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SUGGESTION: KATE Pop-up Search Option

yereverluvinunclebert
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SUGGESTION: KATE Pop-up Search Option

Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:30 am
Kate has an inconsistent search function that is inferior to other advanced editors. This area is the only part of Kate that is generally sub-standard in my opinion. I'd go so far as to say that the inferior search capabilities make Kate rather unusable in the long run. Other advanced editors achieve decent search facilities in an improved fashion.

I'll explain:

Using Windows searching for a term using ctrl+f reveals a search bar at the bottom of the page.

Problems:

1. The search bar is at the bottom of the editor window and often completely off screen when Kate is run in a window. The bottom is not a good place for a search bar. As the search is placed here by default you cannot use Kate with the bottom portion of the window off the screen.

2. When Kate is in full screen mode the search bar is right at the bottom of the text, almost as far away from the location where the code is being edited as it could be. Always having to move to the bottom of the screen for a search is both awkward and frustrating.

Solution for 1 & 2: A much more natural approach is to have the option of a search box that by default, pops-up in the centre of the window (the old bottom bar functionality could be retained for legacy usage as an option within settings). The new pop up search box would easily be positioned by the user by dragging it anywhere on screen. Each time a search is requested the dialog box pops up in the user's last defined position or it could intelligently place itself in a useful position.

This is convenient for the user and much more efficient than the current method as it means the search function is always in the most convenient location.

Image
Search example mock-up window

3. The search bar covers the whole of the bottom of the editor window, therefore if Kate's window is wide, the amount of movement that is required to select the different search options is significantly increased. Searching in Kate becomes a pain with lots of unnecessary mouse movement from left to right within Kate's window.

Solution: Move the search bar and its options to a simple pop up dialog box. All controls will be situated close together and the result will be much more usable.

Image
Search and replace example mock-up window

4. When multiple files are open in tabs, switching from tab to tab loses the search context immediately, replacing the current search with an out-of-date search, ie. the one last used on a different tab.

To continue the current search, you must have already copied the current search into the copy buffer then you have to paste the clipboard contents into the search area of the newly selected tab. This is very cumbersome and makes Kate almost unusable for searching. Bear in mind that this must be performed for each tab that you have open and that it is a real pain...

Solution: Allow the current search context to be retained regardless of which tab is selected. In this case, clicking on a tab and then pressing F3 (continued search) finds all subsequent occurrences of the current search string without having to open a new search bar. The way I am suggesting is standard functionality for most other advanced editors.

5. There is no option to search from the top, you can only search from current cursor position, up or down. Kate is deficient in this respect.

Solution: Add a simple radio button option to allow the search to start from the top

Image
Search and replace pop up when Kate is largely off-screen appearing in a sensible location.

6. Strangely, when you are searching there is no option to search all open documents. To achieve this you have to perform a search and replace instead. You perform a search and fail to find the string in the current file, then you have to click on the search and replace button at the very bottom left of Kate's window. This leaves you with a search bar already open and then another search bar with an additional unwanted replace field. Having two search fields open simultaneously is very messy and well, just a bit rubbish. Furthermore, the first search field may well be populated but the second search box remains statically empty. You have to retype the search string into the new field... This process just does NOT work.

Solution: Have a simple pop up dialog box with a radio button option to allow the search to operate within all open files. Do away with the bottom search bar altogether. The search field in a new pop up dialog box will be automatically filled based upon the clipboard contents or last search regardless of whether it is a simple search or a search/replace requested.

[Redacted search history issue number 7 as it applies solely to Kdevelop]

-oOo-

An example as to how this should be done can be observed by operating the Context editor or notepad++, both of which have advanced search functionality that is superior to that found in Kate.

So far, I have found Kate to be superior in almost all respects to my previous editors - but the search function is so poor as to make me want to revert to my old obsolete editor to perform all text searches. If I revert back to an older editor to perform simple basic functions it shows how backward Kate is in this one respect. Also, I can not run two editors simultaneously, I need to become proficient and productive in just one. If I revert to my old editor for one function then I'll stay with it.

Bear in mind that I am using Kate on Windows and that I comparing Kate with with similar style advanced editors for that platform. They all operate in a similar fashion with regard to pop-ups and searching. Kate is a lovely editor but the search functionality is in serious need of improvement. I am very, very surprised that it has been allowed to continue in the state it is now. Perhaps I am missing some advanced configuration option that enables such a pop up search box?

Forgive this complaint, There may be a way to configure KATE to achieve the above. Not looking for a battle just looking to improve Kate.

Bugs raised in KDE bugs, raised as individual issues:

Bug 389384 - KATE Pop-up Search Option https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=389384
Bug 389388 - KATE - There is no option to search all open documents https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=389388
Bug 389387 - KATE- There is no option to search from the top https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=389387
Bug 389386 - KATE Switching from tab to tab loses the search context https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=389386
yereverluvinunclebert
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Update:

I decided to remove Kate from the PCs that I support as it is not suitable for use on Windows, not acting in all departments like a normal Windows application. All the editors I use or have used allow searching through multiple files, have search pop-ups and have more configuration to allow advanced searches - by default. Moving to Kate would have been a retrograde step in this essential area compared to the competition.

