Text Editors

Possibly the most time-honored and effective way for a programmer to procrastinate on his or her work is to spend time messing around with text editors and/or IDEs. There’s a good case to be made that spending time selecting the right editor/IDE, and tweaking it appropriately, pays off in spades, due to increased productivity over time. But honestly, I can’t say that I haven’t sometimes spent time messing around with my text editor or IDE just as a procrastination tactic.

Yesterday, a new beta of Sublime Text 3 was released, along with the new version of Komodo Edit/IDE, so it makes sense to think about editors a bit.

I bought a personal copy of Komodo IDE about a year ago, and I’ve been using it on the Mac and on Windows, mostly for PHP programming. And now I’m using it for Ruby too. It’s a little heavy to use it as a general text editor. For quick text file editing, I’m using Notepad++ on Windows and TextMate on the Mac. But Komodo is pretty good for PHP and Ruby.

I messed around with Sublime Text a few years ago, but didn’t really like it enough to stick with it. (And, at the time, I didn’t really have a good use case for it anyway, given the kind of work I was doing then.) Occasionally, I think about giving it another try.

At work, I don’t really need to worry about text editors much, since nearly all of the work I do is being done in either MorphX (the Dynamics AX IDE) or Visual Studio. Both of those environments work fine, for their intended use, and (in both cases) it wouldn’t be realistic to consider using a different tool for text editing.

But, for my recreational programming, whether that be PHP, Ruby, or whatever else, it’s nice to have a good programmer’s editor handy. I’ve already shelled out the $59 to upgrade my personal license for Komodo IDE to version 9. (If I thought I was going to need to do any serious Ruby development, I’d probably give Sublime Text another shot and see if it was significantly better than Komodo.)

I keep thinking I should be a real programmer, and learn more about VIM and/or Emacs, but I never quite get around to it. VIM Adventures looks like it might be a fun way to learn VIM. (Of course, I’ve been saying that I should learn more about VIM and Emacs for years; I just found blog posts from 2008 and 2005 saying basically the same thing I just wrote here.)

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