The Hessling Editor

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The Hessling Editor
Twin session
Twin session
Original author(s) Mark Hessling
Initial release August 1992; 25 years ago (1992-08)
Stable release
3.2 / January 2006; 11 years ago (2006-01)
Preview release
3.3RC4 / October 2014; 3 years ago (2014-10)
Written in C, REXX
Operating system Unix, Windows, OS/2
Type Text editor
License GPL v2

The Hessling Editor (THE) is one of the older open source text editor projects (started in 1990, first released in August 1992 according to its history file). For more than ten years it has been written and maintained by Mark Hessling, who along with being the original author of THE is also a maintainer of Regina, an open source REXX interpreter that has been ported to most Unix platforms.

According to its developers, THE is a text editor modeled on the VM/CMS editor XEDIT, adding the "best features of Mansfield Software's Kedit."[1]


  • availability of folding which can be controlled in various sophisticated ways (keyword based, indent based, etc.).
  • the use of REXX as macro language.

Folding is controlled by the "all" command. It permits one to display and work on only those lines in a file that contain a given pattern. For example, the command: all /string/ will display only the lines that include "string"; any global changes one makes on this slice (for example replace string command) will be reflected in the file. (In most cases this is a more convenient way to make global changes in the file.) In order to restore visibility of all lines one needs to enter: all (without a target string).

Similar to XEDIT, THE uses IBMs REXX as its macro language, which makes THE highly configurable and versatile. This provides the ability to create powerful extensions to the editor and/or customize it to specialized needs. For example, one can create edit commands that would allows one to manipulate columns of text (e.g. copy/move or insert/delete a column of text within a file). With REXX, one can also integrate OS commands or external functions into an edit session. Since version 3.0, THE also has user-configurable syntax highlighting.

While THE and XEDIT are not GUI editors, THE has its own syntax highlighting language definition .tld file format comparable with KEDIT's .kld format.[2]

THE is free software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. It is available for many operating systems: most or all POSIX Unix platforms (as a program for text-mode or native X11); QNX, OS/2, DOS, BeOS, Amiga, Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Hessling Editor". Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  2. ^ "THE Language Definition for ANSI Rexx". kedit.the. Budapest University of Technology and Economics - Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics. 2004-04-18. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 

External links[edit]