A text editor is a programmer's best friend
Pallavi is an extremely versatile and extensible text editor written in Python using the wxPython toolkit. The primary focus is to keep the core very small and streamlined, while providing an extensible plugin mechanism and widely varied set of plugins to allow the system to be used for anything anything from a simple Notepad replacement to a full-fledged integrated development environment for development in any language.
The process behind this goal is to place the editor's design in the user's hands. You shouldn't have to load a bunch of features you don't need just to edit a small amount of text or some source code. On the other hand you shouldn't have to give up those features you love just because they are typically only supported in the biggest and most bloated tools. You should be able to pick your tools.
The idea is that a community of plugin developers will grow around Pallavi. These users will be able to create, share, adapt, and improve Pallavi plugins so that an infinite variety of editors can be created from this simple core. If you would be interested in developing plugins or working on the Pallavi core, please don't hesitate to contact the mailing list.
The current stable release is Pallavi 0.5. The current beta release is Pallavi 0.6 beta 3. It runs well under Linux and Windows, but has not yet been tested on the Macintosh platform.
Pallavi is now a fully featured text editor, ready for use by interested developers or end users. There is also core support for IDE style features to be added as plugins, but few of these have been written yet.
Pallavi currently supports, the following features and then some:
Further testing and bug reports will be very much appreciated, especially on the non-free operating systems. Additional contributions are also welcome, including code, feature ideas, graphics and icons, website suggestions, documentation, etc.
Depending on your interests, you can choose to download the latest release or to install the development version from subversion. If you want a stable editor, go with the latest release. If you're looking for the latest features, check out subversion and see what you think. The subversion repositiory is usually left quite stable, but this isn't always the case. Development is happening in fits and spurts, but major changes tend to stabilize rapidly.
Before installing Pallavi, you need to install Python and WXPython. Use your Linux distribution's package manager to install these, or if you use Windows you can grab installers from the source sites linked above. WXPython also depends on several other projects, so check their Prerequisites page to make sure you have everything you need. As of Pallavi 0.5, Pallavi requires at least wxPython 2.8. Earlier releases of Pallavi should work with older wxPython installations.
The latest beta is version 0.6b3, released on November 21, 2007. It can be downloaded from the Sourceforge Project Page.
There are currently four packages available, including two source packages (tar.gz and zip files), a debian package installer, and a Windows installer for both Python 2.4 and 2.5.
tar zxf Pallavi-0.6b3.tar.gzor
unzip Pallavi-0.6b3.zip, or use your favourite archive manager. Then
cdinto the directory. You can run Pallavi from that directory with the command
./run-pallavi. Alternatively, you can install the editor using the command
python setup.py installas root or Administrator. This will install the modules and script and allows the editor to be run from your
PATHusing the command
Debian/Ubuntu users can download the package from the
The package can be installed using your OS's graphical package
manager or using the command
dpkg -i pallavi-0.6b3-1-i386.deb.
This will add the
runpallavi command to your
and you can create a desktop shortcut or menu item for it.
Windows users can download the installer from the
Install by double clicking the icon and running the setup wizard.
Once installed, you can double click the
C:\Python2.5\Scripts\run-pallavi.pyw script to run
Pallavi. You can create a shortcut to this file on your Desktop
or in your Start Menu.
Arch Linux users can visit the
Arch User Repository
to download the PKGBUILD for Pallavi and install with
Alternatively, if you use an AUR scraper program such as
Aurbuild, you can download and
aurbuild -s pallavi. This package
now includes a .desktop file, so it should automatically be
added to your desktop environment's menu. Alternatively,
you can use the command
pallavi on your path
from the command line.
The development system is distributed via Sourceforge's Subversion Server. Run the following command to check out the sources:
svn co https://pallavi.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/pallavi/core/trunk pallavi
This will check out the core code and default plugins into a directory called
pallavi. You can then
cd into that directory and run
the editor with the command
You can also check out the non-default set of plugins available for Pallavi using this command:
svn co https://pallavi.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/pallavi/plugins pallavi-plugins
Copy any interesting plugins into your
and enable them by editing
If you wish to do configuration development, you can use the development
configuration file by running pallavi with the command
./runpallavi -c config
Pallavi is currently in a state of rapid change. If you update to
a new version or a copy
of the development version, you may have to remove your
directory to allow the latest configuration to be repropagated.
Alternatively, you can compare
$HOME/.pallavi/pallavi_config.py to the new
configuration file, stored
config/ directory on source releases and
subversion checkouts, and installed
with installed versions. If you want to have
parallel configurations, you can pass the location of an
alternative configuration directory
on the command line using:
run-pallavi -c path/to/config.
Mostly, Pallavi responds much like any editor, by default -- this behaviour can be changed by adapting or creating plugins. You can split the view by dragging the buffer tabs to the left, right, or bottom of the screen. Docked windows can be moved by dragging them to other docks or over an open area to leave them floating. It is not possible to drag dock windows between multiple open views, but if you invoke the toggleDockWindow action on a specific window (the action can be bound to a key), it will attach the docked window to the currently docked window. For example, by default, CTRL-F is bound to displaying the Incremental Find and Replace dialog; if you press that key combination when the dialog is hidden it will be popped up in the current frame. If it is currently attached to a different frame, it will be moved to the current frame.
Most default keybindings are as you would expect for any text editor,
as is mouse interaction.
