Code&&Friends: Code Editors and Where to Begin

Are you eager to start coding but unsure of ‘where’ to do it? Then it’s time you learned about Text Editors and IDEs!

What is a Text Editor?
A Text Editor is an application that we use to write code. Most Text Editors are straightforward applications, like NotePad++ and Vim, some are more like Brackets, Atom, and Sublime. These editors are all pretty powerful.

Brackets offers real time updates of HTML and CSS, element highlighting within your webpage, and will Live Reload your webpage (without the use of a task runner doing Live Reload). Live Reload means that once you make and save a change the browser page with your website will automatically refresh and display the latest code. That’s seriously so cool! With the installation of a plugin called Theseus, you can even debug your JavaScript! This blows my mind!

The line between a text editor (or code editor) and an IDE seems blurred to me with applications like Brackets offering most, if not all, of the features that an IDE offers. It becomes harder to differentiate the two as Text Editors have become really powerful.

Here’s something important to remember: A Text Editor is not a Word Editor. Although the two may sound alike they serve different purposes! Don’t code in an application like MicroSoft Word. When you copy and paste code from Word you’ll see some strange characters and odd spacing copied over. Additionally, you won’t get all the neat benefits of Code Editors or IDEs, like syntax highlighting, auto completion, and code folding. Steer clear of coding in Word Processors and check out the great editors above!

What is an IDE?
An IDE is an Integrated Development Environment. It’s similar to a text editor, and typically has a lot of features. Some features of using an IDE include breakpoints, code refactoring, and executing your code.

Great! Now you know ‘what’ we write code in and ‘where’ to program. Now let’s talks about choosing an editor!

What kind of language are you writing in? Are you doing more client-side or more server-side development? If you’re focusing on front-end projects right now, like those written in JavaScript, CSS, and HTML, or writing your back-end in Node.js, you should check out Brackets, Atom, or NotePad++. If you’re writing more back-end code, like C++, C#, Java, you should check out Visual Studio or IntelliJ.

It’s a great idea to try out many different Code Editors. The important thing is that you code and enjoy what you’re coding in!

What editors have you tried out? What were your favorites?

Stay nerdy! Stay coding!
-Amanda Harlin

2 thoughts on “Code&&Friends: Code Editors and Where to Begin

  1. Oh geez. I feel silly for not having realized what the “++” meant. That’s cool!

    At work, we use Eclipse for C, C++, and *cough* FORTRAN.

    We use Jetbrains’ Pycharm for Python.

    I really like Notepad++ for all sorts of things (including reading, but not compiling FORTRAN). It’s nice, because … Eclipse takes forever to load, and sometimes I don’t want to wait!

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing about Pycharm! I hadn’t heard of it but wanted to start learning Python. 🙂

      Notepad++ is so handy for quick edits and Eclipse can be super slow. 😛

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