As Clint Eastwood would say, “There are two types of text editors in the world, the ones for coding and the others”. Well, Qute (pronounce “cute”) is certainly among the others. it’s a text editor with some advanced features in terms of eye candy. In other terms, not only does it support Tex and Markdown, it’s also a pleasure to work with its visually-appealing interface. If you are tired of the console or just want to test something different, you can try Qute for Linux (or Mac or PC).
There are no official packages (yet) for Ubuntu, so if you want to install Qute, the fastest way for any distribution is the official website. Download the file, decompress it, and launch the executable “Qute”. A first good point about it: Qute is pretty small and can be easily installed or put on a USB drive. However, do take note that some advanced features may require an extra package called PANDOC.
What I like about Qute is that it has everything that you expect a light text editor to have, plus some advanced features and the eye candy that I promised you earlier.
It uses the standard UTF-8 format for encoding plain text files, and there is a full screen mode, as well as a split screen view. So far, everything is as expected. The shortcuts are also the same as in the common word editors: “Ctrl+s” to save, or F11 to go to full screen view. Notice, however, that the undo and the redo features are still not stable and that the results may vary.
In terms of visual interface, Qute comes with a lot of customization, like different backgrounds and fonts. You can choose to work on a wooden or on a dark gray background.
The menu is very smooth and fluid. You can open it via the escape key, or by clicking on the top left corner. Except for this, there are no apparent buttons or extra fields. Qute is very Spartan in terms of menus, but it’s a delight for the eyes.
Qute comes with some advanced and experimental features. One of my favorites is the fact that you can switch between the editing and the visual mode independently from paragraph to paragraph. This means that you don’t need to render or publish the whole file to see what it will look like in the end. To edit a paragraph, simply click on it. You then have to double-click again to switch back to the visual mode.
Qute also supports Tex, which means that you can write and edit Maths formulas pretty easily. It is then possible to export the file to a plethora of formats, amazingly for such a little editor: plain text, clipboard, HTML, PDF, LaTex, etc.
Finally, the program presents an experimental function: the ability to define your own language via OMeta syntax. I am not very familiar with this feature, and it is still in development, but so far, the demo shows how a user will be able to construct his or her own custom markup language.
As a final word, I will say that Qute is pretty convincing for an early version. It still lacks a little of stability and some functions like undo, but I am pretty seduced by its appearance already. On a side note, the project is under AGPL license; the source is on github, and developers and contributors are welcome if they want to help and bring the last features to life.
What do you think of Qute? Are you seduced or repelled by its characteristics? Do you know another similar text editor? Please let us know in the comments.