Niladic Podcast

What's the deal with Ctrl+Left and Ctrl+Right?

What is with the behaviour of Ctrl+Left and Ctrl+Right? Almost every editor behaves differently.

The different behaviour makes it hard to use efficiently.

Use this text as an example and put your cursor at the beginning and press Ctrl+Right until you reach the end.

simple sentence with words.

Where do you think the cursor will stop? Where does it stop?

On Windows in Notepad++ it stops where I've added the |

simple |sentence |with |words|.|

In Atom on Windows it stops

simple| sentence| with| words|.|

In Atom it stops at the end of words, that's good if you are replacing the word, but if you are deleting the word you want to also delete the space.

Neither of them stopped at the underscore. That's not good if you want to replace the first part before the underscore. For example changing the variable file_name to folder_name when you change your code.

This behaviour isn't in the preferences for editors and you wouldn't want the behaviour to be different in different editors.

Some of you might be thinking, just use vim or emacs and you don't have to worry about using Ctrl+Left and Ctrl+Right because there are better ways of navigation. But you are not always in vim or emacs, sometimes you are in a browser or an IDE.

Another strange thing is going backwards from the end of the text. With the cursor at the end of the text if I repeatedly press Ctrl+Left in Atom I stop at the beginning of words like in Notepad++.

I end up just using Ctrl+End or Ctrl + Home because I know what it is going to do and for the most part I don't want to stop after each symbol. If I wanted to do that I would just use Right or Left.

For example:


Stops at


So I can be at the end of test and delete the rest of the word, but I have to hit Ctrl+Right three times. I want to go the next whitespace, unless it is a hyphen or an underscore.

But inside the parenthesis I want different behaviour.

test(False|, True|)

But if you are inside the parenthesis I would want to stop before the closing parenthesis. If the cursor is at the first | then I want to go to the second one and delete the second parameter.

So maybe this isn't the correct solution, maybe a key that does the equivalent of double clicking the mouse is actually what I want.

I guess this is why people end up writing their own version of existing software. Maybe I should write my own editor, or at least try and then realize why what I want is not possible.

So really there are two problems, why isn't the Ctrl+Left and Ctrl+Right behaviour the same everywhere, and when we make it consistent can we make it good?

I'll just leave this here