GNU nano is a type of text editor designed for Unix-like computing systems or operating environments using a command line interface. It offers additional functionality and emulates Pico text editor, part of the Pine email client.
Initially released on June 6, 2000, about 18 years ago, GNU nano is written in C and running on cross-platform. GNU nano is available only in English. The original purpose of this text editor is to be a complete bug-for-bug emulation of Pico. However, the recent purpose is to be compatible with the superset of Pico’s functionalities.
GNU nano Features
Besides having a function of basic editing, it offers many extra features explained as follows:
Interactive Search and Replace
GNU nano has a feature of interactive search and replace with the default search mode which is forward, case-insensitive, and for literal strings. It enables you to search a word easily and replace it with the desired word as you expected. All are interactive and fast-response.
Undo and Redo of GNU nano is also active to help you get back some word that you have just deleted. For text editing, undo and redo feature is a very important part and a must-have feature. It is also aimed to help you work with the fast editing.
The command-line options offered by GNU nano include a smart key. At the very beginning of non-whitespace characters on a line, the cursor will jump to that beginning position then to the true beginning of the line.
You can use the regular expression to make the syntax coloring on a file. However, it is not considered powerful to parse a file fully. Nevertheless, it is easy to make regular expressions as good as you expected from a small editor like nano.
Spell checking feature is also available in GNU nano. The misspelled words are sorted alphabetically. For example, the word “apple” and “Apple” is prompted for separated correction. This is good for editing as you will get the automatic correction while you are typing misspelled words.
Many options of the program’s functionalities can be toggled in the position of “on” and “off” by using the sequence of Meta keys. It means that you don’t have to restart the program to turn a special feature “on” or “off”.
The next feature provided by GNU nano is the ability to backup files. When you want to save a file, you could back up the previous version of it using the recent filename suffixed with a tilde (-). This is aimed in order not to lose the files so that all of your files are safe and well-stored.
Finally, it is concluded that GNU nano has basic features that you need most for text editing. The seven basic features explained above are the most important and the most-wanted features which people are looking for from a text editor. Thus, if you are working mostly on documents making, GNU nano can be one of the recommended software to consider.