Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Notepad++ v8 release (notepad-plus-plus.org)
226 points by gainsurier on June 7, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 161 comments

Instead of wishing or tell them what they should or shouldn't do, I would like to thank all the people behind Notepad++ for consistently making and maintaining an awesome piece of software and product for more than 15 years for FREE.

I've become a lot more accustomed to paying for software - often after using the free version. My biggest emotional aversion to paying for software remains paying for something that I ultimately never use.

I'm also extremely hesitant to subscribe to anything. Those often come with emotional regret when I realize I haven't been using it and my CC has just been getting charged.

Software like WinSCP, NotePad++, Typora, Firefox, etc... are all software that I use on a daily basis, that I happily pay for, or donate to.

It just feels better to buy something with a one-time payment because I walk away with the perception of owning an asset, rather than am running a subscription liability. Similarly donations make me feel better (often made with feature requests).

I think a lot of open source projects should revisit the one-time pay monetization strategy for additional convenience features. I think the people are becoming a lot more comfortable with spending money for software.

I wish we move back to the days when most software was like utorrent, notepad++, etc. The standard response to this statement is "but today's software does so much more" - to which I don't agree. As someone who has been using computers since 1994 - including machines which did not have a hard drive - modern software is very very frustrating to use in every way I can think of.

When utorrent came out it was considered a major improvement over its bloated competitors. Bloated software has existed as far back as it reasonably could exist. Consider for example Niklaus Wirth's "A Plea for Lean Software" [1] written in 1995 (for a recent discussion on HN see [2]).

[1]: https://people.inf.ethz.ch/wirth/Articles/LeanSoftware.pdf [2]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24059704

Can you give a few examples? I’m not using computers that long and don’t know in which way modern software is so frustrating.

Everything is now a bloated Electron app where all the features have been deleted. Try comparing Spotify to Amarok/Foobar/Clementine.

Even Firefox seems to just keep stripping out useful functionality for power users for some bizarre reason, no more full themes, limited extension APIs, poor UI customization and less advanced features like "view image", it's like they're trying to alienate their most dedicated fanbase in an attempt to steal some marketshare back from Chrome.

Microsoft Teams runs so poorly on my work laptop that it's barely usable and lacks simple features like Push-to-Talk.

> Everything is now a bloated Electron app where all the features have been deleted

Good cross-platform UI is hard, and web technology is seen as an "easy" way out because you can hire plenty of resources and yes -- it does seem silly to reinvent the wheel when HTML/CSS have implemented something already. Electron is basically the Java Applets/AWT/Swing of our time, because it lets teams prioritize features and delivery speed over great, performant, UX. And to be fair, for simple use cases, it's works well. But when you're at the level of MS Teams, I absolutely agree -- that app could be far better tuned. It actually runs much better inside a browser or in the native iOS app, which is a giant middle finger to Microsoft's platform ambitions -- it's like they're not even incentivizing people to take advantage of Windows.

Deleting or not including features is a separate "thing" though, I feel. Gnome had it with Nautilus, for instance -- it's definitely not solely an Electron thing. It's the "designer knows best" mentality that fails to strike a good balance between simplicity and customizability, and not taking the time to understand what users want.

Interestingly, Zoom (ignoring their various other issues) is a company that seems to do this well. They have a reasonably good UX to start with, but they don't shy away from offering more options and features if you so want. And they try to offer a decent native experience on Windows and iOS [I haven't tried them on macOS], as well as web, although of course the pure web experience could be far better. I think there's a lesson there for Microsoft, which got a good chunk of their lunch eaten by Zoom twice over (Skype and Teams, at least in video-conferencing -- Teams is of course quite successful in team collaboration) and also for browser-based Google Meet: ignoring good UX in favour of a lowest-common-denominator interface just creates space for competitors.

if you miss the old nautilus, just install caja, the MATE fork of it from before they mucked it up. That's the nice thing about open source.

> where all the features have been deleted

We're never going to go back to the old days. Back then desktop computing was 100% of end user computing and everyone assumed all users end up as power users.

Now desktop computing is ~30% of end user computing and shrinking and we realize that most people have absolutely no desire to become power users. It's not that they can't, they don't want to (think other interests, anti-intellectualism, etc).

Also mobile computing by its nature (being on the move, having to pay attention to real life, constrained hardware interfaces) requires simplified UIs.

Then what software is there for us who do wish to be power users? If it gets eliminated through atrophy, that is yet another example of market failure.

Old software, software developed by passionate devs, software developed by small companies.

And, yes, the market is shrinking and you can see the rust spots. Pidgin used to be a top-notch multi-messenger, now it's a ghost town. Just one example.

I don't know what the end state is, but I can't imagine it's pretty, especially since fewer and fewer people will use desktops/laptops, both as absolute numbers and as percentages.

The future is clearly cross platform where you meet the customer where they are...mobile, desktop, web. Maybe the application morphs a bit by including or excluding features for various platforms but there is no way to proclaim that there is one platform you can focus on to the exclusion of others in a general sense.

If I'm writing serious business software the web and desktop are king and quickly becoming synonymous given technologies like xamarin forms, ionic, and electron. I'm building an app in ionic using html/css/JavaScript (angular) that is primarily for desktop (electron) but will deploy to mobile and web, allowing me to meet people where and how they want to work.

Heck, most UI elements aren't even resizable. A standard feature of "obsolete old" UIs is now nowhere to be found as I wrestle trying to fit all the text into sidebars.

Damn Amarok is so good, the Windows app pale in comparison to this. I had a blast while I first installed my Kubuntu machine.

Amarok 1.4 was so good that I switched to linux for it, even bought a t-shirt. Amarok 2 was what made me leave. I've toyed a bit with quodlibet and clementine, but for me 1.4 was the peak music player.

To be honest I wasn't on Linux yet during 1.4 ( had a quick look to Wikipedia ) So I guess I tried it for the first time when it was already in 2.0 The logo is so nice tho, no wonder buying a t-shirt look justified ahah


It was so good that it was the first project i gave some money, then they killed the database connection...i was pretty angry at them, never used it since then.

Spotify is a music streaming service.

These other apps are for curating your own audio files.

