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Quick Poll. Which editor do you use to edit code? Please add to the list if your editor isn’t listed.

ProjectBuilder/XCode (47) +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ ++ (X)Emacs (10.9) +++++ +++++ + VI(M) ( 7.8) +++++ +++ BBEdit ( 3.4) +++ SubEthaEdit ( 3.2) +++ NaNo ( 2.2) ++ TextMate ( 1.5) ++ Other: built it myself ( 1.2) ++ CodeWarrior ( 0.7) + jEdit ( 0.5) + Eclipse ( 1.5) ++ pico ( 0.4)
TextForge ( 0.2) skEdit ( 0.2) joe ( 0.1) MS Visual Studio (1) + Ultra Edit (1) +

Instructions: Add fractions if you alternate. Round totals and update the graph if needed. Each + in the graph is one unit.

(Text mode graph by NirSoffer)

Yes, there’s definitely a difference between Emacs and XEmacs.


yawn, like anyone really cares. It’d be like “the g3 sucks!” “no! the GeeFour sucks!” while the rest of the world just goes on its way. (some random person)

uh, yeah. Anyway, I’ve merged XEmacs and GNU emacs into (X)Emacs to mirror the VI(M) crew. They’re both awesome. (Actually, whatever editor or environment works for you is awesome). The emacs wiki is a nice resource for folks using or considering (X)Emacs. . ++MarkDalrymple

I see that somebody has added 0.1 to pico and 0.9 to something else.. might this not get confusing? What I’d do, to keep it simple, is just to add 0.5 to each.. or we might end up with an editor rated 0.9 that is actually used by 9 people from time to time. – ThomasCastiglione

Yes, we might, and that would be valid. I only use pico a tenth of the time, if that. More like a fiftieth, but I didn’t want to have 0.05 in there. I’m for sticking with whatever fraction pleases you.

– RobRix

I guess if it’s a rating rather than a count it works. – ThomasCastiglione

Emacs owns :)

– JanekPriimann

I almost feel like adding a few points to pico since it’s much easier to use than emacs or vi (you won’t believe how long it took me to get to the ‘help’ screen in emacs, which only informed me that emacs is easy to use and I didn’t need any instructions… and closing the help was another biggie. vi, on the other hand, is beyond such experimentation) I code solely in ProjectBuilder, however. (Unless you count HTML.) Actually, now that I think about it, if I’m editing code on the server I’ll use pico, so I’ll put that in as another 0.05. Go pico!

– AngelaBrett (By the way, I think a fiftieth is 0.02…)

(The lady speaks the truth - it is 0.02 ~KritTer)

Does it surprise you that I got it wrong? I can’t deal with literal values, my mind works on the CompleteLambdaCalculus :) Oh, and I’d have put TextEdit or BBEdit Lite in there for HTML except that I do HTML/PHP in ProjectBuilder now too. It’s great for organizing sites. – RobRix

I’m not surprised that you got it wrong, I’m surprised that I got it right - I don’t usually deal with literals greater than two either – AngelaBrett (I’m following you, RobRix)

That’s okay, 0.02 is less than 2 as desired :) ~KritTer

Why are you following me, Angela? I must warn you that I am made of poison. As for KritTer’s comment, this is getting comical :) – RobRix

*My iBook is made of poison too (not exactly weapons-grade, but I don’t expect I’d do too well if I ate or inhaled it) but I still love my iBook. RobRix being made of poison is okay as long as I don’t have to eat or breathe him. – AngelaBrett *

I’m amazed that no one seems to be using nano (except for me, that is). This is my favourite editor in when in a terminal. Programming on the mac I use BBEdit, but as soon as I enter the unix-world, always nano. If it doesn’t exist on the system I use pico, vi or emacs, in that order. – TheoHultberg/Iconara

What relationship does nano bear to pico? I don’t think I’ve used it. It doesn’t seem to exist on my system either, so there’s another reason why many people haven’t used it :) – RobRix

I use nano if there’s no pico. Well, I can’t remember if I have or not, but after I’d struggled with the other text editors I mentioned on a machine which didn’t have pico, somebody said that nano is almost the same as pico and that I should use it instead. What’s the difference between nano and pico? –AngelaBrett

