Review: Komodo 3.5 Professional – Beta 1

Komodo 3.5 is, in my mind, an odd piece of software. I say this for the simple fact that this is a cross-platform tool, and ActiveState, its authors, have already released the final version for Mac OSX, and yet here we are at Beta 1 for both Linux and Windows. Unusual, for sure, perhaps a testament to the ease of writing applications for the OSX Platform, or perhaps they just use macs in the office? Who knows.

I also find it interesting that ActiveState have seemingly based the software on Mozilla software, I believe similarly to Firefox, its part C++ (C?) and part XUL, though I have no idea to what extent each of these play. But of the Mozilla software playing some role, of that I am sure. Very cool.

Anyhow, on to the review :-)

Komodo is an editor I have seen floating around for a number of years now, but because it has seemed mainly aimed at Perl and Python authors, I haven’t really paid much heed. That is, till I needed a basic IDE for JavaScript – the only thing that came up with any promising results on Google, was Komodo.


I initially accidentally tried to install the License Key before installing the software itself, it seemed to have succeeded so I promptly forgot about it. Then Komodo didn’t work. My first thought was that I was missing a dependency, after checking that out, I put it down to Beta issues. Finally, whilst trying to get the Stable release working, I accidentally re-installed the license key and furthermore, accidentally clicked the icon for 3.5, and to my surprise, it started. Yay!

Other than my own errors, the install seems like it would have gone smoothly, especially the fact that it automatically offers to install to /opt – where I stick all 3rd party vendor software (its part of “The Debian Way” I believe.)

Initial View

When Komodo first starts, you are greeted by the excellent “Start Page”. This gives you a list of Recent Project and Files, as well as Tutorials, Quick Links and a Tip of the Day – these last three can be collapsed as you see fit.

Furthermore, if you look carefully, you will see that there are two disabled buttons, these can be used to Open or Remove (by checking the checkboxes) single, or multiple items. Or to open a single item, just click its name.

Figure 1: Initial Komodo Welcome Screen

Editing Files

Obviously, the main purpose of Komodo is the editing of source code. The first thing I tested was JavaScript; this being the initial reason for downloading the software. To my great surprise, Komodo was able to provide a class tree of my source code, excellent!

However, it does seem that the auto-complete does not work. Perhaps a Beta bug, who knows. Very much a shame however. Still, having the class tree is definately a step forward when compared to anything else I looked at (Eclipse’s various JS plugins for example).

Figure 2: Editing JavaScript

Looking at the screenshot, you can see the default highlighting is quite pretty, and its easy to distinguish different types of language constructs (constants, var, classes, etc).

Furthemore, noticeably missing, was the code folding. Opening up the Ruby project example, you can plainly see that folding is included, though it would seem that it varies depending on the language.

Next up, I decided to open up a PHP file, to see if the autocomplete and code folding worked there. Heres where another flaw in Komodo is unfortunately exposed:

the original (another 4642 bytes)