Also what does "bloated election app" mean? Because it seems like it's just a meme at this point.

I'm using the desktop app right now. It's using 160mb of ram and it's very responsive.

Teams is just a bad application.

A lot of shitty "enterprise" software is written in Java. If I started saying Java = Bad software. I'm sure many people would disagree.

> Spotify is a music streaming service.

I don't understand this objection. Every time people say "software is slow today: compare Spotify to Winamp/Xmms", the objectiion is that Spotify isn't Xmms, it's a music streaming service. But so what? Why can't a music streaming service be fast to start up? It's already a thick client. My life isn't going to end if I can start playing music within milliseconds but the playlist is a few tracks different compared to a hypothetical playlist that was hypothetically edited on another computer which doesn't exist because I use spotify exclusively on my phone.

There is something about Spotify that means if I play a track for the first time it will have to wait a few seconds to start streaming. But what is it about Spotify that means that it takes several times longer to start playing the same track I was listening to just before it crashed compared to how long Winamp took?

> I'm using the desktop app right now. It's using 160mb of ram and it's very responsive.

This feels a little like it's meant to be irony, except that you clearly mean it seriously. You don't see anything wrong with a webservice client that has local caches using 160 MB ram? And you think that's not bloated, in comparison to a music player that ran on a machine which had 8 MB ram - even for the operating system?

My experience with Spotify is that it's basically a loading symbol. I more or less switch between two playlists (Discover Weekly and Liked Songs, with occasional forreys into the albums of tracks I hear and like). Every time it gets kicked out of memory - which happens extremely fast on my phone with 8 GB ram - it takes ages to get back up to the point it was before. (Compared to my podcast app (Antenna Pod), which only gets kicked out of memory over night when everything seems to, and which is fast and responsive even when just starting.)

You are right. The ways in which it is terrible are obvious, but they have not been fixed. That suggests architectural or legal problems (likely in some song data/song license sync and prefetch model).

Spotify isn't really a song player. It is a song license management system with arbitrary playlists referencing song data whose licensing may change.

You want to access the same data under the same license. Spotify isn't sure the license hasn't changed since it last started streaming to you.

The misery of such a system is exacerbated by buggy client software.

Maybe if the Spotify API was more like the Stripe of music licensing systems, you'd sideload your own client.

The real question is why does a service require a specific program to use it.

As far as I remember you can use Spotify in browser, so it’s not true.

I don’t really understand the rant about Spotify. In my experience it’s one of the “good” modern apps. One of the amazing features that it has is the remote playback control - I can listen to the music from my PS4 and control it from any of my devices that have Spotify installed.

What they could do better is the playlist organizer, the existing one is too simple.

I mostly agree that the overall quality of the modern software is subpar, comparing to the gems from the past (vim, emacs, winamp, vlc, etc), but Spotify is more or less fine.

The Spotify application displays album art as images in a screen.

They are relatively high resolution. That look good on my 4k screen.

How much ram do those decoded assets take up?

Your 8MB ram computer would not handle network streaming, decoding 320kbs/s audio, displaying a high resolution UI, etc.

The comparison is ridiculous.

There's a difference between today where people use 4k displays to back in the days when 1024x768 was high end. That's 10x the amount of pixels.


Also your complaints seem to be about the speed of your internet connection.

The average person does not wait multiple seconds to play a song.

Reduce the quality of your streaming if you want it to be more responsive.


Also your phone seems to be a bad phone.

Storage speed and CPU power are also factors in how fast a device runs software.

My 3 year old Note 9 works perfectly fine.

> Also what does "bloated election app" mean? Because it seems like it's just a meme at this point.

It means the memory and CPU consumption could be reduced had it was written using more lightweight framework like C#/.NET, C++, or something else, like PWA in browser instead of a full, seperate, single Chromium instance for one app.

The alternative is building a web app that requires the browser anyway. The compiled language route is going to require a tremendous amount of work to accomplish what you get for free (save for extra client resource useage) developing for electron.

You can build or port a web app to electron using mature and productive tools (html/css/boostrap/typescript/angular...god forbid React). What's more to say.

The compiled language ecosphere requires each their own set of tools for each platform. Beside electron the next best cross platform framework (xamarin forms) uses proprietryish UI document description (XAML) requiring the developer to work through another huge learning curve.

Ultimately the performance loss means more productive developers and faster new features for applications.

Especially in a time when smartphones are the main platform for most consumers.

Since we are talking notepad++, it takes up 11mb of disk space, the instance I have open here with 45 documents takes up 6.6mb of memory.

Winamp was already mentioned in another comment. While 160mb is "fine" on 16gb systems, it's still much more than similar apps used to take up and will not be much fun on a 4gb system, which is what many not so technical people still use daily.

Winamp 5.0 worked on a 400 mhz Pentium II with 64 MB of memory (total) and was crazy responsive, while also being capable of much more than the modern Spotify app

You are generalizing too much. Spotify has to cover way more than just playback etc., it's a streaming service, the client is only a small part.

As a whole Spotify includes way more functionality than winamp, they have completely different goals though. Winamp is a player, Spotify is a service. Nobody would use Spotify as a pure music client, you can't really compare them.

Winamp could handle streaming with plugins, hell even the XP era version of Windows Media Player could handle streaming from network sources. Spotify makes it easy to search for music and easy to share playlists with friends, but that's about it for features it has that music player apps from nearly 20 years ago don't. Oh and it has ads too I guess?

That's kinda the point they're trying to make, though: That we had simple stuff that worked fine, now we have complex stuff that often don't.

Worked fine for who? I enjoy Spotify so much more than the good ol' days of foobar2000 and then like.

- I can play any song or podcast that I want without ordering a CD (that I couldn't afford as a kid) or opening up a torrent client.

- Curation is taken care of. Every song I've ever "liked" or added to a playlist is available on any of my devices, without me having to worry about syncing.

- I can discover music similar to an artist or song with Song Radio. I have curated playlists created for me based on my tastes (Discover Weekly).

- I can cast to any other device, like a Sound bar.

- I can run this application on Mac, Linux and Windows and it works without a hitch on all 3. I remember back when native applications simply didn't appear on Linux. Skype was the dominant video calling service and it simply didn't work on Linux. Now you can choose the OS that you want knowing that all software will work, without mucking around with Wine.

