The 15 Most Popular Text Editors for Developers

Mar 27 2009 by Jacob Gube | 101 Comments

For many developers, a trusty text editor is all you need for even the most complex web applications. Whether you’re creating a site from scratch, editing a CSS file, or messing around with configuration files on the server – a good, solid text editor will do the trick just fine. Last week, over 600 people voted for the text editor that they felt was the best from the large set of options out in the market.

In this article, you’ll find fifteen of the most ubiquitous text editors for development as voted by you.

15. SciTE

SciTE - screen shot.SciTE download page

SciTE, an open source text editor for Windows and Linux, was originally developed to demonstrate the power of Scintilla. It has since grown into a fully-featured text editor for developers. You can extend the default SciTE installation with user-generated configuration files like the SciTE command-line launcher (a simple Windows command-line tool for opening files in SciTE).

14. EditPlus

EditPlus - screen shot.EditPlus download page

EditPlus is a Windows text editor for HTML and programming. It has syntax highlighting for HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript (among others), a built-in web browser (which they call Seamless Web Browser) for previewing your work and browsing the web, and auto-completion. EditPlus isn’t free, and it costs thirty-five buckaroos for a 1-user license.

13. E – TextEditor

E - TextEditor - screen shot.E – TextEditor download page

E – TextEditor, or just called E, is TextMate for Windows. It has a host of useful features that developers will appreciate such as a personal revision control system to ease the burden of managing multiple versions of a file, ultimate customization possibilities, and a collection of automated tasks to save you time and improve your productivity. Check out the Keyboard Shortcuts Cheatsheet to make writing with E more efficient.

12. GNU Emacs

GNU Emacs - screen shot.GNU Emacs download page

GNU Emacs is an open source, cross-platform (available for various distros of Linux, Mac OS X, and even Windows) text editor. Emacs is highly extensible and customizable to your particular needs and has all of the things you’d expect from a developer’s source code editor such as syntax highlighting, ability to edit plenty of file types, and the ability to broaden its features with extensions such as debuggers and  note managers/organizers.

11. gedit

gedit - screen shot.gedit download page

gedit is the official open source text editor for GNOME (a desktop GUI for Linux-based and Unix-based computers). It has a plethora of options and features that coders will love, including syntax highlighting for many languages, full support for UTF-8 text, remote-file editing, and file backups. It also has a very accommodating plugin system that permits you to extend gedit.

10. TextPad

TextPad - screen shot.TextPad download page

TextPad is a general purpose text editor for Windows-based systems. It has plenty of features like a spell checker for 10 languages, a Warm Start feature which lets you start the program from where you left off when you last opened it, and a keystroke macro recorder for automating keystrokes (which can save you a ton of time from typing frequently-used code), and lots more.

9. UltraEdit

UltraEdit - screen shot.UltraEdit download page

UltraEdit is a popular and powerful Windows-based text editor for developers and programmers. It has support for languages like PHP, JavaScript, Perl, C/C++, has built-in file management features, and has a notable and robust search-and-replace feature. Check out their feature map to see a gallery-style presentation of UltraEdit’s features.

8. Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver - screen shot.Dreamweaver download page

Dreamweaver is a fully-featured IDE for web designers and developers created by Adobe. Its built-in Code View is excellent for developers: it has syntax-highlighting, a very smart code-hinting/auto-completion feature, and on-the-fly syntax validation.

7. Komodo Edit / Komodo IDE

Komodo Edit - screen shot.Komodo Edit download page

Komodo Edit is an open source, cross-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac) editor for serverside languages that comes with Komodo IDE (but you can download it separately). Developers will have a great set of features in store for them in Komodo Edit, including code folding for tucking away lines of code you’re not currently working on, on-the-fly syntax checking, and the ability to extend it with various plugins.

6. Aptana

Aptana - screen shot.Aptana download page

Aptana is a free, complete web development IDE that’s available as a standalone application or as an Eclipse plugin. It has built-in support for popular libraries like jQuery, MooTools, and Prototype to make client-side web development easier for you.

