“Zen Coding is a set of plug-ins for text editors that allow for high-speed coding and editing in HTML, XML, XSL, and other structured code formats via content assist. The project was started by Vadim Makeev in 2008 and continues to be actively developed by Sergey Chikuyonok and Zen Coding users based upon the Zen Coding 2.0 concept.The tools have been incorporated into a number of high-profile text editors, as well as some plug-ins developed by the Zen Coding team and others implemented independently. However, Zen Coding is primarily independent from any text editor, as the engine works directly with text rather than with any particular software.
Zen Coding is open sourced under the MIT License.
In recent versions it has been renamed to Emmet.”
Now, ZenCoding is part of the VS WebEssentials extension for VS2013, but I’m not having a lot of joy with that. And indeed, Visual Studio seeems unnecessarily heavyweight when all I want to do is write and run web pages, albeit in Angular/Node. WebStorm looks the nicest candidate, but as ever, JetBrains charge a lot for their good products, quite reasonably. Which then arguably leaves NotePad++ and the ZenCoding plugin extension for that. Functionally, it should give everything that every other ZenCoding host gives.
The NotePad++ extension – download it, extract the folder [NppScripting] and the [NppScripting.dll] to the plugins folder, as here in the red boxes:
Now, I am pretty sure the green Python references were not there before I started, so those are doubtless dragged in when you are prompted by NotePad++. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
In NotePad++, go into the menu / Plugins / Plugin Manager / Show PlugIn Manager
Zen Coding has been found. If you select and install, then NPP recognises the Python dependency:
After a restart of NPP, you see the Zen Coding menu item. In fact at the moment, I’m just using the shortcut of Ctrl-E to expand the snippets, i.e. the menu isn’t needed right now.
So once that html:5 is there, press [ctrl-E] to expand:
Well, turns out some of that was a bit of a waste of time: An adobe project called Brackets, is free and looks really good. It also has support for Emmet, which is the updated name/version for ZenCoding – I prefer the latter, but hey.
Brackets runs its own Node server, has realtime update of code changes (Live Preview), and looks really, really good, considering it’s free. Whether things stay like that…