2009-04-01

13 Great Free Text Editors For Programmers & Web Developers

by Anoop Engineer 12 comments




Two tools that programmers and web workers tend to use most are a text editor and an email client. In today's Daily Feature column, we give you a roundup of 13 text editors that we found to be extremely useful.

Note that all programs mentioned here are free and (most of them are) open source. And almost all programs mentioned here have quite large fan base whose favorite past time is to engage in regular editor wars (especially popular among vim and emacs followers).

[xkcd]

Without further ado, we give the you 13 most popular text editors for programmers and web developers.

 

1. Notepad++

Notepad++ is a popular free and open source text editor for Windows, often referred as Notepad on steroids.

It supports tabs, syntax highlighting of a gallizion programming languages, code folding, taking code printout in color, side by side text comparison, zooming in and zooming out, macro recording and playback, and many more.

Another great advantage of using notepad++ is that it is highly extensible using plugins. If you find a feature lacking, then most probably someone else already felt similarly a wrote a plugin for that feature. The notepad++ site lists a large number of plugins from where you can download them.

Download Notepad++

 

2. Programmer's Notepad

Programmer's Notepad is a light weight Notepad replacement that is aimed at programmers and web monkeys.

Feature include syntax highlighting of a large number of programming languages including Python, Ruby, HTML, C, C++ and Java. Go for it if you are impressed by docking toolbars, support for ctags and interactive error finding (clicking on a error takes you to the line that caused it).

Download Programmer's Notepad

 

3. TotalEdit

TotalEdit is a free for commercial and non commercial use text editor for Windows. It supports all features expected out of a programmer's text editor like syntax coloring, code folding and line numbering

Some of the features that make it stand apart from the crowd are backup and version comparison - you can compare the currently edited file with its previous version from within TotalEdit, a built-in spell checker and its fully portable mode - you can run it off a USB stick.

Download TotalEdit

 

4. Notepad2

If what you want is a blaring fast text editor that starts instantly at the touch of a mouse and that gets things done as fast as possible, then Notepad2 is for you. Notepad2 is aimed at coders who need a little more oomph than the generic Notepad in Windows.

It supports a number of programming languages. Hit F12, select the scheme and press OK. If you wish to replace the generic Notepad with Notepad2, here are the instructions for Windows XP and for Windows Vista.

Download Notepad2

 

5. XML Notepad 2007

It is sadistic to force humans to edit XML files. But still, lot of people are unfortunate enough to do this on a regular basis especially java programmers. XML Notepad to your rescue.

XML Notepad has a simple interface with a tree view of tags on left and their values displayed on right. Use this one as it reduces the chances of human errors in generating properly validated XML files.

Download XML Notepad 2007

 

6. ConTEXT

ConTEXT is a free and recently made open source programmer's text editor.

ConTEXT is very light weight, is simple to use and hardly uses any RAM. It supports a large number of programming languages like C/C++, Delphi/Pascal, Java, Java Script, Visual Basic, Perl/CGI, HTML, CSS, SQL, FoxPro, 80x86 assembler, Python, PHP, Tcl/Tk, XML, Fortran, Foxpro and InnoSetup scripts.

Download ConTEXT

 

7. jEdit

jEdit is written in Java can can run on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX.

jEdit is highly configurable and customizable using macros and plugins. It carries all standard and advanced features like syntax highlighting, auto indentation, file management and bookmarks. It provides keyboard shortcuts for almost anything. So go for this if you are a keyboard ninja.

Download jEdit

 

8. Komodo Edit

Komodo Edit is a text editor from ActiveState - a company famous for its port of Perl, Python and TCL to Windows. Komodo Edit is a free and open source text editor (or should rather be called a mini IDE).

It supports many features that one would find in IDEs like code completion and call tips. It supports CSS, HTML, JavaScript, XML, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Tcl, RHTML, Template-Toolkit, HTML-Smarty and Django template styles. If you are coming from a Vim or Emacs background, you can also set Komodo Edit to emulate Vim or Emacs key bindings.

