Text Editors
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The first tool I used to create VRML objects with was a text editor on UNIX called vi. The PC "equivalent" of vi is NotePad. I read about VRML commands in a tutorial at Netscape (3DLive) and used this knowledge to build a Greek Temple like structure composed of columns and slabs. Using a text editor to create VRML gives you the ultimate control over all aspects of the building process. Learning how to build worlds "by hand" is good to gain a better knowledge of VRML that can be applied later when tweaking worlds built using modelers. Some people swear that hand editing is the only way to go. It will make your worlds "sleeker" because nobody likes to type "fat". Notepad is of course FREE, it is part of every Windows® system.

NoteTab is a FREE text editor that you can add VRML "clipbook" to. This clipbook contains all the VRML nodes (and options that go with them), it will save you a lot of typing and mistakes. It was love at first site for me!

NoteTab is a top-rated text and HTML editor for Windows 95, 98, and NT4. It is user friendly and feature rich with many innovative productivity tools. Whether you create web pages, write source code, send E-mail, take notes, analyze text, read files, or do anything related to text, you will certainly find NoteTab a worthy tool and a great time saver.

Download both NoteTab and the VRML library/clipbook, unzip and install NoteTab, then unzip the clipbook. When the unzip tool asks you where to put the unzipped results, use the browse button to find C:\Program Files\NoteTab\Libraries and put the results there. When you run NoteTab, you will see a VRML button. Click it and you will see a list of all the VRML nodes. Play around with it and you will figure out how to add syntactically correct VRML to the editor. It does bracket matching, and that is essential for me.

There is a text editor called SitePad by ModelWorks which has been called "notepad on steroids" by some. It is tailored for VRML editing and has the syntax of all the VRML nodes embedded in the program. It also does bracket matching and this can be invaluable in VRML hand coding. It also color codes the VRML syntax for you, this makes it easier to read. The free demo edition allows saving of files only less than 2500 bytes. ($39.00 US, Professional Edition $69.00 US). Sitepad is better than NoteTab, but it costs money. I use sitepad on nearly every project I make.

SitePad is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for HTML and VRML.
Features include:
insert scripts for all VRML 2.0 nodes
custom template for creating new HTML and VRML files
syntax Check tool for HTML, VBScript and JavaScript
custom menus, toolbars, hotkeys, and bookmarks
syntax coloring for HTML and VRML files
block indent and unindent
multilevel undo/redo
search and replace
multifile search
split windows
line and column number indicator
line numbers in the edit view
custom scripting using JavaScript or VBScript

VrmlPad is a professional editor for VRML programming.
Key time-saving features include powerful editorial abilities and visual support for the scene tree and resource operations. It has too many features to list but a few of them are...
Smart AutoComplete.
Dynamic errors detection.
Syntax highlighting.
Advanced find and replace.
Visual support for the scene tree operations.
Operations on resources.
Ability to preview the VRML scene.
Publishing wizard.
Programmer's File Editor is a powerful text editing program and although it is not tailored to VRML, it is Free and it is better than notepad.

Programmer's File Editor (PFE) is a large-capacity text file editor, oriented towards those who use Windows as their program development environment, and so incorporates many features that make it a convenient work management system. Although it's primarily oriented to program development, it makes a very powerful general editor for any purpose at all. The definitive source of releases and up-to-date information about PFE is the PFE Home Page on the World Wide Web.

VIM is an improved version of the editor "vi", one of the standard text editors on UNIX systems.

VIM adds many of the features that you would expect in an editor: Unlimited undo, syntax coloring, split windows, visual selection, GUI support, and much much more (please read the text on reasons to use a vi clone).

VIM runs on many operating systems:

AmigaOS, AtariMiNT, BeOS, DOS, MacOS,
    OS/2, RiscOS, VMS, and Windows (CE/95/98/NT4/NT5)

and, of course, on UNIX in a lot of flavours:

A/UX, AIX, BSDI, Convex, DYNIX/ptx, DG/UX, DEC Unix, FreeBSD, HPUX, Irix,
    Linux [Debian, RedHat, SuSE], MacOSX, NetBSD, NEXTSTEP, OpenBSD, OSF,
    QNX, SCO, Sinix, Solaris, SunOS, SUPER-UX, Ultrix, Unixware, Unisys.

And the best of all: VIM is FREE! :-)


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