Code Conquerors: Clash of the Titans Among 2023's Top Code Editors! 🚀👨‍💻

Code Conquerors: Clash of the Titans Among 2023's Top Code Editors! 🚀👨‍💻

10 Code Editors Compared 👨‍💻📊: See Which One Reigns Supreme! 🏆

Discover The Pros, Cons and Hidden Features 🔍 of The Most Popular Code Editors in 2023 💻

Image by author via Dalle 2

Table of Contents

First of all, Happy Easter everyone!! 🐰🥚

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Now going back to the article to Join the Coding Revolution: Unveiling the Ultimate Champion of Code Editors! 🙌

On September 9th, 1947, precisely at 3:45 p.m., Grace Hopper detected the initial computer bug, which was a live moth that had entered the Harvard Mark II Aiken relay calculator and landed on the number 70 relay.

Today, computer programmers create their own bugs, but that wouldn’t be possible without the help of a modern code editor.

Join the Coding Revolution: Unveiling the Ultimate Champion of Code Editor

I wanted to find out which code editor is best in the 2020s, so I tried to write a basic program with ten different text editors and an IDE. We’ll look at everything from basic command-line editors to the most advanced cloud-based integrated development environments. 🐔

We’ll talk about the pros ✅ and cons ❌ of each option and look at how these tools have evolved over the last 50 years.

Things like undo, find and replace, cut, copy, and paste are all commonplace, but back in the 1960s, there were revolutionary new features made possible by the computer screen and visual terminal. Eventually, they would replace punch cards, where one wrong keystroke meant you had to start over from scratch. 😥

The first editor we’ll look at is VI, which was written by Bill Joy and released in 1976. It’s still a standard tool on most Linux distros to this day, so to use it, all you have to do is type VI into the terminal. What’s most interesting is that it’s a keyboard-based editor; the mouse doesn’t do anything useful, and that’s because the mouse didn’t go mainstream until the Apple Macintosh came out in 1984.

On January 24, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh

“On January 24, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh, and you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.” See the full commercial below:

Code Conquerors: Clash of the Titans Among 2023's Top Code Editors

But do you really need a mouse to code efficiently❓

In VI, if you start typing, nothing will happen initially, and that’s because to write some text, you’ll need to enter Insert Mode by hitting the I key.

VI is a modal editor, which means the keys on your keyboard do different things based on the mode you’re currently in. In InsertMode, we can add some actual code to the document, then hit Escape to go back to Command mode and use the right quick command to save the file to the disc. When you get used to it, it can actually be very fast to edit code this way. ✅

The hard part is memorising all the tricks to get things done efficiently. VI is nice and simple, but there are a lot of features missing, like syntax highlighting or the ability to implement plugins to extend its functionality.

Around the same time period, another editor was being created by Guy Steele at MIT called Emacs, which stands for Editor Macros. Like VI, it’s primarily a keyboard-based editor, but it’s highly extensible and integrates additional features like debuggers, a file manager, a terminal, an emulator, a music player, and anything else you can imagine. ☺️ It’s not just a text editor but a full-blown integrated development environment. That means it can do a lot more, but it takes a lot more time to configure on your part.


Initially, Emacs feels a little more user-friendly than something like VI. We can pull up a menu that allows us to navigate the different commands, and it’s a non-modal editor, which means we don’t have to understand what a bunch of different modes do before using them. However, you will need to use a bunch of modifier keys when typing, which could result in a gruesome injury known as EmacsPinky.


At the same time, it’s far from simple and has over 10,000 built-in commands that can be used to create macros that customize the experience and automate work.

Now, due to the philosophical differences between Emacs and VI and the tribal nature of developers, two distinct factions have emerged: the cult of VI and the Church of Emacs, founded by High Priest Richard Stallman. They’ve been waging war for decades now, and people take it very seriously. 😜


When you go to Google to search for VI, it autocorrects to Emacs; if you search for Emacs, it autocorrects to VI. In modern times, though, VI-based editors are much more popular, and that brings us to editor number three, VIM, or VI Improved.

