Editors and IDEs

Tags: ACG

From time to time we get asked for recommendations on what editor or integrated development environment (IDE) to use for studying and practice.

For these courses and personal experimentation you do not need anything special. Any simple code editor that you already have on your workstation will do fine. NotePad (Win), NotePad++(Win) or TextEdit (Mac).

However, do not use a document editor such as WordPad, MS Word, or gDocs. These have a bad habit of adding special (hidden) formatting information in the file which will really mess things up.

Each instructor has a favorite editor. If you are just starting out try the one that the instructor recommends as it will both give you exposure to different tools, and may make following the lessons easier. When you move into a commercial environment, you may need to change to whatever IDE the team uses, so it would be wise to experiment with different tools and be relaxed about what tool you use.

If you plan to spend any time in IT then you should invest a bit of time in learning to use a range of good editors and IDEs. Here are some free and very functional ones you could experiment with:

  • NotePad++ (Win)
  • BBEdit (Mac) (formerly TextWrangler)
  • PyCharm Community IDE (both)
  • Atom IDE (both)
  • SubLime IDE (both)
  • VIM (both)
  • vsCode (both)

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