A text editor is program that allows you to open, view, and edit plain text files. Unlike word processors, text editors do not add formatting to text, instead focusing on editing functions for plain text.
Text editors are used by programmers and developers for manipulating plain text source code, editing configuration files or documentation, or viewing error logs. Text editors are scaled-down from the full functionality of an integrated development environment (IDE), but may have plugins that blur the lines between the two. Text editors are ideally fast and lightweight for editing and manipulating a small number of text files at a time, and they provide features like regular expression search and replace, syntax highlighting, autocompletion, and multiple tabs or window panes. Developers who do not work in a system where a full-fledged IDE is needed, or where an IDE is too restricting, will often find that a text editor gives them more flexibility and freedom to code outside of standardized methods of development. Text editors often integrate with source code management, web frameworks, and build automation tools through plugins.
Here are five of the most popular text editors for programing
Atom is a free and open source text editor that’s developed by GitHub. Based on Electron (CoffeeScript, JS, Less, HTML), it’s a desktop application that’s built using web technologies. Often being called the text editor of 21st century, it’s a modern text editor that’s hackable to the core. The major features of Atom are cross-platform editing, built-in package manager, file system browser, multiple pane support, find and replace function, and smart autocompletion. You can select from 1000s of open source packages and add new features to Atom. It’s also customizable to suit your needs and style.
Some of the features of Brackets include Inline Editors, which allow you zero-in on specific code rather than jumping between file tabs, and Live Preview, which shows you exactly what your code and changes will look like in a browser.
3. Sublime Text
Sublime Text is a fast and lightweight cross-platform code editor packed with features and plugins that developers love.
With its “Goto Anything” keyboard shortcut, you can easily jump to any symbol or line of code within your program. The Multiple Selections option allows you to make several changes at one time rather than having to go correct each line of code individually. Built with a powerful Python API, Sublime Text welcomes several types of plugins and is completely customizable.
Vim is a greatly improved version of the good old UNIX editor Vi. Many new features have been added: multi-level undo, syntax highlighting, command line history, on-line help, spell checking, filename completion, block operations, script language, etc. There is also a Graphical User Interface (GUI) available. Still, Vi compatibility is maintained, those who have Vi “in the fingers” will feel at home.
This editor is very useful for editing programs and other plain text files. All commands are given with normal keyboard characters, so those who can type with ten fingers can work very fast. Additionally, function keys can be mapped to commands by the user, and the mouse can be used.
Vim runs under MS-Windows (NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10), Macintosh, VMS and almost all flavours of UNIX. Porting to other systems should not be very difficult. Older versions of Vim run on MS-DOS, MS-Windows 95/98/Me, Amiga DOS, Atari MiNT, BeOS, RISC OS and OS/2. These are no longer maintained.
nano is a user-friendly text editor that’s widely used on Unix-like operating systems. nano, first released in June, 2000, emulates the Pico text editor and comes loaded with additional functionality. It runs in a familiar command line interface. If you’re habitual of spending days and nights playing with configuration files in Terminal, nano will fulfill your needs. Its major highlights include autoconf support, case sensitive search function, auto indentation, interactive search and replacement, tab completion, soft text wrapping, etc. It’s written in C programming language.