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Desktop-style, Intuitive, Commandline Editor in Ruby. "Better than nano, simpler than vim."

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Simple, extendable, test-driven commandline editor written in ruby, for Linux/Mac/Windows.


  • Desktop-like / intuitive interface
  • TextMate Syntax and Theme support
  • selecting via Shift + arrow-keys (only Linux or iTerm) or 'select mode' Ctrl+b + arrow-keys
  • move line up/down (Alt+Ctrl+up/down)
  • Tab -> indent / Shift+Tab -> unindent
  • keeps indentation (+ paste-detection e.g. via Cmd+v)
  • change (*) + writable (!) indicators
  • find / go to line / delete line / search & replace
  • configuration via ~/.ruco.rb in Ruby
  • Full clipboard support -> Ctrl+x/c/v
  • undo / redo -> Ctrl+z/y
  • stays at last position when reopening a file
  • opens file at line e.g. ruco foo/bar.rb:32
  • supports all newline formats
  • surrounds selection with quotes/braces (select abc + " --> "abc")
  • shortens long file names in the middle
  • (optional) remove trailing whitespace on save
  • (optional) blank line before eof on save
  • (optional) line numbers

ruco with railscasts theme
Colors in Ruby 1.8


sudo gem install ruco


ruco file.rb


# ~/.ruco.rb
Ruco.configure do
  # set options
  options.window_line_scroll_offset = 5 # default 1
  options.history_entries = 10          # default 100
  options.editor_remove_trailing_whitespace_on_save = true  # default false
  options.editor_blank_line_before_eof_on_save = true       # default false
  options.editor_line_numbers = true                        # default false

  # Use any Textmate theme e.g. from
  # use a url that points directly to the theme, e.g. github 'raw' urls
  options.color_theme = ""

  # bind a key
  # - you can use Integers and Symbols
  # - use "ruco --debug-keys foo" to see which keys are possible
  # - have a look at lib/ruco/keyboard.rb
  bind(:"Ctrl+e") do
    ask('foo') do |response|
      if response == 'bar'
        editor.move(:to, 0,0)

  # bind an existing action
  puts @actions.keys

  bind :"Ctrl+x", :quit
  bind :"Ctrl+o", :save
  bind :"Ctrl+k", :delete_line
  bind :"Ctrl+e", :move_to_eol
  bind :"Ctrl+a", :move_to_bol

  # create reusable actions
  action(:first_line){ editor.move(:to_column, 0) }
  bind :"Ctrl+u", :first_line


  • [Mac] arow-keys + Shift/Alt does not work in default terminal (use iTerm)
  • [Tabs] Ruco does not like tabs. Existing tabs are displayed as single space and pressing tab inserts 2*space
  • [RVM] alias r="rvm 1.9.2 exec ruco" and you only have to install ruco once
  • [Ruby1.9] Unicode support -> install libncursesw5-dev before installing ruby
  • [ssh vs clipboard] access your desktops clipboard by installing xauth on the server and then using ssh -X
  • [Alt key] if Alt does not work try your Meta/Win/Cmd key

Colors in Ruby 1.8

# OSX via brew OR port
brew install oniguruma
port install oniguruma5

# Ubuntu
sudo apt-get -y install libonig-dev

gem install oniguruma


Ruco is basically a lot of String manipulation separated in HTML style elements. The only component dealing with the commandline interface are Screen and Keyboard. Therefore everything is very simple to build and test since it returns a string or a e.g. cursor position.

Writing/reading is done in a TextArea or a TextField (a TextArea with 1 line) which are placed in Form`s.

The Application consists of a StatusBar, Editor, CommandBar and delegates actions to the currently active element.

To build the commandline output Editor/CommandBar return:

  • view -- text that should be displayed on the screen (complete content cropped via Window)
  • style_map -- a big Array with style infos, e.g. 'on line 1 chars 5 to 7 are red'
  • cursor -- where to draw the cursor


  • only do syntax parsing for changed lines + selected lines <-> will not be redrawn anyhow
  • try to use complete file coloring as removed in 26d6da4
  • javascript syntax parsing is slow and often causes syntax-timeouts
  • some languages are still not mapped correctly to their syntax file languages <-> syntaxes
  • do not fall back to 0:0 after undoing the first change
  • check writable status every x seconds (e.g. in background) -> faster while typing
  • search help e.g. 'Nothing found' '#4 of 6 hits' 'no more hits, start from beginning ?'
  • align soft-tabs
  • highlight tabs (e.g. strange character or reverse/underline/color)
  • big warning when editing a not-writable file
  • find next (Alt+n)
  • smart staying at column when changing line
  • syntax highlighting
  • raise when binding to a unsupported key
  • search history via up/down arrow
  • search options regex + case-sensitive
  • 1.8: unicode support <-> already finished but unusable due to Curses (see encoding branch)
  • add double quotes/braces when typing one + skip over quote/brace when its already typed at current position



Michael Grosser
Hereby placed under public domain, do what you want, just do not hold me accountable...

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