Programming is editing text – source code or documentation doesn’t matter, one way or the other the majority of your day is spent in some form of text editor. I’m one of those people who likes to use a text editor in addition to the primary IDE. As a result, I’ve used a lot of different text editors over the years. In the early days, I’ve started with editors like “Programmer’s Notepad 2” and “Notepad++”, which were nice due to quick startup and some advanced editing capabilities, but nothing ground-breaking. Not until Sublime Text showed up with the “multi-caret editor” feature which was – in my opinion – a game changer. Suddenly some tasks I would typically do in my IDE were actually faster to do in the “text editor”.
Shortly after Atom showed up, Visual Studio Code also appeared on the stage, with a core written in TypeScript. At first I wasn’t quite convinced of it (and early on, it was quite a bit “rougher” to use as Atom), but it quickly gained a lot of features and polishing. I’m still wondering if the success was down to picking the right technology, with TypeScript being a “better” language to scale a project than CoffeeScript.
In any case, these days Visual Studio Code ended up my editor of choice. In fact, all of the blog posts in this series have been written in it, as has been the underlying web framework handling my blog. It’s grown into a “serious” editor with various programming languages supporting it as an IDE. For instance, my adventures in Go were all done in Visual Studio Code – no IDE needed to start with. Similarly, I write all my Python code in Visual Studio Code.
This new world of “web based” editors might take a while to get used to, because they were definitely nowhere near as snappy as editors used to be, but this has dramatically improved. Together with the incredible ecosystem, first-class support for many modern programming languages, and a constant influx of new features I think it’s fair to say that this new way of writing editors has proven its value and is here to stay. I think we ended up in a great place here with fantastic editors like Visual Studio Code being readily available and constantly gaining functionality – and I’m curious to see what the next big revolution in text editing will be!