Version 1.2.404
(release date: Jul 11 2021)

The ultra light code editor.

Speare is a small and friendly code editor. It was originally developed to provide a native scripting language debugging environment that seamlessly integrated with C and C++. You can use it to edit source code files, programming and debugging. Speare designed to make programming feels light, simple and free. Speare not only has an efficient code navigation and call routines tracing ability but also has flexibility to extend it to support special developing requirements. Speare includes an ultra light debugging environment for C, C++, Ruby, mruby, Lua, Python, PHP, Perl, Tcl and AWK, and give people complete freedom to control and customise the debugging environment for a new programming language.

What's new

1. Syntax highlighting files that has no extension name by recognising it's Shebang.
2. Parallel editing mode: fast editing arbitrary files in parallel text views, the most important feature.

It's not free now!

Speare has really good features, such as parallel editing, instant diff, high performance searching and symbol definition parsing. But after a long time, still no people kindly feed back any issue report or feature request, they just use it freely but don't willing to give respect to other's works. I changed my idea from "Free Forever" to "You should pay for good stuff". The app is really good but they made it down and down, that's made me angry, that's why Speare becomes a paid app from free app. Sorry.

If you can't open the link above, please launch App Store and find Speare by searching.



Screenshot of SQLite source code "Parallel Editing" in Speare code editor, "Parallel Editing" mode allows user stick one file in the bottom view and switch different files in the top view.

Using .diff files with the help of "Parallel Editing" mode has obvious advantage, copy code blocks in the bottom text view and fast switch different files in the top text view can efficiently edit files very fast, and Speare can index .diff files for big file changes very well comparing to other code editor and IDEs. And, Spear enable user edit arbitrary two souce code file side by side and also support edit source code file with built-in web browser side by side.

more screenshots: → screenshot references.

Fast edit several files separately

Just drag the file one by one from Finder and drop into workspace, edit them and then right-click to "Remove All".

Fast edit several files in big folder

Just drag the folder into workspace never mind how big it is and then edit several files never mind what the programming language they were written, fast editing them with the "Auto-completion" feature provided by Speare code editor.

Code editor on iPad

If you want to edit source code files on iPad, or review code on iPad, please refer another app developed by me, iCodeEditor, an integrated code editor for iPad. Sorry, it's not free.

Code editor and IDE on macOS

Diamond is small! Emphasise small software is never too much!
E.g. iTerm2 is better than Terminal.app, the latter is only 1.1MB, but the former is about 69MB! it's so big! so I throw it away immediately! neovim bring some excitements to developers, but it's still too big! bare installation is at least 25MB! and boring configurations! so I give up it immediately! I really don't know how big it will be if I configured up all languages! Although terminal based on text editors such as GNU Emacs and Vim, looks so cool, but their limitations are also obvious, the elephant in the room. As a programmer, so many text editor I've used in the past years, such as the bulky cargos, Visual Studio Code, Atom, Android Studio, Eclipse, ActiveState Komodo, Xcode, NetBeans, Eclipse, and some light cargos, e.g. Textadept, CotEditor and TextMate. TextMate is my favour many years, but I never use it anymore when Speare become to be the alternative, and I never try TextMate2 because of the same one reason, too big! I never like desktop applications that built with NodeJS, React and Electron, Eclipse and Java or .NET and C# based big stuffs. So, an extremely small code editor is the design goal of Speare to pursue, and also the design philosophy of this unique dev utility. Speare code editor was implemented extremely small but has the most important missing features in common code editors, such as code completion, parallel editing, instant diff, bookmark management, code block live parsing and efficiently tracing call routines, etc.

No. Name Size No. Name Size
1Speare 1.2.56 5.6MB 7 Visual Studio Code (bare system) 1.36.1 211MB
2TextMate 1.5.7 23.3MB 8 ActiveState Komodo 11.1 334MB
3Textadept 10.4 35MB 9 Atom 1.38.2 558MB
4CotEditor 3.3 47MB 10 Android Studio 3.1 1.37GB
5Lazarus (without FreePascal compiler and source packages) 2.0.8200.9MB 11Eclipse IDE 4.12 400MB ~ 5GB
6ZeroBraneStudio 6.0 602.1MB 12Xcode 10.0 12GB

