I’ve been working with the web for almost 9 years now, and I’ve encountered a spectrum of web developers and their preferred tools during that time. Therefore, it’s always interesting to ask for someone’s favorite editor.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of IDEs because, most of the time, they contain way too many things that I don’t need, they become slow to work with, and in the worst cases, you don’t have a 100% control.
Therefore, I have always liked plain editors for writing code that is completely clean without any “smart” formatting added, code adapted etc. I want tools that just help me to easily insert snippets for code I use all the time, and for closing HTML tags. It has to contain a wealth of keyboard shortcuts, that can be attached to the snippets, and it should also be extremely simple to link a piece of text and insert an image.
It depends on what platform I work on, but these are my favorite editors (of which I strongly recommend all of them):
On a PC
I’ve used HomeSite since 1998 and most of the time I have been very content with it. It’s plain and simple, yet very flexible to adapt to your needs. When I started using it, it was produced by a company called Allaire, which was then acquired by Macromedia back in 2001 (practically killing off the development of a great tool).
TopStyle is an editor for CSS editing, with some nice auto-completion, collapsible style rules etc. Not as stable as HomeSite (although it has/had great potential), it was originally created by Nick Bradbury but acquired by NewsGator in 2005. Here, as well, it pretty much put the evolution of this tool to a halt.
On a Mac
My latest love, since about a year or so ago, is TextMate. It’s a simple yet extremely powerful editor, which supports a treasure chest of snippets (called bundles), which you can also tweak and adapt to your every need.
What’s your poison?
What’s your favorite editor? Which software can’t you just live without when developing a fantastic web site?