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35 Useful Source Code Editors Reviewed

To edit HTML- and CSS-code you only need a simple plaintext-editor — the rest depends on your skills and your creativity. However, to make your life a little bit easier, you can use some more comfortable source-code editors with advanced editing features. These features can effectively support you during coding, debugging and testing. Powerful modern editors provide developers with syntax highlighting, diff, macros, plugins, code-snippets, preview-option and an integrated FTP-management tool1. Some editors go even further and offer a complete integrated development environment with numerous features and functions. [Content Care Nov/16/2016]

In the list below we present an overview of 35 established or rather unknown — but useful source code-editors; you’ll probably find “usual suspects” — your favourite editor or the editor you’ve once been working with. But you’ll also find some rather unknown alternatives which are definitely worth considering when choosing an optimal source code editor.

Some of the “ancient” text-editors such as EMacs or Vi are still alive and have achieved a remarkable level of quality over years. We’ve presented them below proving that sometimes it is really better to consider preferring a rather old editor to a “fresh” one. The position of the editors in the list is rather random and doesn’t necessarily correspond to our personal evaluation of the editors. Please notice: even although this overview presents quite many editors, it doesn’t mention all of them.

Yesterday we’ve published a review of 20 WYSIWYG-editors2. Now, what about useful source code editors? What is your favourite?

SubEthaEdit Link

Subethaedit3 (Mac)
SubEthaEdit is rather unknown, but a very powerful and lean text editor. What makes the editor different is its primary focus on collaborative web development. For instance, when using the editor you can see live what changes the other developers have introduced — in their or in your documents. When a source code file in your project has been changed, the tool notifies you immediately in the main window.

The editor includes advanced editing features such as a UNIX command line utility to enable complex and interactive pipe workflows with your terminal, completely user customizable syntax highlighting through styles, support for editing files as administrator. Improved AppleScript support to allow control of sharing features is also available. A definitive choice for collaborative coding process. Price: $29. A 30-days trial version is available.


Some of Subethaedit’s features:

  • Share documents with Bonjour5
  • Collaborating
  • AppleScript menu and manipulate text with AppleScript
  • Safari-powered live-updating HTML preview
  • Autocompletion
  • Splitview
  • Integrates with FTP clients as external editor
  • Customizable syntax highlighting

Panic Coda6 (Mac OS), a web development software rather than a source code editor, incorporates a licensed version of the SubEthaEdit engine, rather than having a custom one, to allow for sharing of documents over the Bonjour network. Coda also boasts a new Find/Replace mechanism, which allows users to do complex replaces using a method similar to regular expressions.


UltraEdit Link

Ultraedit8 (Win)
UltraEdit is probably the most advanced and therefore not lightweight text editor. It is a plaintext, HTML and HEX editor and an advanced PHP, Perl, Java and JavaScript editor for programmers. Compared to other editors, Ultraedit also include regex capabilities, keyboard shortcuts, environment and workspace support, code folding, macros, SSH/Telnet, multiline find and replace and unicode support.

UltraEdit supports disk-based 64-bit file handling (standard) on all 32-bit Windows platforms. A very popular editor which is now released in its version 14. Ultraedit costs $49.95. If you are looking for a web-development focused editor with numerous advanced features Ultraedit is the first option to consider.


Some of Ultraedit’s features:

  • Code Folding
  • Unicode support
  • Disk based text editing and large file handling – supports files in excess of 4GB, minimum RAM used even for multi-megabyte files
  • Mulitline find and replace dialogs for all searches (Find, Replace, Find in Files, Replace in Files)
  • 100,000 word spell checker, with foreign languages support (American English, British English, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish and Swedish)
  • Syntax highlighting — configurable, pre-configured for C/C++, VB, HTML, Java, and Perl, with special options for FORTRAN and LaTex. Multiple word-libraries10 are available for free download.
  • FTP client built in to give access to FTP servers with multiple account settings and automatic logon and save. (32-Bit Only) Includes support for SFTP (SSH2)
  • SSH/Telnet window
  • Project/workspace support
  • Environment Selector – Provides predefined or user-created editing “environments” that remember the state of all of UltraEdit’s dockable windows, toolbars and more for user convenience.
  • Integrated scripting language to automate tasks
  • Configurable keyboard mapping
  • Hexadecimal editor allows editing of any binary file, shows binary and ASCII view
  • Named templates
  • HTML toolbar preconfigured for popular HTML functions

Komodo Edit Link

Komodo Edit11 (cross-platform)
Komodo Edit is an open-source scripting environment which was developed for programmers who need a multi-language editor with broad functionality, but not the features of an IDE, like debugging, DOM viewer, interactive shells, and source code control integration. The editor includes a full range of supported languages (Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Tcl) and platforms (Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows ). Like Komodo IDE, Komodo Edit also supports browser-side languages like JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and XML.

Considering that Komodo Edit is free and offers functionalities which aren’t available in commercial products, it is a very impressive professional editor for dynamic languages and definitely worth checking out. You may want to consider Komodo IDE12 (price: $295) which is a multi-platform, multi-language development environment for end-to-end dynamic web application development.


Some of Komodo Edit’s features:

  • support for all major scripting languages
  • in-depth autocomplete and calltips
  • multi-language file support
  • syntax coloring and syntax checking
  • Vi emulation
  • Emacs key bindings
  • code snippets and code folding
  • project manager
  • XPI Extensions support provides the same capability as Firefox, with all standard Mozilla APIs
  • multi-user support and many more.

Eclipse Link

Eclipse14 (Java / cross-platform)
Eclipse is an open-source Java-based integrated development environment (IDE). Originally, Eclipse was meant to be used by Java developers, however, since users can extend its capabilities by installing numerous plug-ins, Eclipse is widely used by professional developers of all kind. For instance, plug-ins for C and C++ (CDT-project), Perl, PHP, ColdFusion, Ruby, Python and C# are available.


In Eclipse you will definitely find all features you would expect from a professional source sode editor. However, you will also find much more. Additionally, among nifty features of the IDE are advanced code completion, refactoring, content assist and parameter hints, snippets, advanced search, faster navigation, synchronization with CVS, actions saver (you can assign actions performed on a file each time its saved), advanced compare view, definition of team-wide settings for code clean ups (Clean Up profile), a Quick Fix assistant and many-many more. And to get the ultimate productivity boost, check out the Mylyn extension16. Eclipse is a very powerful and flexible solution which should definitely be considered by professional developers.

TextMate Link

TextMate17 (Power PC / Intel Mac)
TextMate is a high-end source code editor for Mac OS which looks damn sexy. Its integration of version control systems, recordable macros, regular expression search and replace (grep) and shell integration combine most useful features in one single interface.

What is distinctive for TextMate is the integration of scope selectors: a scope selector is a pattern much like a CSS selector which is matched against the scope of the caret (i.e. current context) and the outcome is either a match or a non-match. There are also powerful macros and downloadable bundles available.


Some of TextMate’s features:

  • Ability to Search and Replace in a Project
  • Clipboard History
  • Completion of Words from Current Document
  • CSS-like Selectors to Pinpoint the Scope of Actions and Settings
  • Dynamic Outline for Working With Multiple Files
  • File Tabs when Working With Projects
  • Foldable Code Blocks
  • Plug-able Through Your Favorite Scripting Language
  • Recordable Macros With No Programming Required
  • Run Shell Commands from Within a Document
  • Support for Darcs, Perforce, SVK, and Subversion
  • Support for More Than 50 Languages (incl. LaTeX integration)
  • Switch Between Files in Projects With a Minimum of Key Strokes
  • Themable Syntax Highlight Colors
  • Visual Bookmarks to Jump Between Places in a File

HTML-Kit Link

HTML-Kit19 (Win)
HTML-Kit is a freeware full-featured editor designed to help HTML, XHTML and XML authors to edit, format, lookup help, validate, preview and publish web pages. Despite its name and the light download size, HTML-Kit is a multi-purpose tool that has support for several scripting and programming languages.

Features: macros, hotkeys, batch search and replace, wrapping selected text with snippets, auto/manual block indenting, auto backup files by appending a new extension or by making a copy in another folder, autosave, multiple methods of previewing, bookmarks, multi-line search and replace and more. Due to its features suite, HTML-Kit may be considered as a serious free alternative to Ultraedit.


Some of HTML-Kit’s features:

  • more than 400 free plugins available for customizing and extending HTML-Kit (including ASP, CF, C#, iHTML, Java, JavaScript, JSP, Perl, PHP, Python, SQL etc.).
  • multiple live preview modes
  • code snippets
  • Validate HTML, XML and CSS
  • Actions Bar
  • Integrate with Windows shell
  • batch actions
  • HTML Tidy
  • auto backup and auto save
  • TimeTracker
  • Text to Speech Wizard
  • UnicodePad
  • FTP Workspace

Scriptly Link

Scriptly21 (Win)
Scriptly is an extensive, almost overloaded freeware-code-editor for coding in HTML and PHP. The editor offers 7 styles of syntax highlighting, code completion, code consistency check, code inspector, tree view of the source code for HTML, PHP and CSS, browser preview in IE and Firefox, print preview and image editing.


