I love the picture above. It’s the stereotypical depiction of what a workstation looks like when someone is lost deep down the hole of a massive breakthrough coding session. While it may look pretty cool, I’m pretty sure that most code writers and developers (those I know anyway) are not using some bright, multi-color text editor that makes your eyes bleed and drains your battery.
There are a good many editors out there that do have some color function to them, which in some cases, comes in handy when quickly searching for specific pieces of code. HTML and CSS can be extremely well searched with these color features. But no matter your preference, whether the good ole black and white, or the more new bedazled editors of today, there is sure to be a text editor that suits your needs.
Today I want to highlight my five favorite text editors for coding. From the basic, to the more advanced, a good text editor is the backbone of development coding. Even when using an IDE of some kind, I prefer to edit in a text editor, then copy and paste. Do note that all of the editors listed below are available on multiple OS platforms, and are all open-source or freeware. So without further ado, here are my top five favorite text editors for coding.
This is like, the standard editor that everyone starts out with. But its use is not to be made light fun of. I have used Notepad++ for various coding projects, across multiple OS platforms, and it has never let me down. It is my go to editor for HTML, PHP, and CSS. I haven’t worked on a website yet that didn’t involve the use of Notepad++. It is a major step above the piece of garbage that Windows calls a Notepad, and it won’t give you nearly the headaches with encoding. You can learn more about it and download it right here.
4) VIM Text Editor
At first glance, some people might think they are having a flashback to the early Windows, late MS-DOS era. But no, this would not be it. Rather, this is VIM. THE text editor. This is a no frills kind of text editor based on the Vi text editor in UNIX systems. Syntax highlighting and color options, but that’s close to it. This is for people who don’t want distractions with coding. I’ll admit, I don’t have that much experience with VIM yet and have only used it on very rare occasions. Like, learning to automate Windows PowerShell stuff. But that’s it. The cool thing about VIM is that it is what they call charityware. Meaning, it’s free to distribute, but they do ask a contribution to ICCF Holland Foundation, helping children in Uganda. Click here to learn more about VIM and download it for yourself.
3) Light Table
Okay, what you’re seeing above is a little more advanced than what I use a text editor for when coding, but this is pretty cool and why I decided to add it to this list. I have just downloaded this in the last 48 hours and played around a bit with it. Using different little patches of code that you can find around the web, I was able to open up almost a “live viewer” of what I had in the editor. Light Table is a relative newcomer to the market, and bills itself more like an IDE than a text editor. Though it’s easy to see how it can be setup for both. Aside from the kind of “default” dark mode kind of look to it (that in my opinion is simply becoming obnoxious), Light Table is a nice little refresh of the standard coding editor. The documentation on Light Table is still kind of young, but I had no problems getting it up and running at least preliminarily. Check it out and grab the download here.
Considering most of the coding I do on a regular basis is web page based, it was only natural to include Brackets. While not that much different from most text editors, this one stands apart as it is geared towards web developers. With autoprefixer capability, Git integration, and Emmet plugin support, this blazing fast lightweight editor is everything that a web dev needs. Check it out and download it for yourself here.
And finally… My number one pick for best text editor for coding purposes:
Hands down my favorite text editor to date. Atom is brought to you by the same brilliant minds behind Github. Lightweight but extensive if you want it to be. It supports a huge variety of different programming languages, and if the one you need isn’t on there, you can almost guarantee there is a plugin to make it compatible. Not only does it have a repository of packages, but you can build your own right there in the editor. Multiple panes allow for modifying multiple files in a package side by side instead of switching tabs. Running on the Electron platform, it is simply a must have for those who code.
And there it is. My list of the top five text editors for coding. Which ones on this list do you like? Which ones do you not? Which one(s) that you think should be on the list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!