Remember this post? I’m doing it again. I once said that your choice of a web browser reveals something about your personality. Same can be said about the choice of your preferred text editor. Tell me what is the default editor on your system, and I will tell you what kind of person you are.
Vim or Vi
You are a minimalist at heart, but you value raw power of a sophisticated, and yet simple editor. You hate to waste key strokes. You laugh derisively at the fools fighting with their silly Notepad like editors. You either use a traditional unix keyboard or you switched around Ctrl and Caps Lock so that they are in their popper places. Chances are that you might be (or have been) a sysadmin. You think that Emacs is not a text editor, but a fucking operating system with a built in kitchen sink, and a circus tent. You might as well use an IDE.
Your choice of text editor was simple. You wanted the most powerful, and most extensible editor on Earth. And you can write a formal mathematical proof that Emacs is that editor. You are a lisp hacker and you are not afraid to use it. In fact, when you watched Matrix you were disappointed that the streaming code on the screens was not lisp. You still think that the back-end and AI of the Matrix is done in that language. You might have (or are working towards) a PHD.
Pico or Nano
As everyone knows, Pico is an acronym which stands for “I can’t figure out vi and Emacs is crazy”. You do try to be as hard-core as your Vi and Emac’s friends but you just can’t deal with their funky editors. You are ok trading off all their power for familiar simplicity because you don’t need advanced features. All you need is a working text editor. And Pico/Nano is just that. No frills, no bells, no whistles. Just rock solid functionality. You think that people who put time and effort into “mastering” a text editor have way to much time on their hands. It is very likely that you are using Pine for your email. Pine of course stands for “can’t figure out Mutt”.
It actually never occurred to you to try a different text editor. Notepad was always there, and you never needed more. All the extra features in the other editors are just making them slower and harder to use. Notepad does what it was designed to do, and doesn’t get in your way.
You are a bit like the Notepad user, but you use Ubuntu or Fedora instead of Windows. Gedit is the default, and that’s what you use. It is completely sufficient for editing small config files, and you never really needed stuff like syntax highlighting. It never occurred to you that you could use anything else. The KDE practice of starting names of all their applications with k annoys you.
Microsoft Word is not a text editor. You should not be allowed near a computer. In fact you are the cancer that is killing the internet. Kill yourself.
You are a hard code KDE user. Kate is not only a robust editor with syntax highlighting – it is also a fully functional KDE component. This means that you can use it to edit files on remote servers in place by simply using the fish:// or sftp:// protocol in the file dialog. Because of this you wouldn’t change this editor for any other. In fact, almost every single application that you use on daily basis starts with a K: kontact, kmail, koffice, kopete, kdevelop, konqueror, konsole and etc.. You try to use as few non KDE apps as possible. GTK applications piss you off because they clash with your interface, use counter-intuitive file dialogs, and look awkward and unpolished.
Ed is the standard text editor. Enough said. You are in fact, too fucking awesome for this article. You have yet to meet a person who would be worth your respect. Every person you ever worked with was a fucking clueless n00b. You are a BOFH and proud of it. On the systems you administrate you symlink vi, emacs and nano to ed just to watch the lusers squirm in their seats and hit Ctrl+C repeatedly. You are likely to have a big bushy beard, and are probably wearing a T-shirt with a cryptic joke that only people with unix background will understand.
Notepad2, Notepad++ and etc..
You like the simplicity of Notepad, but you wanted a bit more. Not to much – just some syntax highlighting and maybe having line numbers displayed on the margin. You do use the editor to write some code, but you like to keep it simple. You are not a Linux user so you have no clue what that whole Emacs vs Vi thing is all about. You also hate IDE’s – they are bloated and get in the way of doing your work. Simplicity is your mantra.
You tried many different text editors. You could never get a hang of vi and Emacs. You think it’s a bit crazy to spend time and effort learning how to use them. You were dissatisfied with every single editor on the market. They were either to difficult to use, to simplistic, or too bloated. Then you found TextMate and it felt like an extension of your body. It did for text editing what OSX did for operating systems. You love this editor so much, that you actually don’t mind it’s not free. For you it’s worth every penny. You don’t mind being the only guy in your town who actually paid for a text editir. You are a smug Mac user, and proud of it. You have recurring fantasies in which you strangle Justin Long with you Mighty Mouse cord.
You love vim but you can’t deal with it’s sharp learning curve, and funky key bindings. So you took the easy way out, and got the best of both worlds – the power of Vim, and standard key bindings for the most common functions. When hanging out with your Vim buddies you usually forget to tell them about this and act as if you were using the real thing. Because in essence you are. Your version just has the added key bindings. You would be embarrassed if anyone found out abut it though.
Your text editor is lightweight, full featured, extensible and cross platform. In addition, it can work as a stand-alone executable which requires no installation. Fits perfectly with all your other portable tools on your USB thumb drive. You also love how SciTE let’s you write Lua scripts to extend it’s functionality. You take your text editor choice very seriously. You like tinkering, and minimalistic, portable applications.
TextPad or EditPlus
You use your editor for programming. What you want is something like a mini IDE with the ability to launch compilers from within the editor, and capture their output, but without the bloat. You value simplicity. Scite was to funky to you, and choices like Notepad2 were bit too basic. Your current editor has everything that you can need, and you probably won’t ever need more. You suffer from a common affliction known as IDE phobia. Whenever you want to make yourself puke all you have to do is to just imagine working in Visual Studio and/or Eclipse. You think that all the Vi and Emacs people are even more crazy than the poor misguided souls who use IDE’s.
Jey, 1987 called and they want their Word Star key bindings back!
You are one of the last representatives of the dying breed of MS DOS enthusiasts. You are master at batch scripting, and you wrote dozens of scripts, and small applications to streamline your work on Windows. You are one of the last few people who knows how to squeeze out every bit of functionality out of cmd.exe. You are to windows what a hard-core vi/ed user is to unix. You know almost all there is to know about windows, and all your systems run blazing fast and efficiently. You strip all your windows installations down to their bare bones, move around important files, and optimize everything. You think that Windows 2000 was the best OS that came out from Microsoft. You run a mix of win NT, win95-98 and win2k boxes at home but you don’t own Windows XP. Vista scares you. It signifies an end of an era and a sad victory of bloat and eye candy over simplicity and functionality.
You are one of those smug assholes who thinks it is hip, cool and retro to use a full screen editor. “Uh, oh! I’m a big time writer. I can’t be distracted by a taskbar and a clock when I write.” Give me a break. You probably also use words like blogosphere and blogerati and consider yourself a journalist. Sigh…
That’s all I have for now. Feel free to “remind me” about your favorite editor that I omitted in the comments. Also please note that this is all good natured humor. So feel free to complain that judging people by their text editor is stupid, shallow and etc. But that just means you are not getting it and you will be laughed at.