In this post, I am going to discuss on some of the best text editor of the century, that I consider have the best functionality and overall ready to be used out of the box. Most of the text editor listed below are free and you can try each of them on your own to see how it perform.
Before I get into each of the text editors, let’s first discuss a few of the characteristics of what we expected in today’s text editor.
Cross-platform – Yes! Cross-platform is the first on the list. To be listed as the best text editor, it have to be Cross-platform (Can be used in any Operating Systems) and compatible with the environment its installed on.
Smart autocompletion – The text editor must also support autocompletion, which means that each codes that are typed will display a suggestion and autocomplete on key press (tab) for example.
Built-in package manager – Because there are many new tools that other programmers made every day and are shared to the community, package manager plays an important role for this part. By having package manager for the text editor, it will be a real life saver for programmers.
Customisation – To be able to customise the text editor is really important. It can be either the fonts that is used, its size, syntax or the whole text editor, this will be a big win for everyone.
Snippets, Multiple panes, Find and replace, Goto anything and the list goes on and on. I think those are some of the characteristics that best text editors should have.
Starting off with Sublime Text 🔗
To start off I will go with Sublime Text, and I will say that this text editor is a real beast! 🦁 rawrr
Sublime text has been around for almost a decade now, and if you ask most seasoned developer whether they know Sublime text or not, I am positive they will say “Yes, I know it!” or probably “Yes, I am using it!”. Its that popular, and they know what kind of beast it is. It has all of the characteristics listed above and one more that I haven’t mention, pure speed. Sublime text is blazing fast, and probably the fastest or on par with only one of the text editor listed below.
If you want to try it, just visit the website and you can download it for free (full features included) and no time limit to how long you are using. If you are able to get the full version, do so and it will surely help its future development.
This two text editor is on par and both of them has almost the same functionality. They are made with the same technology Electron and most people split on this one. Atom is made by the team behind GitHub while Visual Studio Code is by Microsoft.
What makes Atom unique for me is that it’s fully customisable through interactive GUI settings. For every aspect of the text editor, we can customise and extend it however we want. The documentation explain the full API reference and also provide examples for it. But then, you have to know at least the basic of CoffeeScript to develop on top of it.
In case of Visual Studio Code, they are also fully customisable, but instead of using CoffeeScript to extend it, they are using TypeScript which is pretty cool in their own way. Other than that, everything is the same and its more to personal preference.
But when we compare both of these text editor with Sublime text, they are slightly slower in term of performance speed. One thing to note is that both of these text editor is open source and free, so no license is required. This is a big win for those who love open source software and full customisable text editor.
In addition to that, they also come with their pre-installed package manager that you can use to install any plugins or add-ons.
The next one and probably the last one on the list is Notepad++, and although this text editor doesn’t have the full characteristic of best text editor, I consider it as one of the most popular text editor for the Windows platform and has been available for more than a decade.
What’s special about Notepad++ compared to the other is its speed and performance. It has very fast and reliable performance and might be faster than sublime text. I also heard that notepad++ can somewhat open file that contain between 2GB+ text smoothly (scrolling between the codes).
It doesn’t come with package manager though, but do come with portability (can be stored on external drive / pen drive and can be used without installing it on the machine).
Although the text editor listed above are my top picks, there are many more that worth mentioning. Here are some of the one that I used in the past (the list below are not in order):
- Espresso (Free trial)
- Komodo Edit (Free trial)
In conclusion, there are many text editors out there (new and old) that helps programmer develop their program in its own unique ways. Programmer should always strive to find new tools to better enhance their workflow and stay latest with the trends as it keeps on evolving day by day.
If you noticed from the list, I didn’t include any Integrated Development Environment (IDE) because I consider it as another type of heavy text editor and are worthy for it’s own separate discussion (stay tune for that).
In case we missed any other great text editor or you have any other suggestion, let us know in the comments section below. If you find this post helpful, do share it with your friends and enjoy exploring~