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Sunday, August 28th, 2005, 1:56 pm

The Perfect Editor

Quanta Plus

Quanta Plus – a Web development editor (click to enlarge)

Two of the most common arguments/wars in UseNet, as well as various forums, are over Linux distributions and favourite text editors, which are very fundamental tools, particularly in development.

There is no ideal text editor. Different editors suit different purposes and a different editor should be used depending the user’s level of skills. Below, for example, are various editors that I use for numerous distinct yet related tasks:

  • NEdit – for editing C and tables (can make rectangular selections)
  • KWrite – C++ due to colours, smart indentation, etc.
  • KEdit – includes a well-integrated spellchecker
  • Notepad – very light
  • Wordpad- rich formatting
  • BBedit (Mac) – much of the above, yet commercial (i.e. expensive)
  • MATLAB editor – colour syntax highlighting, debugging capabilities (e.g. breakpoints) are integrated into the editors, consistency and cohesiveness with the rest of MATLAB
  • Quanta – Web development in KDE – widgets for markup, code generation for tables, and more (see screenshot at the top)
  • cPanel File Manager – editing on server-side using the browser

The bottom line is that there is no best editor (likewise there is no best Linux distribution). Perhaps this explains why there are endless arguments that end up nowhere. A developer would need to use different editors at different times. I can think of 5 distinct types of text editors that I use at the moment: MATLAB, C/C++, HTML and simple (plain) text. even E-mail and newsgroups clients can be considered editors just being themselves, not to mention textareas and forms in the Web browser.

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