There's two kinds of people - those that pretend that Spotify and others don't have any new features compared to Winamp 5.0. The second kind pretend that these features are useless or no one wants them. Nope, I like the status quo just fine. So do tens of millions of others.

All of that software is still available. Download Winamp (https://www.winamp.com) or whatever other "lightweight" players you want. Fact is, people voted with their wallets and they went with the streaming services that use electron for their clients.

I believe this is the important part "I want without ordering a CD (that I couldn't afford as a kid)"

Spotify makes it cheap to use without ownership - like uber basically - and millions do like that.

I blame the greedy music business that really didn't want to sell singles.

They've been forced to change - partially thanks to amazon and apple - but they embraced the change too late, and instead change was forced upon them.

The music biz could of made a version of limewire where people could pay for songs at a fair price and get top quality.. take advantage of the curation people were doing, and more - but they went to courts to block instead.

There's more than 2 kinds of people.

Some people voted with their wallets for MusicMatch Jukebox 7.1 - then yahoo took it, ruined it, then killed it.

Many people are voting with their wallets to borrow music from a fancy playlist company - that's cool -and I'm glad it exists. I prefer to own music that I can put on different devices myself and access anywhere anytime without an internet connection or worrying that my license key is not valid.

FI android did AirDrop I think the tide would be different. Amazon an excellent buy digital audio options (via computer) - sadly they make it very hard to download and own digital mp3s using the android app -

I get that some of these decisions are based on the whole - push them to the subscription /rent to use model where we win having lots of people who use it little.. but I prefer to download to the computer unzip and plugin a cable to transfer.

So while tech of the yesteryear is fine, some of the 'modern tech' is purposefully handicapping in some ways - and sometimes they are doing so to keep people hooked on drip-to-use-not-own-rent-forever models.

The good is that more people can enjoy more music - so yay spotify. The bad is that I don't think it's as good for the bands, and depending on the magic wifi can leave you high and dry when you need tunes the most - but at least you'll have a few dollars in your pocket :)

That rent and never own economy is good for some things, but it's not for everything for everybody.

I remember using and liking Winamp, but I didn't use it for anything other than playing music files. How was/is Winamp more capable than the Spotify app?

Winamp has tons of really powerful plugins. You can use them to play all kinds of strange file formats. One I really like is SNESAmp [1], a plug-in for playing Super Nintendo game music.

Another Winamp plug-in that’s incredibly useful is the disk-writer, included with the application. With it you can use any of the input plugins to transcode files to uncompressed WAV format.

[1] http://alpha-ii.com/Download/Main.html#SNESamp

Thanks for the reply, those features are pretty cool.

The various visualization plugins were cool.


Others can't remember atm. Good times hunting through the plugins and themes.

And it worked only on Windows

I bet it would work unmodified on Wine.

> It's using 160mb of ram

And that is acceptable for a music player ???.

Maximised on my 4k display I see 26 album arts which look high resolution. How much ram would that take decoded?

There's also the song data for what's playing now and next song.

You don't seem to understand what the application is doing.

Just show and play my music and not drag along the entire Chrome web browser to do that.

The chrome rendering engine plus node js.

Why is that so different from Java or .NET?

Simply because it's an easy meme.

A standard length flac is easily 30mb and presumably the player keeps the current and potentially next in memory. Add in a few high res icons for album art and you can get 100mb before the UI... exists. It's great that Winamp could play your 128k mp3s and show your text only list in the 00s, but it's not like expectations haven't gone up in a way that contributes to memory use

> Also what does "bloated election app" mean?

It means (1) high memory usage (although people are ridiculously oversensitive about this relative to CPU use) (2) long startup times (3) high ambient CPU usage and (4) a high-latency interface (on average machines - anything is snappy on a brand-new $1k M1 Macbook Air).

> and it's very responsive

On what CPU? Will it still be responsive on a 8-year-old Core i5 on one of my Thinkpads?

The problem is that your 8 year old ThinkPad is less powerful than a $300 smartphone.

Electron will be using GPU rendering.

What kind of GPU performance does your 8 year old laptop have?

Probably a minimum of 5x less performance than a smart phone.

> your 8 year old ThinkPad is less powerful than a $300 smartphone

What does "more powerful" even mean? If you mean "better single-threaded CPU performance", I absolutely don't believe you. If you mean "better multi-threaded CPU performance", I might believe you, but would need evidence.

Moreover, that's irrelevant. I, and everyone else who talks about "bloated Electron apps" (including in this thread) is almost exclusively referring to desktop applications. Why would we be talking about running Electron on a smartphone?

> Electron will be using GPU rendering.

Sure. Can you show that CPU usage will still be low? In my experience with Electron applications on a newer laptop with decent graphics (can play Dota 2), CPU usage is still 15% of a single core while literally nothing is happening.

A Samsung A51 is a budget phone:


Similar performance to an average Haswell Laptop CPU.


Also it has the Intel 4000 series. This GPU lagged in rendering the windows desktop on 1080. Let alone with a dual monitor setup.

It's not irrelevant. My point is that your ancient CPU with a horrible GPU is less powerful than a mid range smart phone.

Or a secondhand flagship.

There needs to come a point where you accept that your hardware is crap not the software.

Dota 2 is 7 years old. It wasn't decent graphics back in 2013. You may as well have said that the laptop runs minesweeper with decent graphics.

Go load up Genshin Impact. It runs on smartphones, but I imagine might set your new laptop on fire.

Why is your 15% thing the fault of electron? Microsoft teams is a crap application it's not the frameworks fault.

I'd say the majority of shitty applications I've used is coded in Java.

I've used plenty of enterprise tools that spit out the lovely error message "NullPointerException"

Is it fair to say that all apps coded with Java is shit?

But also where are you getting your 15% from?

Alright, I'll take your benchmarks. Thank you.

However, it doesn't matter.

> It's not irrelevant. My point is that your ancient CPU with a horrible GPU is less powerful than a mid range smart phone.

I literally pointed out exactly why it's irrelevant, and you completely ignored me. I'll point it out again:

> I, and everyone else who talks about "bloated Electron apps" (including in this thread) is almost exclusively referring to desktop applications.

