Which is the best editor for writing your code? Here’s a list of those most used by web designers

One of the most important tools for a web designer is without a doubt an editor (IDE – Integrated Development Environment) with which to create the code that gives life to your projects. These applications help us to draft code in an intuitive and organized manner, providing us with a series of functions that notably simplify the development process.

In theory, a web designer could create an entire internet site simply by using an ordinary text editor (for example, Windows Notepad), but developers typically don’t use this method, as generic text editors don’t have the extra characteristics that make development environments into truly essential tools.

What functions are available in IDE?

Let’s take a look at some of the fundamental characteristics of these development environments that make them far superior to normal text editors.

Organization of tasks by project

Various tasks to be completed can be organized by project, so that simply recalling the name of the project to be worked on puts all project related files easily at hand.


Error message warning during code writing

If a syntax error occurs during code writing – as could happen by forgetting to close parentheses or quotes – it is immediately highlighted and indicated as shown in the image below:


Syntax highlighted in source code

To favor quick reading and comprehension of code, the syntax is highlighted with various colors (most of the time it is also possible to personalize colors used). In this manner, it becomes much simpler to maintain and create code modifications.

Here’s what a portion of code from our WordPress theme looks like, as seen with a standard text editor:


And here’s what the same portion of code looks like using a development Editor:


As you can see, the second is much easier to read and understand.

Automatic completion of code

The automatic completion of code is another essential tool made available by development environments (although sometimes it can be a bit too invasive).

Depending upon what you’re writing, as soon as you type a single letter inside of a code block delimited by Tags, this function opens a window that helps you choose the desired command, saving you time and above all else, avoiding typographical errors.


Simultaneous searching in all project files

It can be necessary to search for and subsitute values in a string or variables in all project files that you’re working on. In this case, development environments include functions that enable these operations with a simple click of the mouse, as shown in the image below.



It may seem trivial, but as you’ve seen the use of a good editor is able to remarkably simplify tasks, helping you to save precious time.

Having seen some of the characteristics that make these development environments crucial to our work, let’s take a look at a few of them: we’ll take a tour through the most well-known and most used, to some less well-known; from pay editors to free ones (that often provide no less than commercial versions).

Before moving on to the editors, I’d like to leave you with a question that could help us grow together by confronting various experiences accumulated over the years: which development environment do you use to accomplish your projects? What are the reasons that influenced your choice?

I’d like to hear your motivations, as I believe that the value of a community depends not only on the quality of the articles published, but also by the discussions that spring from its readers’ interactions. This invitation is therefore also open to those of you who regularly follow us, but haven’t yet had the time or opportunity to express your opinion.

Zend Studio




NuSphere PhpED


Rapid Php 2010


php Designer


JetBrains Web IDE




Section dedicated to Mac users







And now for some free versions





NotePad ++


Komodo Editor


Code Lobster







  • Choose the theme or the plugin that most suits to your online business
  • Download and install it freely with few clicks
  • When you will be positive about your choice, enjoy the advanced features
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The Author

Nando is administrator of Edi Group, a Sicilian web agency founded in 2005. He deals with the development of web applications in php language and the implementation and administration of databases. And besides Microsoft Trainer with years of experience in regional and private training courses as a designer and lecturer.

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