Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

6May/04Off

Their Numbers Are Legion

"Jesus Mother God! Do you know how many fucking text editors there are?!?!" is what I want to shout every time I read someone posting about the woes of typing up their posts in the Movable Type management form. Jesus. You have an internet connection, please get with the program.You do not need to open a word processor to jot down a few hundred words of thinking out loud. This list is a start and not an answer. I'm guessing because the platform I use has a gazillion choices for my text editing needs and I don't really do much work on the other flavors of popular desktop other than fixing them when they (frequently) break.

Windows platform:

Crimson Editor - I've used this before during a brief period of time when I was stuck using a Windows box for way too many hours a day. It has a well engineered balance between simplicity and power. You can click on everything or you can use terse key commands. It also has the usual syntax highlighting and other functions more useful to coders than hunt and peckers but these features don't get in your way. It's free.

Emacs is almost not worth mentioning because a) I have a religious attachment to it and b) if you don't already know how to use it trying to do simple 250 word weblog posts with it is going to more confusing than rewarding. Xemacs is a little more mouse friendly but I often get frustrated with what feels like very arbitrary changes in the way things work. I will never make the mistake of importing my .emacs files into this editor again.

jEdit is another editor that I like a lot. Again, there's alot of complexity and choice beneath the candy shell and it looks exactly the same regardless of which platform your run it on. The web site also has a wealth of plug ins if you need some more functionality.

Edit Pad Lite is another freebie for non-commercial use and seems pretty cool. The commercial version of the software that's pimped on the site makes me vaguely distrust the continued future availability of it but, fuck, it's freely available, featureful, and I can't really hold it against someone for trying to make a living.

Mac OS:

I haven't worked on an OS X machine for quite some time so I'm sure that there are many cool editors I don't know about. The entire time that I worked on that platform I just used emacs and vi because they're included in the default install.

SubEthaEdit seems like it would be a little too much for most casual users but I do like the fact that it's set up to deal with multiple users working on the same sets of documents.

TextForge also looks pretty happening and it's got a Cocoa interface so no one has to listen to you snivelling about fonts and whatnot. This one also has some registration nags but it doesn't sound like any functionality is limited.

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  1. I haven’t needed anything other than wordpad for a while now, but a few years ago I used to really like a text editor called super notetab. I thought it had some great features while still continuing to be just a text editor. It seems they have released a number of versions since I last used it, but it might be worth checking out the current freeware version of notetab light at http://www.notetab.com for anyone looking for a windows text editor.

  2. I think that’s really what’s important — not as much a war between platforms but the realization that most people really don’t need to fire up a word processor just to peck out a quick hundred words or so but don’t necessarily need to feel like they should typing things into a browser. A browser is arguably the least stable piece of software on most machines and it shouldn’t really surprise people when it bows out at a totally inappropriate time.

    Thanks for the Notetab link. I’ll have to check it out when I’m on a Windows machine. The balance between resource hogginess and useful features is difficult one to suss out.


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