Editor choices through the years?

vgrovestine profile image Vincent Grovestine ・1 min read

First DEV post in a really (...really!) long time, but that's a story on its own for another time.

During my morning skim of Twitter, I came across a string of tweets from various developers regarding their progression over the years from editor to editor. Always interesting to see where people's travels have taken them, so let's give it a go:

// begin late-80s

  1. Atari DOS line editor
  2. Microsoft DOS Editor
  3. Microsoft Notepad, Jove (university studies)
  4. Borland Turbo C++ IDE
  5. Arachnophilia (summer jobs, learning the web)
  6. Allaire/Macromedia ColdFusion Studio (first "real world" job)
  7. BlueFish
  8. NetBeans, gedit (brief, soul-sucking stint with legacy Java support)
  9. ActiveState Komodo Edit (the PHP years)
  10. Microsoft VS Code, xed, Remarkable (operations and "applied" IT)

// end present day

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vgrovestine profile

Vincent Grovestine


Equal parts higher-ed IT, web dev and support; with a dash of freelance consulting thrown in for good measure. (Oct/19: Seeking change of pace. Not afraid to take a step back in order to move ahead!)


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Can't really remember what I used for coding before vi/vim. I started out with the native editors in Trash-80 mod I, II, III, then on the original Apple ][+, then something on an old Altos MPM sytem, then something on the original IBM PC. The last editor I used before vi would have been the REXX editor. Someone subsequently tried to poison me with Emacs, but I was able to shake it off.

And it still gives me the hives when I see people trying to write code in PICO/NANO.


the dawn of time: Windows Notepad, QBasic
~2000: Notepad++
2005: Visual Studio, Eclipse
2012: IntelliJ IDEA (still the best available option for Java imo)
2014: Sublime
2015: Atom
2016-present: NeoVim


I'm curious about why have you left Sublime Text for Atom, and then Atom for NeoVim?


I checked out Atom on the recommendation of a colleague and liked it generally. Native plugin package management was a selling point too.

As for Vim/NeoVim, I had used it in server environments before but started defaulting to it to see whether minimizing mouse usage would be better on my wrist (it is). But in addition to that, normal mode navigation is much faster and more precise than shifting to arrow keys or mouse; I can use the same editor locally and remotely, and it integrates beautifully with command line tools like git or psql; and if I want exactly the same customizations and plugins on a server somewhere, all I have to do is ship my dotfiles up.


My 4(ish) years of progression:

  1. Sublime
  2. Atom
  3. Vanilla Emacs
  4. VS Code
  5. Spacemacs

I cycled through the first 4 a decently quick rate, I've using spacemacs for 2 years now. No intention of going back to anything non-emacs.


I'm curious about why have you left Sublime Text for Atom, and VS Code for Spacemacs?


Borland? Now, where have I heard that name before? Oh no!.


Btw, Atari ruled.

  1. Notepad
  2. Notepad++
  3. Coda + Coda 2
  4. Sublime Text
  5. Atom
  6. VS Code
  7. emacs

I'm curious about why have you left Sublime Text for Atom, and VS Code for Emacs?

  1. Notepad
  2. Notepad ++
  3. Dreamweaver
  4. Aptana
  5. Atom
  6. Brackets
  7. Netbeans
  8. VSCode

for me it was vi -> bluefish -> eclipse -> theai