I have a problem. I love playing with text editors.

It started back around 1996, while working at my first paying job in technology. When one of my colleges saw me working with default MS DOS text editor edit, he took me aside and showed up his text editor of choice, Qedit. QEdit, or just ‘Q’ as we called it in the office, was quick and nimble editor. And watching my boss, use Q was amazing considering how quickly he could open, edit, and save text files. It didn’t take long to get me to make the switch to Qedit for my day to day text editor.

QEdit Commands

At my next company, I was looking to replace Q with something that work natively with Windows 95. I found Ultra-Edit, which ran well, had great support for large file support, and introduced me to code highlighting, when I started writing Perl scripts.

Starting in mid 2000s, I made several attempts to try to use Vim as my everyday text editor. After three (3) attempts, I finally was able to get Vim to stick. By stick I mean I could work in the editor without having to actually think about how I was going to get something done. I had finally had just enough muscle memory of the basic commands to get real work done. GVim is my main text editor and favorite when writing code. However, on Windows, I still use UltraEdit on occasion, especially when I want to quickly scan through large data files we exchange with external vendors.

Making the jump from Windows to Mac introduced even more text editors. Over the course of several years, I have used BBEdit, TextMate, Atom, TextWrangler, and SublimeText. I even tried UltraEdit for Mac.

Today, my favorites are MacVim and TextWrangler.

  1. MacVim and Vim. Everyday text editor. Main editor for writing in Ruby.
  2. TextWrangler. Use to view certain text files.

Another editor that seems to be surging again for programmers is Free Software Foundation’s Emacs. I’ve haven’t started playing with it yet, but soon I will be giving emacs a whirl.


– Chris