5. PSPad

PSPad - screen shot.PSPad download page

PSPad is a freeware programmer’s editor for MS Windows. It has the ability to save sessions so that you can return to your previous set-up after you close the program, a built-in FTP client, and a text difference feature so that you can compare differences between several files.

4. Vim

Vim - screen shot.Vim download page

Vim is an advanced text editor for Linux, Windows, and the Mac OS. It is very extensible and was designed with the principle of making text editing as efficient as possible. Many consider it to be a programmer’s text editor, and even an IDE. Vim is charityware, meaning that donations to the project go to charities.

3. Coda

Coda - screen shot.Coda download page

Coda is a web development environment for the Mac OS. It’s powerful and elegant text editor has all the features you’d expect from an application made for developers: syntax highlighting, line numbers, and auto-completion. It also has the ability for live collaboration (based on the Subetha Engine) and a Clips feature which is a floating window that stores frequently used snippets automatically.

2. TextMate

TextMate - screen shot.TextMate download page

TextMate is a powerful Mac OS editor for programmers and designers. It allows you to theme the interface to your preference, auto completes character pairs like parenthesis and brackets, and allows you to run shell commands from within a document.

1. Notepad++

Notepad++ - screen shot.Notepad++ download page

Garnering close to a quarter of the total votes, Notepad++ stands to be the most popular text editor for developers. Notepad++ is a free source code editor for Windows released under the GPL license. Its features are too many to mention, but among the notable ones are: macro-recording and playback for repetitive keystrokes, a powerful regular expression search-and-replace, and support for many programming languages.

A Poll


Related content

101 Comments

Robert Banh

March 27th, 2009

Notepad++ is the best! Tabs, syntax highlights, and quicktext are all built-in lifesavers.

Umut Muhaddisoglu

March 27th, 2009

Although never tried most of them, my favorite is Notepad++. It runs fast, highlights and these are all that matters.

myDevWares

March 27th, 2009

I can’t believe you put Notepad ++ as the second LAST item!?

rami

March 27th, 2009

Geany is the best, because he is very nice and VERY fast.

kodisha

March 27th, 2009

No editor can come even close to the textMate when it comes to work comfort.

Jim Gaudet

March 27th, 2009

Oh yes, Notepad++ had to be the winner!

VitaminCM

March 27th, 2009

I just switched over to a Mac and mostly love it. I wish I could get Notepad ++ for Mac though. Coda is good, I just love the way ++ works.

Tyk

March 27th, 2009

There’s also Geany and Bluefish, both wonderful text editors for Gnome. I personally use Geany because it’s lightning fast and versatile, but Bluefish is more complete and robust.

Ruan Carlos Eduardo Kovalczyk

March 27th, 2009

Hello

I develope in Eclipse. It is a very good IDE

Peter

March 27th, 2009

Coda is an absolute lifesaver for me – although I keep hearing people really talk up TextMate.
Can anybody whose used both give their preference?

Dan

March 27th, 2009

Excellent round-up. I am always looking for, and trying, new text editors. I have used almost all the editors on this list at one point or another. One that I was surprised was not on this list, was Crimson Editor. It is not in development anymore, but is still a pretty solid editor, with macro support.

I am currently transitioning from Dreamweaver to Aptana, and really like it.

Thanks to all the Six Revisions visitors who participated to make this great list.

Mark O'Grady

March 27th, 2009

I’ve seen a few of these polls lately and although im a fan of ultra edit how is Visual Studio missed out. It is by far one of the best editors on the market. It is way more advanced and initutive than most of the editors above. Is this because people dislike microsoft. If you haven’t tried it download Web Developer Express I’ts free and may improve your development no end.

FlLottoNumbers

March 27th, 2009

Very good collection, thanks for the post.

basil

March 27th, 2009

what about eclipse? http://www.zend.com/PDT

Desiztech

March 27th, 2009

I love text editors that are easy to use. Smultron for me. Thanks for the share

taylan

March 27th, 2009

My favorite is pspad. Its free, open source and very useful.

