Text Editor For Web Development: 13 Most Popular for Web Developers

A text editor can simply mean any form of computer program that enables users to create, change, edit, open, and view plain text files.

They come already installed on most operating systems but their dominant application has evolved from notetaking and creating documents to crafting complex code.

Text editors are a core part of a developer’s toolbox and are most commonly used to create computer programs, edit hypertext markup language (HTML), and build and design web pages.

Commonly used text editors are:

  • Android Studio
  • Atom
  • Notepad++
  • Sublime Text
  • VS Code

Features And Functions Of A Text Editor

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One of the basic features of a text editor is the ability to cut, paste and copy text, find and replace words or characters, create bulleted lists, line-wrap text, and undo or redo a last command. 

They’re also equipped to open very large files (too big for a computer’s main memory to process) and read them at speed.

Whether you’re coding with Linux or text editing with a Windows PC or a Mac device, the software should be functional, reliable and easy to use.

Other platforms (preferred by software developers) offer advanced features for more complex source code editing, including:

  • Code folding

It can also be called expand and collapse. The code folding feature hides or displays certain sections of code or text, allowing for a streamlined and decluttered display, which is great if you’re working on a long document.

  • Intelligent code completion

A context-aware software that speeds up the coding process by reducing typos, correcting common mistakes and offering auto-completion suggestions for syntax errors.

  • Vertical selection editing

A useful tool that enables users to select, edit or add to multiple lines of code simultaneously, it is great for making repeat small changes (such as adding the same character to the end of every line, or deleting recurring errors).

Syntax highlighting

This feature allows users to color code text based on the programming or markup language it is written in (such as HTML and Javascript) for ease of reference.


This is an essential feature that enables users to quickly substitute longer pieces of content or code with a shortcut phrase  which is great for creating forms, formatting articles or replicating chunks of information that you’re likely to repeat in your day-to-day workload.

How Are Text Editors Used?

Developers and user experience (UX) designers use text editors to customize and enhance company web pages, ensuring they meet the needs of customers and clients. 

Most people use text editors unconsciously. Almost everyone has a text and code editor built into their workflow, as they’re the engine that drive businesses all over the world. 

IT departments and other site administrations utilize this form of technology to keep internal systems fluent and functioning, while editors and creators use these applications to produce programs and content to funnel out to their global audience.

Text Editors And Smartphones

Text editors appeal to the needs of average tech users,  with forms of the software built into our iPhone and Android devices.

A sophisticated mode of artificial intelligence, the autocorrect algorithm computes a considerable number of factors every time you type a singular character, from the placement of your fingers on the keyboard to the grammar of other words in the sentence, while also accounting for phrases you currently use.

The autocorrect feature (a checker and suggestion tool for misspelled words) is a prime example, combining machine-learning algorithms and a built-in dynamic dictionary to correct typos and offer replacement words in texts and Google searches.

However, to side-step the well-cited irritations of predictive text, you may have found yourself scrabbling with your settings, creating your own shortcuts and abbreviations for words commonly used in your communications.

You may be more familiar with text editors than you first thought, as you’ve accidentally tapped into an intelligent code completion tool.

Difference Between A Text Editor And A Processor

Text editors should not be confused with word processors such as Microsoft Office, which enable users to edit rich plain text too.

Rich plain text is more complex, consisting of metadata such as character formatting data (typeface, size and style), paragraph formatting data (indentation and alignment commands) and page specification data (margins).

Word processors are what we use to produce streamlined, formatted documents such as letters, essays or articles. Text editors deal in plain text, which exclusively consists of character representation. 

Each character is represented by a fixed-length sequence of one, two, or four bytes, in accordance with specific character encoding conventions (such as ASCII, ISO/IEC 2022, UTF-8, and Unicode).

These conventions define many printable characters, as well as non-printing characters that control the flow of the text, such as space, line break, and page break. 

