Finally, an awesome text editor for Windows

08Aug07

Sure, there have been Notepad replacements for years–TextPad, EditPlus, Notepad2, etc. I even tried emacs for a while. Somehow, none of those ever “felt” right to me. Sorry, I wish I could put my finger on it.

TextMate on OS X came close, but try as I might I could never get used to Mac-style keyboard shortcuts–my fingers always want to do the Windows equivalents.

I finally found one that works for me: e. (Sorry, the single-letter lowercase name makes a tiny link target. You can click on this link instead if your mouse-fu is weak.)

Aside from the silly name, and the ugly [UNREGISTERED - 30 DAYS LEFT OF TRIAL] in the title bar, it looks and feels great. The syntax coloring is themeable and several of the prepackaged color themes actually look pretty good to me–that’s rarely my experience with Windows shareware apps. There’s no toolbar, thankfully. It’s a single-instance app, with all of the open files in their own tabs. If you try to edit a file that’s already open, it just brings you to the existing tab. Yes!!

In fact, it looks not unlike Notepad–plus extra menu items, syntax coloring, and line numbers.

image

Oh yeah. And tabs. If you only have one tab open, the tab strip disappears.

It’s got an extensibility story (via “bundles”) and a ton of functionality built in, as this screenshot shows [update: apparently the bundles system is lifted from TextMate--any TextMate bundle will work in e]:

image

And most importantly, keyboard shortcuts everywhere.

I’m still just scratching the surface of what this thing can do, but I’m already excited enough to have plonked down the $35 for it. These guys deserve to succeed.

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22 Responses to “Finally, an awesome text editor for Windows”

  1. 1 mark73

    scite is free and has all those options you listed open source is always good

  2. 2 Tombo

    Notepad++ is free too. It is function packed as well. although i wish the tab strip would disappear when only one file is open

  3. 3 Orlando

    My favorite: PSPad http://www.pspad.com/en/
    free as free beer.

  4. 4 anony

    U also have Ultra-Edit

  5. 5 Robert

    Yes but while those are good editors, it is nice the e: can use Textmate bundles.

  6. 6 BlueBrat

    Don’t forget Notepad++. I consider myself a pro Notepad++ user. As a web designer, I do all my coding by hand, and then some. It’s all done in this program. While I tried Ultraedit before i found this, Ultraedit is commercial, whereas Notepad++ isn’t.

  7. http://www.pspad.com/img/screen/mainfull.png vs. http://jcheng.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/image.png – please ;)
    - e is beautiful
    - e is simple
    - e powerfull
    - e have keyboard shortcuts

  8. 8 Garrow

    I recently bought e as well, and nothing is as nice or clean as this.

    All language specific functionality is built into bundles, and the bundles are completely editable.

    Creating your own helpers and fully custom syntax is awesome, as well as cyqwin and ruby and python integration.

    Some of the shortcuts in the existing bundles are strange in the windows world, but once you are used to them (or change them) the thing is such a pleasure to use.

    Ive used notepad2 and np++ for years, and recently started with pspad for web dev.
    Now I use e exclusively, and the only features I miss are ‘replace all in selection’ from n++, and ctrl+space command completion in pspad.

    Regex support is stellar.

  9. 9 Christoher Winslett

    What about gvim? Easily memorable shortcuts too. :)

    There is a native edition of GVim that runs on Windows.

    ftp://ftp.vim.org/pub/vim/pc/gvim71.exe

  10. @mark73: One guy at work uses scite. The thing is, it limits you to a max of 10 buffers open, which is easier to reach than it sounds :)

    I recommended e-texteditor for him, but he couldn’t adjust his mind to the shortcuts, so he’s still there, while I’m using mate on my mac and gvim on my windows and linux boxes, which I still consider to be one of the best editors around :)

    (If only mate was better for php development…)

  11. e-texteditor is sweet man…I blogged about this back in February check the link below:

    http://www.andhapp.com/blog/post/Future-is-bright-Future-is-ETextEditor/33

    But on the same note for some reason recently I had some memory issues with it… do you have the same problem or is it just me???

