Choosing a text editor is a big deal to some people especially if you're just getting started, and I think it's a good idea to test different editors out and see what works best for you, there are various reasons people use different editors, you have different built-in features, plug-ins, look and style keyboard shortcuts work-flow and a ton of other factors that go into it.
So in this article I simply want to give you my top 5 picks for free text editors and to be clear these are not IDEs or integrated development environments IDEs are much more intricate with extensive debugging, testing, compiling and so on. These are strictly text editors which are what most web developers use, so let's start our top 5 text editors for web developers in 2020.
5. Komodo Edit
Not to be confused with the Komodo IDE because they do have an integrated development environment which is not free, and it's much more robust as it's an IDE, Id have limited experience this particular editor relative to the list on this list of text editors, but what I got from it when I used it was it was extremely simple and it has a very minimal design, as you can see from the image above it looks very minimal which is a good thing, a lot of timeless is more, when opening up something like eclipse or let's say visual studio IDE not vscode it's looks so overwhelming because there's just so many buttons and menu options and sidebars and Komodo seems really straightforward and I think that's what I like most about it.
Komodo edit has something called focus mode which will hide all of the open windows and just display the editor, this limit distractions and lets you focus on exactly what you need to, there's also this big go to anything text box where you can do just that, you can search for files, install plug-ins, open menu items and just about anything else from that one text box and it kind of remind me of vscode command palette, it also has cursor history meaning in addition to redoing and undoing specific actions you can redo and undo where your cursor goes, it also has built-in FTP connection capability so you can connect remotely to servers and update files on your host, it also has built-in browser preview which is always helpful so rather than going outside of the editor and opening your HTML files or whatever you're working on you can preview it through the editor, so I think overall simplicity is the biggest advantage of Komod Edit, although like I said that I do have limited experience with it.
When I use brackets back in the days I loved the like preview feature it works sort of like vs code live server extension except it's built into the editor it opens your HTML files on your localhost I think on port 3000 and any changes that you make when you save in your editor it refreshes the browser and show your changes which is really nice, brackets was the first editor where I actually saw something like this built-in and I really loved it, there are also different themes, the keyboard shortcuts are also very helpful they're easy to use and they can make you work much quicker no matter what editor you use I would highly suggest learning some helpful keyboard shortcuts. All right so that's brackets.
3. Sublime Text
I debated to put sublime text on here because technically isn't free there is a commercial license, but the free version does give you all the capabilities of the commercial version, it's just that every now and again you'll get a pop-up that asks you if you want to buy a license, you also get a little unregistered in the title bar.
But sublime text is awesome I have used it for years, I don't use it anymore but I did use it for years and I think what makes it stick our is its performance it's incredibly fast it's built from custom components and I find it faster than any editor that I've used, in fact I use it now just for like opening quick text files or dot files things like that when I need to open a single file really quickly I use sublime text so it's basically my notepad, and not only that I usually use it for my preview code when I do a tutorial or course I have my simple code outside of the screen where watchers can't see it.
Some other features the command palette it holds infrequently used functionalities like sorting, changing the syntax, finding files... with just a few keystrokes you can search for what you want without having to navigate to the menus or remembering, there's also a very powerful API and package ecosystem it uses a python API that allows plug-ins to augment built-in functionality, package control can be installed through the command palette you can install thousands of packages built by the community.
Now the biggest downside to sublime text in my opinion is I really don't think it's very intuitive and user friendly and you may disagree with me if you've been using it for a while and you know the ins and outs but I think a lot of the features are sort of hidden and I think they can do a much better job of making certain things easier to use including the whole command palette and package control work-flow I believe that that's the biggest negative at least for me but overall it's a very professional and very powerful editor.
Atom in my opinion is of the easiest and most intuitive text editors when it comes to interface, everything is very very self-explanatory, everything seems to be in the right place, customization and settings are easier to change, there's also a phenomenal package manager to extend. I also think atom is one of the nicest looking if not the nicest looking editor some of the themes that are available are absolutely beautiful.
So you have real-time collaboration this is something that's been added since I've used it, it seems really cool for pair coding working with teams and so on, it also has built-in github integration to increase your work-flow when it comes to getting to version control, I'm saying from the perspective of long time ago.
But I think the biggest downside to atom is its performances when I used it on basically a super machine with i7 32gb of ram it was fine but when I tried using it on a less powerful laptop it really lagged and that was a huge negative that at least in my opinion I think that when you use a text editor it needs to just be flawless it needs to fly and atom really lagged behind, I don't know if they fixed it since then, they may have made some improvements, but I think that was mt biggest beef with atom everything else I think was great.
1. Visual Studio Code
I can't really say enough about this editor, it's incredibly fast and intuitive I wouldn't say it's as fast as sublime in my experience but it makes up for it in just about every other area, it's built in tabbed terminal it's amazing and it's one of the features that really pulled me in when I was using sublime and atom you can install terminal plug-ins in a lot of other editors but a lot of the time it really wonky they don't work right, the terminal in vscode is just awesome, I know webstorm is another great editor that has a terminal built-in but I don't believe it's free which is why it's not on this list of text editors, also I don't really have any experience with it but I've heard great things about it.
I think vscode has the best extensions by far I don't care what language or framework you're working in you'll almost always find and extension that does that you need in terms of highlighting, intellisence and snippets much much more, the keyboard shortcuts are amazing and easily customized it makes for you a very fast work-flow.
So that's definitely my number one and I don't see myself using a different text editor quite a while unless they come up with something really cool.
That's it guys hopefully you enjoyed this list again it's just my personal top 5 text editor for web developers, it's not set in stone or anything like that, so thanks for reading.