web site.

Q:

Do I need to know Java to use jEdit?

A:

No. In fact, you do not need to know any specific programming language other than the ones with which you work.

At some point in your use of jEdit, you will no doubt want to write your own macros to execute long or complex routines with a single command or keyboard shortcut. Macros in jEdit are written in a simplified dialect of Java called BeanShell. Its syntax will be familiar to users of Java, C++ and other object-oriented languages, and it is not hard to learn even if you have no experience with those languages. The User's Guide provided with jEdit contains an extensive tutorial on writing macros.

Q:

What software do I need to install and run jEdit?

A:

Since jEdit runs on a Java platform, at a minimum you will need a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) package. If you are planning to use jEdit to program in Java, you will need a full Java Development Kit (JDK) package. We recommend obtaining a JDK package.

The current version of jEdit requires a Java runtime environment having a release version of 1.7 or greater. The jEdit web site contains a detailed discussion on the compatibility of various publicly available JDK's for the major operating systems.

Q:

I've just started to learn programming. Is jEdit a good choice for my first text editor?

A:

It is an excellent choice. Its basic features are extremely easy to use, and you will find things like abbreviations, keyboard shortcuts and macros to be great time-savers. It has built-in packages called edit modes that automatically display keywords, tags, and other program elements in different colors, making it easier to view and organize your code. It works well with many Open Source and proprietary programming tools. Because of its extensive customization features, it can adapt to your preferences and work patterns as you become more experienced. Finally, it's free, so you can buy a lot of programming texts with the money you will save.

2. Getting answers

Q: How do I get answers to my questions about jEdit?
Q: Where can I get interactive help for jEdit?

Q:

How do I get answers to my questions about jEdit?

A:

You should look for answers in the following places:

  • The User's Guide available from the application's Help menu.

  • This FAQ document.

  • The archives of jEdit's mailing lists. Archives for both the jedit-users list and the jedit-devel list are available.

If you cannot find help using those resources, post your question to the jedit-users list. You will have to subscribe to the mailing list in order to post, but it is well worth it, and you can elect to have daily bundles of messages sent to you to keep email traffic down. Many questions are answered on the mailing list within 24 hours. The developers who respond to user questions generally do not send direct replies, so you will need to monitor messages from the mailing list is order to obtain an answer.

Q:

Where can I get interactive help for jEdit?

A:

There is an IRC channel, #jedit, available on the irc.freenode.net server that is dedicated to jEdit support and discussion among developers. You can reach it using any IRC client (including Chatzilla), as well as the IRC plugin for jEdit.

There is almost always someone from the developer team signed on the channel. Just say hello and describe your problem.

3. Reporting bugs

Q: How do I report a bug I have found in jEdit?
Q: What information should I include in a bug report?
Q: How do I track the status of a jEdit bug report?

Q:

How do I report a bug I have found in jEdit?

A:

To be as helpful as possible to the jEdit developer team and other users, you should use the bug tracker database that the jEdit project maintains on the SourceForge web site. You need to be a SourceForge member to post a bug report.

Before posting a bug report, spend a few moments searching the bug database to see if a similar report has already been made. The bug tracker has a search facility that will let search for bug reports using a variety of criteria. If you find a similar bug report, and you have additional information to contribute, post a comment to the report. If you do not find a similar bug report, submit a new report.

Q:

What information should I include in a bug report?

A:

The form in the bug tracker report provides several fields for submitting information. If you are unsure about a particular item, leave it at the default setting provided in the form.

The more important fields are Category, Summary and the Initial comment. When you write your initial comment describing the bug, you should specify the versions of jEdit, the Java platform and operating system you are using, because bugs often arise that are specific to particular versions. Sometimes the bug arises from the Java runtime environment or even the operating system, and knowing these details helps the developer team design testing and other debugging strategies.

One of the macros installed with jEdit is called Make Bug Report. You will it find under the Misc category of the Macros menu. This macro extracts information regarding your jEdit installation and a stack trace from the last error recorded by jEdit's Activity Log and places it in a new text buffer. In many cases, the information furnished by the macro is all that is necessary to provide a helpful description of a bug. You can simply cut and paste the output of the macro into the Initial comment field of the bug report form.

Q:

How do I track the status of a jEdit bug report?

A:

If you know the bug report number, go to this web address: http://sourceforge.net/tracker/index.php?func=detail&aid=######&group_id=588&atid=100588, where ###### is the bug report number. If you don't know the bug report number, you can browse and search the bug database to find the problem in which you are interested.

4. Contacting jEdit developers

Q: How do I contact members of the jEdit developer team?

Q:

How do I contact members of the jEdit developer team?

A:

If you want to ask a question, make a feature request or offer other general comments, the easiest way is to join and post a message to the jedit-users mailing list. All developers are members. If you are interested in working on jEdit or writing a plugin for it, use the jedit-devel list. Email addresses for individual developers can be found on the SourceForge web site.

5. Getting the latest version

Q: How do I obtain the latest version of jEdit?
Q: How do I obtain a copy of the jEdit source code?
Q: Where can I get the latest version of this document?

Q:

How do I obtain the latest version of jEdit?

A:

The program is in a continuing state of evolution. It is usually available in two versions, a stable version and a development version. A stable version represents a release of jEdit that is considered to be free of serious bugs or performance problems and suitable for general use. A development version includes new features or new elements of program design that require testing and possible further refinement. A development version contains the token pre in its version number, as in 4.5pre1.

The latest stable and development versions of jEdit are always available from the jEdit web site and from the jEdit project page of the SourceForge web site, which hosts jEdit's development resources.

In addition, a plugin named Updater can be run from within jEdit by installing the Updater plugin, and then selecting Updater from the application's Plugins menu. It has actions to update to the latest released version, or the latest daily build from the development branch. It queries the jEdit web site, compares chosen version information with the version of the currently running instance of jEdit, and reports the result to the user in a message box. If an update is available, it will download the version, install it and shut down jEdit for you.

Finally, if you subscribe to the jedit-announce or jedit-users mailing lists, you will receive an email whenever a new release of jEdit becomes available.

Q:

How do I obtain a copy of the jEdit source code?

A:

The latest version of jEdit's source code is available from the jEdit web site or the SourceForge web site. The web site provides the source code for the latest stable and development version, while the SourceForge site has a more extensive archive covering earlier versions.

If you are interested in testing the absolutely latest changes to jEdit, and you are familiar with compiling your own Java programs and working with Subversion, you can download the current code maintained in the SourceForge SVN repository.

Q:

Where can I get the latest version of this document?

A:

The latest release of this document is available on the jEdit web site.