I know whats pico, but I am hearing of nano first time :\ – JanekPriimann

Nano is an open-source clone of Pico. Pico is part of the PINE email system, and as such has a more restrictive license than most GNU-heads are willing to tolerate. Hence the birth of Nano. On a non-GNU system (well, most non-GNU) like OS X, it’s not really a problem. –OwenAnderson

Has anyone tried to use Eclipse? Is there a good plugin for ObjectiveC and/or Cocoa? –DavidPBaker

The conveniance of using ProjectBuilder, especially after you reconfigure the keys to behave in a more emacs-ish manner (the kill ring is my friend) far outweighs most anything I use XEmacs for. But then, I haven’t been building a .xemacs file for the past 6 years, so I guess my utility is slightly limited. – DaveFayram

I use ProjectBuilder (0.8) for Cocoa, BBedit (0.1) for Python and SH, and Emacs (0.1) for editng remotly or editing root owned files. – NirSoffer

You know, BBEdit works very well for aforesaid root-owned files… –ThomasCastiglione Version 6 does not – NirSoffer

I use Eclipse for Java, and it’s very nice. I don’t know of any Objective-C plugins, but if there were I would definitely give them a try. –OwenAnderson

I added Hydra to the list. Dunno if anyone actually uses it for coding, but it’s such a nice feat that it deserves to be on the list. I just hope that BareBones buy it and incorporate it into BBEdit, or that the Hydra team makes it as nice as BBEdit. – TheoHultberg/Iconara

SubEthaEdit (nee Hydra) version 2.0.1 works very well as an external editor for XCode. Much faster than the built in editor, and coupled with TextExtras it’s at least as extensible as BBEdit.

Hydra is available at – KayRoepke

Good you added hydra. I have already voted, and I won’t mess up with changing it, but I use Hydra alot. Hydra is really good for editiong many things, like xml/plists and also C code. – EnglaBenny

I added 0.9 for vi (vim, actually) and 0.1 for PeanutButter. I mean ProjectBuilder. Most coding I do is perl or shell stuff, I only occasionally get to raise my eyes from the dust and code in ObjectiveC. I suppose I could use vi for that, too, since I find myself littering files with vim commands. -GK

I do all my cocoa stuff in emacs, only using ProjectBuilder to manage the files. Once a project reaches a stable set of files, I frequently don’t even have ProjectBuilder running, and just do pbxbuild from the command line. I have a rant at MacEdition about how I have my general workflow set up. ++MarkDalrymple

I’ve added joe, TextForge and skEdit, which I use occasionally in addition to BBEdit for web stuff (HTML, perl, PHP mostly) and shell scripts. skEdit is an up & coming HTML/perl/PHP/Python editor… check it out at I use PB for Cocoa, with the occasional Hydra (or whatever its new name is. bleh). - jcw

I use PB for most everything, but I sometimes use cat and touch, but only one or twice a month, but I figured i better put it on here for completeness

Hydra’s name was changed to SubEthaEdit; I updated the list accordingly.

cat and touch are not used to edit code folks… They have very specific purposes and most people are indirectly using them more than they know. it’s a joke, son. kinda funny in light of folks doing “oh yeah, I use joe 0.1 of the time”

nothing wrong with joe. i certainly prefer it to nano or pico

Nano and Pico should be merged, say I… should they be? – AdamAtlas probably. we could merge their entries in the list too!

And why is it called “SubEtha”Edit? Sounds like it should be the name of a rap artist. But I love it for editing remote files.


Douglas Adams’ description of the Sub Etha Net makes it sound very much like a wiki, or g-d help us, a pluralistically-configured CVS. Pooling information across much greater distances, of course. how do you know some of us aren’t coding from Betelgeuse?

meh. i’m mostly just using the XCode editor these days. it’s gotten much, much better in 2.0. The only thing i really miss from TextMate is the transparency, and from SubEthaEdit I miss the change highlighting.

I only wish the XCode would support proper vi commands. Same wish goes to the TextMate. Why oh why do TextMate have to use a non standard text widget instead of NSTextView subclass? I could at least use some poor vi input manager if they didn’t. This is what always happens when you try to reimplement system functionality. You think you get wonderful performance or something. At the same time, you lose half the features some users have grown to expect. There goes user’s productivity, familiarity and UI consistency down the sink.