Keith Dsouza

March 27th, 2009

Wow I am surprised you skipped Eclipse from this list

JManGt

March 27th, 2009

I like my editor to do what I want it to do, and not eat 1Gb or Ram in the process. Emacs FTW!!! plus you can use it via ssh directly to your remote server.

kidata

March 27th, 2009

Aptana is really awesome! Loving it!

Matt

March 27th, 2009

SubEthaEdit!!!

Paulius

March 27th, 2009

I prefer NetBeans for development. It has a plenty of features and is easier configurable than Eclipse, which is a great IDE as well.

Netbeans is not only for Java, but there are separate versions for the most popular languages: Java, Ruby, PHP, C/C++

carlos

March 27th, 2009

being a non-developer who has to occasionally dabble in code I find Dreamweaver to be the easiest, the auto complete/code hints are a lifesaver…

zela

March 27th, 2009

Strange reviews of editors. Most of them have features, that described for just one, for example FTP access or auto complete character pairs. All in all difference of concrete editor from others didn’t discovered.

Craig Huffstetler

March 27th, 2009

I’m glad gedit and vim are listed!

Cheers,

Craig

demogar

March 27th, 2009

E all the way :)

Alexey

March 27th, 2009

Vim. Just because it’s Vim.

jack

March 27th, 2009

I’m “cool enough” to be a mac user and rockin’ Panic’s Coda. I use Dreamweaver at work though, turn off the silly preview stuff, work straight off of firefox and it’s dev tools and it’s a nice editor.

cancel bubble

March 27th, 2009

Does anyone still use BBEdit? I used to use it back in the day, the built-in FTP was the bomb!

twe4ked

March 27th, 2009

NP++ for PC and Text Mate for mac osx, has most, if not all of the standard features found in ++.

Bonnie

March 27th, 2009

As a Mac person I would say BBEdit, which I don’t see on your list, but that’s probably because it’s not made for PC. It’s awesome with tons of features, compliance checking and shortcut code pastes.

Jim

March 27th, 2009

I have been using UltraEdit since 2001 it is pretty killer. Tried a bunch of others – Eclipse was great with the CFEclipse plugins but kind of bloated I thought. Dreamweaver I just despise. The new UltraEdit Studio is really killer I downloaded the trial version… currently have lifetime upgrades for just regular UltraEdit… it is my workhorse. Macros, snippets, templates, sybtax hilite just about whatever you want it has – mine has UltraCompare built into it for file compare. Anyway, can’t say enough good things about it. Notepad ++ comes prolly a close 2nd… also JEdit was not on the list (did not use that much tho).

Thx for posting this list.
– Jim
Jax, FL

Two Socks

March 28th, 2009

howdy hoe,

Nice list, certainly a couple there I need to try as everyone is singing its praise *cough* textmate *cough*

BTW you have a typo on the dreamweaver review it says “on-they-fly” should be “on-THE-fly” ;)

Simmessa

March 28th, 2009

I Love Notepad2, very simple, not quite powerful as others on this list, try it:

http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html

All the Best!

Simmessa.com

naspinski

March 28th, 2009

as always, Microsoft was left out because they are Microsoft…

Visual Web Developer Express is better than most of these and is not mentioned… even though it is 100% free.
http://www.microsoft.com/express/vwd/

Schoschie

March 28th, 2009

BBEdit and TextWrangler (free, “light” version of BBEdit) are missing from this list. Both OS X only.

Though not a user of them, I second naspinski’s comment that the MS IDE (Visual somethingsomething) should be included as well.

Thirdly, XCode (for OS X) is a free (after registration with Apple Developer Connection, which is free) and very powerful IDE with an excellent editor. Missing as well.

Lastly, Eclipse and NetBeans. Don’t know exactly off the top of my head now, but Aptana, Komodo, Eclipse and NetBeans are all variants/derivatives of each other in some way, iirc.

It would be interesting for the reader to include the price with each of these apps.

