There isn’t a day that goes by in this industry without the long suffering IT technician reaching for a text editor of some description to edit a config file, fix a bit of HTML or read through a ReadMe file or some other form of text document. They exist on every platform, many on multiple platforms, they range in complexity from the simplest click & type such as Notepad on Windows, to the powerful but requiring magic incantations to use, such as VI on Linux/Unix.
Like many other techs, I use a variety of text editors depending on job requirements and the platform I’m currently working on.
When on Windows I naturally use Notepad quite often and I doubt there’s a PC user on the planet that hasn’t used it at some time. It does basic text editing adequately and sits on every Windows machine. For a quick edit job on a plain text file, it’s fine.
[15 Essential Books]
When I’m working on a Linux server I will always use VI. It is not quite as difficult to use as it may at first seem and you can usually get by with just a handful of commands. On the command line, nothing beats it (unless you’re an Emacs fan). For those who like to be on the cutting edge there is also VIM – the VI with extra stuff.
On a Linux desktop I usually go for Gedit for basic text editing. Gedit is the default editor for GNOME desktops and so in that way is basically the Linux/GNOME equivalent of Notepad on Windows.
For more complex projects, particularly code editing of various types, my editor of choice is Bluefish which is great for developers and is available for free on just about every platform these days including Windows, Linux, Mac, Solaris and more. It has built-in support for many different languages and even quick generation of code for common functions/statements such as ‘Select All with Left Join’.
Back on Windows machines, a great alternative to Notepad is Notepad++. It is very popular and with good reason – it has a slick GUI, supports PCRE, WYSIWYG printing, macro recording/playback, tabbed interface and much more. Also on Windows, for a modest fee you can have (and many do have) TextPad which offers a free trial version so you can at least see if it suits your requirements before forking out any cash.
Most of the above editors are available free or at least included with the OS but if you’re ever in search of yet another editor, free or paid, there’s certainly no shortage to choose from!
What are your favorite text editors these days?