4 Most Popular Text Editors For Developers

It’s been decades since we’ve been using cards made with keypunch machines in order to program computers.

Hopefully, we’ve come a long way since then and now we have text editors with which we can write software.

If you don’t know what text editor to use on a daily basis, or you’re just looking to find that perfect one to suit your needs, please read along.

1. Vim

vim text editor neutron dev

Vim is a powerful, portable, keyboard based text editor. Being text-based, it is extremely fast, with an incredible set of features developed over its multi decade existence.

Vim exists on almost all Unix-like platforms and it can be easily installed on Windows.

Pro:

  • Portable
  • Keyboard based
  • Mouse-free interface
  • Supports trackpad
  • Supports SSH terminal
  • Lightweight and fast
  • Plugins/addOns available
  • Supports macros
  • Multiple distinct editing modes
  • Built-in package management
  • Mnemonic and consistent keybindings

If you’re gonna choose Vim to be your daily text editor, it will be a challenging learning curve. You’ll spend a lot of time learning all the commands, plugins and modes supported and tuning them to your needs. But once you got them covered, it will be an unforgettable experience across all your machines.

Download here

2. Spacemacs

spacemax text editor neutron dev

Spacemacs is a text editor which combines the features of Emacs and Vim.

Pro:

  • Combines the best parts of Vi and Emacs
  • Simple and powerful configuration architecture
  • Well written documentation
  • Cross-platform – runs on Gnu/Linux, Mac OS X and Windows
  • Active and supportive community
  • Mnemonic and consistent keybindings
  • Spacebar key can be used as leader
  • Fast-paced development

Spacemacs sometimes has a slow startup time and there are occasions when it would suddenly consume a lot of CPU and can become unresponsive. Of course, this also depends on your computer.

Download here

3. Atom

atom text editor neutron dev

Atom is an approachable and hackable tool you can customize to do anything productively without touching a configuration file.

Pro:

  • Cross-platform editing – supports OS X, Windows and Linux
  • Built-in package manager
  • Smart autocompletion
  • File system browser
  • Multiple panes
  • Embedded Git control
  • Beginner friendly
  • Command palette
  • Multi-line select and edit
  • Instant file switching

There are two important things you must be aware of when using Atom: it has difficulty with larger files and high memory usage. That means it tends to crash or become unresponsive.

Download here

4. Sublime Text

sublime text editor neutron dev

Sublime Text is a lightweight text editor which provides powerful IDE-like features, Python scripting and the ability to customize every aspect of the editor itself, letting users code and refactor with speed and efficiency.

It is available on both Paid and Free license.

Pro:

  • Lightweight
  • Multi-line select and editing
  • Possibility to extend functionalities
  • Beginner friendly
  • Command palette
  • Instant file switching
  • Distraction free editing mode
  • Regex commands
  • Built-in vim-style editing mode

If you use the Free version of Sublime Text you will get a pop-up now and them reminding you to buy the full license. This can be frustrating sometimes, but if you don’t want to spend $70 on a text editor you will get along with it easily.

Sometimes loading big files on Windows is a slow process and it might take several seconds to load a big file.

Download the Free version here

What text editor are you using on a daily basis and which is your favorite one?

Carol Pelu
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Carol Pelu

Neutron Star at Neutron Dev
Carol is a self-taught programmer and founder of Neutron Dev. He enjoys the challenge of programming and helping people understand computers. SpaceX and Tesla enthusiast.
Carol Pelu
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  • Calvin Hansen

    I’ve been using Sublime Text for the last couple of years and I’m very happy with it. I would like to buy the full version soon, just to give a tribute to the author for the awesome work that has done.
    Thanks for this article, Carol, looking forward to many more.

    • Hey Calvin,

      Glad you stopped by, thanks for the kind words!