The technology choices to make a code editor and IDE on macOS

1Vim/EmacsFav of big communityUser experience is not so friendly
2HTML5 + ElectronMature code base open sourcedLow performance with huge run-time
3QtMature cross-platform GUI kitBest for Linux, Windows but not suitable for macOS GUI app
4GTK+Mature cross-platform GUI frameworkBest for Linux but not suitable for macOS GUI app
5Tcl/TkRapid GUI app development kitLack low level native OS support features
6Java SwingRapid development, mature cross-platform GUI kitLow performance with huge run-time
7C# + .NETFast implementing GUI appSuitable for Windows but not suitable for macOS GUI app, Mono required (6.10 362.3MB!).
8JUCECross-platform GUI kit, mature, high performanceFunction constrained to build complex macOS GUI app
9Native CocoaMature, reliable, high performanceBest frameworks to build macOS app

Speare code editor was developing based on the native pure Cocoa frameworks with leveraging several C library results a very small footprint, high performance, small memory and storage runtime consuming, and ultra small distribution. Only 1.1MB executable!

Why not big software?

Waste time to maintain, wast big storage and runtime memory, waste energy, waste time to upload and download. It's waste people's life! Every desktop developer should known one thing, the embedded system developers sometime even fighting for one byte of storage in some situation. They never think about memory and storage like embedded system developers, so more and more big monster there. In today's software industry, Unix philosophy has been throw away completely!

They make software as big as possible, as complex as possible, but I believe in the opposite philosophy.

Why another code editor and IDE on macOS?

Despite there are so many code editor and IDE available on macOS, but Speare code editor has its own unique characteristics:

About Apple App Store

Eat food by your own hand but not the feeds they provides to your front.
1. Speare don't like some app (such as XXEdit) thickly marked as "Top Free Apps" and "Editor's Choice" but has hidden purchases in it, Speare has not any hidden purchases to trap people's money.
2. Speare don't like some app (such as XXRunner) thickly marked as "Top Paid Apps" but it's not up to that rank.

Code browser, call routines tracing and code analysis

Speare code editor helps end user to understand an existing code base by powerful code browser and call routines tracing functions. Speare code editor parses source code files and maintains the database of symbol definitions instantly while user editing, and presents useful contextual information to user automatically. It also use persistent bookmarks to remember key locations within functions or classes and their references. End user can quickly navigate function calls and callers and find references to variable, function or class instantly.

Productive helps to fast find editing points

Fast Editing

Speare developed as an ultra light code editor that completely leverage "Keyboard shortcuts" for fast editing. Keyboard shortcuts instead of "moving mouse and click" can notably improve code editing experience. Real programmer use keyboard shortcuts as a habit constantly. Real programmer use and write command line applications as a habit constantly. Keyboard shortcuts can help people fast move focus between workspace and text editor, and fast switch between running apps such as Debug Server, Fossil, Web browser and Speare.

Speare Keyboard Shortcuts

Please refer the table: → speare_shortcuts.pdf

Syntax Checking and Run Code Instantly

a. Press shortcut key "Command + R".
b. Click menu: "Command" → "Syntax Checking & Run".

Spear enable people to run arbitrary shell commands within editor.
Spear enable people to run shell scripts within editor with hot editing.
Spear enable people to write unlimited shell extension to do anything they want.

Crafting software as small as possible. → Why C is the returned king of programming languages.

Version management in Speare

Speare code editor support directly run shell scripts and arbitrary shell command within editor!
The following content is a simple shell script used to detect changes of repository that has not been committed, you can directly modify the content and run it without leave editor. And, with the help of the built-in web browser, you can closely view large number of file changes (view diff of history revisions for your repository) in the split views of the editor.


# 1. the location of repository
echo "enter: $repository"
echo ""
cd $repository

# show uncommitted changes
# 2a. changes
echo "edited and deleted files:"
# fossil status --missing
fossil status --edited

# 2b. changes
# echo ""
# echo "added files:"
# fossil extras

# 2c. changes
# fossil diff -tk "relative/path/of/file.c"

Speare strong recommend using Fossil as your version management system despite so many SCM already exists there, because it was written with C, small and efficient, you can conveniently do version control without leave Speare, such as view changes of repository, do commit, view file diff and history, associate tickets, and write wiki etc.

Debug Mode

Despite the dragon is evil but it still can't escape under the claws of eagles.
Speare seamlessly support debugging C, C++, Ruby, mruby, Lua, Python, PHP, Perl, Tcl and AWK scripts, more info please refer here: → Speare debugger architecture.

