From A to Z – The Best Text Editors in 2017

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For software developers everywhere, the Text Editor is an essential tool for getting things done!

So what are the Best Text Editors in 2017? Here we look at some of the top picks… check out the full list from A to below.

 

Back in 2015, we did a little poll of developers visiting the site and the winner back in 2015 amongst most people was –

 

Sublime Text (version 2 or version 3)

 

However, since then…. these two sexy new Text Editors have definitely risen through the ranks –

 

 

Atom (the hackable text editor)

 

Microsoft’s VS Code

 

What is your favourite? Did we miss an awesome text editors you use? Feel free to let us know by leaving a comment in the bottom of the post.

 




 

Here is the complete list from A-Z… of the Best Text Editors in 2017!

 

 

Atom

 

From the creators of GitHub and relatively young newcomer… is full featured “hackable” text editor called Atom. It was released to the public in 2014. The project is both free and open source. Currently this text editor is at the 1.1X release series

With around 6000 packages/modules currently available it is a text editor for everyone!

After 2-years as open source the Atom text editor had over 15.9 Million downloads, and over 1.1 Million monthly users. When May comes around this year I’m certainly curious to see what those stats are at 3-years as open source!

 

PLATFORMS 

MacOS (OS X 10.8 or later)

 Windows (7 and later)

 RedHat Linux (64-bit only)

 Ubuntu (Debian) Linux (64-bit only)

 

COST 

 Free

 

The best reference for the Atom text editor is the documentation found at – https://atom.io/docs.

 

Brackets

Screen Shot of Brackets Text Editor 600 px

 

 

Created by Adobe, Brackets is a lightweight and very capable text editor. The Brackets website states that new features and extensions are released every 3-4 weeks and that “it’s like getting presents all year long”.

This text editor is targeted to those developing in HTML, CSS and Javascript.

At the present time, the latest version is 1.8. Brackets community blogger Peter Flynn stated that the editor supports 600 extensions, 120 themes, and has over 250 contributors to the core code. Near the end of 2016, nearly 800,000 people were using Brackets everyday!

 

PLATFORMS 

Mac OSX 10.6.8 or newer

Windows Vista, 7, or 8/8.1

Linux Ubuntu 12.04 or newer

Debian Linux 8 or newer

 

COST 

 Free

 

For the latest on the API and documentation, check out http://brackets.io.

 




 

BBEdit

Screen Shot of BBEdit Text Editor 600 px

 

With BBEdit from Bare Bones, the slogan says it all. It doesn’t suck! 🙂

The first version of BBEdit was released in 1991. BBEdit is the big brother to TextWrangler and is packed full of features such as GREP pattern matching, syntax highlighting, FTP/SFTP and so on. BBEdit has customizable syntax colouring support for Actionscript, C++, Java, Lua and many others.

The interface may not look as flash as some of the more recent editors but there is a ton of power and flexibility packed into BBEdit. At the time of this post, the current release is version 11.

 

PLATFORMS 

Mac OSX 10.8.5 or newer (BBEdit 11)

 

COST 

 Paid (but Free Trial available)

 

For the complete reference to all things BBEdit, head over to the BBEdit support page where you can find the latest user manual, tutorials and more.

 

Coda

Screen Shot of Coda Text Editor 600 px

 

Coda is a text editor specifically designed for web developers and therefore also good for PhoneGap/Cordova developers. Currently at version 2, this text editor has a large set of features including code folding, code focus, a built-in MySQL editor and more.

With Coda you can work with local files or edit remotely on FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, or on Amazon S3 servers. To compliment the desktop app, you can also get the iPad version called Diet Coda.

 

PLATFORMS   

Mac OSX 10.7.5 or newer (Coda 2.5)

iPad – iOS 6.1 or newer (Diet Coda 1.5)

 

COST 

 Paid

 

One of the best beginner resources is the free book Inside Coda that you can get from iBooks or directly from the Coda website.

