Tools

10 Best Text Editors for Web Developers

In this post, we’re comparing free Atom, Brackets, Visual Studio Code, Notepad++++, Vim, and eMacs text editors, as well as paid Sublime Text 3, BBEdit, Coda, NoteTab Pro, and Webstorm.

July 27, 2021
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All of our web development company experts use various high-quality text editors. It not only speeds up the development process but also allows you to add a lot of functions that will simplify the work even with the most complex code.

There is a large number of text editors to choose from. Some of them are better, some are worse. We’ve put together a list of the best text editors for working with code, in our opinion, considering both paid and free services.

Best Free Text Editors

Atom

Atom is one of the most popular web development text editors and web application company developers. The app is open-source and was created by developers from the GitHub team.

Atom has quite extensive functionality. In particular, the developers have provided the following features:

Atom contains a package manager that provides access to many extensions and tools written by the community and developers of this text editor.

But the main distinctive feature of Atom compared to other modern text editors is its extensibility. Thanks to its well-designed infrastructure, API, and engine, writing your own tools or add-ons for Atom is much easier than for other analogs.

Atom supports the Teletype option (codeshare) so that multiple web developers can build the same project simultaneously. In addition to that, the user can install IDE packages to turn a text editor into a full-fledged development tool or to support diverse capabilities of various development languages.

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is an official text editor for web development from Microsoft, which explains why it is one of the most popular solutions for web developers. According to Microsoft, it has a userbase of 14 million people as of 2021, while Statista reports there 24 million developers worldwide. The service is supported not only on Microsoft OS but also on Linux and Mac. Visual Studio Code has a fairly large set of tools for creating and debugging code.

Microsoft specialists have provided opportunities for integration with other services. One of the prominent features of VS Code is Live Share. It creates the option of joint work on code for several experts. This way, you don't have to pass the code to multiple developers one at a time.

The VS Code functionality also offers auto-completion, GitHub integration, syntax highlighting, and many other useful features. In addition, there is a collection of add-ons that provide an additional set of options and allow app creators for hire to customize the editor according to their needs.

Notepad++

The Notepad++ code editor has become a classic for developers. The first version appeared in 2003 on Windows, and today it is available only for this platform. The program is time-tested and has won its large audience. According to Stack OverFlow research, 30.4% of developers use this service.

A distinctive feature of Notepad++ is its speed. It's really very fast. It works well with various programming languages “right out of the box.” However, this editor is most often used for HTML

Notepad++ supports editing in different tabs. In addition, it allows you to expand functionality using external extensions. For example, you can add syntax highlighting, macros, compiler integration, indentation, and more.

Vim

Vim is considered one of the most powerful console coding text editors available today. It is preinstalled on almost any UNIX. An interesting feature of the service is the ability to fully control it by only using the keyboard. Although, if you prefer to work with a mouse, then of course you can use that too.

Vim is a text editor for developers who have quite a lot of experience. However, if you manage to master it, you will open up new opportunities. You can solve problems with Vim in just a few minutes that would take hours in other programs.

Immediately after installation, Vim is unlikely to surprise you with any features. It will perfectly cope with the text, but for more complex tasks it has to be configured. Fortunately, the program provides a large number of various add-ons, plugins, and options, so the functionality of Vim can become the most extensive among all the services on the market. Another important advantage is the fact that Vim uses only a part of the system memory and loads instantly.

Emacs

This is not just a text editor, but a whole family of editors united by common ideas for various operating systems. This is one of the oldest yet still very powerful editors.

The first release of this editor was for the GNU operating system and it happened 45 years ago. Nowadays, it contains over 10 thousand built-in commands that can help automate work.

The key feature of this editor is self-documenting: each command, variable and internal function have a description in the help library.

Like Vim, it can be expanded with countless add-ons and has a large number of ports on different platforms. However, in order to master it, you will probably need even more time than to master Vim.

Brackets

Note: On September 1, 2021, Adobe will end support for Brackets.

Adobe, known for its solutions for web development agency developers and designers, has also released its own text editor for code called Brackets. Experts from MIT were involved in the development. Brackets is well suited for front-end developers who prefer to work with languages such as Javascript, HTML, or CSS.