Add a New Colour Scheme

Please download colour scheme boilerplate from here: colorschemes.tar.gz, uncompress it, edit the colour values to fit a new style, and then put it under the following directory to take effect.
~/Library/Application Scripts/com.sevenuc.speareeditor/colorschemes/
Please create the directory if it does not exist.

Code Formatter/Code Beautifier

Supported languages:
a. C, C++, Objective‑C, C#, Java (built-in support).
b. Ruby, Lua, Python, Perl, PHP, Tcl, Swift, JavaScript, Shell scripts, Dart, Go and Rust.
(located in the formatters directory, requires a little configuration to let them work properly)

~/Library/Application Scripts/com.sevenuc.SpeareHelper/formatters/
Ensure the formatters can be correctly working, you should take a look at above directory, the built-in formatters:
js.sh: check Node.js installed and can be accessed from command line.
php.sh: check PHP installed and can be accessed from command line.
rust.sh: check Rust and rustfmt installed and can be accessed from command line.
tcl.sh: check Tcl installed and can be accessed from command line.
go.sh: check Go installed and can be accessed from command line.
dart.sh: check Dart and dartfmt installed and can be accessed from command line.

Integrated development environment

Speare code editor can easily integrate building tools, code analysis tools and continue deploy tools. You can run different tasks in Speare code editor instantly, such as automatic compile (run makefile, CMake, Ant tasks etc), building and packing, or run static code analysis tools (source code analyzer, such as PC-Lint, clang-analyzer, PHPLint, OCLint, SwiftLint, and PMD etc), unit testing tools, memory leak detection tools such as Valgrind, performance analysis tools, code style check tools, and any other tasks. Speare code editor provides you complete freedom to extend the editor to satisfy special requirements of your development environment.

Programming Languages and Document Types

The built-in parsers of Speare code editor can parse tons of common document formats and programming languages.

AMPL ASM ASP AWK Ada ActionScript Active4D AnsiblePlaybook Ant Apache Applescript Asciidoc AutoIt Autoconf Automake Basic Batch Beta Bibtex C C# C++ CMake CPrePro CSS Scss CUDA Clojure Cobol CoffeeScript ColdFusion Csound Ctags D DTS DbusIntrospect Diff DosBatch PowerShell Dtd Dylan Shell SQL Eiffel Elixir Elm Erlang eZ Publish F-Script Falcon Flex Forth Fortran FreeFem++ Fypp GEDCOM Gdbinit Glade Go Gradle GraphViz Groovy Haskell HTML Haxe Header IDL ITcl Iniconf Inko JSP Java JavaFX JavaProperties JavaScript Json Julia Kotlin Kuin LSL LaTeX LdScript Lilypond Lisp EmacsLisp Logtalk Lua M4 MEL Makefile Man Markdown MATLAB Maven2 MetaPost Metaslang Moose MySQL Myrddin Nsis NASL NEURON Nemerle Objective-C Octave Ocaml Ox PDF PHP Parrot Pascal Passwd Perl Perl6 Pig Plist Pod PostScript Prolog Processing Protobuf Puppet PuppetManifest Python PythonLoggingConfig PowerShell QemuHX QtMoc R R/S-PLUS RHTML RSpec RelaxNG Rexx Robot Racket RpmSpec Rst Ruby mruby Rust Sml Slang, SGML SML SQL Scala Scheme Sedona Shell Slang Smalltalk Snippets Stata SuperCollider SVG Swift SystemTap SystemdUnit TTCN Tcl Tcl/Tk Tex TorqueScript TypeScript Udo VB VB.NET VHDL Vera Verilog SystemVerilog Vim WSDL WindRes XML XSD Xquery Xslt Yacc YAML YumRepo Zephir

a.The most popular document formarts: Plist, JSON, Markdown, Yaml, SVG, Protobuf, HTML, CSS, SCSS, Man, Asciidoc, Tex, Bibtex, Dtd, Pod, XML, Xslt, Xquery, XSD, Glade, RelaxNG and DbusIntrospect etc.
b. Configure files: Autoconf, Automake, Make, M4, Makefile, Vim, Kconfig, LdScript, AnsiblePlaybook, Varlink, WSDL, RSpec, QtMoc, WindRes, and Gradle, Ant and Maven2 etc.

Crafting software as small as possible!