I know this sounds like negative feedback but just to set the record straight I was massively impressed by Kate, certain features would have made it my editor of choice - especially the visual scrollbar - but at the moment I just couldn't recommend it to any Windows user due to Kate's default search function being so thoroughly 'naff'. In short using Kate's search would have been a serious productivity downgrade...

If the search function is ever overhauled to be more in line with regard to the functionality I have come to expect from any advanced Windows editor then let me know! I'll be straight back.
airdrik
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Well, different people have different habits and preferences. People can be allowed to try different things and see what they like. Though if most of the users you support find the way things are handled in Kate troublesome then I certainly understand that it isn't worth your time supporting (you just need to be careful about projecting your preferences onto other people; depending on the group you are supporting there's a chance they may not care about some of these things as much as you do). Notepad++ is a really nice text editor and I see no problem focusing your support on it.

I personally prefer the search bar at the bottom (which matches what many IDEs and browsers do/have been doing for some time), though I can see benefit of having a nice compact search dialog so long as it doesn't get in the way and doesn't get lost among the other windows (both of which have solutions, it's just a matter of the devs making sure to implement them correctly). I also would prefer the default to be the bottom bar rather than the popup dialog; though that's just my opinion.

I will certainly agree that having the option to Search Open Files would be nice to have.


airdrik, proud to be a member of KDE forums since 2008-Dec.
yereverluvinunclebert
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Don't get me wrong, I LOVE kate, I really love it. When I fire it up it is an exciting tool to use with so much functionality and little extras that I adore and I'm desperate to use. I am so keen to adopt it.

The trouble is that search is such an integral part of the functionality that I need in order to be productive. Whether or not you like having search at the bottom is not relevant to me it is only relevant to you. I will not ever compromise on utility nor productivity and simply put, the search in Kate has been neglected so it makes Kate unusable for the sort of work I do. I cannot imagine others working so differently than me that makes me so unique in my requirements - but I'm happy to accept they do. I need search to be productive and quick and the search utility in Kate is sub-standard (when compared to my existing tools that are in turn sub-standard to Kate in almost all other facilities).

Kate should be configurable, a search in pop-mode can't be that difficult to do. The other improvements are essential, good history, searching in all files, searching from the top - some of it easy stuff. I know it because I have just implemented the same in javascript on one of my own tools. I'd love to contribute code to Kate but I do not have the skills.

What I can do is contribute positive feedback and report bugs in a thorough and complete fashion. I have done that. I cannot use the tool, Kate, itself due to the limitations as reported and so I have nothing more to offer. So I will stop, remove myself from the forum for a year and return to see if anything has been done in respect of a good search utility.
airdrik
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I was mainly trying to point out that it seemed to me that you were projecting your own preferences on your users suggesting that they couldn't be productive with it the way it currently works (sure it may work a little differently from other tools they are used to, but they may be fine with that or even prefer it this way). We all view things through the filter of our own experience, and it is sometimes hard to see things from another's perspective. As such I was pointing out a different perspective for your consideration.

I could certainly see making the suggested changes as options to be selected (though don't expect anything to happen if you don't try to push for it through the appropriate channels; this forum is mainly for users helping each other use the software as it currently exists as well as discussing proposed changes before submitting cases for the devs to work on).


airdrik, proud to be a member of KDE forums since 2008-Dec.
yereverluvinunclebert
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That's all fine. Of course I am looking for those options that make me productive. If we, the users, don't push for those facilities then who else? Feedback is given and then taken or ignored. One route makes it usable for me, the other does not. If not then my path is easy. I look for the next path.

What I was looking for was configurability, the option to give me easy choices. My hope is that I can configure it one way so it pleases me and can leave it the way it comes by default, to please others. Configurability leads to choice, choice leads to happiness.

My suggestions are all standard in other editors, my reasons for promoting them here are simply to bring Kate (which is such a wonderful editor in general) up to scratch in these areas where it is deficient. Searching is without doubt not one of Kate's strengths. Improvement is required. It is deficient, not my opinion but also in the opinion of some of the devs that responded on the bugs/issues I raised. I appreciate that change will only come if there is a body of will to make the change. I interpret their comments to mean that it is unlikely that change will be made in this respect - and that is why Kate isn't currently for me but might still be in the future.

As an example of why I am not unduly worried (though I would have loved to use it), I will give you the link to my new editor that I will be promoting in general as of now, RJTextEd. It has all the suggestions I mooted, searching in all documents, a pop up or bottom search option, saved search history, a single click on line number selects the line and I found it even has a document mapped scrollbar similar to that found in Kate. I was converted the second I found it! Entirely free to use, though not open source. You can find it here for comparison purposes:

https://www.rj-texted.se/index.html

It is worth looking at.

My search for a replacement javascript, XML, jscript, PHP and HTML advanced editor is now over though I will return to see how Kate is doing in two years or so. I hope Kate progresses and does well. It deserves to.

Image

EDIT: RJTextEd also has a ruler and can search from the top of a document - my dreams have been answered.

 
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