What is your favorite code editor?

Happy Friday folks! I just wanted to tell you that I didn’t actually have a post ready for today until like midnight. Total writers block. Well, not total – I had couple of things in the queue, but nothing that could be reliably finished on time at my advanced level of fatigue and sleep deprivation. I just can’t do book reviews, or engaging rants while half of my brain is in a fatigue induced zombie like trance, and the other half is hyper due to high caffeine intake.

I had nothing up until around 3pm, when Mart asked about a good Python IDE in the AppEngine Bloging thread. I got my inspiration right there and then – thanks Mart!. Since I’m totally feeling lazy so I will do a poll on favorite text editors!

Quick search confirmed that I haven’t done this before. Perfect! We are officially back in business. Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to type it up until around 1am on Thursday. If this post seems uncharacteristically brief, and more incoherent than usual, it’s because the only thing that keeps me awake right now is the sheer determination to finish typing this post before my body shuts down completely.

Let’s talk about text editors, especially when used for writing code. Are you a Vi/Emacs person? Do you prefer specialized IDE? Or do you hack in a plain text editor like notepad?

Favorite Code Editor
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Yes, Word is there as a joke. I really hope no one would seriously consider it as a legitimate code editor.

Also, as you can see I enabled the write-in option, but use it wisely. If I see it abused, I will disable it faster than you can type your favorite meme into it. Or at least I will try.

For me, it actually depends. I use Vim for most of the simple stuff like editing config files, shell scripting or simple programming that does not require me to jump between multiple files. I use Komodo Edit for large PHP projects. If I’m coding in Java I bite the bullet and use Eclipse. Yes, it takes an hour to launch and initialize itself, but it’s worth it. It works beautifully, and makes Java 40% less of a pain in the ass to work with.

Same idea with C# and Visual Studio. I actually use Visual C# Express 2008 for the little of .NET coding that I do, and it works very well. I tried couple of non-Microsoft IDE’s but the user experience was worse. I think they purposefully go out of their way to make .NET development without Visual Studio more of a pain in the ass.

Feel free to write in, and/or pimp out your favorite Editor/IDE in the comments. I’m off to sleep. This post will be queued to appear Friday morning and by that time I should be awake again, and slightly less sleep deprived. Have a good Friday people!

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25 Responses to What is your favorite code editor?

  1. Morten DENMARK Mozilla Firefox Debian GNU/Linux says:

    I’ve come to absolutely LOVE Emacs. While it feels quite strange at first it really grows on you. I use AUCTeX for editing LaTeX code, and the various programming specific modes for coding.

    I also use Vim for small tasks like editing config files, and recently tried using it for writing some c programs, but I think Emacs “understands” the code on a completely different level.

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  2. Sam Weston UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    Until the other day I would have said Eclipse but I’m converted. I do however miss the java debugging features a bit.

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  3. Tobias GERMANY Safari Mac OS says:

    TextMate is simple yet powerful.

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  4. Naum UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS Terminalist says:


    Though I’ve been trying to migrate to TextMate for the past 3 years… …TextMate is good, but I just am so conditioned by the cursor/positional/search/matching modal keys…

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  5. Sam Weston UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    Oops…I forgot to write that I converted to vim. Still working on learning the keyboard shortcuts though.

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  6. Mart SINGAPORE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I’m mentioned in Luke’s post! Cue the confetti! WoooOOOoooOOooott~~~!!

    Woah, I’m the only one who voted for Notepad++ currently. So what does that say about me? Hmm…

    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.

    Heh, everything seems true, cept that I don’t hate IDEs. In fact, I love java-ing in Eclipse. But the rest is uncanny. I’m not a Linux user (find it troublesome to switch OSes because I play games on a whim) and simplicity is my mantra. Now it’s getting scary.. 8O

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  7. mcai8sh4 UNITED KINGDOM Opera Linux Terminalist says:

    vim for me. I’m not really a hardcore coder anymore, so vim just works… hugely powerful yet simple enough to do the small stuff. Also easy to ssh to my machine without trouble, hack a bit of code out compile it, to prove a point to someone. I only code in C really (simple stuff) and a bit of bash scripting. If anyone has anything they think I should try… let em know.

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  8. Daosus UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox SuSE Linux says:

    Chuck Nor…….Vi! I use vi(m). I’ve been meaning to learn emacs, but it’s been avoiding me for some time now. For bigger projects, I use an IDE for the language, usually KDevelop (because I’m not a programmer and don’t do anything fancy).

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  9. Adam UNITED STATES Safari Mac OS says:

    VI/VIM for pretty much everything, except when I have to open up something really big and nasty. That’s when I opt for TextWrangler. It’s free, and it does the SCP auto save thing and code syntax highlight thing.

