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roundup Texttons editorsof stuff so you don’t have to! We compare

Roundup Atom Brackets Emacs FocusWriter nano

Mike Bedford loves writing but more than that he loves a text editor that integrates a coffee maker

Text editors Which are the best text editors for programmers, writers and just good old general use? Mike Bedford investigates…

how we tested… Largely because our group is so wide-ranging, we started out by providing an overview of all the packages on offer – see Overview on page 30 for this. You might like to read that first before getting bogged down in the details. In terms of specifics, there were several topics we needed to consider but, in some cases, they didn’t apply to all the products. So we certainly needed to consider which programming languages are supported (all but one of these programs have such support). Areas that apply universally are file format compatibility, support of multiple views, ease of use and expandability, all of which we consider. To make sure we didn’t miss anything, in the Advanced Features sections we’ll pass comment on any stuff that we didn’t cover elsewhere.

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any computer users probably consider the text editor as a left-over of a bygone age that has been superseded by the word processor. However, as more technically minded users will know, a word processor isn’t just a bigger and better text editor; the latter is quite different and it continues to have a role today. Most importantly, it generates a file containing plain ASCII text. Now of course a word processor can export as plain text, but even so, unless you pay careful attention it will often attempt to format your text automatically and correct spelling mistakes – which might not be mistakes at all.


Here we’re taking a look at five text editors that cover a broad spectrum of uses. Perhaps the most common use is for programmers to enter and edit source code before compiling it – for those who don’t use an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that bundles editing and compilation together. Next are those who don’t develop their own code, but have the occasional need to edit configuration files and the like. Then there are those people – commonly writers or authors – who welcome a distraction-free editing environment and who therefore spurn word processors.

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Linux Format 254 (Sampler)  

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Linux Format 254 (Sampler)  

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