Coding is a tedious process which is often complex and rigorous. To get through coding easily and without too much stress, you need a good, trustworthy text editor. The most common solution in many people’s eye is Notepad because you can’t go wrong with it, but notepad is not the simplest solution. When working with complex coding, it is helpful to have an editor that gives you a feature of line numbers, highlighting the important areas, support for multiple programming languages, a better find and replace feature, and some other userful features that can make the process of coding a bit less frustrating.
In this post, I have compiled a list of some of the best free text editors for designers and coders which will fulfill your needs. These softwares were designed specifically for coder’s needs. I know the preference of operating system varies among us techy people, so I tried to collect a few for each operating system: Windows, Mac, and Linux. So enjoy the post, if you use any of the ones below, or have had experience with any of the ones below please comment and let us know of your experiences, so others can learn from them as well.
Text Wrangler is by far the better multi-purpose text editor that I saw for Mac. I personally use Text Wrangler as well. Text Wrangler is compatible with some of the most useful plugins orignally made for BBEdit which extends the built-in features. Text Wrangler has a built-in FTP conrol. It can be used as both a programmer-friendly text editor, and a Unix/Server Admin Text editor. One of the cooler functions about text wrangler is its function browser. You can quickly see which function you are working with.
NOTEPAD++ is the best FREE Text Editor for Windows. I use it on my Toshiba, and I can personally say that this is my choice for windows. It has an auto-completion feature (for most supported languages) which guesses what you are trying to write so it will close your div tag for you you just have to type the first few words. It also has a tabbed interface which is great for working with multiple files without cluttering your task bar. It has a strong find-and-replace feature, code folding, and much more. This can really save your time windows users.
jEdit is a text editor written in java specially for programmers. The best part about jEdit is that it works with all three operating system. jEdit was designed to combine the best features of the three operating systems. The features include, color coding, support for unicode, XML Support, scriping support, and advanced css support. You can download tons of plugins from their website to expand on the built-in features.
Komodo Edit is a free text editor by ActiveState. Komodo Edit is known to be one of the better XML editors. It supports all operating systems, windows, mac, and linux. You can get extensions to add other languages and other features. It has some of the similar features as the award winning Komodo IDE.
Emacs is a cross-platform text editor which is targetted toward programmers. Emacs offer tons of features such as project planner, debugger, xml support, scripting support, advanced css support, built in validator, color coded xhtml editing, and more. It also has a file comparison feature which compares the two files and highlights the difference (very useful when you make a slight undocumented change which you don’t remember).
Gedit is the official text editor of the GNOME desktop. Compared to Windows built-in text editor (Notepad), Gedit has more features geared towards usage for programming and mark-up. It has syntax highlighting, tabbed interface for editing multiple files, and spell-checking feature.
Smultron is an easy-to-use text editor due to its very simple interface. It has the basic features you would expect from a text editor such as syntax highlighting/coloring. It also has some other helpful features such as the ability to split which allows you to view files side-by-side, and a code snipplet library to allow you to store your most used code blocks. The best part about this plugin is that it helps you focus by having a full-screen mode. Its for Slackers like me.
Bluefish Editor is an open source text editor geared towards programmers and web designers. It’s famous for its speedy function, and a lightweight text editor that can open 500+ documents with ease. It has a built-in function reference browser for PHP, Python, CSS, and HTML just so you can quickly learn about particular codes.
Caditor is a free portable text editor written that puts speed and performance at the forefront of its design. It has common features which any developer-oriented text editors would have such as line numbering, ftp feature, and a compiler feature.
Vim stands for ‘vi improved’ meaning that it is an improved version of the earlier version called vi editor. Vim can run in all three major platforms: Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. It is a bit complex text editor because it offer so many features.
Programmer’s Notepad is a light weight Notepad replacement that is aimed at programmers. Feature include syntax highlighting of a large number of programming languages including Python, Ruby, HTML, C, C++ and Java, docking tool window, folding, and more.
Total Edit is a free text editor that does everything what a normal text editor should do. Some of the features that make it stand apart from other text editors are backup and version comparison, in which you can compare the currently edited file with its previous version from within TotalEdit. It has a built-in spell checker and its in a fully portable mode – you can run it off a USB Flash Drive.
13. PsPad (Windows)
PsPad is a free text editor that comes with a built-in FTP-Client. It is open to all windows users. It highlights the matching closing and starting tag when you place your cursor at the middle of a tag. Just so you make sure you close all your divs and other tags.
14. Nvu (Macintosh)
Nvu is a good free WYSIWYG editor / text edit. It has a site manager that allows you to review the sites that you’re building. Some Features are: XML support, advanced CSS support, full site management, built-in validator, and color coded XHTML editing.
NoteTab Light is a free Notepad replacement which comes with a built-in FTP client. It works with all three major operating systems. It has a tabbed interface which allows you to work on multiple files quickly. It also have a roburst search interface which allows you to find and replace very easily.
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