Notepad++ Branding

Best FREE Source-Code Editor?

(Edited: 04.14.06 [orig entry 03.18.06]) (modified timestamp until i can write a better article– this is sort of “tucked away” for now, but potentially useful, so i didn’t want to totally un-publish it)

EditPad Pro vs. Notepad++

This is a really tough call. From what I know of these editors, considering my relative inexperience w/ advanced source-code editing and multiple programming languages, etc., even for simple HTML editing, both of these source-code / “Text Editor” IDE’s have something significant to offer. Trying to compare Notepad++ with EditPad Pro as if one is to come out the superior editor in truly challenging. If I had to have one or the other, personally, i’d have to choose Notepad++ because i’ve been spoiled, and now i couldn’t live without N++ code-folding, easy side-by-side code viewing and synchronized scrolling. I’m far from mastering either of these IDE’s– they’re really out of my league in terms of what i’m capable of as compared to what they offer.

Although i’m a little more partial to N++, i can’t deny some of EPP’s unique features. For example, there’s a really convenient “Clip Editor” in EditPad Pro, and i’ve yet to find a Clip Collection option in Notepad++, not to mention that EPP will compare two files– very handy for such things as configuring the Apache httpd.conf or the PHP php.ini files if one would like to base a new configuration off of an older file from another O/S, which is often the case in my situations. However, Notepad++ itself has a few features which seem to be missing in EditPadPro (EPP), such as “code folding” (or text folding) which even offers various options for the type of “tree style” of the folds (as in “Arrow-style” vs “simple circle-tree style”), and native support for ASP documents. decisions, decisions!….

Experience is the Best Teacher (the 4.14 edit):

Ah, the silly things we do and say when we think we know what we’re doing or talking about! After what’s only been the passage of about one month, i’ve developed an entirely new appreciation fo EditPad Pro– which really makes any shootout comparison between the two editors a task that i doubt any experienced programmer would feel good about picking one over the other!

EditPad Pro:
A “Unique” and Efficient Feature

I came upon the “compare two documents” feature in EditPad Pro as i was struggling to get Apache, PHP, ColdFusion, and MySQL to run on localhost. After much frustration and failure here and there, i stumbled upon the “compare” feature which offers the user to select a “master” document, and another document which will be compared to that master (so if you have 5 docs open, whichever is in Focus will be the Master when compare is selected) — EditPad Pro opens a dialog box showing the currently open documents to allow the user to select the second document for comparison. This productivity boosting feature quickly analyzes the two files and highlights in green those sections unique to the Master and Red those sections unique to the second document, and the identical portions are left un-highlighted. I’m sure you can imagine the useful possibilities such a feature presents. Although, i see i’ve indicated that feature in my previous commentary, by now i’ve gotten to appreciate it with more respect.

Notepad++

Notepad++ (a.k.a. Notepad Plus, or Notepad Plus+) is the most versatile, efficient, no frills Code editor I have stumbled upon in a while. Actually, I believe that I have heard talk of it quite a while ago, but it was only recently that I decided to see what the hype was all about.

Why the Hype?

It’s no nonsense– it does what it is supposed to do– Edit Code– and it does it very well. How can one software app be considered to “edit code” better than another? Seems kind of like an easy task to be able to get right, doesn’t it? Well– Notepad++ has features integrated which demonstrate that the software developer is quite an experienced developer himself, having obviously spent countless hours working in source-code.

Have you ever wanted to view two documents, side-by-side, within the same IDE (a.k.a. align vertical)? Well, Notepad++ allows you to do it– but not only can you do vertically align and compare text, but you can synchronize scrolling between the two documents, so you can scan the code of both docs w/out getting lost! The side-by-side sychronized scrolling document view is definitely one of my favorite features of N++ !

Notepad++ has a vast set of other features to the coders’ delight, but one thing that i recognized about N++ which separated it from the only other Editor which seems to rival it, EditPad Pro (which is apparently shares about an equal popularity), is that Notepad++ comes standard with support for Active Server Pages. Now, I realize that most people would agree that ASP isn’t their development environment of choice. ASP.NET, maybe, but ASP has seen its heyday, and that day has passed. However, I have been called upon to convert some ASP pages into another language, other than Front Page, and DreamWeaver — two IDE’s integrated with many other bulky features, which are not simply for Code Editing, and which certainly place them out of the FREE Source-code Editor category.

Conclusion?

this is a tough one! i can’t say that one is superior to the other! i find myself opening in EditPad Pro and Notepad++ at nearly equal intervals. If a feature that I need isn’t in Notepad++, then chances are, i can switch to EditPad Pro and it will be there, and vice versa. If you’re an advanced programmer, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t mentioned many advanced programming techniques, or cited any language specific features– and that’s because i have little experiene when it comes to programming– but i’m getting more experience all of the time, and i aspire to master as much as i can. I’m fortunate to have these tools, N++ and EP P available. One struggle which is beyond my control is that EditPad Pro really should be purchased according to the author’s request after a reasonable evaluation period. Notepad++ makes no such request, however donations are accepted and the authors deserve, if not equal compensation for their efforts, then at least equal recognition– so that moralistic viewpoint may come into play for you as well. I’d say in any case, if you are able to contribute to these developers, please do so– they’ve done a lot of work for us, and yet they let us use their software (for the most part) FREE of charge.

If you need to do some serious Code Editing, then go get yourself a serious Code Editor! Try Notepad++ or EditPad Pro. I’m confident that you’ll be happy that you took a look at them.


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