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  10. its Gedit for me! Syntax-Highlighting, opening of sftp://-URLs, Plugins (Class-Browser, better Tab-Handling for Spaces instead of real tabs, …)
    The only thing i wish gedit should do, is to make it possible to use Class-Browser (ctags-based) and sftp-urls at the same time. This Problem does only exist because mounting sftp via fuse is still buggy like hell, but it bothers me a lot.

    I even could use Vi/VIM/Emacs-Modelines if i would want to.. so why dont use this nice piece of software?

    If its about changing some simple settings via terminal, its often mcedit and sometimes vim on my side. Terminals and GNU screen still got some capablities that X-Applications miss.

    I allways hated big IDEs… no wait! thats just plainly wrong. I was a big Fan of Things like the old Delphi-Versions, but today it seems to me like every new IDE has to be written in Java and the main design-goal MUST be to make it as memmory-consuming as possible. So nothing of these absurd things will ever be installed on my Netbook!

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  11. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @Naum: Didn’t TextMate have Vim mode of some sort? Maybe not, I never used it but I think I heard it mentioned.

    @Mart: I love video games too. That’s why I am a firm believer in owning more than one computer. Windows for games, Linux for other stuff. :)

    @Daosus: Hey now, Mr. Norris has no business being in this poll. ;)

    [quote post=”2888″]oday it seems to me like every new IDE has to be written in Java and the main design-goal MUST be to make it as memmory-consuming as possible[/quote]

    LOL! So true!

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  12. Wikke BELGIUM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I use a custom Eclipse IDE for my daily developing.
    But when it comes to quickly editing files, nothing beats Notepad++

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  13. Ian Clifton UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Why are there choices other than Vim? ;)

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  14. @ian clifton
    Because no troll won the war between VIM and Emacs.. so we still got both (and many more).

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  15. Morghan UNITED STATES Epiphany Linux says:

    Always meant to learn emacs, but never have taken the time to do it. I keep hearing that vim is better than nano, but the interface is different enough that I’d have to have a good reason to switch, and really since the extent of my coding is minor alterations to other people’s code I’ve never had a reason to use anything but nano.

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  16. Mats Rauhala FINLAND Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    I use vim with combination of vim sessions, project- and tags plugin. Makes it a lot easier to jump between files.

    Also knowing some jump-commands helps a lot (like gf)

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  17. Ian Clifton UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @Dr. Azrael Tod: Probably because it takes sunlight to kill trolls, and the users of Vim/Emacs don’t get much sun…. I like Vim because it seems like less work for my fingers. Mankind’s inventions are all about laziness.

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  18. my problem with vim and its “less work for your fingers” is that i think its the wrong way to solve this problem.
    As example: vim uses hjkl for coursor-movement, so you dont need to move your fingers away from the main part of the keyboard to the arrow-keys. This is because and could have been solved via the keyboard-layout. This way this would be solved for EVERY application. Instead nearly every developer uses vim, so they dont see this problem and it will never be solved for the average user.

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  19. Ian Clifton UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    That’s certainly an interesting way of looking at it. We’re lucky if the arrow keys are even set up “correctly” on a keyboard these days (why do so many put the left/right keys against each other?). I don’t think it’s a problem that will ever be solved on the hardware end, so you have to do what you can to get around that problem.

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  20. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @Dr. Azrael Tod and @Ian Clifton – only this is really not a hardware problem. It is something much more complex. End users don’t want to deal with modal editors. They want WYSIWYG and character keys that always work like character keys.

    Custom keyboard layout or custom hardware would still have to solve the problem of using the same keys for character input and movement. Most likely you would have use a modifier key – something like Ctrl+h, Ctrl+j and etc..

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  21. Jaded Judas UNITED STATES Konqueror Debian GNU/Linux says:

    I currently use (X)emacs, but I am teaching myself to write the to the disk directly by waving magnets over the hard drive platters…..:)

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  22. @luke this whole modifier-problem is something i too dislike… no keyboard should have keys with 3-5 uses printed on them (and still my netbook has.. like =,0,} and * on one key) this is just plainly wrong.

    But if you’ve got enough space (and besides notebooks and smaller devices everyone will have) you should allways be able to use it a way this should not be needed. But the keyboard-manufacturers never even tried. Much more important than special-writing-keyboards where the ones for gaming or multimedia. When there is the possibility of making money by selling keyboards with modified WASD-Blocks, why wont anyone buy keyboars with arrow-keys near the character-keys? its the same purpose!

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  23. Al Mair UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    I put notepad++, but I actually believe that TextEdit is the best. Of course, this is because I’m running Mac OS X, which might have something to do with it.

    Oh, and Stickies. God, I love Stickies. What would I do without you pasted all over my virtual desk reminding me of key information that I think of late in the night?

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  24. Nedit FRANCE Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    Why does nobody mention nedit ? It may look spartan and very “X11” but it is very efficient and fast.

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