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SubEthaEdit (Hydra)

Coding Monkeys

Hydra is the product of eight weeks work by four programmers and a few support staff for art and documentation. It's not your best text editor ever because it's very very slow: characters seem to take an eternity to appear on your screen after you type them in, and your caret wobbles along.

But Hydra is not intended as an HTML or text editor, but rather as a collaboration tool for concurrent editing of plain text files over Apple's Rendevous. The product slogan 'seven can write better than one' says all.

The edit window is eerily reminiscent of Project Builder's, aside from the 'drag'; Hydra will recognise syntax in a plethora of formats, and an additional twenty - including the nefarious 'brainfuck' - are available online in easy to download TGZ format.

Hydra will take less than 700 KB to download and will take 1.9 MB on your disk. As a 'better' text editor it certainly beats anything Rich Siegel will ever come up with, but it is decidedly on the 'heavy' side for ordinary editing tasks. How it pans out in the community with its central concurrency feature is yet to be known, as the product is so new (release 31 March 2002).

It's fairly obvious that these 'coding monkeys' know what they're doing. The only reasons this product did not get the highest possible rating are that the editing drags and that the Rendevous functionality has not yet been tested.

Postscript: Hydra SubEthaEdit

Coding Monkeys
Rating: (four burnt toasts)

Well weren't we all fooled! Or were we?

Hydra becomes SubEthaEdit but a lot more. Originally touted as 'lean and mean' with a download of under 700 KB, this monster has grown to rival BBEdit as the BLOB of the century.

And all that talk about 'being free as in beer' and 'going open source' was just evidently that and no more. Today you get nags and not always so subtle reminders that the monkeys really do want your money.

What they won't do is award you restitution for the damage this contraption does to your disk.

That being said, if you really need a heavy duty editor and you're running OS X, you don't have that many options. The Swedish Smultron is one - and this is the other. They are both fully native Cocoa applications and thus do the operating system justice, and they both beat the bulging pants off that other product.

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