Hex-viewer, diff viewer, multi-file search and replace, table-assistant and MySQL-assistant are available as well. Developers can also set hotkeys, use code snippets and employ the project management tool, including to-do-notes. Hence developers get almost everything they might ever need — for free. A really powerful freeware alternative to commercial products.

BBEdit Link

BBEdit23 (PowerPC and Intel Macs)
Like Ultraedit for Windows, BBEdit is one of the well-known professional source code-editors for Mac-users. The editor was created with focus on web-authors and software-developers. Among interesting features of BBEdit are text factories which allow to automate repetitive text-processing tasks and Preview Server support you can use to preview pages which use PHP, JSP, or other server-side processing techniques.

Apart from that, file comparison, enhanced source control management (integrated support for the Subversion and Perforce allows to work with multiple repositories) and extensible syntax coloring support available. BBEdit costs $125. If you are using Mac, BBEdit is definitely a good option to consider. There is a 30-days trial version available.


Some of BBEdit’s features:

  • Automator support
  • Transparently reads and writes gzip (.gz) files
  • Transparently reads and writes DOS, Unix, and Mac files
  • Splittable editing windows
  • Automated auto-save
  • Extensive FTP and SFTP support
  • Run Unix scripts and filters
  • Native Mac OS X spelling checker
  • Comprehensive AppleScript support: scriptable, recordable, and attachable

Screem Link

Screem25 (Linux)
Screem is a web development environment for HTML/XML-documents. It’s purpose is to increase productivity when constructing a site, by providing quick access to commonly used features. While it is written for use with the GNOME desktop environment in mind it does not specifically require you to be running it, just have the libraries installed.

Screem has some nifty features such as advanced CVS support, broken link checking, intelligent code completion and support for regular expression. You can also copy some content from a web browser and have the html that was selected pasted, rather than just the text. The latest version was released in 2005, but it’s still worth considering when using Linux.


Some of Screem’s features:

  • Broken Link Checking
  • CTags Support
  • CVS Support
  • Document Structure Display
  • Helper Applications
  • Inline Tagging
  • Page Previewing
  • Page Templates
  • Spell Checking
  • Syntax Highlighting
  • Wizards

CSSEdit Link

CSSEdit27 (Mac)
While most editors presented in this overview are (X)HTML- or PHP-oriented, CSSEdit focuses on CSS, offering a solid foundation for standards-based web-designs. Among other things, CSSEdit offers real-time styling: even when your dynamic Web App is powered by a complex database or makes use of AJAX, you can style and analyze it without the hassle of uploading or refreshing.

The editor also uses intelligent CodeSense, so instead of suggesting a list of predefined keywords, it actually analyzes your Style Sheet and behavior to offer smart, context-sensitive suggestions. A fresh, nice-looking, intuitive and powerful application for editing stylesheets. Price: 29.95 €.


Some of CSSEdit’s features:

  • live preview
  • Selector Builder lets you describe what elements to style in plain English.
  • elegant visual interface
  • intelligent source editing
  • X-ray Inspector shows you what styles apply to the web page
  • Validation Inspector lets you validate your style sheets against W3C standards
  • Milestones integration

Arachnophilia Link

Arachnophilia29 (Java / all)
Arachnophilia is a freeware Java-based legacy editor which was first released in the mid 90s. The tool is a powerful programming editor with some special HTML production and editing features. The editor has RegExp functions and the text compare functionality. It doesn’t offer something revolutionary, but it is cross-plattform. The last version 5.3 was released in March 2008.


Some of Arachnophilia’s features:

  • HTML Validate will help you find and correct structural errors in your pages
  • Code Beautifier
  • Spell Checker
  • Advanced FTP Operations

CoffeeCup HTML Editor Link

CoffeeCup31 (Win)
This editor was first released in 1996 and was regularly updated since then. The last version offers decent HTML & CSS code completion, document dependency check and 40 bullet proof CSS/XHTML layouts. The built-in WYSIWYG-editor should be avoided as it is quite quirky and doesn’t produce meaningful code. The editor itself, however, is focused on producing clean and valid markup. Powerful, but no amazing. Price: $49. A trial-version is available (Nagware).


Some of Coffeecup’s features:

  • HTML & CSS Code Completion
  • Quick Tag Help
  • Project Management
  • Graphics Collections
  • Wizards
  • Built-in SiteMapperCreator

Smultron Link

Smultron33 (Mac)
Smultron is a free text editor for Mac OS X Leopard 10 with useful features one won’t find in any alternative — even commercial — products. E.g. if you don’t want to be disturbed by other applications or the desktop you can let Smultron cover the whole screen to let you concentrate on your work. You can preview HTML-files directly in Smultron and save snippets of text and insert them with a shortcut.

Smultron can also use regular expressions and it can run commands and scripts. It can be used for a whole variety of needs — particularly, for web programming or script editing. Intuitive and powerful.


Some of Smultrons features:

  • split window
  • snippets
  • AppleScript support (limited)
  • support for the ODB Editor Suite
  • auto-completion
  • command-line utility

EditPlus Link

EditPlus35 (Win)
EditPlus is a lightweight text editor, HTML editor and source code editor for Windows. It can serve as a good Notepad replacement, but it also offers many powerful features for Web page authors and programmers. A distinctive feature of EditPlus is its support for user-defined tools, help files and keystroke recording files. The output of tool execution can be captured in the Output Window, so that you can double-click the error line to automatically load the file and locate the cursor to that line.

Among other things you can also use multi-line regex-based find & replace, auto indentation, code folding, compiler integration, shell integration and an integrated web browser. The last version was released in April 2008. Price: $35. There is also an evaluation version available.


Some of EditPlus’ features:

  • integrated Web browser for previewing
  • Ruler
  • Auto-completion
  • Powerful search and replace
  • Multiple undo/redo
  • Spell checker
  • Customizable keyboard shortcuts

EmEditor Link

EmEditor37 (Win)
EmEditorText Editor is a lightweight yet extendable and simple text editor for Windows. Compared to other editors, it is very quick, highly customizable and portable. E.g. you can easily set up a removable USB drive to copy project and configuration files to a new machine. A useful feature of EmEditor is its ability to record and play keystrokes and mouse operation against other applications. This capability allows you to automate certain tasks, e.g. when testing your applications.


The Shell Object is used to send keystroke and mouse activities and to enumerate or find top-level windows. Furthermore, the editor supports Unicode and macros. EmEditor is certified for Windows Vista and can quickly open huge files — up to 248 GB or 2.1 billion lines — with only a little memory. Price: $39.99.

PageSpinner Link

PageSpinner (Mac)39
PageSpinner is an easy-to-use, professional web page editor for Mac OS which supports HTML, XHTML, PHP, SSI, CSS with a built-in JavaScript generator. Among other features PageSpinner has a built-in FTP support, customizable syntax color-coding of JavaScript, PHP, Cascading Style Sheets and the integration with Apache and the Terminal in OS X.

PageSpinner also supports Include files that enable you to change common sections on all pages in a folder or a site, by simply editing a single include file. Price: $29.95. The editor can be used for free 21 days.


Some of PageSpinner’s features:

  • built-in FTP support
  • customizable syntax color-coding
  • support for Server Side Includes,
  • integration with Apache and the Terminal in OS X
  • Fully customizable Live previews
  • HTML validation
  • A Tag Clipboard
  • AppleScript support

HateML Pro Link

HateML Pro41 (Win)
HateML Pro is a lightweight freeware editor and a powerful PHP IDE with support for (X)HTML and CSS for both professional and novice users alike. It was designed with focus on helping to accelerate the process of editing and debugging web applications, php scripts and XHTML sites. The editor offers a standard suite for efficient web-development: automatic syntax checker, intelligent code-completion tool (IntelliSense & CodeHint), PHP debugger, built-in FTP-client, MySQL Manager and an integrated preview.


Some of HateML Pro’s features:

  • Advanced Syntax Highlighting
  • Automatic syntax checker
  • IntelliSense & CodeHint
  • Debugger & Profiler
  • CodeBrowser
  • FTP Client
  • MySQL Manager (plugin)

Emacs Link

Emacs43 (22 operating systems, among them Linux, Mac OS X and Windows)
Emacs (Editor MACroS) is the classic and legacy editing application among Linux-editors. It is the oldest (1976) and the most authoritative editor presented in this overview. There is a large number of extensions that add further functionalities, including a project planner, mail and news reader, debugger interface, calendar, and more.

