Code editors
  1. Code editors intro
  2. Code editors basics
  3. Code editors features
  4. Code editors find
  5. Code editor programs
  6. Text format editors
  7. Command line tools
  8. Code editors IDE's
  9. Code editors list
  10. Code editors summary

Finding a good code editor

When searching for a code editor, you are presented with so many choices, but which one works best for you? You need to figure out what features you really need, what extra features you might want, and what features you can go without.

This tutorial focuses on:

No absolutely best code editor

If someone asks you "What is the best code editor?" Look them right in the eyes for 5 seconds and don't say anything until silence fills the room and music plays in the background. Well, this question doesn't have to be that dramatic :)

The truth is there is no absolutely best code editor. It depends on your needs/preferences and can also depend on what language you are using since some code editors are designed to be used for one particular language.

What is it that you need?

Make a list of the features that you need when searching for a code editor. Consider what would speed up the development process (without sacrificing the quality of your work), what would make a code editor easier to use. Things like syntax highlighting, code completion, and tabs.

You might find a code editor that works for you but you are just not comfortable with it for some reason such as you don't like the way it functions or looks. Once you find what you're looking for, download it, work with it a little, make sure that it's comfortable for you to use it.

What about extra features?

Besides the features you need, are there some extras you would like to have? Things that are not essential for a code editor but would be cool if they were a part of it. Things like toolbar customization, ability to change shortcut keys, or ability to minimize the code editor window to the system tray.

Make a list of 'wants' which you will reference when you are searching for a code editor. If a code editor you really like doesn't have these things, it's ok. After all, they're not things you need, but things you want, remember?

What are you willing to sacrifice?

You will probably not find a code editor that has 100% of the features you need, so you need to figure out which features are the most important. Take the list of things you need and split it into two groups - things you really need and things you need, but are not that important.

Decide carefully what you really need and what you are willing to sacrifice.

Plugins

A plugin is a component that increases the functionality of a program. With some code editors, you can install plugins that will enhance your coding experience. For example, the notepad++ code editor has an FTP plugin that can be used to integrate FTP functionality right into it.

Before deciding that a certain code editor is not for you because it lacks some feature(s), check to see if it has plugins available for it. Specifically, if it has a plugin that provides the extra functionality that you need.

Find it!

Once you're ready, go out there and find your code editor!

Find a code editor through search engines or try one of the resources below:

Our own list of code editors
list of code editors at the DMOZ directory

Free code editors

There are plenty of free great code editors. You can find some on our Code editor programs page.

Paid code editors

Some paid code editors are free for a trial period and then you have to pay to continue using them, while others you have to pay for right away.

One of the most well known paid code editors is Adobe's Dreamweaver.

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