Several keybindings are bound to plugin actions, and these
are also set to
normally accepted defaults. You can read the default
file to determine what plugins are enabled and what keybinding
actions are bound.
Pallavi can be configured to behave in radically different ways
by modifying existing plugins or installing new ones. For example,
there is no toolbar by default, but it can be turned
on to change the interface. Or if you prefer vim-style
editing, you could create a replacement keybinding plugin to make
Pallavi is designed to be extremely extensible and highly
configurable. A configuration file is
required to tell Pallavi how you would like it to be set up.
It seems a natural way to configure a text editor is by using
a text configuration file. Of course, it would
be possible to create a plugin for GUI configuration instead,
but the default is to
simply edit this configuration file. Happily, a default config
is created if you do not have one. This file is well commented,
and describes most of
the features you can currently configure in Pallavi. Run Pallavi
once to generate the
C:\Documents and Settings\yourname\Application Data\pallavi\pallavi_config),
and then open this file (in Pallavi,
of course!) to edit and understand it. This file utilizes Python
syntax, which is relatively
easy to read, even if you aren't familiar with the language.
As of Pallavi 0.6, there are a few additional configuration files in the
Pallavi share directory (typically
/usr/share/pallavi under Linux
C:\Python2x\share\pallavi under Windows.) These files can
be used as starting points if you wish to build a minimal editor, a Python IDE,
or a default text editor.
Most of the core plugins and some of the external plugins are
described in the default
You may also find additional documentation in the
developer API. External
plugins, especially if they are developed by third-party developers
may require additional
setup to be enabled. For example, if the plugin supplies actions
that need to be bound to a
key, the keybinding will need to be added to the configuration
file. Conventionally, the setup and configuration instructions
for a plugin are included in docstrings at the top of the plugin's module.
This will tell you what actions can be bound to keybindings,
menus, or other events, and also if there are any configuration
options for that plugin. Naturally, if you are writing your own
plugins for distribution, it is good practice to follow this
Currently, any time
pallavi_config.py is altered,
you will have to restart the editor to see the changes.
Pallavi can be extended by writing a macro or a plugin in Python. A Pallavi
Plugin is a simple python module that has a
setup() function with no arguments. Before the setup
method is called, several variables are set in the module, including:
A plugin can do essentially anything (for example, play a game
The general idea, however, is for code in the setup() method
to register event listeners with the
actions list, or both. It can then
respond to events and spawn
actions that perform some change on the views' buffers and
their contents. The Pallavi API has been
extensively documented.. Also, take a look at the
source code of existing plugns (its surprisingly short and easy to read)
to get a feel for what each variable does and how it can be accessed
(modelling your plugin on an existing plugin is a great
Since most plugins will want to somehow manipulate the current
textview, you will probably
want to know how to get a reference to this. This is accessed
You can access the currently focused textview via
This is a
that can be manipulated in many text-editing ways.
Many plugins will want to utilize Pallavi's built-in window docking functionality.
This can be done easily by creating a wx.Panel in your
and adding it to the managed windows by calling
The caption is used to identify the window in configuration (users can use the caption
to specify where they want the window docked, and also to bind a keybinding to display
the window if it is hidden or attached to a different view), and also as a label on
the floating or docked window created
for the panel. Docked windows can be dragged anywhere on the current view, hidden, or left floating.
It will be helpfulif new plugin developers follow the practice of documenting all the actions, events, and docking windows that a plugin provides and utilizes in a docstring at the top of the module (see exsiting plugins for formatting options). Actions and events are meant to be the only way plugins communicate with each other. This is important, as it allows a plugin to be replaced with a completely different plugin that provides the same set of actions or responds to the same set of events, but possibly in a very different way. Thus, for example, a more robust statusbar might be provided, or a replacement I/O plugin that takes care of Subversion or FTP access could be written.
Lexer configurations are
very simple Python files that are stored either in the global
/usr/share/pallavi/lexing_languages) or in
configuration directory (
The easiest way to
create a new lexing configuration is to adapt an existing lexing file.
The short introduction
below will tell you how to create a lexer for
css from the existing
lexer. (Note: Since Pallavi 0.4, the css lexer is included with Pallavi)
Lexingplugin in the
$HOME/.pallavi/pallavi_config.pyif it has not already been enabled.
css.pywith an id for the language you are creating a lexer for.
If you simply want to modify the lexing behaviour of an existing lexer, you can copy the file without renaming it, or even create a new file. Any variables not set in the home directory version of a lexer will be taken from the global version. This way, you can, for example, adjust the extensions of a lexer without touching the keywords (see below). This will become more important in future versions when indenting, soft tabs or code folding options are supported on a per-language basis.
#!. These are useful under Linux for identifying interpretted files that lack an extension, such as bash, python, and perl scripts. This list can be empty (use
) if it is not an executable language.
If you develop new lexers for popular languages, it would be great if you contributed them for inclusion in future Pallavi releases.
There is a folder under Subversion for contributed non-core plugins. If you would like to start and maintain a plugin project, feel free to request subversion access. If your plugin becomes so useful it seems likely it will be used by almost all users of Pallavi, it well eventually be distributed with the core plugins.
If you would like to develop on the core, feel free to edit it and submit concise patches. It won't take many decent ones before you're given subversion access. Naturally, please stick to the coding style used in th code, and its a good idea to contact me with your ideas before committing to a lot of work, mostly in case somebody else is already working on it.