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  1. #1
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    Why three coding editors are better than one


    Why three coding editors are better than one

    By Tracey Capen

    Like the tools of any occupation, no single computing program fits all needs — even for a specific task. For my work putting out Windows Secrets, I have three text/code editors that I use regularly. Here's a quick review.

    The full text of this column is posted at (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Kathleen Atkins; 2016-03-02 at 17:03.

  2. #2
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    Tracey - thanks for sharing Notepad++ with us all, one of my two favourite code editors.

    My other favourite, also free, is Aptana Studio 3, which has excellent code completion features, and code error flagging. I have heard of problems with Win 10 compatibility.

    As you do, I use both alongside each other, Aptana for the features I have mentioned, and Notepad++ for its spellchecker. Aptana purports to have a spellchecker, but I think that was a development deadend.

    Why pay for an editor?

  3. #3
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    I've used a free open source HTML program, NVU, which can do virtually anything from building a web site to simply writing and coding documents. What is so nifty about it is that it is a WYSIWYG editor. You write your column, article, or web page, in plain English using normal word processing tools in one window and then can toggle to another window which shows you the HTML coding that results. You can tweak the HTML directly from that window and toggle back to see the change it made in your source document and vice versa. It is a useful way to both learn and use HTML, I spent a month with it several years ago and still use it regularly. You might find it useful because you can dump into the text window whatever anyone sends you, already formatted or not, toggle to the coding window and fix code there or fix it in the text window. Either way you end up with a file you can upload directly to a website or webpage. And, of course, you also test it in your browser to see how it appears there - I did that when I first used the program, tested my code with every browser I could find, it helped me easily make things readable in any browser exactly as I wanted them to appear. For what its worth, it also based on the Mozilla Application Suite and is used as a substitute for programs like Dreamweaver, FrontPage and others.

  4. #4
    New Lounger websquad's Avatar
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    "These are a few of my favorite things ...." (from "The Sound of Music") -- and we all jump in the discussion with our favorite text editor, so I'll join the party. I'm a long time user of Notetab Pro, and am currently using "full" version 7.2. I copied the following from their website:

    • multiple-level undo/redo
    • blazingly fast and flexible search & replace tools
    • easy-to-use wildcards for searching (like * and ?)
    • an integrated two-pane outliner
    • real-time word count (NoteTab or Microsoft Word method)
    • text statistics for SEO (HTML code automatically ignored)
    • support for HTML5 and CSS3
    • support for Twitter’s Bootstrap toolkit
    • syntax highlighting for HTML, XML, and CSS files
    • a multilingual spell checker and thesaurus
    • customizable menu shortcuts and toolbars

    A trial download is free, and worth an hour or so to investigate. I've been using it for longer than I care to remember (15 or 20 years), and have coded thousands of web pages with it.

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    I use UltraEdit Studio from IDM software. It can be simple or vastly more capable than my little brain can handle. I purchased a lifetime subscription a very long time ago, so I cannot relate to cost. I also have its sister/brother program UltraCompare with the lifetime upgrades and support. It's handy, but I would not recommend it unless you have a specific need to compare file contents.

    I cannot honestly say that UEStudio is better or worse than the others mentioned because it is so good that I've never had to try any others in many years. In addition, their support has always been kind, personal, and excellent.

    I have no affiliation with them other than being a happy customer. :-)

  6. #6
    3 Star Lounger
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    I'm a big fan of Notepad++ because it has decent spell-check.

    I write for online uses where word-processing software can add a lot of garbage code. I can write and then paste it directly into Wordpress and similar for posting.
    I also use ProWritingAid as an online Grammar checker (theres a free version but I've paid for the inline editing features)

    For web page editing, I usually use Dreamweaver, but thats pricey and left over from when I did a lot more custom work. So much easier to use Wordpress.

  7. #7
    4 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of Nick Bradbury software--I consider HomeSite to be the best HTML editor ever. So Nick's TopStyle was a natural companion once CSS became important, and a good successor when HomeSite's various new owners buried it. However I don't know if it'll still be useful next decade, since current developer Stefan van As announced ~6 months ago that he was stopping development.

    If any of you use TopStyle mainly for CSS work [its original purpose and still main strength], a possible future replacement might be Style Master from WestCiv. It was a close call for me between TopStyle and it early last decade--but I haven't looked at it since other than to confirm it's still in development.

    My web dev needs are simpler these days, so I use MS's free Expression Web. It's nice for the price, the dual code/WYSIWYG view is very handy for quick tuning and checking.

    My main text editor for 15+ years has been EditPlus. It serves all sorts of simple productivity functions for me and is the main daily resident on my second monitor. Not saying it's better, just fwiw.

    Also fwiw, the cleanest HTML I've produced in large frequent quantities [over 100k words / week] was with MS Word. Yes, really. Can't beat Word's tools to produce good text and styling, and then a bunch of simple VBA macros will give you the cleanest HTML when you save as a text file.

    I did a bit of research 6 months ago into text/code editors, and what I came up with as worth trying were:
    Textroom [aimed at writers]
    Windows 10 Pro x64 1607; Office 2016 (365 Home) x32; Win Defender, MBAM Pro

    ASRock H97 Anniversary; Xeon E3-1231V3 (like i7)
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970; 12GB Crucial DDR3 1600
    Logitech MX Master mouse; Roccat Isku kb

  8. #8
    Lounger patdrummond's Avatar
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    Notetab Pro a great text & HTML editor

    Quote Originally Posted by websquad View Post
    [B][I]"These are a few of my favorite things ... Notetab Pro, and am currently using "full" version 7.2.
    I too am a long-time fan of Notetab Pro and consider it the best money I ever spent. For coding such as HTML, you need the full version so code is colour-coded and indented. I still use Dreamweaver for big jobs, but for small edits I use Notetab Pro (6.2/fv) because it's simpler and faster. I created a library for each website containing functions to load a file, insert HTML, open the file's folder, start the FTP program, start AgentRansack set to search using highlighted text, and much more. I can quickly create an entire business page by copying all the information from an application form into a template. I can view the page in browsers with a click. I run the portable version from an SD-card on another device. There's an addon for testing code which I should use, so am going to try out Netbeans Thanks for this article.

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