Comparing phones to laptops is an apples-to-oranges comparison. It doesn't matter if a low-end phone might be able to run an Electron app well, because we're not talking about low-end phones - the discussion in this thread, as well as almost every other thread that refers to "bloated Electron applications", is talking exclusively about desktops.

If your "point is that your ancient CPU with a horrible GPU is less powerful than a mid range smart phone", then your point is also irrelevant for the purposes of people talking about bloated Electron apps, because almost none of them are discussing phones.

> There needs to come a point where you accept that your hardware is crap not the software.

Yes, and 7-year-old hardware is not that point for these programs - maybe for ML training, but not chat apps. That point only occurs when hardware is slow enough that the algorithms needed to run the core functionality cannot run quickly on it. Software that does not make efficient use of its hardware is crap. Electron does not make efficient use of its hardware.

Electron is either crap, or makes it so easy to write crap that it might as well be. There's a reason that you see people so often complaining about it, and that's because it's so inefficient that it causes a noticeably poor user experience, even for developers running on mid-range devices (which makes it far worse on low-end devices).

As evidence, Ripcord[1] offers a substantial subset of the features of Discord and Slack[2] with significantly better performance. The fact that it's made by a single person and yet manages to significantly out-perform large teams of (ostensibly) competent engineers while still implementing the core functionality provides strong evidence that it is the framework's fault, because it's clearly not because those features are somehow intrinsically computationally expensive to implement.

> I'd say the majority of shitty applications I've used is coded in Java.

Yes, and I think that Java is a terrible platform, too, speaking from experience with Minecraft, GNU Electric, Netbeans, and Eclipse. That doesn't make Electron any less bad.

> Is it fair to say that all apps coded with Java is shit?

Nobody said that they (or Electron apps) are. All of the complaints that I've seen, including mine, is that Electron generally has terrible performance, strongly encourages bad performance, that all major applications built in it are slow, and while it might be possible to build fast tools in it, we haven't seen them.

> But also where are you getting your 15% from?

...literally the CPU usage of Discord while it's running.

[1] https://cancel.fm/ripcord/ [2] https://dev.cancel.fm/service_features

> Spotify is a music streaming service.

That being said, I stream Spotify music through foobar using an external plugin, mainly because it is so light. Yeah, it isn't perfect, but if there was a demand for a light app, it is perfectly possible.

Can it access Spotify playlists, or just local ones? I've been looking for alternative Spotify desktop clients but I've never found anything I like.

You can put in a Spotify playlist link, and pull in all the songs from that into a local playlist, but it can't directly play a remote playlist (i.e. updating when new songs are added).

right? sure there are a lot of buggy slow electron apps but isn't vscode built on electron too? that's the smoothest program on my pc right now

Electron is Flash for the Desktop.


While I don't appreciate most of Apples business strategies, I have to admit that Steve Jobs was right about banning Flash. It was eating the battery runtime of MacBooks. And Steve Jobs would have banned[1] Electron probably already years ago, because it is consuming so much memory.

But especially so many big tech companies use Electron? The UI is non native, the JavaScript doesn't offer best performance, the binaries are big and the memory consumption is high. First, because some companies we're in need for a replacement of Flash[2]. Second, web developers are cheap. Third, it reduces time to market. Especially the big tech companies are "monopoly mode" - gather quicker more users than others and dominate.

Who pays? You, at least three times:

* Bad usability, slow execution and awkward UI

* Hardware requirements. You have to buy more RAM. In case of most laptops with soldered RAM you have to buy new laptops.

* Either they take or data or your license fees

I don't claim that platform native developers will code more efficient but developers who can code in C, C++, Rust or even Python can provide you with fast, small and slick applications where you don't have to wait until some JS loads the textblock for some placeholder while your scrolling - their applications aren't even faster necessarily. Likely these developers keep their data locally, update this data when appropriate (keyboard, file or network) and don't launch an entire web-browser. I recommend providing a base foundation and using a native toolkit of the platform, either Gtk or Qt[3]. This is not a new recommendation, the issue is that the industry prefers to ignores well known, recommend practices.

Now. Microsoft Teams?

+ Available on Linux

+ Quick and easy installation via Flatpak

o You can spend a lot of money for integrations

- Quoting is not possible on desktop

- Slow startup

- Fullscreen hidden instead of using "l" or "F11" keys

- Notifications Management is a maze of options

[1] Not fully correct. Electron is forbidden on iOS because it is a full blown webbrowser. Maybe also for less well meant reasons.

[2] History repeats. They refuse to learn?

[3] Actually Google did that. Chrome used on Linux Gtk, on MacOS it used Quartz and on Windows some layer to Win32. It was a fast and lean and the UI was native.

It's really like Groundhog Day, for those who are to young, we had Java-Apps (terrible slow in the early days), then massive web-apps and now electron, in the mean time every professional application stayed at TUI's (banks/insurance/booking-systems), it's the same with os-installers...do i really need a flutter based installer? No it's bullshit, just give me a well structured text installer, no gui needed for that job. Why is the Terminal still a thing when browsers are so much better at everything ;)

TUIs are wonderful. They are easy to grasp, fast and restrict requirements, everyone involved must think about the workflow and efficient usage. Input is focused entirely on the keyboard. Linux overs some modern TUIs e.g. installer, apt-stuff or the kernel config aside from that:

https://invisible-island.net/ncurses/ // classic

https://github.com/willmcgugan/rich // blingbling

https://github.com/dankamongmen/notcurses // hacker

For the old stuff I recommend looking close at airports, savings-banks or part-dealers. When it is influenced by mainframes you will notice likely forwards/backwards is done by F7/F8. How do you depict an plane with seats in TUI? I assume an array, 80 rows and 10 columns ;)

I'm impressed how flawless elderly co-workers work with TUIs. They read the screen, think and type and the work is done. I guess the straight workflow, clean user-interface and similarities to paper forms improve usability. I guess modal dialogs, popup warnings, status icons, right click and the modern long press are not an improvement in usability. And the many tiny icons and bars in modern text processors aren't a help either.

I think we can learn a lot more from old programmers.

