A terminal-based text editor written in Rust
Rust Makefile
Latest commit f35d016 Jan 8, 2017 @gchp Make rustbox event polling block
This significantly reduces the CPU usage for iota, as it no longer has
to write to stdout multiple times a second.

In the future it may be worth looking into how to make it so that we
don't have to call "clear" during a draw. It might be that we can just
clear past the end of a line and clear lines that don't have content.

For now, this will do.


Iota Build Status


Iota is a terminal-based text-editor written in Rust.

Here's what it looks like right now, editing itself.



Iota was born out of my frustrations with existing text editors. Over the years I've tried combinations of simple text editors, IDEs and everything in between. None of them felt right to me, however. Some were too slow & bulky, others were too difficult to customise and still others were platform specific and I couldn't use them on all my machines.

I started building Iota with the view of combining ideas and features from serveral different editors while designing it to work on modern hardware.

Why Rust? Because its fun and why not!


The goals for Iota are that it would be:

  • 100% open source
  • highly extensible/customisable/scriptable
  • fast & efficient - designed with modern hardware in mind
  • cross platform - it should work anywhere
  • developer friendly - it should just "get out of the way"
  • Rust tooling integration (see note below)

Iota is still in the very early stages, and is probably not ready for every day use. Right now the focus is on implementing and polishing the basic editing functionality.

Windows support is coming, but it's somewhat slow right now. Help with this would be greatly appreciated!

Note on Rust integration: The aim is to support code editing in all languages (and of course plain text), with a lean towards Rust and integration with Rust tools. I don't intend it to be a "Rust IDE" or "Rust only", however I think it would be cool to experiment with integration with Rust tooling. This could also be applied to other languages too.


Clone the project and run make or cargo build --release.

NOTE: Iota needs to be built using the nightly toolchain for now, not stable. Rustup is very useful for managing multiple rust versions.

Once you have the source, run:

$ ./configure
$ make

This will build a "release" version of iota using cargo. To configure a debug build you can run:

$ ./configure --debug
$ make

You can also enable additional features using the configure script. Right now the only option available is for enabling syntax highlighting. This will be default in the future, but is optional for now while it is being finalized:

$ ./configure --enable-syntax-highlighting
$ make

The configure script & Makefile are here just for convenience.You can also use cargo to build the project directly rather than using the configure & make combo. I find it easier to "configure and make" however as it saves having to explicitly type my cargo arguments every time.


To start the editor run ./target/release/iota /path/to/file.txt. Or simply ./target/release/iota to open an empty buffer.

You can also create buffers from stdin.

# open a buffer with the output of `ifconfig`
ifconfig | ./target/release/iota

You can move the cursor around with the arrow keys.

To save, press Ctrl-s. To exit, press Ctrl-q.

Iota currently supports both Vi and Emacs style keybindings for simple movement.

You can enable Vi style keybindings by using the --vi flag when starting Iota. The vi-style modes are in the early stages, and not all functionality is there just yet. The following works:

  • while in normal mode:
    • k move up
    • j move down
    • l move forwards
    • h move backwards
    • w move one word forward
    • b move one word backward
    • 0 move to start of line
    • $ move to end of line
    • d delete
    • u undo
    • r redo
    • i insert mode
    • :q quit
    • :w save
  • while in insert mode:
    • ESC normal mode

Alternatively, you can use the following emacs-style keys:

  • Ctrl-p move up
  • Ctrl-n move down
  • Ctrl-b move backwards
  • Ctrl-f move forwards
  • Ctrl-a move to start of line
  • Ctrl-e move to end of line
  • Ctrl-d delete forwards
  • Ctrl-h delete backwards
  • Ctrl-x Ctrl-c quit
  • Ctrl-x Ctrl-s save
  • Ctrl-z undo
  • Ctrl-y redo