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My new favorite text editor

JDarkRoom

JDarkRoom is one of several minimalist text editors. I’ll list others below. What I like about JDarkRoom is portability. It’s a simple Java (.jar) application, making it usable by both the XP I use at work and my Linux laptop at home. Talk about the best of both worlds! It is also portable in the sense that it resides on my USB drive and I can take it anywhere.

Now, why use a minimalist text editor instead of fancier apps like MS Word and OpenOffice? I’m not dissing them; they have their place, and their place is to make the words look pretty when I need to send them off to an editor hungry to publish my work. At all other times I don’t need so many bells and whistles, and I don’t want such a bloated program hogging my wimpy computer resources. Hello, JDarkRoom! Just a simple screen that seems to cut you off from the rest of the computer — and that dreaded attention sink, the Internets — so all you have to do is write. That’s nice.

JDarkRoom has just enough configurability to make it interesting. I love the word count function. By pressing F6 I can bring up menus that configure the look and feel such as background color, font color, and line width. You will have to try it out to grok it.

Below are some (but not all) of the minimalist word processors out there.

* JDarkRoom — the happy subject of this post. Go check it out!
* Q10 — this is a nice application. It has a lot of the functionality I want — such as USB portability — and in some cases is better than JDarkRoom. For instance, it boasts live text statistics that update as you type. However, it suffers from a serious, severe flaw that disqualifies it for me: there is no Linux version, nor will there ever be. A brief Google informs me that it won’t run under Wine. Sorry, Q10, I want a one-app solution!
* Writer — This is interesting. It seems to be like JDarkRoom, but is entirely online. You can save your work there, or save it to a local disk.

For a longer list of good apps, including some for the Mac, see this article.

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