The editor is popular for its built-in macros and powerful keyboard shortcuts that make editing text documents very efficient. However, you need to climb the learning curve which is quite time-consuming and isn’t easy to achieve for beginners. You can also consider GNU Emacs and XEmacs which are both advanced, open source and cross plattform versions of EMacs. Emacs is freeware and is released under GNU-License. An advanced option for hardcore-programmers.


Some of Emacs’ features:

  • Many Languages
  • Complete built-in documentation, including a tutorial for new users.
  • Highly customizable, using Emacs Lisp code or a graphical customization interface.
  • Content-sensitive editing modes

Notepad++ Link

Notepad++45 (Win)
A free, mature source code editor and Notepad replacement, which supports several programming languages, running under the MS Windows environment. The editor can be considered as an advanced yet simple text-editor which is extremely customizable and offers most functionalities which are available in high-end commercial products. Alternative: Notepad 246.


Some of Notepad++’s features:

  • Syntax Highlighting and Syntax Folding
  • User Defined Syntax Highlighting
  • Auto-completion
  • Multi-Document
  • Regular Expression Search/Replace supported
  • Full Drag’n’ Drop supported
  • Zoom in and zoom out
  • Multi-Language environment supported
  • Macro recording and playback

NoteTab Link

NoteTab48 (Win)
NoteTab is a mature text and HTML editor which has been first released in 1998. This application does it all: it can handle a stack of huge files; it has advanced formatting features, offers multi-line global replacements and corrects your spelling mistakes. There are 3 versions of NoteTab. If you are going to use NoteTab, it’s reasonable to only use the Pro Version which costs $29,95.


Some of NoteTab’s (Pro Version) features:

  • Open and edit many documents at once
  • Multi-level undo/redo
  • Very fast text processing
  • Highlights URLs and HTML tags
  • Supports document templates
  • Multilingual spell checker and thesaurus
  • Supports regular expression search/replace
  • Programmable – add your own features

PSPad Link

PSPad50 (Win)
PSPad is another freeware source code editor which should be in every review of professional editing applications.
As a web authoring editor, PSPad contains syntax highlighting, macros, clip files and templates. Integrated HEX Editor, Project support, FTP Client, Macro Recorder, File Search/Replace, Code Explorer, Code page conversion are available as well. PSPad a;sp catches and parses compiler output, and can compare different source code versions. PSPad is Freeware.


Some of PSPad’s features:

  • work with several documents at the same time (MDI)
  • FTP client – edit files directly from the web
  • macro recorder to record, save and load macros
  • text difference with color-coded differences highlighted
  • templates (HTML tags, scripts, code templates…)
  • installation contains templates for HTML, PHP, Pascal, JScript, VBScript, MySQL, MS-Dos, Perl,…
  • syntax highlighting according to file type
  • user-defined highlighters for exotic environments
  • auto correction
  • intelligent internal HTML preview using IE and Mozilla
  • full HEX editor
  • external compiler with output catcher, log window and log parser for an “IDE” effect in every environment
  • integrated TiDy library for formatting and checking HTML code, conversion to CSS, XML, XHTML
  • export with highlight to RTF, HTML, TeX format to file or clipboard
  • reformat and compress HTML code, tag character case change
  • Code explorer for Pascal, C/C++, INI, HTML, XML, PHP and more in development
  • spell checker
  • internal web browser with APACHE support

jEdit Link

jEdit 52(Java / all)
jEdit is, together with Arachnophilia, another cross-platfrom source text editor for professional coding. The editor supports over 130 file types. The current line is highlighted; the source text is divided into blocks such that the beginning and the end of braces are directly visible. Copy-Paste-friends have an unlimited number of clipboards. You can split windows in multiple viewing modes and save the configuration for further projects. jEdit is free — it is released under GPL 2.0 license. Very powerful, however not that easy to get used to first.


Some of jEdit’s features:

  • Built-in macro language; extensible plugin architecture. Dozens of macros and plugins available.
  • Plugins can be downloaded and installed from within jEdit using the “plugin manager” feature.
  • Auto indent, and syntax highlighting for more than 130 languages.
  • Supports a large number of character encodings including UTF8 and Unicode.
  • Folding for selectively hiding regions of text.
  • Word wrap.

Quanta Plus Link

Quanta Plus54 (Linux)
Quanta is widely recognized as the most advanced free software web development environment. But a lot of people do not know that Quanta is a friendly editor for all XML documents. You can even import DTDs, write scripts to manage editor contents, visually create dialogs for your scripts and assign script actions to nearly any file operation in a project. Quanta is based on KDE and was released under GPL.


Some of Quanta’s features:

  • Templates
  • Plugins
  • Integrated preview
  • User toolbars and actions
  • Project management

Taco HTML Edit Link

Taco HTML Edit56 (Mac)
A free software for Mac OS X. It is designed to simplify the process of creating attractive web sites that render correctly in various browsers. Taco HTML Edit includes tag wizards, which generate valid HTML markup. Taco HTML Edit also helps find errors in your HTML markup, and it can also check spelling in your documents.


Some of Taco’s features:

  • Code Clips
  • Insert Wizards
  • Live Preview
  • Syntax Checking
  • Tag Coloring

TSW WebCoder Link

TSW WebCoder57 (Win)
With a very strong focus on HTML, CSS, PHP/MySQL, but also with features which cover JavaScript, XML and ASP.NET, in TSW WebCode you probably get all features a modern source editor for web-development really needs.

You can use code inspector to directly preview the properties of a given element, FTP-manager allows you to upload file changes directly to the server. With Project ToDo-list you can check what is done and what is needed to be done. Also, a browser preview option (for IE and Firefox) provides you with the result of your work.

Finally, you can verify and validate your code with Integrated W3C validation and real syntax check for PHP and keep track of your projects with ease, using the advanced project management. A very compact and powerful source code editor. WebCoder 2007 can be purchased for $59.99 for personal use and $89.99 for commercial use. A trial-version is available.


Some of TSW WebCoder’s features:

  • Built-in FTP client
  • CodeFolding
  • CodeSnippets
  • CSS Inspector
  • MySQL database client
  • Search & replace in multiple files
  • Syntax coloring and wordwrap

TextPad Link

TextPad59 (Win)
A general purpose editor for plain text files. Really easy to use, with most of the features a power user requires. Whether you simply need a powerful replacement for Notepad, a tool for editing your web pages, or a programming IDE, TextPad does what you want, the way you would expect.


Some of TextPad’s features:

  • Huge files can be edited, up to the limits of virtual memory.
  • English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish user interfaces.
  • A spelling checker with dictionaries in 10 languages.
  • Multiple files can be simultaneously edited, with up to 2 views per file.
  • Warm Start feature lets you restart exactly where you left off.
  • Text can be automatically word-wrapped at the margin, or at a specified column, if it does not fit on a line.
  • Unlimited undo/redo capability.
  • A keystroke macro recorder, with up to 16 active macros.
  • Toolbar with fly-by usage hints, and an active status bar.
  • A powerful search/replace engine using UNIX-style regular expressions, with the power of editor macros.
  • A built in file manager for fast file copying, renaming, deleting etc.
  • Viewer for binary files using a hexadecimal display format.
  • Built in file comparison utility, and up to 16 user-defined tools with argument macros.

Vim Link

Vim61 (all)
Vim (Vi IMproved), first released by Bram Moolenaar in 1991 for the Amiga computer, is a legend. It is a highly configurable console text editor built to enable efficient text editing. It is an improved version of the vi editor distributed with most UNIX systems. The editor is often called a “programmer’s editor” for keyboard macros and powerful set of programmer’s tools and it is so useful for programming that many consider it an entire IDE. Like vi62, Vim’s interface is based not on menus or icons but on commands given in a text user interface.


Vim has derived from Vi which looks pretty nasty although is pretty powerful. You may want to check out gVim64 or gVim Portable65 for Windows (with graphical user interface) and MacVim66 for the Mac.

Vim is extremely powerful. With this editor you can do everything you might ever think of. Vim isn’t simple, it isn’t intuitive and it isn’t user-friendly: it is a tool, the use of which must be learned. A nice application to start becoming a coding ninja with.

  • syntax highlighting for over 200 languages (you can define your own syntax)
  • Edit-Compile-Fix: You edit a program, type “:make” and Vim shows the error messages in a window.
  • highlighting matches: when you search for a pattern, all matches found can be highlighted.
  • you can map keys, change the colors, add new commands, use scripts
  • completion, comparison and merging of files (vimdiff)
  • extended regular expressions
  • scripting languages (both native and through alternative scripting interpreters such as Perl, Python, Ruby, Tcl, etc.)
  • folding: a range of lines can be hidden, and one line displayed instead. This gives a quick overview of what a file contains.
  • editing of compressed or archived files in gzip, bzip2, zip, and tar format and files over network protocols such as SSH, FTP, and HTTP
  • session state preservation
  • unicode and other multi-language support
  • trans-session command
  • cursor position histories

Footnotes Link

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Sven is the co-founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. He's now writing Science-Fiction and at his Conterest Blog, where he focuses on blogs, content strategy, writing and publishing — all in German.