Jacob Gube

March 28th, 2009

@Two Socks: Thanks for the catch, I’ve fixed it.

Cindy Sue Causey

March 28th, 2009

Popping in to thank those who first highlighted Notepad++ on that other thread last week’ish.. It fit snuggly right in with the various other software I’ve been collecting to date..

@naspinski , I, for one *as one* who travels a highly eclectic cyber swath across the Net, have never seen Visual Web Developer Express mentioned *anywhere*, well, obviously that it stood out anyway.. They might need to broaden their advertisement of it.. Will certainly check it out, possibly test drive since it’s been proffered.. Here’s hoping it is *cognitively friendly*, of course, something even high profile products have been known to lack..

Cyber hugs from Talking Rock.. :)

chris

March 28th, 2009

Top Style Pro is by far and away the best text editor out there IMHO. http://www.newsgator.com/individuals/topstyle/default.aspx

Michael

March 29th, 2009

Is this an ordered list, meaning is NP++ the winner in number of votes?

Jacob Gube

March 30th, 2009

@Michael: Yes it’s ordered, and yes, Notepad++ is the winner by votes, it garnered almost 25% of the total votes.

Ben

March 30th, 2009

Half of these are IDE’s and NOT text editors. An IDE provides many more features than a text-editor, making this list misleading.

Notepad++ is TOO SLOW.

Sometimes I need to work on large XML files (10MB-150MB). Notepad and Dreamweaver crash when opening such large files – SciTE opens them instantly :)

Jacob Gube

March 30th, 2009

@Ben: I’m aware of that, but I also published the results of the votes. Also, IDE’s do have text/source code editors in them. Then we get into the gray areas like Vim, which is, in essence a text editor, but to some, considered as an IDE. Where do you draw the line, and who gets to draw them?

Mike

March 30th, 2009

Great list Jacob.

I’m been using Dreamweaver CS4 (code-view only) and I’m very happy with it. However, once I transition to a Macbook I’d like to check out Coda or TextMate.

Ben

March 30th, 2009

Personally I think of IDEs and text-editors as separate, distinct software applications (although every IDE includes a text-editor).

I consider the “best” text-editors to have syntax highlighting, code-hinting/completion and possibly basic project management.

An IDE should provide all of that plus more. E.g. debugging tools and extras like an SSH client, database client, FTP client, etc.

Maybe it’s time for a “Best IDE for Web Developers” vote? :)

ZigBie

March 30th, 2009

Notepad++ is not creative.

Jacob Gube

March 30th, 2009

@Ben: That’s coming sometime in the very near future, I’ve wanted to do an IDE vote for a while, but wanted to start with text/source code editors. I think Komodo, Dreamweaver, Aptana, and Coda all fall under IDE’s but these are the items that got the biggest number of votes and I can’t discredit them. You’re right though.

What IDE do you use? I tried Aptana for a while, then switched back to Dreamweaver… (CS4 is amazing – though if you don’t have a fast machine, it could be a little bit sluggish).

macobex

March 30th, 2009

as what i’ve expected, notepad++ will be on the 1st place. Nice list.

rizlox

March 31st, 2009

Notepad++ just miss diff-compare that’s very important!

lexx

March 31st, 2009

On windows, intype will crush them all.

br1

March 31st, 2009

yeah! notepad++ ftw ^_^

Rob S

March 31st, 2009

No BBEdit?!

vimfanboy

March 31st, 2009

“macro-recording and playback for repetitive keystrokes, a powerful regular expression search-and-replace”

Vim has done this for decades.

henry

March 31st, 2009

i recommend trying http://intpe.info alpha stage but VERY promising!

Sable

April 1st, 2009

Love Notepad++ <3.

Allan

April 1st, 2009

phpDesigner is definitely my favorite but out of this list I would have to say UltraEdit && VIM.

