Programming editors, also known as source code editors, are text editors that are specifically designed for programmers or developers for writing the source code of an application or a program.
Most of these editors are built with useful features, which may include colour syntax highlighting, auto indentation, auto complete, bracket matching, syntax check, plugins, etc., to effectively support the users during coding, debugging and testing.
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Notepad++ is a popular and widely-used editor loaded with features to make the users' programming more productive, including syntax and brace highlighting for many languages, search and replace using regular expressions, macro recording, and playback.
It is also highly configurable through plug-ins, has a wide range of themes and offers multi-language support. Other features include color source code printing, auto-completion, multi-document and multi-view, drag and drop, syntax folding, bookmark, ASCII art display and more.
A plugin manager is included in the program showing the installed and available plugins. The installed plugins include Compare, Document Monitor, MIME Tools, NppExec, NppExport, Spell Checker, etc. Installation of the available plugins is made user-friendly, just tick the items the users need and click the 'Install' button. Some other Notepad++ plugins are listed here with their dedicated forums.
As an alternative, PSPad is another programming editor which supports syntax and matching bracket highlighting for most popular languages. It has a hex editor, macro recorder, FTP client and other common features.
PSPad works with projects and provides extensions for scripts, user converters and syntax definition. It allows users to call external programs for different environments as well.
The program has a built-in spell checker but the dictionary needs to be downloaded separately, unpacked and saved in the ".\PSPad\Spell\" directory.
Programming Editors for Cross-Platform
Bluefish is a lightweight yet powerful editor running on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It is designed for experienced programmers and web designers, and works as a general-purpose editor as well with the IDE.
This program provides options to write websites, scripts and programming codes in many programming and markup languages. Its user interface is complete with toolbars, dialogs and user-customized menus to facilitate insertion of markups and codes. Line numbers are optional.
Other useful features include cold folding, customizable syntax highlighting, advanced search and replace, multiple projects support, integration with external programs to handle advanced text processing or error detection, auto tag closing and matched code highlights for HTML and XML documents, in-line spell checker which is programing language aware and so on.
Kate works as an advanced and easy-to-use text editor supporting scriptable syntax highlighting, indentation and code folding for an amazing number of source files.
The program loads fast and runs stably. It allows for multiple saved sessions, each with numerous files and completes with a spell checker.
Other useful features include line numbers, block selection mode, configurable templates, text snippets, symbol viewers for C, C++ and Phyton, XML completion and validation, export to HTML and a built-in terminal.
If you are mainly concerned about text editing power and not concerned about startup time, try jEdit, a programmer's text editor which provides a huge array of features, especially if the users include the plugin library.
It has all basic features like tabs and syntax highlighting for over 130 languages. Its advanced features include a diff utility, an FTP browser, a powerful macro language, block select, and more.
A bit of a heavyweight, yes, but you can't beat the power. Like gedit, this program is cross platform and runs on Linux, Windows and Mac.
Other programming editors to be reviewed:
- Notepad2, a Scintilla-based text editor with source code syntax highlighting, runs out of the box without installation, and does not touch your system's registry. It is small and fast, but unfortunately lacks the tabbed Windows.
- Vim is based on the UNIX "Vi" editor and aimed at programmers but can be used for many purposes. It supports multi-level undoes, syntax highlighting for over 170 languages and runs on many different OSes. This editor has a learning curve but if you have spent most of your time in the UNIX world and chose "Vi" over Emacs, then it is a familiar face. Sure, Vim is friendlier than the command line Vi, but all the features you are used to seeing are there.
- ConTEXT supports unlimited open files and editing file size, with other features including syntax highlighting for many languages, normal and columnar text selection, file compare, macro recorder, customizable color printing with print preview, etc.
- Crimson, fast in loading and small in size, provides syntax highlighting for programming languages such as C/C++, Perl, Java, Matlab, LaTeX and HTML. Other features include custom syntax support, redo/undo, user tools, macros, spell checker and more.
- Programmer’s Notepad, unlimited number of schemes supported, powerful syntax highlighting supporting both user-defined and built-in schemes.
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