To develop a Firefox extension, you need certain tools. One of these essential tools is a text editor. You need something that should feel intuitive, be powerful, adaptable, load quickly, and be a pleasure to use. Which programs are the most suitable for developing web applications with?
It’s a fine line to walk. Text editors are a programmer’s bread and butter, and they need to have everything you want, and not anything you don’t need. If an editor is lacking features, then it is considered not complete, and if it has too many features, people call them bloated. People are so damn picky. This is why I’ve done the leg work for you and definitively decided the best damned text editors for Windows. Why Windows? My answer is “because, that’s why.”
If you have a Mac, then buy TextMate. If you have Linux, then use Emacs or vi, because you know you’re special, and that’s what you should use. Windows users have a little more choice in the matter, so let’s dive in.
First things first: just how do I consider the programs to be “best,” or “bloated?” Excellent question. I’ll tell you: I don’t want them to be my FTP program, or Microsoft Word replacement, or anything a “text editor” is not supposed to be. WYSIWYG is an acronym for “Well, You See, I Want Your Genitals.” I hate generators that add more bloated code than necessary.
“But wait,” you cry. “I like my HTML editor to have WYSIWYG and FTP capabilities, and I like to have it point out to me all of my grammatical mistakes.” Well, then this article will be an infuriating read for you, then, won’t it?
The #1 Best Damned Text Editor: Intype
This program is fucking solid. It is in the alpha stage, so it’s a little experimental (at least compared to all of those totally solid betas, wink wink). It’s what TextMate would look like in a Windows environment with extremely little bloat and an impressive yet steadily growing list of features.
It’s got themes (black backgrounds are obviously better than white. That’s not an opinion, it’s a pure fact), tabs, search and replace, bundles, auto-complete, and word-wrap. To me, this is perfection, really. There’s no need for all of that bloaty shit, like managing full-scale projects, frames upon frames within split screen windows (hello, Dreamweaver, I’m looking at you) and it’s just so god damned pretty.
Whoa, did I just slag on Dreamweaver? Hell yes I did. I have a computer with 2 gigs of memory, and any program I use to edit cascading style sheets or hyper text markup language files that takes longer than 20 seconds to boot up sucks with a capital S. I don’t care that it’s the industry standard or that your nerdy cousin Peter taught you how to use it. It sucks and it is too huge. I’m not managing a global corporation’s infrastructure, for Christ’s sake, I’m editing where I want a text snippet to appear or how a box should line up. I want in and out, bada bang, bada boom. Intype is money for that type of shit. It’s like a notepad that Jesus would approve of. Next.
The #2 Best Damned Text Editor: E-text editor
E-text editor, while having a dreadfully generic name that could get easily lost in a Google sea of text editors, is another lovely TextMate-ish clone for windows. The makers have ensured that TextMate bundles are compatible with E-text editor, and it is another slick package that is similar to Intype, but has a little more features. On my machine, which is a dinosaurish Athlon 1900, this program takes longer than Intype to boot up. Does that mean it sucks? Quite possibly. Does my machine suck? Even more likely.
I would take an original screen shot of this program, but apparently E-text editor recognized that I installed a version of itself a long time ago and hence my 30 day trial has ended. I will have to deduct points because of that. So here is a screen shot of E-text editor from a flickr member, who from what I can tell, has allowed a share alike license to allow me to use said picture. If I read this incorrectly, please don’t sue me, okay. I had to crop it so I respect your original artistic intent, by the way.
The #3 Best Damned Text Editor: Notepad ++
Thiis is a nifty little program that has all of the features that the more expensive text editors have. Syntax highlighting, code folding, themes, auto-completion, and it’s completely modifiable. Did I mention that there’s a big lizard on the site’s home page? Well, there is. I think it adds to the program’s ability to render code properly.
The #4 Best Damned Text Editor: TextPad
TextPad was my first introduction to Windows text editing. TP was like that hooker with a heart of gold that is gentle with you during your virginal experience, guiding and instructing you throughout your first nervous encounter, and didn’t point and laugh at you when you got too excited and then ruined that Friday night in the back seat of my old 1992 Honda civic that wasn’t that big to begin with and had that funny smell in the air conditioning that never really went away. That, and it’s a text editor.
The #5 Best Damned Text Editor: Crimson Editor
Crimson Editor is a fantastic and free (as in beer) text editor, unlike the majority of the programs listed above. It is free, which is a huge plus. The home page looks like it was designed by Jerry Yang circa 1992, but don’t let that take away from all of it’s textual glory. It has syntax highlighting, it is fast as hell, and there’s zero bloat. It doesn’t have too many choices, but less is more in this case. Or, more is less; I can’t decide.
So, that’s it. I am fully aware that not all popular text editors made my coveted list. There are several well-known editors out there that are marginally close to making such an esteemed list, such as Ultra Edit, Scintilla, SciTE, Boxer Text Editor, CRiSP and Zeus. There is a metric boatload of editors listed here:
Some are great, and some are not. This is for you to decide. If you see one that did not make this list or mine and you feel it deserves a worthy mention, shout it out.