 




 

CodeLobster PHP Edition

Screen Shot of CodeLobster PHP Editor 600 px

 

With PHP being one of the big backend web technologies (think WordPress, Facebook), CodeLobster PHP Edition is focused primarily on PHP coding along with HTML/CSS/Javascript. Whether you are developing WordPress plugins, custom themes or your own custom backend service.. with CodeLobster PHP Edition you will find PHP/HTML/CSS/JavaScript highlighting, advanced PHP/HTML/CSS/JavaScript autocomplete, a powerful PHP debugger, context and dynamic Help, a code validator, a SQL manager and much more.

Currently at version 5.11.X, there are three versions depending on your development needs: Free Version, Lite Version and Professional Version. Check out the features here, and with all licences you get Lifetime Free Upgrades as new versions are released.

PLATFORMS 

Windows Vista, 7, 8/8.1, 10

 

COST 

Paid (Feature Limited Free version available)

 

To get started with CodeLobster PHP Edition check out the feature samples on the CodeLobster website along with the Forum for direct support to any questions you might have.

 

CoffeeCup (HTML and Web Editor)

 

Another text editor that is focused on HTML/CSS development is the CoffeeCup HTML Editor (current version 15.3).

CoffeeCup HTML Editor gives you the option to add up to 10 different browsers and then open them from inside the program. Other features include: Syntax highlighting, Code validation tools, Project organization, FTP sync and more.

 

PLATFORMS 

Mac OSX 10.6 or newer (Web Editor 2.0)

Windows Vista, 7, or 8/8.1

 

COST 

 Paid (Feature Limited Free version available)

 

The best resource for using the CoffeeCup Editor is the Quick Start Guide on the official website.

 




 

DroidEdit

Screen Shot of DroidEdit Text Editor 600 px

 

Published by André Restivo, we first came across Droid Edit while searching for a mobile code editor that we could use. The selection criteria was that it had to have syntax highlighting for the primary languages that we code in (C, HTML/CSS/JS, Python, Lua) and Dropbox connectivity.

The free version has some great basic functionality, but we quickly jumped to the Pro version specifically for the integration with Dropbox, Google Drive and Box. It has enabled us to work on active app code from a mobile device that syncs to all our devices using Dropbox.

Other awesome features include great search & replace functionality, custom themes, SFTP/FTP support and syntax highlighting for approximately 200 different languages.

 

PLATFORMS  

 Android 2.1 and up

 

COST 

 Paid (Feature Limited Free version available)

 

The best resource for Droid Edit is simply to use the built-in Help files packaged with the app.

 

Emacs

 

Originally created in the 1970’s, the most common and ported version of the editor is GNU Emacs created by computer science legend Richard Stallman. Emacs is a contender in the parody “text editor holy wars”, alongside the other long standing Unix-based text editor Vi.

The current version at this time is Emacs 24. It has features such as syntax colouring as well as a large number of extensions for additional functionality.

 

PLATFORMS 

GNU / Linux

 FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD

 Mac OSX

Windows

Solaris

 

COST 

 Free

 

A great reference for Emacs is the GNU Emacs Manual.

 




 

F

We have not come across any best text editors in 2017 that start with the letter F, if you are currently using a popular one… drop a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

 

GEdit

Screen Shot of GEdit Text Editor 600 px

 

gEdit is the text editor that forms part of the GNOME desktop environment found mainly on Linux operating systems. It has a large number of features including syntax highlighting, auto indentation and more.

It is no longer simply limited to Linux users and can be found on many other platforms.

 

PLATFORMS 

Linux

 Mac OSX

Windows

 

COST 

 Free

 

The main resource for gEdit is the gEdit Help Guide.

 




 

H

We have not come across any best text editors in 2017 that start with the letter H, if you are currently using a popular one… drop a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

 

ICEcoder

 

ICEcoder is a browser based text editor, promoted mainly for web development although it has many general purpose features with support for over 60 programming languages.

Features include context aware code highlighting and folding, HTML & JavaScript code hinting, DOM element highlighting with the Pesticide plugin and many more. The current version is v6.