On the surface, Vim feels almost identical to VI because it’s a superset of its core functionality. However, it’s much more popular, with developers using it as their daily editor because it provides a ton of other essential features like syntax highlighting, multi-level undo, and plugins to customize and extend its functionality. It’s more developer-friendly, and you can enter the vimtutor command to learn the basics right now. ✅


It’s kind of annoying at first, but once you have the basics down, you’ll find that it keeps your fingers on the home row of the keyboard, which will gradually improve your coding speed with a lot of practice. But it also does things like code completion in a regular IDE so it’s not just all about typing faster.


As you start to learn it, you’ll see a lot of people making jokes about not being able to get out of Vim, like developers in the 1960s who were writing their own compilers, but developers today can’t even exit Vim without stack overflow. 😉 I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, so I’m not going to make one of those jokes in this article. 👀

Vim was created in 1991, making it older than many readers here, but not everybody’s been happy with its evolution. 😖

And that brings us to a popular four called Neo Vim that came out in 2015.

First of all, it’s faster than Vim, which is always a plus, but one of the ways you customize Vim is with a scripting language called Vim script (but isn’t that great). Neovim has addressed this problem by embedding Lua as its scripting language, an extremely fast and proven language that’s also used by platforms like Roblox.

That’s cool and all, but what if you don’t want to spend years mastering the art of Vim❓👀

Another good option is Nano, which is part of the GNU project and came out in 1999. It’s also a keyboard-based editor that you can launch from the command line and unlike Vim, it doesn’t require modes and has a far more gentle learning curve.

When you open it, you’ll notice all the important keys at the bottom. Most importantly, it gives you control so X is how you exit, so you don’t have to unplug your computer like you would with Vim. 😆 It lacks the features you would need to use it as a full-blown IDE, but is still a great option available on most machines to quickly edit a file from the terminal.

At this point, we’ve looked at editors that mostly rely on a text-user interface, but the majority of developers today use editors that have a graphical user interface. One of the earliest programs was Notepad on Windows, which came out in 1983. In fact, the program itself was designed to commercialize the mouse for MS-DOS.


A more modern version for programmers is Notepad++. Instead of using the keyboard to place the cursor where you want to edit, you simply click there with the mouse. Or if you want to highlight, you click hold and drag. Sounds obvious, but in the early 80s, this was a feature that felt like going into the Metaverse today. ☺️

Notepad++ is not developed by Microsoft, but it does feel very much like you’re using Microsoft Excel for writing code. It supports macros and plugins, so you could definitely use it as your primary development environment. ✅

Next up, we’ve got a proprietary IDE that’s very near and dear to my heart: Adobe Dreamweaver. I haven’t actually used it in years, but it’s the tool that got me started in web development. It used to be extremely popular, but not so much anymore.


Today, it’s actually a very beautiful tool and looks really nice while you’re editing code, but at the same time, it feels overly slow and complex, like pretty much all Adobe software. It’s also pretty antiquated, with first-class support for Jquery and Bootstrap. That’s pretty sad for a commercial product and if you’re paying to use Dreamweaver in 2023 just stop it as there are far superior free options in the modern world.

For example, you’ve got tools like Sublime Text, Brackets, Atom, which was recently killed. 🙁



But the most popular lightweight editor by far is Visual Studio Code. It has a graphical user interface, making it very accessible for beginners, but it also has a ton of built-in shortcuts that allow you to do things quickly, kind of like text-based editors.


An even bigger benefit of VS. Code is the fact that it’s popular and has a huge extension ecosystem. That means if you’re using some kind of tooling that can benefit from additional support, like Tailwind, for example, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a VS code extension, which may not be the case on other editors. 👀 The application itself is open source and built with Electron, which is based on web technologies, making it easy to extend for web developers, although it does have a reputation of being a memory hog.