>I assume an array, 80 rows and 10 columns

No you just need front, middle, back, window, handicap? and how many seats next to each other for your travel buddy's. That's the cool thing, no need to use your mouse, no need to show more information than needed for the job.

Tried teams on Linux. Its terrible, my machine runs solidly, hardly ever restart it. I open teams, 80% of the time it will start up then the machine starts running slow, teams ui goes unresponsive and then whole machine locks up and i need to power off at the powee button. Only ever happens if I open teams.

I would much rather have a native (and M1 ready) client for Teams and Discord than the Electron apps. Electron is good for end users via Nativefier, though. I can pop together a sandboxed app, invokable like any other program on my computer, for work-related sites that I want absolutely segregated from my daily browsing habits (and thus political, religious, and personal opinions).

I can give you one to illustrate the point I am trying to make. When I first started working in 2005, we used to use Excel 2003. My first company gave me a modest desktop with 512MB RAM and old processor. Right clicking on a cell to format it, change font, etc. used to take few milliseconds at most and the window used to appear immediately after the click. Today I have a 16GB machine at work - doing the same operation takes 2-3 seconds to open the window on right click. Given that the reason I would right click has not changed at all over 16 years, I don't see why I should see a 100x degradation in performance using a machine which has 32 times more RAM (and I guess many more cores and processing speed).

I'm sorry, but something is either up with your computer or the excel sheet you are currently using would be infinitely slower on that old 2005 machine.

I've been using computers since Apple IIe and am much happier with things today than versions of the past. There are certainly hiccups along the way, but no way am I going to trade what I have today for what I used in 80s/90s.

I've done side by side with excel98 and excel200x whenever they added the ribbon. The same spreadsheet was extensively slower both in the original format and after importing it to the new one. I wouldn't trade out either, because there is still good responsive software out there, but more resources let people get sloppy.

I still haven't got over the ribbon. That said I don't use MS office so I haven't spent time trying to get used to it, just when I'm helping somebody out

I don't know if this will help you get over the ribbon. I turn it on in LibreOffice. But tools that are stable and predictable are extremely important to user empowerment and the ribbon dates to about the same timeas artists who care nothing about user empowerment became an important part of software design, and outsted usability engineers, for whom the experience of experts was also one of the matters to consider.

To me the ribbon was almost peak UI. It's tainted because it was introduced around the same time that designers started winning the "user friendly" vs "looks pretty" battle, but the ribbon is definitely from the "user friendly" side. They provide large targets, they have icons and text to help remember them better, the button size varies according to relative likelihood, some menu is always open instead of closing as soon as you start doing something. The ribbon was a genuine attempt at giving all users access to a powerful piece of software: a tool to upgrade the mental model of users instead of reaching for the lowest common denominator.

The biggest limitation of them seems to be that they don't help teach people the shortcut keys. To me that's not important because I'm never going to use them, but others like them, and by hiding them they've gone from seeming like a utility for experienced users to being a secret for hackers that could be removed at any time.

But they seem like a genuine improvement in contrast to the old system of either text-or-icons, absence of meaningful hierarchy, menus that are hard to study because as soon as you interact with them they disappear, or the new system of gratuitously hidden options, secret buttons, and apps which prioritise branding and a sense of eternal instability and change over predictability and approachability.

The ribbon was radical, but they've refined it into something that's genuinely nice to use.

You can customize every section and it's very easy to pick up, I'm sure if you'd have to spend some time with office nowadays you'd agree. I'd take them over old-style nondescript toolbars by now.

I assume you are not using Excel 2003 on your 16GB machine. May I ask which version of MS Office you are using?

If I have to believe this[1] thread, then Office 365 is now an Electron app, which would explain the slowness.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17300893

I am using Office 2016 Professional (Microsoft does give it away at dirt cheap prices to many corporate employees). Desktop version installed using an .exe.

I most live on Macs. But for big spreadsheets, my Microsoft Excel 2010 on a modern Windows PC is blazing fast to open, load, operate and calculate. Sub-400ms and 8.4MB RAM to launch.

Sadly, support ended October of 2020, so it's time to find something else before too long. It is not going to be contemporary Office.

Back in 90s there was a well defined menubar with all functions. Today you don't know where the functions are hidden - they may be everywhere on the screen, hidden behind visible or even unvisible graphical elements... This may be frustrating...

Agreed. Joel Spolsky covered it in the article - https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2007/12/03/talk-at-yale-part-...

Quote from the article - "The old testers at Microsoft checked lots of things: they checked if fonts were consistent and legible, they checked that the location of controls on dialog boxes was reasonable and neatly aligned, they checked whether the screen flickered when you did things, they looked at how the UI flowed, they considered how easy the software was to use, how consistent the wording was, they worried about performance, they checked the spelling and grammar of all the error messages, and they spent a lot of time making sure that the user interface was consistent from one part of the product to another, because a consistent user interface is easier to use than an inconsistent one.".

Is this the same old it compiles, ship it! Microsoft Spolsky talks about? I remember them in a totally different way, as a company which used paying customers as beta testers, where no single application used the same design language, where spurious windows with indecipherable error messages popped up randomly... in other words something close to the antithesis of what is written above. Part of this comes from Microsoft's focus on backwards compatibility which makes it possible for them to keep older parts around - just click through a few controls in Windows 10 to end up in something which looks like it started off in the Windows 3.x period - but another reason is probably the rivalry between different groups within Microsoft which want to push their own products based on their own toolkits.

> a consistent user interface is easier to use than an inconsistent one

I want this laser engraved on a big stick that is then used to beat every UX designer on the planet before they are allowed to touch anything.

> a consistent user interface is easier to use than an inconsistent one

I have never seen a Microsoft product with a consistent UI, though…

Luckily they left all the keyboard combos the same. Even the ones that were navigating the menu bar. I never noticed the change, other than the slowdown...

You're downvoted but kinda right.

Case in point, I often use the F10 shortcut to use the old school menu on Firefox because I find it quicker and simpler than the other menu.


We were able to have latency free interaction with basic controls in the 80s.

