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5 Best Cross-Platform Text Editors for Coders

October 12, 2014 9:56 am Leave your thoughts
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Today we talk about the best cross-platform text editors for coders. I have spent some time working with each of them and now I’d like to share it with you. These are the text editors that works on all major operating systems, namely Linux, OSX and Windows.

Brackets

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This one is my personal favourite, Brackets is a text editor that is extremely customizable via its plugin repository as well as any github accounts. Brackets is an editor that you can make yours by leveraging on those plugins.

At the time of this writing, Brackets has supported almost every programming language as well as theming support (yes, very important for some people like myself). One of the best feature of this editor is having a packaged live reload server. Therefore when creating a mock-up design with just plain HTML and CSS, the results can be viewed in another screen immediately without having to reload manually.

The only drawback of this editor is that sometimes it’s very resource consuming when tracking file changes, for example if the project uses ember-cli which rebuilts the output js file on save. Which brings me to the lack of native file exclusion capability, this is available through various plugins but it would be best if brackets can do this natively.

If you want a fully customizable editor, check Brackets.io

Atom Editor

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Built by GitHub itself, the atom editor looks to be very polished. Similar to Brackets this editor is also a native desktop application built on top of web technologies.

It has extensive plugin repository and supports multiple programming languages. Although this is not my main editor yet, this has the potential of replacing Brackets, especially it appears to be consuming less CPU cycle while maintaining smooth UI performance.

Like many of these text editors, atom is still work in progress as well. It’s great to see text editors such as this flourishing. To check out Atom, click here.

Light Table

LighttableThe text editor born out of a kickstarter project. This editor looks very promising with its lightweight interface and support for multiple programming languages, just like brackets and atom.

Where this editor differentiate itself is its use of search function. This editor has minimal amount of icons and drop down menu. Instead it has a search pane on the right hand side of the screen. So if you want to add a plug-in, all you have to do is enter the word “plugin” in the search box at the right hand pane and straight away you will be presented with options concerning plug-ins. The same goes with any other operations that you can think of for code editor.

The first time I use it, search pane doesn’t seems to be intuitive as I am uses to the drop down menu and icons, but after a while it became very intuitive. Light table also have support for direct connections to multiple preview servers. Another thing that this editor excels at is the ability to preview the values of your code expressions from within the editor itself. So if you type in a code to show the date, it’s possible to preview it right in the code workspace itself.

This editor is geared for closure and javascript and although it supports multiple languages through its plug-ins repository, I can’t seems to find support for php; which is the programming language that I am using most of the time.

Checkout light table here.

Sublime

Sublime textSublime is probably one of the most well known code editors around. I think it’s the only text editor so far that can handle huge text files (such as server logs) and remain fluid. Sublime shows the preview of the overall document as well, which is awesome when working with long code files.

Like the previous editors that we talked about above, Sublime has extensive plug in repository and a lot of customisability. The only different with the rest of the editors is that Sublime uses commercial license, not free and open source like the others. However perhaps that’s why they can provide a product of this level of quality.

Checkout sublime text here.

GVim

gvimSo we talked about all the cool editors that was built cross platform with extensive plug-ins and customisability. However I want to remind everyone that we still have a super powerful and customisable editor called vi or vim. It is practically installed in any Unix flavoured operating system.

However since we are talking about God and cross platform including Windows, I’d like to suggest you to try GVim, which has been around for decades and still updated by its community. Being able to code in GVim is very useful, in case you need to do debugging in the server console directly, rest assured that the only editor that you can trust installed by default is the Vi, which is what GVim is based upon.

So if you want to go slightly old school on the new machines, make sure you give GVim a try. With its native support for theming and the use of native desktop environment display library, GVim will look just like any other native editors like the previous four that we talked about today.

Checkout GVim here.

Closing

So there you go, five best cross platform code editors that you can find at the time this article was written. Try them out if you haven’t and have fun! As usual, if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment or two below for each other’s benefits.

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