Callum Chapman

April 2nd, 2009

Code to me is a pain in the backside whatever program I use! I like dreamweaver though ;)

jingjang

April 2nd, 2009

just another NotePad++ fan.
for almost task, NotePad++ is the best
i wish npp++ support native for linux and mac os

Nick

April 2nd, 2009

Everyone complaining that their personal favourite isn’t on the list needs to understand that this post is the result of a poll. It’s not the author’s subjective view of what is and isn’t good. So you’re favourite text-editor isn’t as popular as it should be? Get over it, that’s not the author’s fault. I’m specifically thinking of those people who think MS VWD was deliberately excluded somehow. No, it wasn’t, it just didn’t poll high enough to be on the list.

Relax people!

Also, Notepad++ all the way :)

Jacob Gube

April 3rd, 2009

@Nick: You actually read my article?! That’s a new one for me… :D

Dan

April 3rd, 2009

@basil: Aptana is Eclipse for web developers. It is based on the Eclipse platform.

Damian Herrington

April 3rd, 2009

Great article but it has to be TextWrangler for me. An excellent text editor and free.

monle

April 12th, 2009

I like dreamweaver or komodo.

Ben

April 17th, 2009

Don’t forget Kate, the advanced text editor in KDE; easy to use, tons of features, and open source.

Ozh

April 18th, 2009

I concur. A couple years ago I ran a text editor “deathmatch” with a nightmare file to test syntax highlighting and came to the same conclusion: Notepad++ > *

Daniel

April 24th, 2009

PSPad forevar!!!!!!!!
I had never used notepad+++ but I would like try use it.
TY!

anthony

April 28th, 2009

what about html kit?

besworks

May 13th, 2009

http://liquidninja.com/metapad/ is another decent one for Windows. I usually use gedit but if I am stuck working on a windoze box I use metapad. I just keep it on my flash drive.

Sean O

June 5th, 2009

Used to use Notepad++ a few years back, but *PSPad* is the new king of lightweight editors. Been using and enjoying HippoEdit lately as well – sometimes quirky, but quite powerful, and should be added to the list to make it 16.

– SEAN O

Avery

July 16th, 2009

Love Notepad++ <3.

Sahus Pilwal

July 30th, 2009

I’ve been using NOTEPAD ++ on windows for around six months and feel really used to it now! I’ve just moved over to using a mac with running vmware fusion for windows compatibility! I’m trying to migrate the use of as many apps as possible over to mac and was really disappointed when I found out NOTEPAD ++ is solely for Windows environment. So I have two choices from my research. TextMate or Coda! I like the idea of Coda sub versioning & collaboration but not sure which one to go for!? Anyone got any advice on this? Which one should I choose!?

Chris

February 4th, 2010

I vote for Visual Studio! Free. Intellisense. My two favorite words.

passingby

February 17th, 2010

desperately want to move away from DW. i has been using DW for more than 10 years. i think it offer the best code-hinting and auto-completion feature in market.

its build-in ftp isn’t that bad, but i can’t say that it good! template and library feature are fantastic for those smaller project and it doesn’t request programing.

i just hate the way adobe doing business!
and cs-suit is over price, heavy, slow and problematic installation. adobe (auto)update is outrage.
wish macromedia was still around!

all in all i really want to move away from them, but having problem finding any software that has code-hinting/auto-completion feature as good as DW!

i will have to stick with DW for now, but if any one know something offer code-hinting/auto-completion feature as good as DW, please let me know.

Dave Jones

March 5th, 2010

Nice to see Vim and Emacs still going after all these years. It reminds me of the very first folding code editor I used. It was called Origami. Anyone remember it?

I would add NetBeans to this list. Just tried it recently and I’m really impressed even though I’ve never been a fan of Java.

I use Coda a lot and TextMate, though lately I’ve been giving Espresso a go and I’m liking it too. Notepad++ is the best of the Windows bunch, but it lacks the finesse of the Cocoa apps.

kral oyun

March 27th, 2010

Coda is an absolute lifesaver for me – although I keep hearing people really talk up TextMate.
Can anybody whose used both give their preference?