I am probably older than the OP, but computers that are 100 times faster today are having sometimes more lag than 30 years ago. I am thinking about Teams and Visual Studio Code that I use a lot, Teams is the first IM client where I start typing and multiple letters are lost until Teams starts to catch my input, while opening a small SQL script file in VS Code looks like a slideshow displaying the text first, then adding color coding and at the end highlighting errors - all in several seconds on modern Ryzen 5600X CPU with lots of RAM. A native app can probably do all this in a small fraction of the time.

Most software is still like that on Linux/BSD. The glaring exception is web browsers, I suppose. But other than that, all the software I have installed does only one thing and doesn't try to own multiple aspects of my life.

the trick is just to use fully open source software whenever possible. btw if anyone's looking for what uTorrent used to be, check out qbittorrent.

"39. Remove Microsoft Bing from Notepad++ for Search on Internet command, due to its poor reliability."

That's in response to the tankman problem btw. They now redirect people who have used Bing so far to DuckDuckGo. I am not sure what I should think of this. On one hand, it is understandable, on the other hand it shows disregard for the choice of their users. I would have understood if they had simply removed it from the default list and let current users continue using it but forcefully redirecting existing users seems encroaching.

>That's in response to the tankman problem btw. They now redirect people who have used Bing so far to DuckDuckGo.

If Bing's handling of "tank man" was truly the reason, why would DDG be an alternative since they also had "no results here". See screenshot: https://imgur.com/GbyQCiy

I'm not familiar with the internals of how DDG works. People say that DDG sources its search results from Bing but others say DDG actually pulls from additional sources. If that's true, why wasn't DDG able to retrieve images from those other sources for "tank man"?

It is probably the reason. It was Bing’s decision to filter the searches, DDG was just the effect of this. The author of notepad++ has a history of activism against CCP.

Good. We have got to band together against authoritarianism.

He's against a lot of things - not just authoritarianism.

Are you confident you'll remain on the "good side" of his politics forever?

I don't need to. He can mean whatever he wants. I am a user of a technology he has created. I don't care about the wild ride of politisation of everything in the States and "identity poltics"... See how far that has gotten you.

Why would they need to? They could just change their opinion.

DDG pulls search results in general from a number of sources. It pulls image search results solely from Bing. That's clearly problematic, but they could add more backend providers of image results.

I can't say I've ever used search in Notpad++ so I don't care either way - but if they're going to remove bing, it seems hypocritical to not also remove DDG, since they pretty much just proxy search results over to bing? They are probably one of bings bigger customers for API usage (I'm just guessing here, I might be completely wrong).

There's also a decent argument to remove Google too, if you're going to start removing search engines based on moral grounds.

Notepad++ author is using his software to push his political agenda. Although I dislike it, that's his right. If you dislike it too, there are less politicized alternatives, like PSPad.

Just look at his blog https://notepad-plus-plus.org/news/ lots of anti-mainland China comments as well as references to "Gilets Jaunes" (a protest movement in France), reaction to Islamic terrorism,... At some point he told that people who voted Front National (French far-right party) couldn't use the software.

EDIT: Just noticed that PSPad is not open source. Well, you can always use VSCode, or one of the scintilla based editors.

There was one update a couple years ago that after the first time it ran, it opened a new document tab, and started typing a political message (I think it was about Snowden leaks/privacy).

Watching a document open and someone seemingly remotely type in the window made me very very uncomfortable. I agree it is his right, and I even agreed with the message, but it completely discredits the tool and the developer.

I have no idea what the developer's politics will be tomorrow, whether he'll see me, or Americans, or guys like me, or whatever "category", as an opponent, and maybe he'll get emotional and somehow nerf the software to punish his perceived political opponents. It's juvenile and destroys trust. It's indicative of someone who simply cannot create boundaries in his life, and worries me that he won't respect other boundaries.

Politics are transient. Tools should be forever.

> Watching a document open and someone seemingly remotely type in the window made me very very uncomfortable.

I remember this and had the same uncomfortable reaction, but because I was uncomfortable I thought it was a great way to alert people to the type of spying Snowden made public.

What you bring up is an old question for companies, should you sell typewriters to Hitler? Or should you be political? Most American companies have leaned towards selling the typewriters without the gov preventing them from doing so.

Was it effective if you think it was something related to Snowden? The phrase that it typed out was "Je suis Charlie". That was about a mass shooting at the HQ of a satire publication.

I’m not really sure how I feel and I’m very curious what the reaction of others on HN will be.

For those that supported Basecamp and Coinbases’s “no politics” policy, would you also support “no politics” in open source software?

I guess it’s different since this is a single developer doing it for free, so they can do whatever they want. If someone objects, they can branch it.

An electron app, Visual Studio Code, is displacing notepad++. I was an avid notepad++ user for years but now I just use VS Code because it's easier/faster and more familiar since I use it for most other development.

Cross platform ability just clinches it.

If you look at their previous release names it is really not surprising https://notepad-plus-plus.org/downloads/

Notepad++ is also pretty much the reason that GitHub added tools to deal with massive scale abuse iirc as the repo was spammed with issues and prs for days after the first "Free Uyghur" release


I wonder if this was being planned for June 4th?

Didn't DDG have the same issue?

DDG uses Bing results.

Right, so shouldn't they have instead redirected to a provider which didn't have the issue, rather than another provider having the same issue?

That depends on your objection. If your object to the fact that no tank man results were shown, then yeah, maybe that's a fair argument. But if you object to the decision to remove tank man results, then it makes no sense to penalise Duck Duck Go for that. In fact, if you trust Duck Duck Go's authors more than Bing's, you might want to actively direct traffic to them in the hope that they can obtain enough users to become independent.

Even those who take ideological stands can object to purity. The FSF publishes the LGPL alongside the GPL and even has an exception to the GPL for GCC, to make it usable also by those who aren't fans of their position

They should remove google too for blatantly manipulating their search results in a similar manner.

To censor Bing for an infraction is not a consistent free speech position. It has clearly become a political, and extreme (becoming user-hostile), position.

[Edited to note: the parent's claim is confirmed by the link on the page]

While I am happy that Notepad++ added a dark mode, I am frustrated that Microsoft forced Notepad++ (and all Windows programs) to add hacky workarounds for a dark mode.