The editing experience can be very minimal if you’d like, and I usually go into Zen mode when writing code myself, but at the same time you can make it a full-blown integrated development environment. 😉 It can edit files remotely on GitHub, connect to your resources in the cloud, work with Docker containers, and so on.


That’s great and all, but for many platforms, VS. code may not be the optimal choice. If you’re building iOS apps, you’ll likely want to use Apple’s integrated development environment, Xcode; for Android apps, Google’s Android Studio; or as we’ll look at now, Visual Studio for Microsoft’s Net Framework.

This is a true integrated development environment, which is a comprehensive set of tools for developing certain types of apps, like in this case, desktop, web, and server-side apps with .Net. It provides powerful code completion, refactoring, and debugging tools for its core languages, like C# and C++.

It may feel overwhelming at first because there are all kinds of tools and wizards that you’re not going to know how to use until you’re balls deep into a project. When you get that deep, you’ll be really glad to have tools like that, because otherwise you’ll likely be dealing with some half-assed open-source extension if you’re lucky. The bottom line is that IDE’s can be awesome when you’re committed to a specific platform. ✅

And that brings us to JetBrains, at number ten, a family of editors and IDE’s that many consider the gold standard for writing code at a professional level. It’s most well known for IntelliJ for Java development, but in this article we’ll look at Webstorm for web development. Although I use VSCode today, I’ve been a happy JetBrains customer in the past, but that happiness comes at a cost of about $175 per year (159 euros).

Screenshot by author

You can evaluate it with a free trial, and when you first open up Webstorm, you’ll notice things feel more like a true IDE as opposed to a minimal text editor. It has a wizard to guide you through the setup of a new project, although this does feel pretty outdated, with options like Meteor, Cordova, and AngularJS version 1 (which was retired a year ago)

If you’re still using AngularJS version 1, you’re only cheating yourself out of the chance to find out who you really can be. 😁 Once you’re in the project, you should have pretty much everything you need to hit the ground running. There’s less of a need to install a bunch of plugins.

One thing I really appreciate about Webstorm is its code refactoring. For example, in a React app, we can click on a UI element and easily extract it into its own named component. We can also do that in VS code with extensions, but it just feels way more reliable in Webstorm where most of the features feel a little more polished and reliable, which is what you would expect from a paid product.

What’s also interesting is that JetBrains has a new editor called Fleet, which is be more like a competitor to VS Code.


We just looked at 10 different ways to edit code on your machine, but I want to finish up by saying that we’re entering an age where code editors may become entirely cloud-based. Like, you can run VS Code in your browser right now by going to 👇

Then you’ve got GitHub code spaces where you can edit your code on over powered cloud hardware.


Then you’ve got tools like Stackblitz that use WebAssembly to run full-stack web applications in the browser.


The future looks interesting, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming next. ✊


Final Thoughts! ✊

Image by author via Dalle 2


This article explores the evolution of text editors and integrated development environments (IDEs) over the past 50 years, starting with VI and Emacs, which were keyboard-based editors that emerged in the 1970s, and then moving on to Vim, Neo Vim and others…

I hope you enjoyed this story that compares and contrasts the pros & cons of each editor, and highlights the importance of knowing the right tool for the job, as well as the importance of keyboard-based editors in programming. ✅


10 Code Editors Compared 👨‍💻📊: See Which One Reigns Supreme


Useful resources:


Thanks for reading my article and Happy Easter!! 🥚🐇

Photo by Eric Heininger on Unsplash
Photo by author


Interesting Graphs:


All images are provided by the author via Dalle 2 & Wikimedia ✅

Coding | Code editors | Web development | IDE | Text editors | Programming


Best Code Editors 2023


The Ultimate FAQ: All About Code Editors and More! 🚀

Hey there, tech enthusiast! 🙋‍♂️ Ever found yourself tangled in the web of coding questions?

Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there, scratching our heads, wondering which code editor to use, or if we should stick to good ol’ Notepad. So, let’s dive into this ocean of queries and fish out some answers, shall we? 🎣


What’s the Deal with Coding? 🤔

Coding, my friend, is like the secret language of computers. It’s how we tell these machines what to do. It’s like cooking a dish, but instead of ingredients, we use languages like Python, Java, or HTML. And the most powerful coding? Well, that’s subjective. It’s like asking, “What’s the tastiest dish?” Depends on the chef, right? 😉


Do I Need a Code Editor? 🧐

Absolutely! A code editor is like your magic wand in the world of coding. It’s where you write, edit, and debug your code. Imagine trying to cook without a kitchen. Sounds tough, right? That’s coding without a code editor.


What’s a Python Code Editor? 🐍

A Python code editor is like your personal kitchen for cooking up Python code. It’s designed to make Python programming easier, offering features like syntax highlighting and auto-completion. It’s like having a cookbook that not only gives you recipes but also tells you when you’re about to add too much salt!


Where Do I Write Python Code? 📍

You can write Python code in any text editor, but Python-specific editors or Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like PyCharm or VS Code can make your life a whole lot easier. It’s like having a kitchen equipped with all the latest gadgets. You can still cook in a basic kitchen, but why would you want to? 😄


What’s the Difference Between an IDE and a Code Editor? 🤷‍♂️

Great question! A code editor is like a notepad, while an IDE is like a full-fledged office suite. Code editors are lightweight and great for writing and editing code. IDEs, on the other hand, come with extra features like debugging tools and built-in terminals. It’s like choosing between a bicycle and a car. Both will get you to your destination, but the car comes with air conditioning and a sound system! 🚗


Is VS Code Just a Text Editor? 📝

VS Code is like a Swiss Army knife. It’s a text editor, but it’s also so much more. It has features like syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion, and even Git integration. Calling VS Code just a text editor is like calling a smartphone just a phone. Sure, you can make calls, but you can also take photos, browse the internet, and play games! 📱


Is Notepad a Code Editor? 📓

Technically, yes. You can write code in Notepad, but it’s like trying to cook a gourmet meal with just a microwave. It’s possible, but not ideal. Notepad doesn’t have features like syntax highlighting or auto-completion, which can make coding more difficult than it needs to be.


Is Notepad++ a Good Code Editor? 🌟

Notepad++ is like Notepad’s cooler, more talented sibling. It supports syntax highlighting for many programming languages, has a tabbed interface, and even supports plugins. It’s like a microwave with grill and convection features. Still not a full kitchen, but definitely a step up!


Can We Code Python in Notepad? 🐍

Sure, you can! But it’s like trying to chop vegetables with a butter knife. You won’t have features like syntax highlighting or error detection, which can make your coding journey more challenging. But hey, if you’re up for a challenge, go for it! 🦾


How Do I Run Code in Notepad++? 🏃‍♂️

Running code in Notepad++ is like trying to bake a cake in a microwave. You’ll need to install a plugin like NppExec, write a script to run your code, and then execute it. It’s doable, but definitely not as convenient as using an oven (or in this case, an IDE).


What’s the Best Notepad for Coding? 🏆

If we’re talking about Notepad-like editors, Notepad++ takes the cake. It’s lightweight, supports multiple languages, and even has plugin support. It’s like a microwave that can also grill and bake. Not quite an oven, but pretty close!


Is VS Code a Good Editor for Python? 🥇

Absolutely! VS Code is like a state-of-the-art kitchen for your Python recipes. It has features like IntelliSense for smart completions, linting for potential errors, and even Jupyter notebook support for your data science experiments. It’s like having a sous-chef who also cleans up after you!


Is VS Code Still the Best? 🏅

Well, “best” is subjective. VS Code is definitely a crowd favorite, like pizza. But some might prefer other editors, like Atom or Sublime Text. It’s all about finding the one that suits your taste buds!


