Version 1.0

Speare is an ultra lightweight code editor smoothly support simultaneously editing multiple files that written with different programming languages. It was originally developed to provide a native scripting language debugging environment that smoothly integrated with C and C++.

It's free!

Code editors on macOS

Terminal based text editors such as GNU Emacs, Vim and Nano, although they are very cool, but their limitations are also obviously. TextMate is my favourite code editor long years ago and until today, but it still lack some features. As a programmer, so many IDE and text editors I've used in the past years, such as the bulky cargos, Visual Studio Code, Atom, Android Studio, Eclipse, ActiveState Komodo, ZeroBraneStudio, Xcode, and some light cargos, e.g. TextEdit, Textadept, CotEditor and TextMate. I never like the bulky cargos, e.g. desktop applications that built with NodeJS, React and Electron, Eclipse and Java or .NET and C# based big stuffs. Speare is a small, free and friendly editor which implements the most important missing features in common text editors, e.g. bookmark and fast locate code lines between multiple files, code block live parsing etc.

They make software as big as possible, as complex as possible, but I believe in the opposite philosophy.

No. Editor Size No. IDE Size
1Speare 1.0 4.5MB 6 Visual Studio Code 1.36.1 211MB
2TextEdit 1.13 5.6MB 7 ActiveState Komodo 11.1 334MB
3TextMate 1.5.7 23.3MB 8Atom 1.38.2 558MB
4Textadept 10.4 35MB 9 ZeroBraneStudio 2019 612MB
5CotEditor 3.3 47MB 10 Android Studio 3.1 1.37GB
11 Eclipse IDE 4.12 400MB~5GB
12 Xcode 10.0 12GB



  1. Simultaneously edit multiple files that written in different programming languages, easy and quickly.
  2. Supports nearly 120 types of common programming language syntax highlighting and parsing, quickly switch between files and projects.
  3. Fast search and replace functions for different searching scope, current document, opened files or entire project.
  4. Multiple distributed folder management by simple project file.
  5. Word autocomplete, sensitivity of keywords when typing, live parsing symbol definition for suggested words list.
  6. Jump to definition, fast locate the definition of symbols in source code files.
  7. Go back and forward, fast switch and locate code lines between editing files.
  8. Keeping entire state after quit, the opened files, selection of each file and the cursor location.
  9. Customisation of fonts and colours for the text editor.
  10. Ultra lightweight, Speare itself is only 607KB.

Other Build-in Features:
     a. Binary file automatically detection.
     b. Text encodings automatically detection when open file and convert to UTF-8 by default.
     c. Code block selection by double clicking the begin symbol of code block.
     d. Built-in compatible UTF-8 regular expression matching anywhere.

File Organisation

1. Add File or Folder in Workspace

a. Drag file or folder from Finder into Treeview directly.
b. Click "+" symbol on the bottom of Treeview.
c. Create temporary document:
     Click menu: File → New
     Click "+" symbol on the top of tabs view.
d. Click menu: File → Open Recent.

2. Remove File or Folder from Workspace

a. Click "-" symbol on the bottom of Treeview.
b. Use "Command key + D" shortcut to do the deleting.
c. Click menu: File → Delete.

Note: Delete operation supports multiple item selection.

SPP File

SPP File is the abbreviation of "Speare Project Plist" file, it is the project file type of Speare that has an .spp file extension and be used to organise the paths of file and folder together.

  1. Create SPP File
    Click menu: File → Save as Speare Project file. This operation will store the root path of the nodes in the left side Treeview as a .spp file.

  2. Open SPP File
    This operation will load all indexed file and folder stored in it into Treeview.

SPP File is common plain text file, working with SPP files is not necessarily required but it will be more convenient when packaging the paths of file and folder together as .spp files in most usage scenarios.