Notepad++ already obeys the Windows system colors, and I have been using it in dark mode by changing Windows colors. Microsoft, presumably to sabotage classical programs and to push modern UWP apps, no longer allows changing system colors. There is a Windows 10 Dark Mode instead, and all it does it notify programs about its configuration, so that they redraw all their colors. A vestige of customizable system colors that remains is the (ugly) High Contrast Mode (activated with Alt+Shift+PrtSc); but if one can put up with its ugliness, it works much better than the Windows 10 Dark Mode, changing the theme for all well-written Windows programs, including all versions of Notepad++.

With the UWP mostly dead, I was hoping that they would start caring about "legacy" programs, but nope. Notepad++, as well as many other programs I use and contribute, saw that Windows was not fixing this and started adding their own patchy dark modes, which often don't work that well. I tested the new Notepad++ dark mode, to see maybe I can start using Dark Mode instead of High Contrast Theme. Unsurprisingly, many places (settings, dropdowns etc.) remain with white backgrounds; it is difficult to change all backgrounds as it was written with obeying system colors in mind, rather than manual theming. High Contrast Theme, however, works perfectly. Presumably those remaining white patches will be fixed as Notepad++ has an active community, but dozens of other old Windows programs I use will probably never bother with explicitly adding a dark theme, so I guess I will have to stick with the High Contrast Mode.

I have a friend who maintains the gui components of a 25 year old windows application suite continuously developed using delphi. The stories he has told me of the epic battles to achieve multimonitor, high dpi, font scaling, theme and dark mode support on a legacy codebase are both impressive and depressing.

It is software like that which keeps windows entrenched in enterprise, but microsoft seemingly cannot be bothered to care.

Microsoft's Windows strategy is baffling to me. They have gone out of their way to fix a lot of their problems (in fact they fixed almost every single nitpick I had about Windows 7 coming from OS X and Linux), and they add a lot of new powerful features, but at the same time they actively seem to be sabotaging themselves at every step. I really don't know what to make of it.

I love Notepad++, it's the app I use most after Firefox. It's super fast, convenient and open source.

V. 8 introduces dark mode, distraction free mode and many other things [0].

[0] https://notepad-plus-plus.org/downloads/v8/

One thing I think N++ could do better is plugin support. The current UI feels very outdated and overall plugins lack the community that, say, Visual Studio Code has.

The UI might look outdated, but on the other hand it's light weight and fast. There are a bunch of fancy text editors out there that are simply a resource hog.

I had a similar thought reading that comment: "Outdated? You mean because it is lightweight, responsive, and native?"

I mean, you don't have to be uncharitable, the UI can be lightweight, responsive, and fast, but they're most likely talking about the usability aspects.

The "huge row of inscrutable icons" school of design fell out of favor for good reason – while a few icons (like "Back" or "Close") can be immediately recognizable, when you get to that many, most of them are icons people haven't seen before, and people end up mostly not using the buttons at all. Even if they _are_ recognizable, who wants to hunt for icons in a huge list? So they just sit there, taking up space.

I'm now looking at that bar of icons. It fills about half of my horizontal width, so there is plenty of place for more. The first 20 are the usual suspects. The last 10 I don't care about, half of them has to do with macros.

Hunting for them is no problem, after a few hours your muscle memory takes over. In fact, now I look at it, I like how this small amount of color provides a bit of recognizability and identity to the application as a whole.

All of this is tiny compared with just about any other application. Vertical pixel size is small. Horizontal size has plenty left over for more icons. You might have a point when talking about ms office around 2000, but not notepad++

> while a few icons (like "Back" or "Close") can be immediately recognizable, when you get to that many, most of them are icons people haven't seen before

You can get a description of the icons by hovering with the mouse pointer. The actual reason this style has fallen out of favor is to enable touch interfaces, which demand physically larger targets and do not generally support hover.

You can hide that row of icons, it doesn't show up on mine. There's a checkmark for it in General preferences.

It looks native but not windows 10 native. We have a similar problem with an MFC application at work? Microsoft no longer provides MFC with the ability to update your app to use the system look and feel. The newest we can go to is “Office 2007”

Well they updated the icons, now they're more modern but worse ;) (but resizable)

Nope, I think the UI is fit for purpose, doesn't need a flatso look and feel or massive space used for static text.

Thanks for building an awesome tool that runs for weeks at a time on my desktop.

Can't agree more. Notepad++ is a great tool, that does what it's supposed to do. Maximal milk for minimal moo. I wish there were more tools like this. winscp, 7-zip, all having the same win32 look, and I like them.

I never got people complaining about outdated look. When did computers become fashion items, with a new color every year? Last season we went for round corners, but these are clearly out. Today, flat is the new round. Why?

Personally, I liked the Win95-Win2K era best. A machine optimized for letting me work.

Strongly agree with you and parent. Unfortunately, lot of Windows settings are now available by default only using a "modern" UI whereas the old style was fast, consistent and extremely user-friendly.

> I never got people complaining about outdated look. When did computers become fashion items, with a new color every year? Last season we went for round corners, but these are clearly out. Today, flat is the new round. Why?

Funny thing is that like fashion it has a repetitive cycle too. Flat with basic colors back to colorful and shaded, back to flat, ... . Probably to look innovative by setting a new trend.

One thing I wish Notepad++ could do is to create a table document instead of the regular text document. Kind of like excel. It doesn't have to have any fancy formulas or anything like that, simply a grid with writeable cells.

I love how lightweight it is and I like collecting notes in it. Data is better in a table rather than a text document though.

I haven't checked recently whether such a thing might exist, but last time I checked I couldn't find anything like it. I have no idea how easy or hard something like this would be to add. Then again, perhaps it's better without it.

> I love how lightweight it is

Probably because it does not allow feature creep like adding support for a table format. I'm not trying to make fun of you, I'm just trying to state the obvious contradition that many software products face.

Sounds like you would like TreeSheets.


Just the screenshots on the home page have me curious. I’ll have to poke around with this after work today. Thank you for sharing the link.

Looks quite interesting indeed! Thanks also to GP for sharing the link

So good to find focused, lightweight software that doesn't squander gigabytes to load.

Not what you're asking, but...

ctr-alt-selecting enables rectangular mouse, or whatever notepad++ calls it. Selecting a 0 columns and multiple rows, then typing | | pipes and spaces lets you quickly create grid-like structures in text format.

