Monday, April 03, 2006

Textpad: Still the best coding tool

It is still amazing, after 10 years, I still use textpad for my code editing. There are many reasons why it is superior to any ide.

* the ability to maintain block indents
* automatic code indentation (see indent style)
* regular expression based search and replace, including multiline regex
* Macro recording feature to facilitate complex text transformations and data processing.
o Macro feature supports multiple regex searches (and replacements) within a macro
* syntax highlighting (extendable to many different languages)
* ability to call external programs (such as Java compilers)
* large file support
* support for editing multiple files, with tabbed document selection
* block select mode
* synchronized scrolling of multiple files

Pure and simple it is the best text editor, at least so for me.

The interface is customizable, it has clip libraries so you can have snippets, auto commands etc.

But where it excels is the speedy file/folder search which can be enhanced by using Regular Expressions.

Why a text editor vs an IDE?

Well i believe in something called feature over-creep, where the at some point the application fulfilled all the core needs, but because they wanted to keep making money, they added more and more features, that probably would be best as a seperate application...

Do we really need an application that does everything? Or the best application for each specific need?

I guess it depends on your style, old school vs new school...

I'd rather have a fast and powerful editor, then something that did so many things i really could care less for. And look at how the memory requires of each is quite different...

What are the favorite old school software you still love to use?

Here is a few of my favorite's:

1. Namewiz - Batch file renamer for renaming digital photo files and any other files, according to masks or however you format it.
You can get NameWiz here.
2. Eyedropper - a system tray color grabber
3. IrfanView - greatest image viewer ever
4. Freenote - a notes system that i used to create all my notes for every task/project. It stays right in the system tray, ready when you need it. Get it here

That's enough for now...Please add your favorites as a comment...


  1. Ah, so you meant "textpad". Note that the title says "testpad", Craig. :-)

    Anyway, I feel compelled to point out that CFML developers should also consider HomeSite+ (the free upgrade/replacement to CF Studio, available free on the Dreamweaver MX CD). It gives you nearly everything you listed as advantages.

    I've discussed it before in many places, yet many still are not aware of its existence:

    Don't know if you knew of it but still prefer TextPad (certainly cheaper, but if you have the DWMX CD, then HS+ is free). And to be clear, HS+ <> HS. You can buy the latter, but not the former, and it lacks the nifty RDS-based and other features that HS+ inherited from CF Studio.

    (I know that some may want to point out CFEclipse as well, but I'm still a loyal CFStudio/HomeSite+ fan myself.)

    Hope that's helpful.

  2. I still prefer textpad, and I have used homesite and cf studio. I just don't see there being continued support for either.

    However that is not a rational reason to like or not like a tool.

    At least not in my book.

    For me, I wanted to see how many old schoolers there still are, and gather info on what everyone's favorite ide/editor is.

    As welll as find out favorite programming tools...

    P.S. Thank you for the correction, I was posting this like 2 am, so my typing may not have been at it's best. Thank you.

    P.P.S. And sorry to hear you left BlueDragon. Always was one of my favorite writers/bloggers for coldfusion.

  3. Thanks, Craig. Glad I could help. As for your preference for TextPad, I didn't mean to deride it. Just wanted to point out to readers that HS+ has most of what they need (for the features you listed), and of course it's very CFML-centric. If you have readers outside that fold, or who just don't have a license for CF Studio, HS, or DWMX, then certainly there are other alternatives. I just hate to see people miss HS+ when it may be right there for them if they DWMX.

    Finally, as for my leaving New Atlanta, thanks for the kind regards. But don't speak in the past tense ("was one of my favorites"). I'm still very much going to be in the CFML community, indeed perhaps even more. :-)

    For those who missed it, I explained my departure this morning in my own blog entry.

    Cheers, Craig.

  4. Sorry about that.

    I certainly did not mean past tense, I only meant to give you the respect you deserve.

  5. One thing that "real" IDEs bring is autocomplete and context awareness. I love TextPad, but autocomplete features are really handy. You usually also get better integration out of an IDE, because they're theoretically supposed to be integrated, though that's not always the case. For example, with your source control system.

    However, as you stated, the macro support is far better than I've found in any other editor. Period. So it still linger on my windows box's desktop, and probably will for the forseeable future.

  6. But I feel it's like the IE vs Netscsape issue of the 1990's. IE will let you write crappy html code and get away with it, while Netscape is more strict.

    So everyone loved IE, even if it made them worse html coders, but Netscape made you a better coder.

    I have never really needed autocomplete. I prefer to keep it in the head. Or look it up.

    That way the app is much faster to load.

    I didn't want this to just be about textpad, what other old school tools/freeware do you use for your development?

    Just curious..

  7. Chris Phillips3:23 PM

    In answer to "what other old school tools/freeware do you use for your development?".
    Alot of people, myself included, are using the Eclipse IDE with various plugins including CFEclipse.

  8. You may not have gotten the context of my question.

    I was referring to old school editors/ide's/tools.

    Let's look up Old School on Wikipedia.

    "Old school, variously spelled old skool, oldschool or oldskool, is a slang term referring to an older school of thinking or acting, and to old objects in general, within the context of newer, more modern times. Rather than carrying the negative connotation of obsolete or out-dated, it may be used to refer to a time of perceived higher standards or level of craft. The term "old school" may be effectively equivalent to "They just don't make 'em like this anymore."

    Old school is often interchangeable with the word nostalgic but practitioners of semantics often define old school as simply something of an earlier period but not necessarily inferior or hopelessly dated. Nostalgia, on the other hand, is often given a negative connotation. For example, as a sentimental attachment to dated works many of which are now considered embarrasingly 'corny' or 'cheesy' in their execution, yet retaining a place in one's sentiments as a guilty pleasure or relic of one's youth. This definition is often associated with cartoons and other children's shows, especially after one reaches adulthood."

    So new tools would not necessarily fit into this category.

    I am not saying they are bad or in any way inferior, it was just the context of my quest...

  9. Anonymous3:35 PM

    Crimson Editor is a great somewhat old school no-nonsense editor.

  10. Anonymous2:29 AM

    You should give ultraedit a try. A every good text editor with all the function you listed and more.

    I use both but prefer ultraedit when i code ready "long" stuff

    Worth a try. :)

  11. <a href="" rel="nofollow">Phentermine</a>1:58 PM


  12. Anonymous7:57 AM

    I love using textpad for asp, there's no IDE that can compare to it really. But for .net, you'd be insane to not use visual studio(2008 in particular).

  13. still using textpad :)

  14. Anonymous2:01 PM

    I use textpad and textpad only. By far the best editor there is.

    I love how it remembers cursor positions when moving up and down through lines of code.

  15. I still use textpad...I just don't need the benefits of ide's. I can get it all done in textpad.

    I just wish there were more updated syntax libraries for coldfusion.

    Has anyone worked on any or seen any?