A list of free text editors with enhanced features

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sometimes having a text editor which would provide enhanced features like syntax highlighting, large size file handling, improved editing functionality, tabbed display and so on would increase the productivity of programmers to a great extent and in that sense I will list some free text editors which are doing a great job in this area, giving a better user experience with their own feature set which would make life easy for any software developer.

These are some of the ones which I use frequently and thought it would be wise to list them to not only for evangelizing, but to list the options you have for selecting your own text editor with extra features, although this list would not be complete with cool text editors evolving time and again, the features and the experience of using these text editors should give you an idea of how far the text editors have come of their age from notepad days.

1. Crimson Editor:

A simple, yet powerful and professional source code editor for Windows, which I use most often, some of the features include syntax highlighting for multiple languages like Java, C, C++ and so on with tabbed display (a defacto standard these days in all applications from text editors to browsers). One can also extend their syntax highlighting feature to other languages using a custom syntax file, although I haven't tried it, it allows extensibility of the syntax highlighting feature for a language of your choice. The text editor loads quickly and lists previously opened files each time you invoke it and automatic reloading from disk enhances the feature set of this cool text editor.

Its name says it all, the symbol ++ has earned its own distinction not only in arithmetic, but also as a super set and this editor justifies the use of ++ quite comprehensively. Though I don't want to get into the individual features of this powerful editor as it it listed in their web and some features are quite common in other enhanced text editors as well, but I love the interface it has, trivial feature as you may call it, the line number display for code still has its influence on programmers troubleshooting code, also I heard from some of my friends that it can handle large files as well. WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) style printout of source code, auto completion feature for popular languages and macro recording makes it my favorite choice of an open source editor, sourceforge rocks!

This editor does more than text edit though, as I mentioned earlier every editor has its own distinctive features which makes it unique, so is the case with this. A very convenient feature is the file system view in the left tab through which you can easily navigate your target file or source, file comparison utility is is a handy feature when you have different versions of source code to identify the changes. Overall, an editor which looks for ways to innovate with browser style features like bookmarking and unlimited undo/redo (looks like there are some who rollback too many changes to their dislike).

This is the text editor for you if you need a free version, but can pay for more advanced features (like spell checker and other customizations) with full support. The award winning editor has a Wordpad like appearance, but with their own extensions and additional features, would offer more, their basic version Notetab Light is a freeware although you can download the evaluation version of Notepad pro to see how it would suit for you.

Though these are my personal choices, the advanced text editor world doesn't end here, for a complete list of enhanced text editors and the features they support, do look at this wikipedia article which has a comparison table of all sophisticated text editors with respect to some standard enhanced features.


Sorrow said...

Try PSPad (www.pspad.com). This is the one I use quite a lot.

Prasanna Seshadri said...

Thanks a lot for sharing this, its really good.

Anonymous said...

try textpad

Prasanna Seshadri said...

Thanks for that.

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