Some years ago i wrote this little tool for editing RFC 4180 CSV files, you may find it useful.



> Data is better in a table rather than a text document though.

I feel like I'm missing something here. What situations are you ending up in where it's a problem that "data" is mixed up together with text?

There's already multiple ways to express tables (or more correctly data structures) with text. You could write a Markdown table, as CSV, or a JSON object, or any of the other innumerable ways there are of structuring data "in text". I feel like any of these would be easier to use than mixing plaintext with some kind of table view.

The problem is formatting. If I put two tabs between each column in a text document but then on some row I need to write a sentence then my tabbed table in the text document is going to be harder to read.

And no, those would absolutely not be easier to use when you're just writing down observations or keeping a log of something like blood pressure.

Also, they're not really mixed together. I'm just thinking of a tab being a table in it, not mixing tables and text in one document.

Let's start officepad plus plus

emeditor can help you.

I read this as V8(js engine).As in it's now an Electron app. I panicked!

Not the only one! I wonder what the difference would actually be?

Slow startup and more memory consumption

Same here. I had to make sure it wasn't April 1 again.

Thank you to the team for making a perfect balanced app greater. Notepad++ is part of my basic OS install routine and I use it on a daily basis. Perfect example of balancing a lot of features while remaining snappy and relevant over the years. Jira should take a page from your note…pad!

Dark mode was fun to implement. A combination of some undocumented interfaces for the title bar and an entirely previously undocumented approach for customization of the menu bar. The rest is the usual subclassing of standard windows controls.

The main missing feature of Notepad++ for me (which unfortunately seems to still not be available) is the "Fuzzy File Finder" i.e press a shortcut (usually ctrl+p), display a checkbox in which you can write a part of the full filename and immediately get suggestions of the file with an option to open/edit it using enter.

This is a well known feature which I use all the time and is implemented in most editors (for example in VS Code using ctrl+p or using the ctrlp plugin in vim). Until it is implemented I can't really use notepad++ for anything more than a quick edit like notepad :(

The other notepad++ missing feature (for me) is the "quick return to previous editing buffer" (like the <C-^> ctrl+shift+6 shortcut in vim). Actually I have implemented this particular feature in a plugin for VSCode for people missing it (like me): https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=Serafeim...

CTRL+TAB does that, if it's enabled and configured to do so in the settings (Settings -> Misc -> Document Switcher; check "Enable" and "Enable MRU behaviour").

Yes you actually are right! ctrl+tab returns to previous buffer in notepad++! Thank you this is really useful for me!

dark mode is not supposed to mean "full white on full black" :(

monochrome icons also not really helping in readability/recognition so it's a "no" on both those most visible changes...

but hey an update is an update and npp still rocks

That's the thing though with well developed apps: I think I also dislike the new icons. But it doesn't really matter, since the old ones are still there and I can continue using them..

The dark mode seems a bit buggy still and the contrast really is to stark, but I am hopeful these problems will be addressed with time.

Not everything is always right at the beginning, but I am never afraid to update notepad++, which is a huge compliment these days.

> dark mode seems a bit buggy

Please let us know any bugs you encounter. A lot of dialogs and etc still do not support dark mode due to manual changes needed for each of them, unfortunately.

With an OLED laptop panel, I actually appreciate #000 black. A lot of these dark themes look kinda bad on my screen, especially when they try to tint the grey like the blue GitHub adds. That said, I'll give it to Twitter for implementing dark and black as separate categories since we don't have @media (prefers-color-scheme: dark) and (display-technology: oled)

We tried to copy the colors from dark mode explorer for the most part. Eventually the configuration for this will be exposed.

I'm surprised that there is any need for an explicit dark-mode, and that Notepad++ wouldn't just pick up the system colors; it's old enough that it was customary to do that, and use the system named colors instead of specifying RGBs for control colors.

Do System colors even exist in windows 10? The option to set global color schemes seems to be long gone and Microsoft needed to spend extra effort to adapt a dark color scheme in explorer (It didn't support dark mode for a long time and then took some updates to work well across the board).

I always find it kind of funny and sad at the same time, that something windows could do 20 years age now needs to be implemented by each application separately.

Oh this brings memories of my Windows 98 tweaks and linear gradients in title bars. I'm afraid that's the peak of customizability and it's only going downhill in each operating system version.

Technically the API is there and you can actually run DESKN.CPL from an old version of Windows which allows you to customize the colors. Of course it also depends on applications to use them - most applications that use native controls use them, but others ignore them. Windows 10 'personalization' use them mainly to configure high contrast mode, but you can only edit a handful of values.

There do not seem to be system colors defined for dark mode. Explorer does it via uxtheme but does not seem to expose the colors themselves. Plus it ends up being un-configurable.

Ideally, dark mode would just be an OS-wide palette switch, which is how it used to work. Probably still would, as I don't think that the guts of Windows have actually changed; you just can't get at them through the Control Panel easily like you used to do.

Since Windows XP the common controls are themed which do not support the usual color customizations which were available before then. Some still support WM_CTLCOLOR but some don't, or only do in certain situations.

Is there a way to get decent indentation handling with Notepad++? It always seems to do "the wrong" thing (using tabs in a file using spaces, leaving whitespace-only lines, trailing whitespace etc.)

Dark mode, brilliant. NP++ is what I used to use before going all in on Sublime. Still glad to see it going strong.

I remember starting out to code.. npp was a breath of fresh air.. due to my line of work I now do everything in vim via prompt.. but npp is the first thing I open when I work in gui.. can't express how happy I am to see its still flourishing..

I'm really happy that they implemented a dark mode. Hopefuly it will get a bit more customization so we can adjust the colors since the contrast is pretty harsh right now.

I made sure to leave everything configurable in code so customization is really just a UI issue to configure and serialize the settings.

My only wish for a new Notepad++ release would be to handle multi-monitor high DPI properly.


I wish they would remove the update addins modal you get every time you open it.

Notepad++ with the XML plugins was amazing when I had to maintain 43 XSLT files and massive amounts of XML data. Glad to see they are still doing well.

Love Notepad++

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact