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Text editor fetishists, unite!

Do you remember my article about the acme IDE?

Well, I admit that I implicitly lied to you when I made the impression that acme would be the last editor you'll ever need. In fact, I am currently using quite a bunch of editors in parallel.

  • acme2k (as described in the article): General purpose IDE/editor at work and when I'm on Linux.
  • sam: Taking multiple notes at work and when I'm on Linux.
  • notepad: Taking single notes at work.
  • Notepad3: Replaced Notepad for me at home (Windows 10) - it supports Perl-compatible regular expressions and I use them a lot.
  • GNU Emacs: General purpose IDE/editor at home (Windows 10).
  • ed: Linewise editor for quick configuration changes on my servers.
  • nvi: A non-intrusive full-screen editor for more complex changes on my servers. (No syntax highlighting, of course.)

Not counting specialized IDEs (because certain things, like Android development and doing stuff with Delphi, require one), that makes 7 - and some of them are changed (ir)regularly.

My first thought when looking at this list was: I need help. But I probably don't - I use it as an argument: Never settle! Embrace what the world of text editors can offer to you. You will never find the Swiss Army knife. Yes, I know, Emacs can do anything (and includes the kitchen sink). Yes, I know, "modern" JavaScript-based multi-gigabyte "text editors" (you can't tell the difference to an IDE anymore, can you?) can do anything as well. Not every problem is a nail though just because you have a hammer...

What is your pet peeve when it comes to software?

(My other one are file managers, but that's probably worth a second article.)

Top comments (21)

xxzozaxx profile image
Ahmed Khaled

Hey, we are quite similar her I use bunch of ediotrs too and they are

  1. Edwood: plan9 acme written in Go
  2. GNU Emacs: for mail, telegram, code and bunch of other things
  3. vi: actually I use a fork of it but they are similar, and it mainly for fast editing and for root editing (edit system files)
thomashighbaugh profile image
Thomas Leon Highbaugh

Strap In, I've considered writing a blog on this very subject cause I got plenty to say.

Software Pet Peeves:
A) People responding inappropiately to questions, its not an NA meeting no offense but I'd rather read Pet Peeves than another train of "In my experience..."

B) Trying to find reviews of software that aren't endless pages of the above or some site that's clearly getting a sponsorship. Sure we all have to live but with that level of SEO crowding out relevant info its going to choke out its own cash cow (oh well no more nomad blogging and 5 minutes of work a day, poor things)

C) Anything GitHub related - the octopussy icon (why they use that thing is that's the joke) irritates me to no end, just as their crappy half unsaid descriptions and awful UI. I have actually gone and had adult beverages at their employee bar (imagine that being a thing at work...) and the people I know there are all prime douches, not helping my opinion of their only-used-cause-everyone-uses-it platform (as a pile of garbage).

D) No Linux Version - Adobe especially, make a Linux version or make your software platform-agnostic PLEASE! I am not blowing money on Apple's over priced hardware and refuse to ever pay Microsoft another dime of my money.Yes VMs are a thing and I use them (thanks for making that easy MS but your OS is still garbage and I paid for it 3 times on one motherboard so you got from me what you'll get). Debian based OSes are easy enough to pick up and configure, if its not a recent and very broken Ubuntu release and a lot of Devs use Linux if they have the humility to work on their own computers ever (sadly not super common in SF) so get with the program and make some Linux versions.

Honorable Mention: Docker Documentation but I will not be able to withhold the colorful language on that front.

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Funny story, I'm more apt to give MS money (though it hasn't happened in years) than I am to give Adobe money. I'm still warm about them DCing Adobe Flash format, and yet still selling the CS6 product to unsuspecting developers such as myself and my company for YEARS after that decision was made...and then demanding more money for an annual subscription on CC if we wanted to keep our years of hard work.

We lost $800 and 3 years of work to that, and I summarily banned Adobe's software from our company. Never looked back.

But I digress. For that reason, I won't use Brackets. But I DO rather like VS Code (which you may disagree, given the GH integration etc etc).

Love me some Vim and Geany though, whenever I don't need all the IDE-style tools.

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald
moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair • Edited

My pet peeves?

First off, and it might sound strange from me as a die-hard vim user, but I don't like the learning curve for a lot of editors-that-think-they're-IDEs. Especially around areas like project management. If I want to edit a file and have to define a new project first I'm always a little miffed with the demand. Then after I get over being miffed I move on to being apprehensive, because I'm not actually sure what the editor thinks it "owns" now, and where some kind of project files might appear and where settings are stored and what happens if I edit a file outside this ecosystem and and and...

Secondly if something like VS Code has (because it's Microsoft...) sucked up all the file associations and started thinking it's the ideal editor for everything from XML to PHP, that aggravates me. Especially as I often don't notice for weeks until I click on something and have to stop for a moment and think, wtf?

Lastly - and I don't mean this passive-aggressively, other commenters - when people don't read the question and turn "what are your pet peeves" into "what editor do you prefer" simply because the title of the post had something about editors in it. We're all veterans of a thousand editor wars.

It's not a race :)

qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo • Edited

I avoid this problem by almost never opening files :)
Have you tried that?

Edit: I mean I just open the program, whether graphically or from the command line, vs using open or xdg-open or clicking files.

tux0r profile image

I have noticed that I should have chosen a better title for my question ... :))

If I want to edit a file and have to define a new project first I'm always a little miffed with the demand.

Yup! Gladly, last time I had that was on Eclipse which I stopped using around 2009...

chitkosarvesh profile image
Sarvesh Chitko

I really prefer the Microsoft's Visual Studio Code for lightweight file modifications.
Comes with a bunch of features. The beauty of it is, you can customize it to act like a full IDE or keep using it as a regular code editor.
The other editor that I like is Programmer's Notepad.
Worth mentioning here is also: Notepad++

tux0r profile image
tux0r • Edited

Visual Studio Code is a good competitor for Sublime Text (although it lacks originality) and I keep an eye on it. But I find its performance unbearable.

chitkosarvesh profile image
Sarvesh Chitko

Oh, I have not faced any performance issues yet. But, just like you, I keep looking for what is better than what I am using right now, and for now.
I will keep looking at the comments, hopefully, I'll find something better too.

sudiukil profile image
Quentin Sonrel

Atom is my main editor/IDE at work and at home.

Vim used to be my main editor/IDE for years but I ended up having to many plugins and config became tedious. I still use it (with a lot less plugins) when I need to edit something quickly (a shell script, a few lines of Ruby or Python...) or when I write compiled languages (C mostly).

kr428 profile image
Kristian R.

Talking text editors, I have to admit I'm currently lost to VSCode as well. Though I dislike this class of applications for several reasons (such as the incredible heavy-weightness of anything coming with Chrome and node.js bundled), I learnt that virtually everything I need to do (Python, Java, puppet configurations, Dockerfiles, docker-compose configurations, JavaScript, Typescript, shell scripts, ...) works well with decent support virtually out of the box with it.

Asides this, for working via ssh on remote systems, I've been vim user ever since and don't think this will ever change, now that I have a sufficient understanding of how it works (and what has to be done in order to leave it again ... :) ).

kungtotte profile image
Thomas Landin

I hop around to try new things fairly often, but I tend to minimize the amount of different tools I use for any given task.

For text editing and coding I limit myself to no more than two tools (same caveat as in the OP: specialized tools like for Android don't count towards this limit). One text editor and one IDE. The IDE can have a slower startup time, since I won't be opening and closing it all that much. If I open it it's going to be open for an hour or more and a few seconds of start-up time won't matter. But the text editor absolutely must start fast, like nearly instantaneous.

I often code in my text editor instead of my IDE, but it's also used for the quick config changes, script edits, etc. and I don't want to wait for it to load in those cases.

I like to tinker and tweak things though, I want to set things up to do exactly what I want and ease my workload. That's what computers are there to do!

So right now my two tools are neovim and VSCode. VSCode lives in that weird place between text editors and full blown IDEs where it's 90% as capable as a proper IDE but with performance closer to text editors (note how I said closer. It's not perfect by any means).

If you do this often or even for a living, there's no excuse for not investing time and energy in finding the right tools for you. It will pay off.

d1p profile image
Debashis Dip

I am a simple man with simple needs 🤓

  • Pycharm for python/Django projects.
  • VScode/sublime text 3 for js/c (Basically anything other that I don't do as a professional dev)
  • vim for quickly editing files on the fly, and whenever I am in an ssh session.

For note taking, I use Evernote as it syncs with my multiple computers and phones.
BTW, If you have something in this category then please give me a suggestion 😜

bauripalash profile image
Palash Bauri 👻

When On Computer Desk :

  • VSCode - for large projects
  • NeoVim - Editing Quickly

I don't usually takes notes on Computer, I usually take notes using Markor and sync them to Google Drive or just use physical notepad and pen

birdayz profile image
Johannes Brüderl

Emacs, and especially Spacemacs as good default config with some tweaks is it for me.

caseycole589 profile image
Casey Cole

The biggest pet peeve I have when it comes to software is performance if something is slow or it it takes more than one second to start up it drives me crazy.

avalander profile image

Most of the time, I use VS Code for coding and Boostnote for taking notes, lists and mostly everything else, mainly because it looks nice and I can write in markdown directly.

scottishross profile image
Ross Henderson

For notes: Notepad for simple notes, Boostnote for the code I want to save for later.
Source Code: Adobe Brackets

But I code mainly in SQL and PL/SQL, so I have to use SQL Developer really.

tusharborole profile image
Tushar Borole

Webstorm for life

jatinkrmalik profile image
Jatin K Malik

VS Code works best for long-term coding sessions, for rest of stuff I pretty much always use VIM.