  1. 1

    Filipe Kiss

    May 7, 2008 9:47 am

    Nice list. But I Missed Bluefish for Linux.

    You should have included it.

  2. 2

    I would like to remove my comment from the previous article on here about WYSIWTF editors. This article really helped show a better selection of tools to use. My comment on the other article offended quite a few designers, but the overall concept I was trying to communicate was regarding that code coming from a WYISWTF editor is generally not valid, not going to look the same, and tends to cause more problems you’ll have to edit by hand anyways.

    I’ve tried a dozen or more of these editors, including quite a few bigger ones still missing on here such as Eclipse and Netbeans, but that point aside, this is a decent list of other tools the WYSIWTF type people need to start trying out and using.

    Someone else quoted the “template” example as an argument about saying hand writing out code in an interview is pointless, but it’s not that I know how many tick marks belong in the doctype, or where the xhtml source is on wc3’s website. It’s that I’m aware it exists and is just as important as the div’s and spans that make up the rest of the code on the page.

  3. 3

    Very good!

  4. 4

    Sorry, but what does this mean?

    TextMate (Power PC Mac)

    PowerPC? It works fine on my Intel-based MacBook !

  5. 5

    Akoi Meexx

    May 7, 2008 9:59 am

    gEdit in Linux works wonders for source highlighting of many different web files. I use that in a GUI environment and just plain Vi for CLI. Thanks for the post! :)

  6. 6

    textpad! it still drives me crazy that there’s no textpad for mac…

  7. 7

    For me it’s PSPad hands down, and I tried them all!

  8. 8

    Best for Windows is E-texteditor – textmate bundles support, fast and cheap!

  9. 9

    In my opinion Eclipse should be in this list too. It’s free, customizable, portable (you can use it from pen-drive if java is installed, there is also a possibility to put java on the pen but it’s more complex solution) and available for Windows, Linux and Mac.

    To use Eclipse for webdesign there is a version called Eclipse PDT (PHP Development Tools) but PDT also can be downloaded as a plugin for original (base) version of Eclipse. Moreover you can install Aptana (mentioned in this article) as a plugin in Eclipse. I think that Aptana is more for HTML/CSS and PDT for PHP.

  10. 10

    I agree with Akoi Meexx about gEdit!

    very nice list overall

  11. 11

    I use PHPDesigner (personal edition is free) for my coding and programming – it’s quite a nice editor if you’re into PHP (although it supports syntax hints/highlighting for other languages) and the commerical edition advances on that further.

    Also NetBeans is something that should definitely be tried by anyone looking to start learning Java.

    Or you could be hardcore and limit yourself to Microsoft Notepad :)

  12. 12

    gVim is well worth the time it takes to learn, it’ll save you a thousand times that :)

  13. 13

    TextMate (Power PC Mac)

    TextMate is a universal binary program – it works on both Intel Mac and PowerPC

  14. 14

    I like Notepad++. It’s a great editor

  15. 15

    Felipe Diesel

    May 7, 2008 10:25 am


    you fogot Komodo Edit and IDE, this programs are great.

  16. 16

    I personally use both gedit and Geany in Linux, I didn’t really like the alternatives in the article when I tried them. As a text editor gedit is the Linux equivalent of TextMate (or at least the closest), it should have been included. Just google on gedit+textmate to see what I mean.

  17. 17

    For PHP, I prefer eclipse, with the PHP library. It rocks on Windows and Linux.
    Sorry, but I used to work in JAVA, and I prefer the eclipse enviroment.

  18. 18

    I’ve been using Textpad for years, but am going to try Scriptly. Great article, as always!

  19. 19


    May 7, 2008 10:33 am

    Win: Topstyle, Aptana, Notepad ++
    Linux: Screem, Aptana

  20. 20

    What about Coda?!

  21. 21

    mmm and CSSedit!?!?!

  22. 22

    PHPEdit by waterproof …..

  23. 23

    Heeyo! Nice list there. What one do you think is the best? It would have been nice if you have had some grades or something at each editor.

  24. 24

    I mainly use Netbeans 6 for Ruby programming witch big projects. For smaller I prefer GEdit

  25. 25

    I agree with Matt, Komodo Edit is great!

  26. 26

    Great follow up to the previous article. I’m a big Coda user myself. I also use CCSedit (for CSS) and I occasionally use Textmate myself. Thx.

  27. 27

    > Felipe Diese, Matt
    Exactly, Komodo is the best source code editor

  28. 28

    Blair McBride

    May 7, 2008 11:02 am

    Komodo has my vote too.

  29. 29

    Gérald Morales

    May 7, 2008 11:05 am

    Thank you for this excellent arcticle.
    I use a Mac and I think that Smultron is really good. It integrates perfectly with Transmit/FTP.

  30. 30

    David DeCarmine

    May 7, 2008 11:10 am

    Nothing better than phpDesigner when you’re working with PHP code. Everything just seems to work, and it’s stable and rarely crashes unlike many other ones.

  31. 31

    Notepad ++ is the best win editor. My other option would be coda or textmate but since i’m not a mac fan i’, setteling for notepad++.

  32. 32

    Mysterious B

    May 7, 2008 11:18 am

    Hey David K:

    Before you go opening your flap; READ (Or at least use the search function in your browser),

    Enjoy! :)

  33. 33

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 7, 2008 11:23 am

    @Felipe Diese, Matt, Max: thank you, Komodo Edit was added.

    @Payman: CSSEdit was added.

    @David K: Coda is mentioned. Please read the overview carefully or use the search function.

  34. 34

    Wow, it seems many of us Linux users got the shaft in this update as many of our applications have been overlooked. I will admit, however, that many of the applications for *Nix out there are pretty awful.

  35. 35

    i’m using wysiwyg + css editor: dreamweaver cs3 + topstyle 3

  36. 36

    NotePad ++ and HomeSite are tied for my all times faves. I really like skEdit (though it doesn’t seem to be updated too frequently) too, but currently I use the Aptana plugin with my Eclipse installation – it’s really groovy.

    Great post!

  37. 37

    For PHP –> Zend Developement

  38. 38


    May 7, 2008 11:37 am

    Scite is the best editor for me ( i’m using old Scite editor, version 1.66, but it never let me down, though, i’m missing some features like changing tab position, etc )

  39. 39

    I use Rapid PHP… It’s very good, and is great for every kind of code editing, not only PHP.

  40. 40

    I miss Crimson editor.

  41. 41

    Benoit Sanier

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm

    TextMate & CSSEdit combo !

  42. 42

    Kevin Hakman

    May 7, 2008 12:08 pm

    Aptana Studio starts at $0, not $99 as described above. Aptana Studio community edition is open source. Aptana Studio Pro is a plugin that extends the open source edition with a few more features.

  43. 43

    SlickEdit is very nice to, get a trial here

  44. 44

    What about Kate (for Linux)?

  45. 45

    Two things i am missing here:
    Programmer’s Notepad for Windows (
    and Geany for Linux (

    I love them.

  46. 46

    This would have been SO MUCH MORE USEFUL had it been a ranking rather than a review. Tell me which one is the best. I don’t have time to read 25 reviews, test them and decide on my own.

  47. 47

    Why isn’t SciTE listed? It’s probably the biggest “competitor” to Notepad++, not to mention it also runs on Linux. Now I know you can’t list every editor out there, but good heavens, some of the editors in your list are just plain crap – slow, bulky, and inefficient. 35 USEFUL source code editors? I don’t think so. I’d suggest you actually use some of them before you claim to be “reviewing” them.

  48. 48

    Why no Visual Studio. I realize MS isn’t th IN thing, but I love my VS2K8!!! Definitely worth a mention.

  49. 49

    Hey, you forgot wscite.

  50. 50

    I am currently doing a project and i have used a few tools so far. I have tried html kit, web builder, dreamweaver, topstyle, aptana, netbeans. I liked certain features of each but i like trying new things out there. I installed linux and i liked bluefish and quanta. I am currently trying microsoft visual web editor express edition 2008 and so far i am liking it. Gonna have a go with komodo edit now, see how i like that.

  51. 51

    Keith - SuPeR K!

    May 7, 2008 12:55 pm

    Notepad2 on Windows

  52. 52

    dirk worring

    May 7, 2008 1:03 pm

    phase5 is missing. easy, free, good! :)

  53. 53

    For Css and Xhtml –> Pspad

  54. 54

    I can’t count the years that I’ve used HTML Kit for, it’s a great light weight program that I couldn’t do without.

  55. 55

    Is this the first such list of editors of this type you folks have done?
    I remember requesting an IDE’s list months ago ;)

    Thanks, and I’ll definitely check these out.

