Keith Smiley | About | RSS | Mastodon

The 'Best' Text Editor

I'm tired of people asking about the 'best' IDE for xyz purpose. The answer to this question is there is no best. The answer is always 'it depends.' Not only does it depend on what you're doing but more importantly it depends on you. It depends on your work flow. It depends tons of other indiscernible factors.

It seems like people think they work in exactly the same way as enough other people. That asking this question will yield a useful result. The truth is that there are far fewer text editors than people who need text editors so it's impossible not to overlap with someone. We misconstrue this overlap in thinking that now this person knows exactly what we want. In reality they just happen to share some arbitrary subset of the way we work and therefore ended up with the same text editor.

So how can you decide which editor is best for you? Try them. This sounds obvious to you? Good, this article is not for you and you can safely leave now. These days text editors are either free, cheap or have trials. So download them all try them out and see if they make sense to you. Weed out the ones you really hate or the ones that crash and spend a little more time with the remaining editors. Some, like Vim, you may have to spend a little more time with to grasp but this still doesn't seem like a high order.

But please stop asking questions on StackOverflow and similar sites where you expect people to throw their vote into the hat for the 'best' editor and make a decision for yourself.