Finding Software II

I just remembered why I started the previous post last week. I’m trying to find a decent free text editor program to use for web development. It basically needs to have the following features:

  • Support for opening multiple documents in a tab like structure
  • Quick startup (on a brand new, but low end) machine

What I would really like:

  • Syntax highlighting and automatic indentation for source files
  • Some way of saving multiple workspaces, so I can easily open up all the files for a certain project and then close that and open up all the files for another project.

What I don’t need/want:

  •  WYSIWYG html editing. I’m just fine doing it by hand
  • Toolbar buttons that insert tags into html source files. I can type ‘<b>’ a lot faster than I can move my mouse up to the toolbar and click on the "bold" button. I consider this feature so useless I was amazed at how many of the text editors I tried insisting on including it.
  • So many other crazy obscure features that the interface is so cluttered that it takes forever to start up and you can never find what you want.


The key factor for me is simplicity. I want something clean and small and useful.  Right now I am using a very old text editor called Mini Notetab, which was really great back in its day, but hasn’t been updated since like 1997 (although the fact that it’s still usable eight years later says something about the quality of the original design).

 Now, I know that nobody ever comments on this blog, but I’ve seen the server logs and there are thousands of people who end up here, so if anybody has, uses, or knows of a good free text editor that might be close to what I’m lookig for, please drop me a note in the comment form.


  1. I should probably clarify that I’m running windows, in case anybody was wondering what platform I was talking about.

    Comment by Aaron Andersen — October 21, 2005 @ 4:54 am

  2. There are many, many of these :) But we’ve recently replaced gvim with SciTE on all our Windows servers and it sounds like it might fit your bill too. It (SciTE) is quite a nice little back-to-basics editor that strikes a good balance between power and complexity.

    Comment by Shaun — October 25, 2005 @ 4:26 pm

  3. I’ve been a fan of HTML-Kit for a while now. It’s not exactly small, but it does have all the things you’re looking for. It also has a few of the things you’re not looking for, but they’re easy to get rid of. The interface is cluttered until you simplify it down enough.

    Comment by effika — October 28, 2005 @ 12:40 am

  4. I started using Eclipse a few months ago and have fallen in love with its slickness and the multitude of plugins available. It’s powerful and clean. The Web Tools Project plugin has all kinds of document support. But it doesn’t start up blazingly fast. Anyway, my 2 cents.

    Comment by Grant Parks — November 3, 2005 @ 2:04 pm

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