Search and Replace

  1. Search Current Document:
    Use shortcut ("Control key + F") to do the work just like in TextEdit.

  2. Search Opened Files:
    Click search button on toolbar and on the prompt dialog select "In Tabs".

  3. Search Entire Project Folders:
    Click search button on toolbar and on the prompt dialog select "In Project".

  4. Searching by Index:

         a. Click symbol button on toolbar and select items that parsed by the build-in syntax parsers.

         b. Click breakpoint button on toolbar and select items that placed as bookmark or breakpoint.
  5. Filter Item in Left Treeview:
    Input the item name or prefix in the search field which located in the bottom of the Left Treeview and then enter "Return" key.

Tab Selection and Dragging

Speare use tabs to manage multiple opened files on the right side, continuously click on the leftmost or rightmost tab can quickly scroll tabs to left side or right side so that opened files can be quickly switched. Dragging special tabs together will also can help editing multiple files simultaneously more conveniently.

File Rename and Save

1. File Rename
Click the item in the left side Treeview and then input a new file name just like in Finder.

2. File Save
Speare can save file automatically whenever it be edited but the temporary "Untitled files" will be asked to save when quit the app or load a .spp file, because load a .spp file will empty current Treeview.

In addition, Speare will change the icon colour of the item in the left side Treeview to indicate that it has been edited whenever it be edited, and will restore to default state when click the "Save" or "Save All" button on the toolbar.

Jump To Definition

Ensure the keyword selected and then right click one of the popped option menu items. Speare will provide all location where the symbol defined including header file and implement file.

Show in Finder

Right click the item in the left side Treeview and then click the prompt menu.

Back and Forward

Just click the "Back" or "Forward" button on the toolbar to switch the files that was being editing.

Customise Font and Colour

Click menu item "Preferences" and then set font and colour of editor background etc.

Lite Mode

Click siding button on toolbar and click menu "View → Hide Toolbar" then the app can be changed to an TextEdit-like editor.

Debug Mode

Speare smoothly support Lua script debugging, more info see here: → Speare debugger architecture.

Programming Languages and Document Types

AMPL ASM ASP AWK Ada ActionScript Active4D AnsiblePlaybook Ant Apache Applescript Asciidoc AutoIt Autoconf Automake Basic Batch Beta Bibtex C C# C++ CMake CPrePro CSS Scss CUDA Clojure Cobol CoffeeScript ColdFusion Csound Ctags D DTS DbusIntrospect Diff DosBatch PowerShell Dtd Dylan Eiffel Elixir Elm Erlang eZ Publish F-Script Falcon Flex Forth Fortran FreeFem++ Fypp GEDCOM Gdbinit Glade Go Gradle GraphViz Groovy Haskell HTML Haxe Header IDL ITcl Iniconf Inko JSP Java JavaFX JavaProperties JavaScript Json Julia Kotlin Kuin LSL LaTeX LdScript Lilypond Lisp Logtalk Lua M4 MEL Makefile Man Markdown MATLAB Maven2 MetaPost Metaslang Moose MySQL Myrddin NASL NEURON Nemerle Objective-C Octave Ocaml Ox PDF PHP Parrot Pascal Passwd Perl Perl6 Pig Plist Pod PostScript Prolog Processing Protobuf Puppet PuppetManifest Python PythonLoggingConfig QemuHX QtMoc R R/S-PLUS RHTML RSpec RelaxNG Rexx Robot Racket RpmSpec Rst Ruby mruby Rust SGML SML SQL Scala Scheme Sedona Shell Slang Smalltalk Snippets Stata SuperCollider SVG Swift SystemTap SystemdUnit TTCN Tcl Tcl/Tk Tex TorqueScript TypeScript Udo VB VB.NET VHDL Vera Verilog SystemVerilog Vim WSDL WindRes XML XSD Xquery Xslt Yacc Yaml YumRepo Zephir


If your special programming language or document requires Spear syntax highlighting or debugging support, please drop us a message.

Request and issue management on Github: https://github.com/chengdu/Speare.