Download Komodo Edit

 

9. SourceEdit

SourceEdit will appeal more to the web developer community because of it built-in FTP manager and support for previewing the HTML code in the web browser directly from within SourceEdit. It supports languages like ASP, PHP, Java, C/C++, C#, Visual Basic, Pascal, Perl, Cold Fusion, SQL, HTML, CSS and XML. Web developers will also find its color mixer quite useful. This software is highly customizable. All keyboard shortcuts can be changed to suite your taste. All color coding for any language can be changed and SourceEdit will remember to use that color coding next time you launch a text file of that programming language.

Download SourceEdit

 

10. PSPad

PSPad is another code editor that would be of interest to web developers because of its built-in FTP client. You can log in to an FTP server, browser files, edit and save them to the server all from within PSPad.

It highlights the matching closing and starting tag when you place your cursor at the middle of a tag. This one also has integrated TiDy library for formatting and checking HTML code, conversion to CSS, XML, XHTML. It also comes with a HEX editor and a diff tool.

Download PSPad

 

11. Crimson Editor

Crimson Editor calls itself the professional source code editor for Windows.

It is lightning fast in loading and can run of a floppy disk. It supports syntax highlighting for HTML, C/C++, Perl, Java, Matlab and LaTeX. Full features of Crimson Editor can be found here .

Download Crimson Editor

 

12. VIM

When it comes to text editors, there are two holy grails - vim and emacs. Both are really great text editors, but both are complex and hence there is a slightly steep learning curve that you have to climb over before using them.

Vim stands for 'vi improved' denoting that it is an improved version of the earlier used vi editor. Vim can run in a wide variety of platforms including Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. The screenshot shown above is of Graphical vim (gvim).
This Wikipedia page would be a good starting place to know about vim. The official vim site and the vim tips wiki page are also of great help to anyone starting out with vim.

Download Vim

 

13. Emacs

Emacs like vi has a very long history dating back to the 1970s. Emacs was written by hard core programmers intended to be used by hard core programmers - the type of people who would understand stuff like "emacs is an extensible, customizable, self-documenting, real-time display editor".

The GNU Emacs home page, the emacs tour and this tutorial are great places to start learning emacs.

Download Emacs


Which is your favorite text editor? Know about a better text editor than these ones? Tell us in the comments.

Comments 12 comments
Joannah said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Ruth

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Ian Hickman said...

It has to be Notepad++, I've tried some of the others but they are all too different to the text editor that I use the most, Visual Studio.

laxmi said...

very informative blog..
keep it up this good work

Stan S said...

Being a Flash Developer I'm kind of biased but I think FlashDevelop (www.flashdevelop.org) is the best editor out there. Obviously it's optimized for ActionScript, but works great for XML, HTML and CSS.

Susan said...

Missing Notetab (http://www.notetab.com) in this list - any reason why it didn't make it?

CraveWorldwide said...

Thanks a lot for sharing. I use NotePad++ for my web programming and HTML writing work. Its the simplest and easiest yet powerful editor I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

I use Notetab Lite, mainly because I have nothing else to use. :P

Anonymous said...

Emacs is the greatest text editor ever. It has a very steep learning curve but once you get good at it, you can't stand the other editors. It will take you years to get to that point :)

More you know about Emacs, more you know how much you don't know ... The capabilities of Emacs are endless.

For Java programming though, the IDEs like Eclipse provide much more support than Emacs. If I have to make major changes in the code, lot of restructuring, copy/paste/replace, I switch to Emacs and switch back to the IDE after the major edits.

For pure text editing nothing beats Emacs if you are an expert.

Sea Dweller replica watches said...

Your post is really informative for me. I liked it very much.
Keep sharing such important posts..

Anonymous said...

I use Zeus - http://www.zeusedit.com

Auto said...

Yep is really fantastic :) I liked it very much.

Thanks to share, it's very help us

Anonymous said...

Do any of these editors allow for customized syntax highlighting similar to the view source chart firefox extension? anything that can place some type of border around tag pairs/code blocks to show hierarchy will do.

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