Top 3 Windows Text Editors for Developers

EditPlus ScreenshotDo you have a favorite text editor? Text editors have come a long way from the basic note taking software years ago (or Windows Notepad). A good text editor today can double as a development environment for almost any web project. Here’s a look at three text editors that rise to the top in terms of functionality and ease of use (mostly).

#1. Notepad++ by Don Ho. Despite its unfortunate name choice Notepad++ (don’t confuse it with Window’s Notepad), is an open source full featured editor. It supports many languages such as PHP, Javascript, Python, Perl, C and even Matlab. There are many third party plug-ins available that help customize the functionality to specific projects or tasks such as changing tabs to spaces or CSS navigation. The downside to Notepad++ is that it isn’t the most intuitive interface. But once you figure it out you have a powerful editing tool in your hands. The best part? It’s free under the GPL license which is why it is #1.

#2. UltraEdit by IDM Computer Solutions, Inc. UltraEdit (UE) is a commercially developed editor and development tool. It is designed specifically to use syntax highlighting and code structuring for many languages by default and any language using custom syntax files. In addition it provides project specific functions for web developers like syncing remote and local sites, command line scripting, and file versioning. It has won awards and is the default editor for some government developed programming tools. UE takes the #2 spot in part because of its optional bundle program UltraCompare (UC). UC integrates with UE to provide Unix-like diff file comparisons (only these are graphically pleasing). The disadvantage to UE is the price. Version 18 is currently listed for $59.95. It is however, the only one of these editors that is available for Linux and Mac OS as well.

#3. EditPlus by ES-Computing. A second commercial option is EditPlus. Just like UE it offers syntax highlighting for most web development languages like PHP, HTML, Java, Perl, Javascript, Python and Ruby on Rails. It also supports custom syntax files for specific languages that aren’t included by default. The integrated web browser makes previewing files on the web seamless – no switching back and forth from the browser – making editing easier. Simple HTML files are a breeze with the toolbar that inserts syntax for many common formatting tags. A little less pricey than UE, a single user license costs $35. Multiuser pricing is available.

Back to the original question, do you have a favorite text editor for your development projects? What would you have chosen to be the top three?