 

PLATFORMS 

Any internet enabled computer with a modern browser

 

Note you will need Apache or a similar (eg Nginx) web server environment, along with PHP 5 at a minimum (PHP 5.3+ recommended).

 

COST 

Paid (Free Trial available)

 

Check out all the resources for this browser based text editor by referring to the online ICEcoder v6.0 Manual.

 




 

JEdit

 

jEdit was written in Java and this makes it available to any platform that is running a Java Runtime Environment. It features a built-in macro language along with auto indent, syntax highlighting for more than 200 languages and many other features. The latest version at this time is v5.4.

 

PLATFORMS 

Linux

 Mac OSX

Windows

 

Note you will need to have the appropriate version of the Java VM installed (see compatibility guide)

 

COST 

 Free

 

The best reference for the text editor is the jEdit User’s Guide.

 

Komodo Edit

 

Komodo Edit is the lightweight, free and open source sibling of the Komodo IDE. Although feature limited when compared with the full IDE, Komodo Edit has great programming language support, auto-complete and calltips, a Markdown viewer, Minimap and more.

 

PLATFORMS 

Mac OSX 10.9 or newer

Windows 7 or newer

Linux

 

COST 

 Free

 

Check out all the resources at Komodo IDE.

 

L

We have not come across any best text editors in 2017 that start with the letter L, if you are currently using a popular one… drop a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

 

M

We have not come across any best text editors in 2017 that start with the letter M, if you are currently using a popular one… drop a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

 




 

Notepad ++



Notepad++ is the full functionality text editor on the Windows platform that replaces the basic Notepad application that comes pre-installed with Windows. Notepad++ comes with many enhanced features including syntax highlighting and syntax folding, macro recording and playback, auto-completion, a document map and more.

 

PLATFORMS 

 Windows

 

COST 

 Free

 

For a complete list of the features check out the Notepad++ Resources Page.

 

Outlaw Code Editor

Screen Shot of Outlaw Text Editor 600 px

 

If you are developing mobile apps or games with the Lua programming language then you will want to check out Outlaw. Although Outlaw is technically not just a code editor but also a project management tool, it has many time saving features for development with two popular Lua-based SDK’s: Corona SDK and Moai SDK.

It features auto-indent, syntax highlighting, code folding, and auto-complete. Dynamic Assets allow you to turn on and off code, graphics and more.

 

PLATFORMS 

 Windows

 Mac OSX

 

COST 

 Paid (Lite version is Free)

 

For a great overview of the features built into Outlaw, check out the free tutorial series at the Outlaw Learning Center.

 




 

P

We have not come across any best text editors in 2017 that start with the letter P, if you are currently using a popular one… drop a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

 

Q

We have not come across any best text editors in 2017 that start with the letter Q, if you are currently using a popular one… drop a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

 

R

We have not come across any best text editors in 2017 that start with the letter R, if you are currently using a popular one… drop a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

 

SublimeText

Screen Shot of Sublime Text Editor 600 px

 

Sublime Text (version 2 and 3) is definitely one of the most popular text editors out there! It has some really awesome features like distraction free mode, split editing, syntax highlighting for a ton of different languages, and an awesome Python-based plugin API.

Started right here in the land down under by Jon Skinner, Sublime Text has become a favourite for coders of all languages, ages and styles! We use it for all sorts of development work (C, Lua, Python, Javascript) and think it is awesome!

 

PLATFORMS 

 Mac OS X 10.6 or later

 Windows (and portable version)

 Linux

 

COST 

 Paid (Free trial available)

 

Check out the Sublime support page for a list of current documentation to support both version 2 and 3.

 




 

Text Wrangler

Screen Shot of TextWrangler Text Editor 600 px

 

TextWrangler is described as the “little brother” of BBEdit. If you are on a Mac, it is a very capable choice for many programmers with features such as file comparison/merge, syntax colouring, function navigation, integration with Python, Ruby, and Unix shell scripts.. and more !

 

PLATFORMS 

 Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later (Intel hardware)

 

COST 

 Free

 

Download the TextWrangler User Manual for all the details on it’s extensive feature set.