  56. 56

    Gareth Hodson

    May 7, 2008 1:31 pm

    Crimson Editor is the best :)

  57. 57


    This list is aversome :D I am using KED which is very simple but helpful and fast text-editor.

  58. 58

    You guys have done it again, every time I check my Netvibes, there is always something new that is just a great read.

    Keep up the great work guys, you’re doing a fantastic job!

    Nice list by the way :)

  59. 59

    You left off
    PDT (PHP Developer Tools based on Ecclipse)
    Zend Studio

  60. 60

    Alexander Langer

    May 7, 2008 2:02 pm

    I also go with E on Windows. Shame on you, you left it out! :(

  61. 61

    I’ve got HomeSite (Macromedia) open and running right now…

    Suggestion for an article: Database management applications. I use the God-awful phpMyAdmin for my MySQL databases, but there *has* to be something better. Smashing?

  62. 62

    @Ross (#13) I use PHP Designer 2008 (6.02) and it’s got loads more features and improvements over the free (5.02) version… And Michael’s generous with his licensing too… Each license covers you at work and home (last time I read the terms anyway).

    It’s got live syntax checking, and will offer completion for all variables/functions (php and user/library defined) and show the function parameters & desc in the suggestion list etc… Great for when you’re using classes and libraries. It has tonnes of features, these are just the ones I like best.

  63. 63

    stefano picco

    May 7, 2008 2:37 pm
  64. 64

    A third vote for Karlis Blumentals’ Webuilder. I’ve been using it for a good few years now, have flirted briefly with Dreamweaver, Nvu, HTML-Kit, Notepad++, etc. but I come back to Webuilder every time because it allows me to code faster and better.

  65. 65

    Steven Clark

    May 7, 2008 2:58 pm

    I’ve used HTML Kit for about the last four years but also Aptana Studio…

  66. 66

    Good article, but I don’t think it does justice emacs. It just barely touched the tip of the iceberg on emacs’ features.

  67. 67

    I can not, I will not, live without CSSEdit. The only feature it does not have is the ability to drive a live preview of firefox, ie7, and ie6 in addition to it’s built-in webkit (safari). I just won’t develop without it.

  68. 68


    May 7, 2008 3:35 pm

    I love Smultron! I believe you can still download the older versions for Mac OS X Tiger (I’m using 3.0.2). It is great. I recently discovered the project feature… makes theme development a lot easier.

  69. 69

    Bob Durtschi

    May 7, 2008 4:05 pm

    “I miss Crimson editor”

    I’m puzzled why you miss it. I just downloaded it last month and have just finished a heavy round of editing with it.

  70. 70

    I started with PICO, then Notepad, but for the last several years I’ve been using Dreamweaver’s code view.

  71. 71

    I currently use Eclipse (the PDT plugin). I like it.
    But I’m considering starting to use Notepad++ with some plugins (folder browser and some more).

    Nice list, btw! =)

  72. 72

    Another vote for e-texteditor!

  73. 73

    JR Westbrook

    May 7, 2008 5:10 pm

    Ah, you saved the best for last! ;-)

    If you take the time to learn vim, you will forever appreciate it. You will be able to work so fast your fingers will catch on fire.

    Ouch! I gotta run put these fingers out.

  74. 74

    Nice list.

    If you’re into actionscript, try Sepy. It can also be used for other languages like CSS, XML etc.

  75. 75

    notepad++ for Windows rocks especially for the price (free!)

    If you’re a CSS developer on Mac, cssEdit is worth it. I thought the idea of a text editor just for css sounded silly, but it totally rocks.

    I use Coda on mac, but am finding TextMate more useful. Coda still doesn’t have code folding/collapsing! That should be a no-brainer for any code text editor! a major oversight and downright annoying!

  76. 76

    Justin Young

    May 7, 2008 6:19 pm

    sorry ,my wrong ^_^.

    EditPlus in the bottom of article. .

    Also a error here——a firend form Chinese(China)。 I hate my poor English. 囧rz~

  77. 77

    It’s hard to believe that Zend Studio wasn’t in this list. How could a list of 35 … yes 35… editors be put together without including this? Was there a price point that you didn’t want to cover?

  78. 78

    Lucas Clements

    May 7, 2008 6:36 pm

    Fantastic list with some fallen faves (Homesite) for good measure. I was raised on the Notepad mentality of coding and still think it is the easiest way to test if a potential programmer “sees” the code or just knows how to drag and drop. Edit Plus is still one of the best out there and what I naturally gravitated to throughout the years. Notepad ++ is what I currently use the most with shell integration with Subversion (SVN) from the file browser. Compare functionality built in has proven valuable and its speed and customization keep me opening this program daily

  79. 79

    On the Windows platform, another vote for the guys (WeBuilder and RapidPHP). I spent close to two years looking for a replacement for Homesite, trying virtually every IDE I could find. Finally found it in RapidPHP at less than half the price of (outdated) Homesite. WeBuilder is very similar, but more rounded in scripting languages it supports.

  80. 80

    Lucas Clements

    May 7, 2008 6:43 pm

    Fantastic collection of editors. I was raised on the programming mentality that the only way to learn is through notepad – you need to “see” the code rather then drag and drop. The favourite overall would be EditPlus – Fell in love since the late v1 and still use it. My current editor of choice is Notepad++ – Excellent speed – not bloated. Great shell integration with Subversion (SVN) in mind and a compare utility that has come in useful more then once or twice.

  81. 81


  82. 82


    May 7, 2008 6:49 pm

    I mean, are you kiddin? where’s SciTe and FlashDevelop?

  83. 83

    Eclipse should have been #1. Granted it is bigger than the others, but can do nearly everything, justifying the size.

    It rules.

  84. 84

    I’m using the Windows remake of Textmate — Intype. Really happy with it, does all the PHP, JS, XHTML and CSS need and looks less cluttered and bloated than most others.

  85. 85

    EditPlus. If you are a Windows users, check it out. It’s incredibly light, pleasant to look at and work with and supports ‘millions’ of languages (user supported community).

  86. 86

    Another fan of Eclipse PDT, although Notepad++ is great for quick edits when you don’t want to launch Eclipse.

  87. 87

    James Mowery

    May 7, 2008 7:55 pm

    Where exactly is the “review” portion at? You simply posted information about each text editor. There was little “review” to this post. Very misleading title. Very disappointed.

  88. 88

    SourceInsight is missing here.

  89. 89


    I’ve been teaching Dreamweaver for 5 years and I have decided to stop based on the fact that I stopped using the WYSIWTF features all together 3 years ago, I have no interest in SPRY, and many of the menus changed in the last release. I still use it as an editor for it’s search, code collapse, and FTP capabilities, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be switching to one of these soon. I’ve been using Eclipse for AS3 development and I will be looking into the Eclipse based tools here first.

  90. 90

    Definetely PHP designer for me! Great for php, but also for normal XHTML and CSS. However, a great list, thanks!

  91. 91

    No Aquamacs? That’s what I am using.

  92. 92

    Nice list. Again no review. Why not add pros and cons for each editor?

  93. 93

    In the poll i missed coda :)

  94. 94

    this is a great list, but I think Eclipse should have been at least mentioned. You mentioned Aptana, which is relatively new, but at the same time, Aptana released an Eclipse plugin. I’ve used a lot of editors and I think Eclipse is the real one out there for complex jobs (it has support for literally anything). Of course, not the regular editor for small html/css corrections

  95. 95

    Been using UltraEdit since 2001 or 2002, haven’t found anything better yet. Such a wonderfull tool.

  96. 96

    Before switching to vim I used 1st page (by evrsoft) and Arachnophilia.

  97. 97

    I hoped to find a review of ConTEXT here. I hope you will do it next time.

  98. 98

    Great list, will be helpful to pick a decent text editor for linux (am going to buy an asus eee for train commute editing!!)

    For windows i use intype – such a light weight – fantastic little thing – its still in alpha but functionality what is available is just killer – really good!!! I love the multiple selecting / block selecting and then editing!

    There are add-ons what other have written – pretty much a library available for all modern languages.

    And on the mac – i use text mate.

    Keep up the fantastic work guys.


  99. 99

    I use Zend Studio. Great list by the way !

  100. 100

    Thorvald Neumann

    May 7, 2008 11:48 pm

    Mac: TextWrangler and CSSEdit
    Win: TopStyle and UltraEdit

  101. 101

    I can’t believe noone mentioned Editpad Pro yet. I think it’s one of the best kept secrets in code editors on Windows, yet I hardly ever see it pop up in lists like these. It’s a very complete editor, with lots of cusomisation options, and has an excellent search function. It supports FTP, projects, source highlighting, intelligent text editing, regular expressions and lots more.

    I would’ve loved to see Editpad in this list. It’s a shame a sophisticated piece of software like that gets overlooked.

