What is Atom?
Atom is the perfect text editor to start coding with. First off, it’s free so you don’t take on a lot of risk by downloading it. It offers a very nice user experience with plenty of plugins. You can customize and create your own tool, according to your needs, with all the packages they have available.
Atom would be ideal if you wanted to work on web projects. It’s very easy to download and set up on your computer and is pretty straightforward.
We use it for some internal projects and it works perfectly for what we need.
Read what Shane, one of our developer has to say about it:
“I like how easy it is to use, how it’s lightweight and runs smoothly, and how there are many user supported packages you can add to it to enhance the experience for coding in certain languages.”
Download Atom here.
What is Sublime?
Sublime is a good tool to start coding with as well. There is a free licence which lets you fully experience the tool, but a little pop up will begin to appear after so many saves. If you want to have continued use, you might want to purchase the licence ($70).
Sublime is a very stable text editor, and it has an array of packages that are easy to install and use. It’s pretty quick and straightforward to understand how it works. It’s pretty similar to Atom but some of our developers here prefer to work with Sublime. It depends on what tool you are the most comfortable with. Sublime has a reputation for being more stable than Atom.
It supports a large number of languages so you can work on any type of project. One of the benefits of this tool is also the weight. Sublime is a very lightweight text editor which makes it very fast.
Download Sublime here.
What is VSCode?
VSCode is an IDE (Integrated Development Environment). While a regular text editor only edits the code, an IDE has a compiler built in and can run code.
VSCode is still pretty new. Microsoft released it in April 2015. It has great plugins which let you improve the original tool to fit your needs.
If you are used to using Atom or Sublime, you won’t be lost. VSCode has a similar interface.
Slightly faster than Atom, Visual Studio Code is the perfect tool for developing all kind of apps.
Download VSCode here.
What is Vim?
Vim is an amazing tool when you know how to use it. The learning curve to master it is steep but as soon as you get familiar with it, you access a fast, powerful and productive tool.
Vim is full of plugins, and as with the previous tools that we showcased, you’ll be able to customize the interface according to what matters to you.
With Vim, everything works directly with your keyboard. This is why it can be a little tricky to use at the beginning. Once you know all the shortcuts, however, it reveals itself to be a very useful text editor.
Download Vim here.
What is Eclipse?
Like Visual Studio Code, Eclipse is a standard IDE (Integrated Development Environment) which works pretty well. IDE’s are typically much slower and heavier than a regular text editor. However, Eclipse is still a good coding tool which allows you to develop various type of apps. This tool supports multiple programming languages and has many plugins to help you code. The tool sometimes has some bugs, freezes or reacts very slowly. The User Interface is not the best compared to the other tools and it can be a little complicated to set up the tool as it has a lot of different options.
Download Eclipse here.
What is Emacs?
As Emacs is a text editor that supports various programming languages, it is often the one that developers use to code in non-popular languages. It is fully customizable with multiple plugins and has great features. There is a lot of documentation about this text editor which is very helpful when you meet an issue. Even with all their documentation, the learning curve is steep and you will need some time to get used to it. Depending on what you are doing with Emacs, it can be little slow. Also, the user interface is not ideal.
If you are interested in using Emacs, some good advice is to start to learn Lisp programming language and write your own plugins.
Download Emacs here.
Each text editor that we showcased in this post has their pros and their cons. Our team mainly uses Atom and Sublime but the other ones are fine choices. It depends on what you are the most comfortable with and what kind of project you want to work on. We think that when beginning a career in development, it’s very important to experience different tools to get your own idea of what you like to use. Seeing as there are many text editors available online, this post can be a good starting point for you to start testing these tools.