Micah

June 4th, 2010

Gedit is pretty fantastic. It has so much more functionality than people realize as you need to enable the plugins you want. You have a file browser with remote file support, class/function browsers, terminal, code snipppets with tab triggers, auto completing brackets (like in textmate), bookmarks, run command-line tools on documents, and plenty more. Best part is that it’s very stable, can open HUGE documents, and is very fast.

Deko Web

August 24th, 2010

Thanks for sharing, but i like notepad+

StocksDoc

September 4th, 2010

I have used ALL of the editors listed here for Windows and Mac.
I have found CODA to be by far the best.
TextMate and Notepad++ are very good ones, but since I develop code for websites as well … the built-in ftp service for Coda makes life a breeze.
PLUS, Coda has all the features of the other ones as well . . PLUS code-completion AND code-suggestions and parameter choices as you are typing.
There is nothing missing from Coda.
If you’re not worrying about money (because it’s worth it in the long run) .. CODA is the best for Mac and Notepad++ is the best for Windows (with UltraEdit a close second)
Good Luck All !!!!

HAVRET

September 23rd, 2010

If you want i build a program for programmation (php, html and javascript).
You can test here: http://www.page-3dit.tk

-> Under construction and diponible on french for the moment…

Espreson

September 23rd, 2010

Notepad++ is the best!

Adam

October 7th, 2010

What, no Programmers Notepad??

Mazznoer

October 12th, 2010

I love Notepad++

John Ramirez

November 1st, 2010

Notepad ++is by far the best for me, very fast and intuitive. flexible on all programming languages.

mawakana onike

December 30th, 2010

The number of Notepad++ users is literally exploding and for good reasons. Probably THE most popular text editor in the world right now by a huge margin.

Lau Boyd

January 20th, 2011

Notepad++ is the best :)

silver_light

February 5th, 2011

buddy there is a lot of knowledge, experience all n all
like it

silver_light

February 5th, 2011

i like dreamweaver

Faraj Farook

February 9th, 2011

ITZ ++.. its cool light weighted.. n damn helpful. a better option to get rid of MS notepad. Very useful in minor edits and quick alterings.

Sverri

March 16th, 2011

gEdit, e-TextEditor or even SciTE are all fine.

A lot of editors try to do too much, IMO.

Siegfried

March 19th, 2011

my favorite two are ultraedit and editplus, both very good

BRent

April 6th, 2011

Why aint php designer 7 on this list? It really puts most of these editors to shame when it comes the Interface and features its boss. I guess you get what you pay for:)

Dan

April 11th, 2011

Coda, hands down. It is by far the best way I’ve found to manage a site locally, live, and in Subversion all in one program.

Dave

June 21st, 2011

Sorry, but this poll is a ‘which test editor do you use’ not a ‘which text editor is the best’.

Obviously Notepad++ is going to place highest, as it is open source so more people have access to it. Others, such as Coda and Ultraedit, require a license, so will immediately get fewer votes as fewer people use it.

André

June 28th, 2011

I would definitely go for TextMate / E -text editor. Anyone saying Syntax high lighting and simplicity is all you need hasn’t worked for long or with a proper editor. There’s much more to it than that. Coda seems nice of course, haven’t tried though. Cheers

majoro

August 30th, 2011

using Notepad++ for Windows and Geany for Linux

Jude

November 4th, 2011

I am fond of using only msql in cpanel.

StocksDoc

November 16th, 2011

Update to my previous comment on September 4th, 2010 . . .
UltraEdit now has a MAC OS version.
IT is now my favorite for both Mac and Windows computers.
AND, UltraEdit has been upgraded all around . . .
it does everything a programmer would want …
and more you never realized you needed!

M H

November 20th, 2011

Emeditor good for larg text file.

Edi

December 3rd, 2013

PilotEditLite is also good for large text files or TheGun or GigaEdit or JuJuEdit.

arnold jose

March 15th, 2014

I use notepad++ is good, Im trying sublime just for fun.
I miss the lack of persistant undo function and the tree undo function that vim and E have. With that two fuctions they will be invincible, I just cant wait, I have to learn vim or e text I need these features.

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