  102. 102

    +1 Eclipse
    +1 Notepad++

  103. 103

    I was a long time user of editplus, it’s still really nice, but a few months ago I switched to e-texteditor and I will not go back. It has certainly increased productivity.

    I also use FlashDevelop for actionscript programming, it has intelligent code completion.

  104. 104

    Thorsten Schmitz

    May 8, 2008 12:27 am

    Notepad++ under Windows
    Bluefish under Linux

  105. 105

    PSPad get’s my vote here…been through most of these editors (PC) and sticked to this one, it’s lightwieght, with all the options that matches other editors and more…Also would like to say that i liked UltraEdit (not freeware) and Aptana (not so llightweight IDE)…pspad gets it on guys…

  106. 106

    I’m currently using intype for windows, its currently in alpha release but the simplicity of it all is just fantastic – again the editing power in the alpha release is just lush!!! Nothing has a scratch on this – can;t wait for the final release – but still very usable – people have been developing add-ons and have a fairly decent library for languages.

    Keep up the great work SM!


  107. 107

    MacVim looks great. Thanks a lot for the tip!

  108. 108

    SciTE is my favourite. You missed it in the list. :-(

  109. 109

    Daz Fuller

    May 8, 2008 1:09 am

    I’ve tried a number of them including Notepad++ but nothings ever come close to PSPad for me

  110. 110

    I missed PHPDesigner in that list. Love that program.

  111. 111

    The free, lite version of Top Style is a charm for my CSS needs..highly recommended!

  112. 112

    WeBuilder or RapidPHP could have got a mention, at least good to see few guys have mentioned it in the comments. I personally have used Rapid PHP for a very long time and counting backwards; Top style, PHP Designer, Dreamweaver(mainly at work) and of course EditPlus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    At the moment I use Aptana- brillint tool!! Notepad++ for some things

  113. 113

    My all time favorite text editr (for Windows only) is Twistpad. Clean design, fast, you can add any syntax you would like (it comes with a lot of them), suports Unicode, spelling, file comparizon, projects and workspaces, Find In Files, spelling… Well anything I ever needed is there. Check it out.

  114. 114


    May 8, 2008 2:43 am

    Coda is the best!

  115. 115

    I started with Notepad++ but moved on to PHP Designer which is a PHP IDE with great support for CSS! :)

  116. 116

    great article! but i really miss PHPDesigner

  117. 117

    Coda is amazing. It has saved my company so much money and made me a whole lot more productive, all while being totally fun. Give it a try!

  118. 118

    I’m glad you didn’t forget HTML-Kit!
    This software is lightweight, fast and highly customizable (show me another editor that offers 400+ plugins like HTML-Kit !). Just brilliant!
    I use it since years and absolutely love to work with.

  119. 119

    Aaron Corcoran

    May 8, 2008 3:59 am

    The one problem I have with Notepad ++ is that it has a maximum filesize. If it were not for this limitation, it would be almost perfect =). Ultraedit or V both allow me to open extremely large text files (such as .dat files we receive from mainframes that are 1-14gb.

  120. 120

    I agree with #114, I use EditPad most of the time, it’s great :)

  121. 121

    I have tried most of these but not quite all. My current favorite: PSPad!

  122. 122

    Win: HTML-Kit (-becoming HTML-Kit (Tools)), UltraEdit; TopStyle for CSS
    Mac: BBEdit; CSSEdit for CSS

    + Firebug, Web Developer, HTML Tidy plug-ins for Firefox on both Mac & Win.

    (FWIW, FTP: WS-FTP-Pro (Win) & Transmit (Mac) )

  123. 123

    Good list. Notepad++ is definitely my favourite Windows editor, but Scite should have been on the list too.

  124. 124

    I have to add a vote for EditPad Pro. It has built in and customizable syntax highlighting, it can open huge files, it can edit files in binary or text, it can fold code sections, regular expression searching, spell check, easily convert between Windows/Unix/Mac text files, and more.

  125. 125

    You people should title your articles approriately. These aren’t reviews, it’s a list of features in these editors. You shoud label the article as such!

  126. 126

    Jake Rayson

    May 8, 2008 5:16 am

    +1 for Notepad2. It uses the same Scintilla core as Notepad++, so shares many features such as column select and syntax colouring. But designed to be lightweight, single window and not as extensible.

    Also, I use Bluefish on Linux with Gnome.

  127. 127

    I missing IntelliJ. A powerful editor, based on java. Available for linux, mac and windows.

  128. 128

    If you are a win user Intype is the best. Defenitely.

  129. 129

    how can the author know what YOUR priorities are? Scan the reviews – look for features that are impt to YOU, and rank them yourself.

  130. 130

    Josh Blair

    May 8, 2008 6:09 am

    I’ll second EditPad Pro. Awesome regex support and many customization features.

  131. 131

    Aptana has way more features than mentioned (now it looks poor compared to UltraEdit):
    – both Aptana and Eclipe (as someone already said Aptana can be installed as a plugin for Eclipse) have unicode support
    – Aptana can utilize Eclipse extensions, so features like CVS synchronization are available for it as well.
    – Commercial version (or old free beta versions) supports SFTP
    – Aptana supports PHP (via plugin)
    – Commercial version has a debugger for Internet Explorer

  132. 132

    Is the main difference between Context and UltraEdit the fact that Context does not have an FTP facility built in? Anyone, please comment on this question

  133. 133

    For java: netbeans, everything else in emacs ;)

  134. 134

    The best is HTMLPad 2009 editor, lightweight, fast, powerful. It’s all you need.

  135. 135

    I’m using Coda since a year and there’s no comparison in my eyes. I used Textwrangler, SubEthaEdit and Textmate, but they all have this nerdy feeling of hardcore coders. Well, I’m a hardcore coder, but I like the look and feel of Coda so much. And it’s damn easy to use. The included FTP client makes working extremely comfortable.

  136. 136

    Funny, I came up with a new acronym yesterday instead of WYSIWYG, it ought to be:
    WYSITCYG, which could be What you see is the code you get, or What you see is the crap you get, if the editor is in the hands of the wrong person. Keeping an eye on your code view and validation, and preventing unnecessary styles makes all the difference in the world using WYSIWYG, which can be a speedy coding tool.

  137. 137

    Scite is my personal favourite – I can’t believe you missed it.

  138. 138

    I’m using Zend Studio for about a year now. Very convinced about it’s powers, but I’m trying Eclipse aside now. Eclipse has a nice feature for Symfony related projects, to run sf commands in the editor.

  139. 139

    I use HateML

  140. 140

    I use SciTE for PHP / HTML / CSS / JavaScript editing for almost 4 years. Small, Fast, Reliable. Best highlighting engine.
    Minus = No embeded project manager.

    I tried Eclipse, but is too slow and resource demanding.

  141. 141

    EditPlus rocks! :)

  142. 142

    I adore CSSEdit, slick, huge time saver!
    For everything else, Coda all the way! If it had a diff tool, I’d be over the moon.

  143. 143

    Steven Petryk

    May 8, 2008 10:31 am

    Man, I used Aptana on Windows, but on Mac it’s VERY broken. And Aptana was the best editor I’ve used, even better than the $100 Homsite 5.5.
    I guess I’ll have to develop my own (NOOOOO).

  144. 144

    I use Gedit and GVim on Linux. Sure, TextMate with its pretty fancy features is very nice, but Vim is really a great editor. Working via SSH? No probs. Delete a line? dd. Finito. Repeating a long variable name? Ctrl+P helps. It’s really a comfortable editor, especially because you’re actually keeping your fingers on the keyboard.

    However, I think that the description of Emacs is a bit lush. Emacs is so extensible, it’s been called an OS jokingly. In reality, it only goes as far as an integrated web browser. No, not just taking any other app. I mean a real, working web browser, in an Editor.
    Of course, that is on the fancy side, but Emacs really is the perfect programmer’s editor, because it is a real fully programmable editor (It’s got a real Lisp interpreter in it).

    A lot of the editors I find are pretty overrated. Sure, they’re good and all, but the really unique, good editors max at 5, 6, 7 or so.

    PS: If you can’t find your favourite Editor there, try hitting Ctrl+F. It’s like magic.

  145. 145

    Using UltraEdit – I’m a C# developer and don’t do much web work. I often work with data files, and UltraEdit’s ability to work with columns (which wasn’t mentioned in the article) can be priceless. I only know of a very few editors that can do that, and UEdit has the best UI of the bunch. The ability to switch to HEX has been a valuable tool, as well. Although I still use VS2K5 primarilly, I have used UltraEdit for C#, as well.

  146. 146

    I know that I am NOT the only Dinosaur out here that uses “Vi”….!!!!

    Or, maybe I am……

  147. 147

    Excellent list of editors! Thanks!

  148. 148

    Another vote for WeBuilder , I switched from crimson editor ( its still availible btw) and have tried a ton and its my favorite.

