Graham's Blog

On Text Editors

Oct 22nd, 2022

Among the various types of software tools I use every day, the one I spend a majority of my time in is a text editor. If I’m going to be spending most of my working day using one of these tools, I want it to be something that I enjoy using, and helps me work the way I like to work.

There are certainly no shortage of text editors out there. I’ve tried more than I can name, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s out there. The most popular out there is Visual Studio Code, and it’s no mystery why. It’s absolutely packed with features, code completion is top notch, and there’s an extension for just about anything you could ever imagine.

But I’m going to be honest, I’m a Mac user and a bit of a software snob. I do use good old VS Code when the mood strikes me, but I’ve come to far prefer Nova, a fantastic piece of software from the people at Panic Inc. It’s fast, it’s clean, and most importantly for me, it’s MacOS native.

Nova has its drawbacks. It’s extension support is nowhere near VS Code’s. It’s also got some janky-ness when working with JSX files, at least in my experience. On the other hand, while some people might find its code completion leaves much to be desired, for me, outside of automatic imports, it’s a lot less frustrating.

Basically, I still use VS Code from time to time. I turn to it when I’m working my day job, which involves working on a fairly large Next.js codebase, and I need to collaborate on something, or if I’m building out new components I need to import. I also built this website entirely in VS Code. Still, I far prefer using Nova.

At the end of the day, the tool you use doesn’t really matter. Using a particular text editor isn’t going to make you a better developer. The only thing that really matters is you use the tool that you like. Don’t just use VS Code because it’s trendy, or Nova because I’m singing its praises. I know people who swear by Sublime Text, WebStorm, and BBEdit. The best tool for web development is the one that works for you.

Even if that tool is vim. 😉


This post was originally published on my (now defunct) blog on my portfolio site ghall.dev, and was republished here for archival purposes.

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