For the sake of clarity, it is best to solve a lexical doubt immediately. We don’t mean “text editor” as those programs that allow you to work professionally on a formatted text, which we call “word processor”. In this category, we review applications that developers and designers use to carry out their work, program other software or build web apps or websites.
All the code that makes up the sites, applications we use on our smartphone, operating systems that manage financial operations: everything digital that we use in our life is essentially text. Therefore, with increasing software complexity over the years, the capabilities of the tools have also increased, leading to Integrated development environments (IDEs), which can be used to code complex applications. Today we have many different text editors: some are minimalistic in the approach and functionalities (one who has a blog on WordPress and has to change something from time to time does not need too complicated a software), some can create complex sites with many features. With the boom of smartphones and tablets, being able to edit an error on a page even while on the train, headed to your vacation has become feasible (but here we’ll not comment on how this way of working is unhealthy and leads to serious problems.)
Virtually all text editors on the market today help code writing through a variety of colors to highlight different parts of a document. Some assist the user anticipating his moves, for example by automatically closing parentheses or other markers. The best development tools include the ability to control the code by debugging more or less precisely – and in these cases, even quick search for stupid denials can be a salvation.
Of course, mobile support is something that is very limited today, because as far as tablets are concerned, part of their screen will still be used for the virtual keyboard. In this sense, many apps for Android or iOS will only allow quick editing or code correction already written, and that’s right.
Finally, it depends entirely on the size of your project. A single page site that shows up your portfolio is an easy thing with a free text editor with relatively few features. If you need to develop applications for professional environments, maybe more complex tools can be used.
While text editors like Notepad++ appear to have started with the simplest plain text editor then added features that could be helpful to developers, Atom appears to have started with developers in mind. That’s not too surprising considering that it comes from GitHub itself.
Coda, and in particular the latest version, Coda 2, is what happens when you start with the idea of keeping things as simple as possible... But then start adding essential little features that make life easier.
Launched at the end of 2014, Brackets is a lightweight text editor created by Adobe. While other text editors try to please every kind of developer, Brackets is targeted directly at Web designers and front-end developers.
Considering the strength of the competition, Sublime Text has done well to be rated as the third most popular development environment in Stackoverflow’s 2016 developer survey. It’s helped by its longevity (it’s been around since 2007) but also by a large number of useful and creative features that come pre-installed.
Since its launch, the main goal of BBEdit has been to make text editing on Macs simple for both coders and writers; the software has features that please both groups of users. Developers can enjoy access to features that might have writers scratching their heads
It could happen. You might be sitting on the bus when you get hit by incredible idea for a game that will be as popular as Angry Birds. So you whip out your phone, open an app and before you’ve reached your destination, you’ve already thumb-typed most of the code.
So to see a text editor that looks like it was built to emulate a design that Windows might just want to forget might be a bit surprising but it’s what ActiPro, creators of Code Writer, have done.
The main sales point that Notepad++ uses to promote itself isn’t a feature trumpeted by many software programs. By optimizing as many routines as possible, the creators say, Notepad++ is trying to reduce the world carbon dioxide emissions.
Sometimes, you should be careful what you wish for. Developers often say that they want their coding environment to be as simple and clean as possible. They want the minimum of features, just a place to write their own lines without the interference of a smart program that thinks it knows code better than they do.