While looking for a decent code base for a text editor on Google Code (tip: search for “label:editor”), I found a wiki page in the epytor project which links to “The Craft of Text Editing“, by Craig A. Finseth. That document not only explains all the basic algorithms behind the scenes of a text editor but also compares different implementations and contains a wealth of useful general comments.
Every once in a while, someone comes up with a nice idea and everyone adopts it. People needed a way to navigate in a document larger than the screen, so scrollbars were invented to give an idea where they are related to the whole document.
Scrollbars offer a consistent interface, they are well understood and they don’t change size while you use them. That’s good. But they also fail give you an idea where to look when you search something. Like: Where did I modify my document? What’s above and below?
farmhand shows this information. Instead of a gray/blue blob that moves, you get a zoomed view of the document along with change marks. It takes a bit more space on the screen and I’m not totally convinced how it fares with really large documents but it’s definitely a new idea with some potential.
I’d just put these “farmhand bars” as pop ups on the editor tabs, so they don’t clutter the screen when hidden and are still easily accessible when you switch editors.