  12. 12 mark73

    I will have to check out e but i use dreamweaver mostly for web dev and sharp development for my c# learning. Scite came with ruby so i used it and has ruby highlighting hehehe

    thanks for the recommendation i will try out e…

    Ciao

    Mark

  13. Interesting post, end the features look nice though I am not really sure if the world needs YATE… ;(
    (Yet Another Text Editor…)
    He, HEY…
    That was a good name, maybe I’ll start my own OSS Editor project for Windows… ?
    (Just kidding…)

    Btw, UltraEdit is NOT an option…!
    It used to be about 10 years ago, today it is so bloated and fat that you could cook dinner when double clicking a file to edit it in UE. Not to mentio that it’s stuffed with “snitcher logic”, just like Adobe Acrobat Reader they have managed to desotry their own product!

    .t

  14. 14 Shantanu Kumar

    There are scores of free pretty good editors (many of them open source). Take a look at these:

    http://www.thefreecountry.com/programming/editors.shtml

    I have used Scite and Crimson editor – they are really good.

  15. Notepad++ for the win.

  16. 17 Dondi Imperial

    Alright, if someone is going to mention gvim, I’m compelled to say…

    emacs for win32: http://www.ourcomments.org/Emacs/EmacsW32.html

    and

    - emacs is beautiful
    - emacs is simple
    - emacs powerfull
    - emacs have keyboard shortcuts
    - emacs is expandable.
    :D

  17. 18 Hosam Aly

    I haven’t tried “e”, but I have been a loyal user for EmEditor for a few years. (http://www.emeditor.com)
    I use the professional version, and it does almost everything I need. Maybe you should give it a try…

    If someone has used both EmEditor and “e”, I’d be grateful to see a comparison between them.

  18. 19 Damien

    UltraEdit is an awesome text editor that has all these types of features, and is pretty cheap as well.

  19. 20 Mike Polinske

    I haven’t tried e yet, but I use Boxer http://www.boxersoftware.com Boxer allows you to view ENCDIC data from the mainframe, view data in hex mode, spell-check, syntax highlight, record macros, etc.

  20. 21 mario

    I have used both e and emeditor. e’s big draw is its support of TextMate bundles and themes. Bundles are languages specific packages of syntax and snippets like those Visual Studio 2005. The editor leaves a lot to be desired. There are no bookmarks, no print, no search and replace in selections, across multiple files, no keyboard mapping (uses mac keys, Ctrl+W for close, ick). You also have to install cygwin to use most of the bundles.

    Emeditor is blinding fast, has 64-bit version. Emeditor is weak in column editing and no true support of snippets or bundles. Snippets are not simple macros. You really have to use them to see how it makes you more productive. If emeditor supported column editing and snippets, it would be my editor of choice.

    I recommend taking a look at Intype. It is as fast emeditor and doesn’t force you to use Mac keys. The bundles use Javascript and the bundles that are shipped with the editor have been ported from Textmate. I prefer the Javascript bundles since I already know javascript and the snippet formats use JSON instead of XML. You don’t have to install other crap like Cygwin on your computer to use bundles. The Intype developers have been to slow deliver and their window of opportunity is closing now that e has been released. e is farther ahead than Intype but I can’t stand the Mac key bindings, I am on windows not a wannabe mac.

  21. I currently live in Notepad++; my only problem with it is that it can get slow for LARGE files (114M XML) so I use PSPad for those. I ran into some buggy search and replace on PSPad awhile ago, so I didn’t use it for everything. Recently I wanted to make some editor rules for working with Cisco config files, but it seems that all the editors except for E (and TextMate) only do syntax highlighting, and I want some real functionality. For example:

    I’d like to roll up this to “names”

    names
    name 192.168.1.1 server1
    name 192.168.2.0 network2

    or this to “access-list acl1″

    access-list acl1 permit IP host server1 host network2
    access-list acl1 permit IP host notnamed3 host network2

    I’d also like logic to tell me when I type in the host name “notnamed3″ that it’s not defined by a name statement.

    Does this sound do-able as a Textmate bundle? (I guess I’ll cut-n-paste this in a forum over there…)



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