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From the archives: the best text editors of 2000

Sep 21, 2009, 19:36 (2 Talkback[s])

"One of the reasons users become so passionate about particular editors is because of the frequency of their use. Unlike, say, an MP3 player which you just flip on and leave to go, or an IRC chat client which you may only use for half an hour each day, a text editor will be constantly in use and must be designed to fit this. Fancy features should be kept tucked away unless needed, and the user should have instant access to common commands instead of trawling through menus or tapping in endless key-combinations.

"Kernel hackers and other programmers often spend several hours gazing at the screen, and the appearance has to respect this. Flashing distractions or pointless effects would be roaringly annoying in this respect - the program itself should become transparent, and let the user focus on the main matter in hand: the text.

"Other features that would are hugely valuable to programmers include code formatting and syntax highlighting, which enhances the text's structural appearance and stops it all melting together into a meaningless mess after 16 hours of fine-tuning an algorithm.

"In a similar vein, the portability of a text editor is significant too. If you work on a number of platforms other than Linux, like Windows and the BSD variants, you'll want your favourite editor to be available in some form or another to free yourself of another potential learning process and make switching around considerably easier."

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