Jul 26, 2012

Snippets

This is a follow up on my first geeky whatnot post. You can call this the second of its kind, if you want.  In the aforementioned post I used Gist for embedding the code snippet. Although I like GitHub a lot and thank its hype and open-source developer's community for many reasons, I was not entirely pleased with the way the embedded code looked.

Hence, I surfed the web and found some alternatives with differente features. In the following paragraphs you will find a brief summary of the tools for providing embedded code snippets that looked promising by either reason and actually worked in Blogger. The ordering in the list reflects my personal affection for one option or the other, being the last entry the one I liked the less.

For each entry in the list, I took into account several criteria. I reviewed capabilities for version control, configuration of expiration and exposure, quality of syntax highlighting, and tag association. I also considered the user base of each tool and the degree of customization for embedding the code and its looks. Of course, the information reported below is not complete by any means, so I encourage you to look in the corresponding webpage for the specifics of each tool of interest.

gist.github.com: Offered by Github to its users worldwide. Snippets can be associated to an account or be anonymous. It offers highlighting for many languages and version control, and has a well-stablished and promising community. Its downside for providing snippets is the lack of line numbers and the ugliness of the bottom line.

pastebin.com: Available since 2002 with thousands of active users. It offers highlighting for many programming languages. Snippets can be associated to an account and can be made public/private and set with an expiration date. Snippets are not under version control in the proper sense of the word. However, they can be copied into new versions, etc. This service seems like a great starting point not only for code snippets but also for an online portfolio of them. On the downside, I did not like to much the title bar but this is minor.

snipplr.com:
This one looked very promising from the beginning. It has the same features in terms of version control and community-centric website as gist. I think this is the preferred option by many bloggers. The only thing I did not like was the ugly way the title of the snippet is displayed; I failed on trying to get around this ugliness.

smipple.net: Here code highlighting and the way embedded code looks like are not a plus. The user-base seems to be small too. However, this service offers tags and code comments to the webpage visitors.

codetidy.com: This site provides code snippets for many programming languages. However, it is not user-centric nor based on a community; it is basically a user-whenever-you-need site. This is a bit of a downside for me, since it would be nice to keep track of all snippets by an user. Again, title ugliness is a no-go for me.

Code Vault:
More development seems to be needed here. Specially, code highlighting does not seem to be ready yet, at least for Ruby.

snipt.net: More development seems to be needed here. Although code highlighting is pretty, code rendering is not there yet.

snipt.org: What can I say. I simply do not like the title display and even less the fat bottom of the rendering. If they change this design, I may consider looking at this service again.


All in all, I will stick with gist for a while.  Maybe you can help in completing this list with worthwhile alternatives you like !?

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