Padre for perl

Been looking for a lightweight, no-nonsense editor with IDE functions for perl programming. Think I found it in Padre.

After working for a few hours with the E-P-I-C plugin for Eclipse I realized that the tool offered way more than I needed, at a cost in work process change that I wasn’t willing to pay.

I’ve been programming in perl for almost 15 years now. I still consider myself to be a competent novice, nothing more. Most of my projects result in simple utility scripts for handling large amounts of text or performing repetitive administrative functions. My weapons of choice have varied among vim and gedit on Linux to TextPad and Notepad++ on Windows. But after using a real IDE for debugging javascript (Aptana Studio 3) I was sold on the potential savings in time and aggravation that that kind of developer tool can provide.

Padre has been around for awhile and is always on everyone’s short list of recommended IDEs. It’s usually classified as a “beginner’s” entry, which I guess is supposed to indicate that there are better options for “experts”. It is clearly influenced by the work of the Scintilla project (as is Notepad++ on Windows).

But as I said before, I’m no expert. So I gave it a try. After playing with it for a half hour I went and installed it on all my Linux workstations and my company Windows laptop.

Only gotcha I found was that initially I couldn’t get output in the Output window. That’s because “Use external window for execution” was checked off under Tools… Preferences… Language – Perl 5. Unchecking it gave me my script’s output right inside the IDE.

Padre is great for creating simple utility scripts and modest-sized applications in perl. It has a nice graphical debugging facility, syntax checker and all the usual programmer’s text editor amenities like syntax highlighting, conversions for line endings and encoding, brace matching and custom key bindings. All in all a good tool to provide a consistent developmen environment across platforms.


I found the easiest way to get Padre on Windows was by installing the DWIM distribution of perl. The perl binaries are based on the latest 32-bit Strawberry Perl release for Windows.

Gabor Szabo uses Padre to teach perl in his Perl Tutorial, providing a relatively painless way to learn a lot of its features while at the same time giving you the opportunity to become familiar with a great resource for any beginning programmers you might know.

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About phil

My name is Phil Lembo. In my day job I’m an enterprise IT architect for a leading distribution and services company. The rest of my time I try to maintain a semi-normal family life in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. E-mail me at philipATlembobrothersDOTcom. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not those of my employers, past, present or future (except where I quote others, who will need to accept responsibility for their own rants).