I was never a hard core J user, but I played around a little with it
back in 2004.
I thought I'd contribute my thoughts and impressions, in case anyone
I became aware of J because, as an emacs user and Java programmer, I
had come to the conclusion that emacs was failing to evolve due to
being weighed down by its own legacy code base; that there would be a
lot of value in creating a successor to emacs completely from the
ground up; and that the JVM would be an ideal platform for this
successor. Naturally this led me to J. I liked the minimalist approach
to usability, which was obviously inspired by emacs. And the design
itself seemed clean and extensible. One thing I didn't like was the
lack of line-wrapping capability; I even expressed an interest in
adding this functionality, but I ended up not being able to spare the
Unfortunately, by this time the quality of Java IDE's had surpassed
the capabilities of general purpose text editors, and I do mostly Java
development, so I ended up not ever using J extensively; in fact I
sort of forgot about it.
Nevertheless I think J's approach to editor design is good. It would
be nice if the project could regain some momentum, or at least serve
as the conceptual basis for a similar project. If I were to develop my
own text editor, I might or might not use the JVM, but even if I
didn't, I would use J for design inspiration.
One major criticism: "J" is a terrible name, because it's not
search-engine-friendly. I wouldn't be surprised if this were a major
reason for the project's lack of momentum. In my opinion any
evangelism effort should start with a name change.
On Tue, Sep 2, 2008 at 1:26 AM, Ludovico Magnocavallo <ludo@...> wrote:
> Jan-Wijbrand Kolman wrote:
>> So, basically, is J dead? Are there any users still out there? Or have
>> people migrated away - like I'm currently doing, dusting of my .emacs
>> file? Although my Java-skills are rusty to say the least, maybe I could
>> chip a little maintenance-time when there're more people to collaborate
> I use J as my primary editor, for Python/XML/HTML/CSS work and general
> editing fo text files. In fact, I often think I should start learning
> Java so that when the time comes I'll be able to maintain J, at least
> for my personal use. I cannot think of using anything else to edit files.
>> If not, then let me take this opportunity to say a sincere and whole
>> hearted "Thank You Peter" for the having developed J, an editor that
>> deserves to have had a much, much bigger audience.
> And yes, Peter thanks *a lot* from me too of course. It's a shame J is
> not widely known and used. In fact, we could probably team up and do
> some evangelizing, a web site with user-friendly docs, screencasts, and
> all the works.
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