Is There a Better Code Editor Than VS Code? 🎯

Again, it’s subjective. Some might prefer the simplicity of Sublime Text, while others might like the hackability of Atom. It’s like asking if there’s a better dish than pizza. Some might say yes, while others will defend pizza to their last breath!


Who’s the Best Code Editor? 🤔

If by “who”, you mean “which”, then it’s a matter of personal preference. Some swear by VS Code, others love Sublime Text, and some even stick to Vim or Emacs. It’s like asking who’s the best chef. Gordon Ramsay? Julia Child? It’s all a matter of taste!


Which Code Editor is Best for Beginners? 👶

VS Code is often recommended for beginners. It’s easy to use, has a ton of features, and there’s a huge community out there for support. It’s like starting your cooking journey with instant noodles. Simple, forgiving, and hard to mess up!


Which Code Editor Do Professionals Use? 👨‍💻

Professionals use a variety of code editors, from VS Code and Sublime Text to more advanced editors like Vim or Emacs. It’s like professional chefs. Some prefer traditional tools, while others go for the latest gadgets. The key is to find the tools that work best for you.


Is VS Code Editor Free? 💸

Yes, it is! VS Code is like a free buffet. It’s open-source, which means you can use it, modify it, and even contribute to it without spending a dime. Now that’s a sweet deal!


Is Visual Studio Code Free? 🎁

Yes, indeed! Visual Studio Code is free like a bird. You can download, use, and even modify it without reaching for your wallet. It’s like getting a five-star meal for free. Delicious and budget-friendly!


Is Notepad++ Free? 🆓

Absolutely! Notepad++ is free and open-source. It’s like getting a microwave for free. Sure, it’s not a full kitchen, but hey, it’s free!


Is Sublime Text Free to Use? 🤷‍♂️

Sublime Text isn’t exactly free. It’s more like a restaurant where you can eat now and pay later. You can use it for free, but you’ll be reminded to buy a license occasionally. But don’t worry, these reminders won’t stop you from cooking up some great code!


Is Atom Code Editor Lightweight? 🪶

Atom is like a fancy kitchen with all the latest gadgets. It’s feature-rich, but not exactly lightweight. It can be a bit slow to start up and use, especially on older machines. But once it gets going, it’s a joy to use!


Can We Still Use Atom? 🚀

Of course! Atom is still alive and kicking. It’s like an old restaurant that’s still serving delicious food. Sure, there might be newer places around, but that doesn’t mean the old ones aren’t good anymore!


What is Replacing Atom? 🔄

GitHub, the company behind Atom, has been focusing more on VS Code recently. It’s like a chef who’s started a new restaurant. The old one’s still there, but the chef’s new creations are at the new place. But don’t worry, Atom’s still a great choice for coding!


What Comes After Atom Editor? 🌟

After Atom, many developers have moved to VS Code. It’s like moving from a cozy home kitchen to a professional one. You get more features and a more active community. But remember, the best kitchen is the one where you cook the best!


What Can I Use Instead of Atom? 🔄

There are many alternatives to Atom, like VS Code, Sublime Text, or even Vim and Emacs if you’re feeling adventurous. It’s like choosing a different cuisine. There’s a world of flavors out there, so don’t be afraid to try something new!


How Do I Compare Two Text Files in Atom Editor? 📑

Comparing two text files in Atom is like comparing two recipes. You’ll need a package like ‘split-diff’. Once installed, you can open two files, run the ‘Split Diff: Compare’ command, and voila! You can see the differences highlighted, just like spotting the extra spice in grandma’s secret recipe!


Who is the No 1 Coder? 🥇

The No 1 coder? That’s a tough one. Coding isn’t a competition, it’s a craft. It’s like asking who’s the best painter or musician. The beauty of coding, like any art, lies in the eye of the beholder.


Who is the Best Coder of All Time? 🏆

Again, coding isn’t a competition. But if we’re talking about influential coders, names like Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, and Grace Hopper come to mind. They’re like the Julia Child or Gordon Ramsay of coding. They’ve shaped the field and inspired countless others.


