The editors I’ve been using – which one is your favorite?

The other day when I wrote about Vim and how to get started with it, I got a bit nostalgic with the editors I’ve been using over the years.

Therefore, I thought I’d list the editors I’ve been using over the years. I remember dabbling around with a few and trying to understand them, but this list is made up of editors that I’ve been using extensively:

    Allaire HomeSite
    Ah, good ol’ HomeSite. You never forget your first real editor that you used for your creations. It was later bought by MacroMedia and then, in 2009, it was retired. Its creator, Nick Bradbury, wrote a bit about that in HomeSite Discontinued. I also sometimes used TopStyle, also created by Nick, as a complement to HomeSite – and that one is actually still alive!
    Visual Studio.NET
    I was young and I needed the money.
    After my switch to Mac OS X, I quickly started using TextMate and it was my main editor for a good number of years.
    When I had used TextMate for a long time, a number of developers told me I should really get into Vim, where MacVim seemed like the most suitable alternative. I tried, really hard, with it for about 6 months; learned a lot, but eventually went back to TextMate.
    Sublime Text
    Later, along came Sublime Text and seemed to have a lot of nice features and active development, while TextMate had been pretty stale for a long time.
    MacVim (again)
    And now, as explained in my recent blog post on Vim, I’m back there again. 🙂

I also do like to dabble around with various editors, to see what I like, get another perspective on workflow and general inspiration. One thing I’m toying around with there is Atom from GitHub, and I look forward to testing it more as well.

Which editor are you using?

It would be very interesting and great if you’d like to share in the comments which editor you are using, and why you prefer it! Or with which editor you started your developer career!


  • Someone says:

    I’m using mostly Notepad++ and I’m REALLY satisfied with it.
    There’s a function-list feature, Split-screen, Add-Ons, Project-management, SVN-integration, decent IntelliSense and extensible Syntax-highlighting.

    Also: What’s wrong with Visual Studio.NET?
    It’s not directly an editor. It’s a programming environment and in my opinion very powerful.

  • Atom

    In the past I’ve used:

    Aptana Studio

    Visual Studio
    Lotus Notes Designer
    WordStar (non-document mode)

    I’ve tried VIM, but my brain just doesn’t work that way.

  • shavounet says:

    For frontend development (at a small level), I am enjoying Brackets. It is light, webish, extensible, …

    • Robert Nyman says:

      Good point, I should look into Brackets as well.

      • shavounet says:

        Honestly I would love to replace it with Firefox’s WebIDE ! I don’t know what’s the plan on this but as long as it can be extended (using add-ons) it could be as great as Brackets.

        One of the downside of Brackets is the intergration with Chrome only. Not that I want to troll 😉 but I don’t master the webtools as I do in Firefox…

  • I’m still “stuck” on TextMate 2. I just can’t let go of some of the text editing features I’m so accustomed to. I’ve given Sublime at least three tries, but I can never warm up to its text only configuration system. That, and it does not really feel native enough. Atom seemed like a nice candidate right up until I found out it’s entirely made out of HTML, CSS and JavaScript running in a Chrome browser (I mean, whaaaa…?) It also didn’t feel native enough because of this.

    Now, I know that TextMate seems almost dead in the water. Sure, they issue updates every now and then, and they’ve even entered the beta stage as of last week. But most bundles that I use (like the HTML and CSS ones) feel incredibly of out date (No syntax highlighting for the main element? Come on!) I don’t know. Maybe I’ll give Sublime a try again, for the fourth time… 😛

    • Robert Nyman says:

      Thanks for sharing! I think TextMate is just fine, but to me, it lost something over the years. I think if you can get over the hump, Sublime seems like a good fit.

      Also, with Atom being HTML etc – does that matter? And do you think you started feeling it was less native after you found that out?

      • Regarding Atom, well not really. This spring it felt really sluggish (which they have fixed since). Also the occasional broken plugin that throws up the Chrome console also gave a little bad taste in my mouth. I guess my reasoning is that there’s other techniques out there that are so much more suitable to build desktop applications with than HTML, CSS and JavaScript, but clearly others don’t agree with me. 🙂

  • I’ve been using Brackets ever since they got somewhat stable Linux support. (I’ve done a decent amount of work on CodeMirror and I am willing and able to make sacrifices to help move the web forward, so I’m a bit biased.) But, it’s the best non-IDE editor I’ve used. And every day more extensions are being written that get it closer and closer to being my perfect editor. And let’s be honest, the live preview is pretty sweet. (Primarily PHP/HTML/CSS/JavaScript use.)

    I also use Sublime Text on occasion when a particular feature is lacking in Brackets (eg, multiline regex replace).