 

Textastic

Screen Shot of Textastic Text Editor 600 px

 

Looking to do some coding directly on you iPhone or iPad? If so, Textastic is a great option for mobile development on the fly. Key features include: syntax highlighting for more than 80 languages/formats, connectivity to FTP, SFTP, WebDAV and Dropbox, and code completion for HTML and CSS.

 

PLATFORMS   

 iPhone, iPad (iOS 8 or later)

Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later

 

COST 

 Paid

 

Download or view the full user manual directly from the Textastic site.

 




 

Ultra Edit

 

Originally created in 1994 by Ian D. Mead, UltraEdit has a very large feature set with some advanced capabilities. Some of these include: multi-caret editing, a powerful search capability, and an integrated FTP/SSH/Telnet client. It can also handle find and replace of extremely large file sizes (4GB+). The current version is v24.

 

PLATFORMS 

 Mac OS X 10.7 or later

 Windows

 Linux

 

COST 

 Paid (Free trial available)

 

A fantastic reference for UltraEdit is the online Tutorials and Power Tips support page.

 

Vim

Screen Shot of Vim Text Editor 600 px

 

Vim (Vi Improved) is one of the most popular derivatives of the long standing Vi. Labelled the “editor of the beast” by Emacs advocates, Vi and its derivatives form the other contender in the parody “text editor holy wars”. Users of Vim (and Vi) are often labelled hardcore programmers, the experienced ones navigating and manipulating code using the editor at record speed without ever touching a mouse.

A staple of Unix-based systems, the original Vi was created in 1976 by Bill Joy. The popular incarnation Vim includes syntax highlighting, mouse support, additional editing commands and extension capability. Vim is included in every shipped version of Mac OSX, and nearly every version of Linux.

 

PLATFORMS 

Linux

Mac OS X

Windows

 

COST 

 Free (Charitable Donation recommended)

 

Vim is freeware and the folks behind http://vim.org only ask that if you find Vim a useful addition to your life that you make a donation to help children in Uganda.

For a great listing of Vim commands, features and tips… check out the Vim Documentation page.

 




 

Visual Studio Code

 

Released during the Microsoft Build 2015 developer conference, Visual Studio Code is a clean and modern text editor optimised for cloud and web applications. Targeting rapid development of ASP.NET and Node.js applications, Visual Studio Code features built-in support for always-on IntelliSense code completion (HTML/CSS/JS), syntax highlighting supporting dozens of languages, bracket matching, auto indentation, debugging support and much more! The current release is v1.1.

 

PLATFORMS 

Linux

Mac OS X

Windows

 

COST 

 Free

 

The best place to learn all about Microsoft’s great new code editor is over at the Visual Studio Code Docs page.

 

W

We have not come across any best text editors in 2017 that start with the letter W, if you are currently using a popular one… drop a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

 

X

We have not come across any best text editors in 2017 that start with the letter X, if you are currently using a popular one… drop a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

 

Y

We have not come across any best text editors in 2017 that start with the letter Y, if you are currently using a popular one… drop a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

 

ZeroBrane Studio

 

Although Zerobrane Studio is technically not a text editor, rather a lightweight IDE…  I have included it in the list because it isn’t bloated like most IDEs. Specifically targeted to Lua developers, we first came across ZeroBrane Studio back in 2013 and it is pretty popular with Lua developers.

The benefits and features of Zerobrane Studio include: auto code completion, syntax highlighting, live coding for instant feedback, along with debugging support for all the major Lua-based 2D development SDKs/Engines (LÖVE, Moai, Gideros, Corona SDK, and Cocos2d-x). The current version of Zerobrane is v1.50.

 

PLATFORMS 

Linux

Mac OS X 10.6.8+

Windows XP or later

 

COST 

 Free (Donation recommended)

 




 

What is Your Top Pick!

 

And there they are… the Best Text Editors in 2017 from AZ! Okay.. well, not every letter was represented, but most of the alphabet was covered by a current popular pick.

If you have a top pick that you think we missed please leave a comment and let us know about it.

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