  149. 149

    Le Marquis

    May 8, 2008 1:53 pm

    Nice overview! Although I really miss the external Flash code editors like Sepy.
    I really wanted to see the pro’s & cons for these Flash editors.

  150. 150

    You have listed Homesite as available for Mac. I have never seen a Mac version of Homesite—I would really like one.

  151. 151

    i’ve been an html-kit user for YEARS and love it! but i’m not above trying out something new. great list, sm!

  152. 152

    For me, TextMate and Coda is GREAT ;)

  153. 153

    Best Smashing Article EVER!

  154. 154

    BBEdit…..lightweight and simple….only way to go…

  155. 155

    A pity it is not available on linux

  156. 156

    @Marco, @dmaphy, @Pete I agree with you. After many years using many different IDEs, I finally settled for Geany.We use it every day at work. It is really fast and stable and has all the features you need. I believe it’s a mistake not including it in this list.

  157. 157

    I’m another fan of EditPad Pro. I’ve tried a bunch of editors, and it’s simply the best I’ve come across.

    It’s killer feature is regular expression support, both for search/replace and for super-flexible syntax highlighting/file navigation schemes. You can download (or create) schemes for just about any file type. I really recommend it. (And the support is great too.)

  158. 158

    Jason Dugmore

    May 9, 2008 12:47 am

    What about Scite? Thats one of the best in my opinion.

  159. 159

    Aptana is based on Eclipse.
    I use EasyEclipse for Lamp, it includes all Languages for website developing and more.

  160. 160

    I use Netbeans 6.1 with jVi plugin, it’s quite good :)
    When I don’t need an IDE I simply use Vi or Textmate (would love a mix between Vi and Textmate).

  161. 161

    netbeans 6.1
    great for java (also jsp and stuff)
    great for javascript (6.1 introduced awesome intellisense for js)
    great for xml, ruby etc
    it even has some support for php but i didnt try that

    it’s pretty heavy but worth trying in general.

  162. 162

    I’ll stick with Notepad++ and Firebug (so easy to use!). But this list is interesting because I really didn’t know about all the others. I may check some of them out.

  163. 163

    I would have liked to see WebDesign by Rage Software. I’ve been using it and I’d like to see how it stacks up against some other programs for Mac.

  164. 164

    I have to agree with the guys mentioning WeBuilder. It’s the best (modern) replacement for homesite. Notepad++ is also nice if you don’t want to spend any money, I still prefer WeBuilder, though.

  165. 165

    The best editor for PHP is Zend Studio . I use it for years and I can’t find better one. Now Zend developed a plugin for Eclipse, but I don’t like Eclipse because isn’t stable.

  166. 166

    Abhijeet Pathak

    May 10, 2008 2:06 am

    Good list…
    Although Notepad++ is my all time favoruite, i recommend NuSpehere IDE for PHP developement….

  167. 167

    I guessed you guys missed out the following editors:
    Adobe CS3(DW)

  168. 168

    Where did you leave Dreamweaver, for anybody doing HTML, CSS it has an excellent code view. I am currently using it for HTML related work and Eclipse PDT for my PHP with JS Eclipse (from Adobe) to help me out

  169. 169

    HTML Kit Very strong editor. What i love is the auto complete feature for coding its like dreamweavers auto complete. And alot of top features the other dont have.

  170. 170

    Coda roxx! Also using CSSEdit MacOS

  171. 171

    Intype rocks !

  172. 172

    what about e-texteditor….that is by far the best editor out in market right now!

  173. 173

    My favorite texteditor is definitely PsPad. It’s free, very powerful, fast and lightwight.
    The only one I’ll try soon is Sublime.

  174. 174

    Don’t forget Bluefish for Linux.

  175. 175

    Find this page while I am looking for replacement for Notepad++, Great & thanks! ( why get rid of Notepad++? because the development community of notepad++ involves many politics.)

  176. 176

    Aptana Studio lo instale pero luego que no lo supe usar lo desinstale, pero vaya sorpresa que me dio, me bloqueo mis otros servicios de FTP y me dio conflicto con otro JAVA
    malisimo en ese sentido
    me hiso perder tiempo encontrando la solucion
    tube que restaurar el sistema

    malo malo malo

  177. 177

    Just what I’m looking for. Trying on Webcoder.

  178. 178

    My favorite is definitly sublime text. If you are waiting for Intype, try sublime …you won’t wait anymore : )

  179. 179

    Editplus rules! I will be checking out a couple of the others mentioned, but editplus handles filesizes most others don’t, has selective column highlighting (since v1 I think), has the speed like nobody’s business, is very lightweight, only has a nagware thing, has the regular expression down pat, text/language highlighting, is very inexpensive…. I’ve used it forever.

  180. 180

    César Couto

    May 13, 2008 7:51 pm

    I’ve tryed almost all of the list, and i’m using notepad++. It’s not the more powerfull, but some of the powerfull IDE are unfortunally to slow when starting. Notepad++ is incredible fast and it fits for me.

  181. 181

    really nice editor, Its very easy to code in these editor

    Edit Plus is most incredible fast and it fits for me.

    Its s better than dream viewer and all the editors………..

  182. 182

    I’ve tried a wide range, and stayed stucked with Jedit – definitely the best for large numberts of document handling ( like websites ) and search&replace power

  183. 183

    i miss scite … the best ever!

  184. 184

    There are for shure many other editors out there, but not to mention SciTE – which runs on nearly all operating systems – is a miss.

  185. 185

    ultraedit and notepad++ are my favourites ;)

  186. 186

    If you work with XML or related technologies (XSLT, Schemas etc.), Oxygen is very cool. Use it daily, well worth the price (although, as a student, I paid the academic price, it may not be worth it if you are paying the full price).

  187. 187

    PsPad rocks.

  188. 188

    Jonny Haynes

    May 16, 2008 6:16 am

    easy – Textmate on my mac, E on a pc – hands down!

  189. 189

    pspad hands down

    thanks for list

  190. 190

    Damn I want Panic Coda for my PC…
    Damn I want a Mac :D

    nice list

  191. 191

    Slickedit is the rolce-royce of editors.

  192. 192

    not mentioned HippoEDIT Link
    very nice editor, with several unique features, fast, lightweight and extensible
    would suggest to somebody editing scripts in different languages or just one good source viewer

  193. 193

    gVIM is great .. i used it for everyday use … and for css editing I used to use Notepad++ because I let my css opened and when I close notepad and open it again it still present with the last document I edited.


  194. 194

    Does anyone have a good recomendation for an interactive PHP editor?

    Right now I use HyperEdit on the Mac. It has no syntax hiliting or much assistance of any kind, but it runs the PHP interactively as you type and displays the output as either rendered HTML or text output. I use it for this feature alone. Before considering a different PHP editor it’d have to do something like this (or maybe have an interactive debugger).

    I also use Aptana and AquaMacs (emacs). Both have nice PHP editing capabilities, but neither lets me interactively test my PHP code in the same way. So I tend to use them for HTML, CSS and Javascript instead.

  195. 195

    I use Geany and sometimes gEdit at work. Oh, and Aptana for javascript because Geany’s doesn’t work well with it.

  196. 196

    SourceInsight not mentioned in the article and only one commenter missed it? It has project management, code navigation, symbol lookup, regex search, project wide replace, rectangular selection… you name it, it is there. And such a small download size too, unlike eclipse or netbeans. Never found a better source code editor for C/C++, Java projects. It is a commercial software though.

  197. 197

    Scite is the best editor ever!!!

  198. 198

    Etienne Savard

    July 4, 2008 9:10 am

    Where is Geany??? It’s a multi-plateform and light editor. Should be included in your list.

  199. 199

    Charles Roper

    July 7, 2008 5:44 am

    E Text Editor really should have had an entry of its own. It doesn’t just “ape TextMate” (it does support its bundles format, though) but actually improves upon it in many areas, with features such as the unique branching undo history, lightweight version control, improved search, a bundle manager for easy bundle installation and so on.

  200. 200

    how could you ever forget and not mention anything about Geany? plz add it on

  201. 201

    phpEdit is my choice
    I wish there will be phpEdit on Mac someday without emulators

  202. 202

    On Linux I always use VIM for code editing, but sometimes I use Kate on KDE. I also use gedit, you can download more plugins.

    On Windows I use Notepad2.

  203. 203

    GridinSoft Notepad and GridinSoft Notepad Lite which is free

  204. 204

    How can you leave out Multi-Edit? Are there any real programmers reading this, besides me? SlickEdit is also very good. No doubt, only two of us use these; as they are quality tools that require an investment of money.

    For real programming, it’s Multi-edit. If I ever learn CMAC I may be able to throw away everything else. With Multi-edit I can code my own plug-ins and recompile the editor with my own add ons. Now that’s an editor.

    My web work is also done in Mutliedit (sometimes I use Dreamweaver for quick and dirty DB work) with TopStyle as the CSS editor.