    • Robert Nyman says:

      Cool! I like hearing good things from people about Brackets. Haven’t properly worked with CodeMirror myself to have an opinion on it.

      On missing features in Brackets: I have the notion that that team is good at listening as well, so maybe you can get that in there?

  • Juan Olvera says:

    Right now I’m using Vim because it increased my productivity a lot, I don’t see myself using another editor that doesn’t have the vim keybindings anymore.

    Before I used Sublime Text.

  • ern0 says:

    MS-DOS – MultiEdit 4.0: It was the first text editor with
    – unlimited undo
    – unlimited number and size of files
    – session restore (don’t forget, there were no multitask)
    and many more. The editor itself was written in a propietary Pascal-like language, then later versions in a propietary C-like language, source code was available in Pro version. The stuff fits in a single HD floppy (1.44 Mbyte), the install first copied the source to the HDD, then compiled it, it was amazing.

    MS-Windows – PSPad: it knows everything a developer needs. When I decided to switch to Linux desktop (also I was using Linux on console, as virtual machine: CoLinux) I made a list of Windows programs which I was using, to find Linux replacements. PSPad was the last on the list, I loved it, it was hard to stroke its name on the list.

    GNU/Linux: Geany as primary, Leafpad for smaller things, and of course vi on console (I’m too old to call it vim).

  • Martin says:

    Despite very half-hearted attempts I’ve never learned to use a hardcore editor like Vim, so my timeline goes something like
    [DOS stuff]
    Eclipse (an editor much like USS George Washington is a boat)

    I do love sublime. Coda is good looking (and has a nice plugin api) but not very performant.

  • Roger says:

    I use to use the heck outta BBEdit but it seems to have died on the vine. I don’t see anyone mention using it anymore.

    I divided ‘tween sublime and textmate.

  • Komodo IDE (or Komodo Edit) – supports multiple languages, and is great for web development. Build on top of Firefox code base – so utilizes the Firefox extension mechanism and uses a similar JS/XUL ui.

  • Joby Walker says:

    I’ve been using Sublime Text for a long time for a few reasons:

    * Extremely Fast (unless you have too many plugins doing too much)
    * Large plugin community that provides diverse functionality
    * Multiple Selection:
    * Superb session management
    * Simple projects

    • Robert Nyman says:

      Yes Multiple Selection is great. That is however, also available in Atom, Vim through a plugin and more. I think Sublime Text is great, but when it comes to performance – especially working with large files – nothing has been close to Vim in my experience.

  • Matt Pass says:

    After trying a few editors over the years I actually just stuck with plain old Notepad as it’s lightning quick to open & work with.

    After 12 years tho I’d had enough and wanted something more helpful but most editors weren’t really what I wanted so I built my own called ICEcoder.

    3 years on it’s pretty popular (well over 40,000 downloads) and continues to evolve all the time.

    Tis free, open source and built with common web languages too, try it out:

  • Over the years, I’ve been using XEmacs, then Vim, BBEdit, Notepad++, and now I’m using Eclipse and Vim depending on which type of file I have to edit.

  • Anders says:

    Sublime Text 2, since it is available on my Arch linux PC at home and my iMac att work.

    In the past I have used Textmate, Aptana, even the good old Smultron.

    I have always preferred Vim over Emacs.

    My current IDE of choice is IntelliJ IDEA with plugins (PyCharm, RubyMine, PHPStorm etc)

    • Robert Nyman says:

      Yes, Sublime Text is really good. And yes, I had Smultron installed at one time too! 🙂

      I very seldom have the need for full-fledged IDEs, so not too much to share there.

  • kimblim says:

    When I was a Windows-user I tried these:
    * Homesite
    * Dreamweaver (code view)
    * Ultra Edit 32
    * Aptana
    * Zend Studio

    And on Mac I’ve used:
    * Code
    * Textmate
    * Textwrangler
    * Sublime Text (my current choice)

  • smaug says:

    jEdit since 1999 or so.
    Works on all the major desktop OSes and has rather good plugins.

  • Nano and Brackets (

  • Valentin Gosu says:

    I’ve been using SublimeText2/3, mostly because it’s fast, and it works almost exactly the same on any platform.

    Some friends have been using QtCreator, which I must say, seems to be pretty good as a C/C++ IDE.

  • nigelb says:

    I used GEdit first when I started writing PHP, then used Komodo Edit, went back to GEdit, and then finally taught myself to use vim. It involved a lot of cussing and pain, but been happy with vim for the last 3 years 🙂

  • Chris says:

    I use the IDE Netbeans 😀 and Sublime Text 2 for little things.

  • I dont like big editors. I prefer lightweight editors.

    Now I am working with Geany. It is like editplus. Some others that I use: bluefish, brackets, nano and scite.

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