If you're a programmer (either full time or just on occasion), you know the single most important tool in your work day (or night) is the text editor. Forget the office suite, the groupware suite, or any other business-specific tool - your bread and butter is something altogether different than what the rest of the world depends upon. You need a tool that works with you and offers the special features that cater to programmers who:
- Work with different languages
- Heavily comment their work
- Depend upon syntax highlighting
- Demand speed and efficiency
The list could go on, but most programmers don't have time for long lists, so we'll get to the heart of the matter and see what five different text editors have to offer for the programmers out there.
1. Boxer Text Editor
Boxer Text Editor will set you back $59.99. Is it worth it? If you're looking for a text editor that features: Macros (including a Macro editor), color syntax highlighting/printing, edit files up to 2GB in size, active spell checking, regular expression search and replace, configurable keyboard, Ctags function indexing, and much more - the price of the editor will mean nothing. Boxer is a Windows-only application and has the standard drop-down menu-driven interface. Boxer also has a powerful programmer's calculator, a calendar (that allows you to easily insert dates into your code), and even includes helpful quick-access lists (like Two-letter U.S. State codes, Internet country codes, Hi-Tech stock symbols, HTML tags, and more) and reference charts (like ANSI, OEM, error, and HTML color charts).
Gedit is the official text editor for the GNOME desktop (as well as Unity). Gedit offers support for internationalized text, configurable syntax highlighting, undo/redo, remote file editing, file reverting, print/clipboad support, search/replace, go to specific line, auto indentation, text wrapping, bracket matching, plugin system, and more. The plugin page shows the types of plugins available (which include third-party plugins, like Macro Record and Play, Smart Highlighting, and more). Gedit was created by programmers, for programmers - so it's easy to use, efficient, and gets the job done. It's also free (GPL) and comes installed, by default, on any GNOME-based system.
Twistpad offers the usual features found in code-specific text editors: syntax highlighting, unicode support, active and passive spell check, auto-complete, and more. Twistpad also offers project and workspace management, export to HTML/RTF, document compare, and a handy "Snippets" tool where you can store code as text files (with the .TSF extension) in the Snippets folder. After you've saved your snippets, you can hit Ctrl-J to open the Snippets tool bar, locate your Snippet, and double-click it to insert it into your current code. Twisted is a Windows-only tool and is $19.95 (with a 30-day free trial) for a single-user license and $299 for a site license.
If you've done any programming, you know the importance of a solid editor. With the vast selection of those tools available, it's nice to know there are choices. And if none of these options suit you, there's always the likes of vim, emacs, and a roster of other choices. Somewhere, in the mix, the perfect editor is waiting for your talents to bring it to life.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.