Most Popular Text Editor For Web Development

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Whether you’re creating a site from scratch, editing a CSS file, or trying to get configuration files on the server, a good solid text editor will do the trick just fine. Let’s dive in: 

  • Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver is a fully-featured IDE for web designers and developers created by Adobe. Its built-in Code View is excellent for developers: it has syntax-highlighting, a very smart code-hinting/auto-completion feature, and on-the-fly syntax validation.

  • Aptana

Aptana is a free, complete web development IDE that’s available as a standalone application or as an Eclipse plugin. It has built-in support for popular libraries like jQuery, MooTools, and Prototype to make client-side web development easier for you.

  • Vim

Vim is an advanced text editor for Linux, Windows, and the Mac OS. It is very extensible and was designed with the principle of making text editing as efficient as possible.

 Many consider it to be a programmer’s text editor, and even an IDE. Vim is charityware, meaning that donations to the project go to charities.

  • SciTE

SciTE, an open-source text editor for Windows and Linux, was originally developed to demonstrate the power of Scintilla. It has since grown into a fully-featured text editor for developers. 

You can extend the default SciTE installation with user-generated configuration files like the SciTE command-line launcher (a simple Windows command-line tool for opening files in SciTE).

  • E-Text Editor

E-TextEditor, which can also be called E, is TextMate for Windows. It has a host of useful features that developers will appreciate, such as a personal revision control system to ease the burden of managing multiple versions of a file, ultimate customization possibilities, and a collection of automated tasks to save you time and improve your productivity. Check out the Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet to make writing with E more efficient.

  • EditPlus

EditPlus is a Windows text editor for HTML and programming. It has syntax highlighting for HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript (among others), a built-in web browser (which they call Seamless Web Browser) for previewing your work and browsing the web, and auto-completion. EditPlus isn’t free, and it costs 35 buckaroos for a 1-user license.

  • TextPad

TextPad is a general purpose text editor for Windows-based systems. It has plenty of features, like a spell checker for 10 languages, a Warm Start feature which lets you start the program from where you left off when you last opened it, a keystroke macro recorder for automating keystrokes (which can save you a ton of time from typing frequently-used code), and lots more.

  • UltraEdit

UltraEdit is a popular and powerful Windows-based text editor for developers and programmers. It has support for languages like PHP, JavaScript, Perl, and C/C++, has built-in file management features, and has a notable and robust search-and-replace feature. 

  • PSPad

PSPad is a freeware programmer’s editor for MS Windows. It has the ability to save sessions so that you can return to your previous setup after you close the program, a built-in FTP client, and a text difference feature so that you can compare differences between several files.

  • Coda

Coda is a web development environment for the Mac OS. Its powerful and elegant text editor has all the features you’d expect from an application made for developers: syntax highlighting, line numbers, and auto-completion. 

It also has the ability for live collaboration (based on the Subetha Engine) and a Clips feature, which is a floating window that stores frequently used snippets automatically.

  • Notepad++

Notepad++ stands to be the most popular text editor for developers. Notepad++ is a free source code editor for Windows released under the GPL license.

Its features are too many to mention, but among the notable ones are: macro-recording and playback for repetitive keystrokes; a powerful regular expression search-and-replace, and support for many programming languages.

  • TextMate

TextMate is a powerful Mac OS editor for programmers and designers. It allows you to theme the interface to your preference, auto completes character pairs like parenthesis and brackets, and allows you to run shell commands from within a document.

  • Komodo Edit/ Komodo IDE

Komodo Edit is an open source, cross-platform (Windows, Linux, and Mac) editor for server side languages that comes with Komodo IDE (but you can download it separately).

Developers will have a great set of features in store for them in Komodo Edit, including code folding for tucking away lines of code you’re not currently working on, on-the-fly syntax checking, and the ability to extend it with various plugins.


In the world of PHP coding, text editors are indispensable tools that enhance efficiency, productivity, and code quality.

Their features, such as syntax highlighting, code auto-completion, and customization options, cater to the specific needs of developers.

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