    My problem with Aptana is it’s bloated. It’s nice, and does some nifty things, however CSS is NOT one of them. TopStyle is better, which sucks as an HTML editor, though.

    I used to use Notepad++ for doing non-real programming. Sadly the author is more concerned with pushing his politics down my throat, and I for one am fed up with techies who think they can preach to anyone on anything; mostly about things of which they are clueless.

    HTML-Kit is poorly designed, and a nightmare to find what you need on the site or in the updates screen

    Notepad2 is great, by the way for quick and easy edits. It’s a very good TEXT editor.

    Fookes software (NoteTab) has lousy customer service, and is another (like HTML-Kit) that feels the need to have an idiotic update screen that seems to be designed for people who work for the company and not for customers.

    Komodo Edit is bloated and crashes frequently. It’s also not very fast, especially when compared to Multi-Edit and Slickedit.

  205. 205

    i use dreamweaver css3. i really love this editor

  206. 206

    Notepad++ da best source editor… )

  207. 207

    I use vim for few years, but on windows I use sublime text editor, the most beautiful code editor, which support Textmate’s syntax, and python plugins

  208. 208

    well , i work with Aptana now …. hmmm … use it 3 months already and i think i found my software. Can do all XHTML , CSS , PHP , Javascript works with it …

  209. 209

    I definitely miss Webuilder 2008 from Blumentals Software. A great Editor!

  210. 210

    I definitely miss WeBuilder 2008 from Blumentals Software. A great Editor!

  211. 211

    I came from UNIX world, and was used to the power and flexibility of stream editors and other commands in UNIX such as sed, awk, grep, wc, lex, yacc, etc.

    when I started working in Windows, the first thing I did was to try to find something similar in Windows. perl is good, biterScripting is good. Both provide excellent scripting ability and both can run in batch mode or in real-time, and both can process documents from the web, your company’s network, and on your local computer. Above all, they are rather intuitively simple, so you can get started fairly quickly.

  212. 212

    You missed Webuilder(Win)

  213. 213

    crimson editor its simple

  214. 214

    I Have A Read

    April 18, 2009 2:30 am

    Notepad++ rulazZzzzZ, purely written C++. efficient speed, stabilty and highlighting for all popular programming languages. invicible editor on the world…

    No Notepad++ developer, im only user.. :P

    summary: speedy, “full open source (C++)” source code editor for Win32…

  215. 215

    I use the danish “Stones WebWriter 4” which does html, javascript and css. I have used it for many years, but for large projects I use XSitePro v.2 which does the css automatically. It makes webdesign easy for internet marketers.

  216. 216

    Frank de Jonge

    April 27, 2009 2:08 am

    I didn’t read all the comments and it’s an old post but still… I enjoy using ZDE. the build-in object thingies help me get around all the time!

  217. 217

    Daquan Wright

    June 4, 2009 10:01 pm

    My favorite code editor is Notepad++.
    Right now I’m experimenting with Netbeans IDE as an integrated development environment, seeking out powerful software that generates nothing more than repetitive tasks. I enjoy hard coding because I’m a new comer and I see the value in it now, so I just look for simple applications that are highly extensible.

  218. 218

    JEdit for notepad duties, Eclipse/Aptana for everything else.

    The killer feature (for me) in both is the ability to remap keybindings so I can use ijkl (modified by ctrl, alt, shift) to navigate the document.

    Also cross-platform is critical.

  219. 219

    casey provost

    July 13, 2009 10:34 pm

    I am incredibly surprised that E-Text Editor was not mentioned in this list. It is the functional equivalent of textmate. but for windows.

    • 220

      E-text Editor was mentioned right between the lines of textmate. Check their review on “Textmate” again.

  220. 221

    For linux if all you want is a simple configurable text editor nano is great.

  221. 222

    Komodo (Mac)

    Simple, powerful, great… Replacing Crimson editor (PC)

  222. 223

    Impressive list. Included every editor I used or even heard of (with the exception of SciTe).
    My favourite is EditPlus. But I usually works with Eclipse which is a very impressive and multiverse environment for developers.

  223. 224

    I have tried many other editors and still WeBuilder is the best code editor, fast and clean.

  224. 225

    Robert Len Stallard

    September 17, 2009 11:44 pm

    Another vote for WeBuilder. It is great for all modern Web languages. I also use PSPad for heavy text-based work. Currently I’m learning Aptana since I can use it in Eclipse integrated with Flex Builder and the IDE. I too have used many others including (but not limited to) HomeSite, TopStyle, NoteTab, NotePad++, JEdit, NetBeans (not mentioned here), Arachnophilia, HTML-Kit, and many otehrs I can’t remember right now. WeBuilder and PSPad are also great because they are very light on resources, load quickly and are continuously updated.

  225. 226

    Didn’t the developer who made smultron stop supporting it?

  226. 227

    Heh, I guess at the time this article was compiled not many people had heard of the absolute king of all (commercial) code editors: SlickEdit. Now there’s a power tool you can really feel was made by programmers for programmers.

    • 228

      No wayyy!! it was made by “programmers” ?? i thought my cook made it for lunch

  227. 229

    sir i am working in fedora linux on client server program.
    all i need a software that link the web page to the fedora terminal.please help me.
    thanks in advance,

  228. 230

    Hi, I forget the name of a text editor with built-in script language (c-like) for text processing.

    If you know the name, please send me a note,


  229. 231

    Notepad++ owns all

  230. 232


    August 10, 2010 4:11 pm

    @ Adobe where it belongs, there are far stronger programs here, not to mention netbeans, which blows away I mean are you even serious hopefully you know by now, but Adobe is featured here with its Homesite, but If A program has pug -ins that handle different languages with colors, and code completion, what do you need, and so many of these programs are free, why would you want to pay? Makes no since since most programs also have the ability to sign on via Ftp. Think man, and if you have any extra money just write me and I will tell you where to get your gear and how to use it, for no price, sick.

  231. 233


  232. 234

    On Windows, HTML-Kit is Great; otherwise, Vim or Emacs are full featured IDEs.

  233. 235

    On Windows, HTML-Kit ……….i like it

  234. 236

    Bluefish is pretty cool i prefer it to notpad ++

  235. 237

    haha he wrote VIM.. buhahahaha

  236. 238

    Webuilder… lightweight and complete

  237. 239

    This is a very thoughtful rundown of editors and their features. Thank you for that!

    I’ve used a number of these. I NEVER see Arachnophilia in lists like this, and that’s a shame. It’s a very capable editor, and possibly the best thing about it is that the user can customize it fairly extensively and very easily. I’ve run it in Windows and Linux, and I’m about to install it on an old Mac Powerbook G3. Whenever I choose, I can transfer my customized code snippets and all my preferences not just between same-OS computers, but between platforms. How cool is that?

    Arachnophilia does what it does. It doesn’t have content management features like Eclipse or Quanta+ (both of which are excellent, and fairly complicated because they are tasked with much more work). It does more than your brief description indicates, and in all fairness you don’t have room to give a complete description of all these programs. But what Arachnophilia does, it does exceedingly well.

    One editor you missed that is well worth mentioning: Bluefish. Look it up. Definitely worth a try.

  238. 240

    Occasionally I look around for new programming text editors, but I keep coming back to Notepad++. It is nice to see that many other share my view. I’ve spent years trying to wrap my mind around Vim. No luck. I’ve used PSEditor for several years and I have used about half of the editors here one time or another. Notepad++ just seems to satisfy me in most ways. The only other editor I regularly use is Python’s IDLE editor.

  239. 241

    Didn’t you forget PHPStorm ?

  240. 242

    Anton Karminski

    December 9, 2011 11:24 am

    I’m using PSPad for web-development about 3 years. Unfortunately it has some bugs and only one developer which can’t or doesn’t want to fix them.

  241. 243

    I use CodeLobster or Notepad++ in my Windows, and GEdit or Geany on my Ubuntu machine. And I love using CodeLobster it’s simple but powerfull IDE I thing…

  242. 244

    The less buttons, the better editor.

  243. 245


    May 9, 2012 6:42 pm

    I’m still looking for a new editor even after reading this article!

  244. 246


    May 11, 2012 7:05 pm

    I love using sublime text 2 on my mac. Pretty neat!

  245. 247

    Sublime Text 2, the fastest and most incredible code editor..

  246. 248

    Rod Macfarlane

    January 19, 2013 10:57 pm

    I don’t really care what your favorite editor is!
    While it makes sense to have a standard interface in the physical world (e.g. motor-car with clutch, brake, accelerator etc).
    With the abstraction of keystrokes, languages and key-bindings, the editor should accept my (standard definition of) key-bindings overlayed on a default or preselected set.
    I wish everybody who made an editor would give them a standard ‘plug-in’ facility for my key-strokes.
    I don’t rally have time in this life to learn every other editors key-stroke set and/or amend its key-bindings.


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