Brackets combines a set of standard features (code completion, syntax highlighting, quick editing) and unique options created by Adobe developers. These include:

In addition, Brackets offers front-end developers a good array of settings. Adobe provides adequate support to the programming text editor, regularly releasing a variety of packages. Add-ons are loaded through the Brackets registry.

Best Paid Text Editors

Sublime Text 3

The first paid editor that deserves serious attention is Sublime Text 3. The program is available in both free and paid versions and is present in many top text editors ratings. Supported on Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms. This is a very fast editor that will not take up much disk space and system resources.

In the trial mode, you can use the program for an unlimited amount of time. If you need more functionality, you can buy the full version, which costs $80. The free program offers standard editor features such as code folding, auto-completion, syntax highlighting. 

In paid mode, the updated version of Sublime 3.1 offers the user a lot of useful options, including:

But the most important aspect of Sublime Text 3 functionality is that it can be enhanced with Package Control. Within it, the developer can find a lot of useful applications and add-ons. In particular, you can add debugging tools, additional themes, Intellisense support, and find many other options.

BBEdit

When choosing a paid text editor for Mac, you need to pay attention to BBEdit. This is a very good service for web development firm engineers who work primarily with HTML. BBEdit stands out for its very user-friendly and thoughtful interface. The editor allows you to quickly find and replace regular expressions, and it has a project management function.

BBEdit also has the ability to navigate functions. Syntax highlighting is supported not only for HTML but also for many other languages. Among the features of the editor are:

Bare Bones company, the developer of BBEdit, offers users four versions of the program with different functionality, including premium, which costs between $30–$50. There is also a trial period of 30 days.

Coda

Panic Inc, known for its applications for developers, has created its own text editor named Coda. This service is best suited for professionals who develop MacOS and iOS apps, web apps as well as websites.

Coda offers users a trial version that is valid for 7 days. After that you will be offered the opportunity to purchase the program with full functionality, which costs $99. However, in the case of Coda, there is really something worth paying for as the project is being developed and changed every day. It is a powerful and popular text editor, and its creators made sure that the work done with the program was as convenient as possible.

Coda has an intuitive interface and a fairly wide range of basic functions, including:

Another interesting feature of Coda is the function of opening and managing local and remote documents. The developers have also provided a quick access option. The creators of the service and the community actively support the editor, regularly adding new plugins to the library. Therefore, the functionality of Coda is easy to expand and adjust to perform your tasks.

NoteTab Pro

Fookes Software has been developing tools that make life much easier for developers for 20 years. The text editor NoteTab Pro is one of the best programs released by the company's specialists. The program is so well established that it is used by developers in NASA, FBU, VISA, CIA Hewlett Packard, and MIT.

First of all, NoteTab is focused on working with HTML and CSS. The service offers users the ability to edit scripts, macros, and web pages. NoteTab creators have developed and implemented their own system for finding errors in the code, and each file is opened in a separate panel, allowing you to work with multiple files at the same time. Included with the program is a set of templates.

The Pro version is paid and costs $29.95, but the developers also offer a trial period of 30 days and a free version called NoteTab Lite, which has limited functionality.

WebStorm

Webstorm from Jetbrains is no longer just a convenient and functional text editor that is suitable for both professionals and novices, it’s a full-fledged IDE for JavaScript. The service was initially developed to work with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, but it is also well suited to support other languages, including TypeScript, CoffeeScript, Dart, etc.

WebStorm has the functions of highlighting code, auto add-ons, and searching errors. It is possible to debug client-side, Node.js, and React directly in the editor. WebStorm integrates with GitHub, Git, Perforce, and several third-party code error checking services. Another interesting feature introduced by JetBrains specialists is the demonstration of short descriptions with MDN, as well as the presentation of information about the properties in different versions of browsers.

Overall, it’s the most feature-rich solution for the JS developer as of now, and it is actively maintained and updated.

WebStorm offers a 30-day free trial. After that, you can buy the app. The license price varies depending on how long you use the service - the first year will cost $129, the second year is $103, and then the third and subsequent years cost is $77.

Conclusion

There are many text editors available for developers. Which you choose depends on the specific tasks at hand, the language used by the developer, and their personal preferences. There are also some online text editors on the market, if you don’t want to install anything on your PC.

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