Is PyCharm Better Than VS Code? 🥊

PyCharm and VS Code are like two different restaurants. PyCharm is a dedicated Python restaurant, while VS Code is a multi-cuisine one. PyCharm offers features tailored for Python development, while VS Code is more general-purpose. Both are great, it just depends on what you’re in the mood for!


What is the Difference Between a Compiler and a Code Editor? 🤔

A code editor is where you write your code, like drafting a recipe. A compiler, on the other hand, is like the oven that turns your recipe into a delicious dish. It takes your code and translates it into a language that your computer can understand.


Can I Run Python in Notepad++? 🐍

Sure, you can write Python code in Notepad++, but running it directly requires a bit of a workaround. It’s like trying to bake a cake in a microwave – you need to be a bit creative! You’ll need to use the NppExec plugin and configure it to run Python scripts.


Is Notepad++ an IDE? 🤔

Notepad++ is more of a source code editor than an IDE. It’s like a basic kitchen – you can definitely cook there, but it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a professional kitchen. For more complex projects, you might want to use a full-fledged IDE like PyCharm or Visual Studio.


Should I Use IDE or Text Editor for C++? 🛠️

It depends on your needs. If you’re working on a large project, an IDE like Visual Studio might be more helpful. It’s like having a fully equipped kitchen for a three-course meal. But for smaller, simpler programs, a text editor like Sublime Text or Notepad++ might be enough. It’s like making a sandwich – you don’t need a fancy kitchen for that!


Should I Use IDE or Text Editor for Python? 🐍

Again, it depends on your needs. For large projects, an IDE like PyCharm can provide useful features like debugging and project management. But for simple scripts, a text editor like Atom or VS Code might be enough. It’s like the difference between baking a wedding cake and making pancakes – the tools you need depend on the complexity of the task!


Is HTML a Coding? 🌐

HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. It’s like the blueprint of a house, defining the structure and layout of a webpage. While it’s not a programming language in the traditional sense, it’s definitely a crucial part of web development.


Is Visual Studio an IDE or Code Editor? 🎯

Visual Studio is a full-fledged IDE. It’s like a professional kitchen, equipped with everything you need to cook up some serious code. It offers features like debugging, code suggestions, and even testing tools. So, whether you’re making a simple sandwich or a gourmet meal, Visual Studio has got you covered!


Why Use a Code Editor Over an IDE? 🤷‍♂️

Code editors are generally more lightweight and faster than IDEs. It’s like choosing a bicycle over a car – it might not have all the features, but it’s quick, easy, and gets the job done. If you’re working on a small project or just learning to code, a text editor might be all you need.


What is the Best Notepad for Coding? 🏆

If we’re talking about Notepad-like editors, Notepad++ is a popular choice. It’s like a microwave with grill and convection features – not quite a full kitchen, but definitely a step up from the basic Notepad.


Is VS Code Just a Text Editor? 📝

VS Code is more than just a text editor. It’s like a Swiss Army knife of coding tools, offering features like syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion, and even Git integration. So, while you can use it as a simple text editor, it’s capable of so much more.


Is it OK to Code in Notepad? 📓

Sure, you can code in Notepad, but it’s a bit like trying to cook a gourmet meal over a campfire. It’s possible, but not ideal. Notepad doesn’t offer coding-specific features like syntax highlighting or error detection, which can make your coding journey more challenging.


What is the Difference Between a Compiler and a Code Editor? 🤔

A code editor is where you write your code, like drafting a recipe. A compiler, on the other hand, is like the oven that turns your recipe into a delicious dish. It takes your code and translates it into a language that your computer can understand.


Well, that’s all for now, folks! I hope this covers all your questions! 

Remember, coding is a journey, not a destination. So, buckle up, pick your tools, and start exploring. And most importantly, have fun!

If you have any more, feel free to ask. Happy coding! 🚀👨‍💻🎉