I’m a web designer/programmer so I spend a good portion of a day in a code editor (at least if it’s a good day). I’m pretty particular about what code editor I use and what features it needs so I’m on a hunt for a great code editor for Windows. My plan is to use a code editor for at least 2 weeks to really get a handle on exactly how it works and to get as familiar as possible with all of the shortcuts.
So lets start by figuring out exactly what I’m looking for. I’m not going to list the normal things like syntax highlighting that are just required to even get into my list for testing.
- Code Completion of Some Fashion: I need code completion of some fashion. Whether that’s adding the end tag automagically upon completion of the beginning tag or if it’s hinting at the next tag to close. I’m not picky really on which way it works. Extra point for tab style tag and block code completion.
- Project Browser: The code editor needs to have a project browser (Sorry VI) even if it’s not included out of the box there needs to be a plugin to make it work.
- Dark Theme: It’s a personal preference but I need a darker theme to look at all day. My eyes hurt if I get stuck looking at something super white all day. Light greys or browns all work just can’t be white. And you need to make it easy to switch the theme with some template of some fashion. I’m not opposed to having to build a template if none exists already but it better be easy to do.
- Lite Weight: I don’t want to wait forever to open a file. I willing to wait on the first cold start of the day but after that you better be quick.
- Good Looking: If I have to look at and work with you all day you better be pretty, well pretty enough. I’ve seen a few editors that just look really freaking ugly. I’ll admit I’m a bit vain and I require a UI that looks good and works.
Nice to Have
- Snippet Management and Completion: I end up working across 3 different OS’s so while I like snippets built-in I find they’re never on the system I need them on. I’d like it but it’s not a deal breaker.
- No Project File: I’d love not to have a .whatever project file added to projects but if the rest of the application rocks then I’ll deal with adding it to my .gitignore file.
- Editing of Live Files: My workflow has me building all my sites locally and doing all my testing for browsers there. I don’t need to edit live files on a server often so I don’t have much call for publish on save but if you have it I’ll give you a point.
- Cross-platform: I end of doing a bit of work on Windows, Mac, and Linux so I’d love something I can learn and use across all platforms as my main development platform.
- Spell Checking: I write all my blog posts in a text editor so spell checking would be great but not a need. I use After the Deadline on by blog before posts go out and will continue to do so even if the editor has spell checking.
So I’ve got some contenders already. Some I’ve used and some I’m planning to try.
- Dreamweaver: I get it with CS4 Design Premium so I figure I’ll go over why I’m not using it (yeah that was a spoiler). Read Review
- Komodo Edit: Not the paid IDE but the free Komodo Edit. It appeals because it’s cross-platform and free is a good price. Read Review
- gedit: It’s the right price and on my two main platforms for development (Windows, Linux) so it’s in.
- InType: Heard lots about how it’s like Textmate for Windows. Textmate is the cat’s ass according to some programmers I know so I figured I’d be up for trying it. Read Review
- E Text Editor: Another Textmate for Windows I hear. I actually tried it a few months back and for some reason that escapes me right now I have no idea why I’m not using it still. So if I can get it running again on the trial I’ll review it.
- Notepad++: It’s a staple of any programmers “I’ve tried it” stable so now I’ll try to be its lover for a bit.
- PSPad: I’ve been told that real programmers on Windows are using Notepadd++ or PSPad so it’s in.
- Sublime: Suggested below and reviewed.
Am I missing something in my list? Is there a code editor that you just love and hasn’t cropped up on my radar? Let me know. I don’t promise to use it but I promise to at least visit the site and see if it could be a contender.