Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced web designer or developer, one of the most important tools for your work is your code editor. Finding the right code editor will help tremendously in terms of productivity and workflow. The best code editors offer a fast, flexible interface that enables you to be more efficient at writing code, and they offer functionality to help you examine code for mistakes and see where edits need to be made. In this article, we’ve listed 18 best code editors for web development with details on what each one offers to help you pick the one that works the best.
What Is a Code Editor?
Code editors can be either a standalone application, or it might be built into an integrated development environment (IDE). The ideal code editor should have these basic features:
- Automatic indentation – Indents code to make it easier for you to read and maintain.
- Code snippets – Allows you to save and reuse blocks of code, which can speed up the coding process.
- Syntax highlighting – Uses different colors to highlight certain code elements, CSS selectors, functions, variables, and comments to make it easier to read and understand.
- Smart auto-completion – Suggests code completions while you type, which can save time and help prevent errors.
- Code folding – Allows you to collapse sections of source code, which helps you focus on specific parts of your code.
- Error-checking – Inspects the code for syntax errors and warnings so that you can correct any issues.
- Debugger – Allows you to step through your code line by line, which helps you find and fix errors.
- Version control system – Helps you to track all changes to your code.
Most code editors have all or most of these features. In fact, many of the code editors that we’re going to discuss in this article are packed with even more features that could be suitable for your needs.
1. Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is one of the more popular code editors available. Developed by Microsoft, VS Code is a free application that allows you to write and maintain code in many languages. It is powerful enough for both beginners and experienced coders.
Some of VS Code’s features include:
- IntelliSense for code completion, parameter information, quick info, and more
- Built-in Git support
- A customizable interface that allows you to change the layout, color theme, and icons
- Built-in markdown preview
- Extension Marketplace to add even more features and functionality
VS Code is multi-platform, which means it’s available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
2. Sublime Text
Sublime Text is a text editor for code and markup, and it is another favorite coding application for many web designers and developers. It is known for its speed, simplicity, and extensive customization options. It is also available for all the major desktop operating systems such as Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Some of Sublime Text’s features include:
- Extensibility through plugins and packages for customization
- Powerful search and replace engine
- Tab Multi-Select File to make split views easier
- Context-Aware Auto Complete to provide smart completions based on existing project code
- Support for TypeScript, JSX, and TSX
- Syntax highlighting for over 80 languages that handle non-deterministic grammars, multi-line constructs, lazy embeds, and syntax inheritance
Sublime Text isn’t free but can be evaluated for free for a limited time. After this evaluation period ends, you can purchase a single-user license.
Brackets is an open-sourced, modern text editor built specifically for web designers and front-end developers. Developed by Adobe, Brackets is known for its ease of use and its focus on web development. As a result, it is a great option for both beginners and experienced coders.
Some of Brackets’ features include:
- Live preview of web pages
- An inline editor that allows you to open a window into a specific section of code
- Extension library to extend the functionality and features
- Preprocessor support for popular CSS preprocessors like LESS and Sass
- Code snippets and auto-completion
- Debugger and error-checking
Brackets is free to use and available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Some of the features in Notepad++ include:
- Syntax highlighting and code autocompletion
- Code folding which allows you to collapse and expand sections of code
- Powerful search and replace functionality
- Macro recording to automate repetitive tasks and editing operations
- Third-party plugin support and customizable themes
- Multi-language support for over 90 languages, making it accessible to users worldwide
Notepad++ is lightweight, fast, and powerful, making it a good choice for both beginners and experienced programmers.
Some of WebStorm’s features include:
- Intelligent code completion and code snippets
- Built-in support for version control such as Git and Mercurial
- Frameworks and libraries support for React, Angular, Vue.js, and more
- Integrated developer tools such as a debugger and unit testing
- Extensive plugin library
- Teamwork support for remote work collaboration and code reviews
WebStorm is free to try for 30 days, and they offer both individual and organization/business licenses for purchase.
Eclipse is a free, open-source IDE that is used for developing software in languages like Java, C/C++, PHP, and Python. One of the original old-school IDEs, Eclipse was initially developed by IBM and has been around since 2001. It is available for download for Windows, MacOS, and Linux operating systems.
Some of Eclipse’s features include:
- Java Development Tools (JDT) including code completion, code assistance, refactoring, debugging, and powerful code analysis
- Syntax highlighting for over 80 programming languages
- Extensibility via plugins to expand functionality
- Version control integration with Git, CVS, and Subversion
Eclipse has a large community of users and developers that use it to build a wide range of projects such as enterprise applications, web development, mobile development, and even used in scientific research. However, it can be complex and difficult to learn, so it’s not ideal for the newbie coder.
7. IntelliJ IDEA
IntelliJ IDEA is an IDE developed by JetBrains that runs on Windows, MacOS, and Linux platforms. While this IDE is usually associated with Java development, it also has support for other programming languages and frameworks.
Some of IntelliJ IDEA’s features include:
- Automated code refactoring to improve the structure and readability of your code
- A powerful debugger that supports Java, Kotlin, and other languages
- Code intelligence features such as code completion, linting, and error highlighting
- Version control integration such as Git, Mercurial, and Subversion
- Testing support for various testing frameworks
- Plugin library to add even more functionality
IntelliJ IDEA is available in both a free community edition and a paid commercial edition for individuals and organizations/businesses.
8. Adobe Dreamweaver
Adobe Dreamweaver is a web development application and code editor developed by Adobe Systems. Originally released in 1997, Adobe Dreamweaver has a WYSIWYG interface with a variety of features for web designers and developers.
Some of Adobe Dreamweaver’s features include:
- Visual editing, which allows you to create and edit web pages without having to write any code
- Code assistance such as code completion and syntax highlighting
- A debugger to help you to find and fix errors in your code
- Version control integration with popular version control systems, such as Git and Mercurial
- Live Preview feature that allows you to view real-time updates of their web pages in the browser
- Deployment features for deploying your web pages to a web server
Like other Adobe products, Adobe Dreamweaver is available through an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. It is supported and available for both Windows and MacOS.
Vim is a free and open-sourced text editor that’s highly configurable and is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. It is an improved version of the vi editor, which is distributed with most UNIX systems. Not only is Vim used for programming and web development, but it can also be used for writing via a configuration mode called evim or Easy Vim.
Some of Vim’s features include:
- Modal editing for different modes (Normal, Insert, Visual, Command-line, etc.)
- Extensive plugin support by installing plugins or writing custom scripts
- Support for hundreds of programming languages and file formats
- Powerful search and replace functionality
- Command-line interface, which allows it to be used over SSH connections or on remote servers
Be advised, however, that Vim requires time for you to learn how to use its features. It’s not ideal for beginners and is an application best suited for intermediate or experienced programmers.
Emacs is an extensible, highly customizable text editor that’s free and open-sourced. You can customize nearly every aspect of the editor by writing and installing your own Emacs Lisp functions and packages. It is available for all three major operating systems: Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Some of Emacs’ features include:
- Built-in, complete documentation, including a tutorial for new users
- Customization that allows you to change the default settings and keybindings
- Modal editing that allows you to switch between different modes, such as “Normal” mode and “Insert” mode
- Package management system that allows you to install, update, and manage third-party packages to expand functionality
- Ability to use a project planner, mail/news reader, debugger interface, calendar, and more
- Command-line editing to edit files from the command line
Emacs isn’t beginner friendly due to its steep learning curve, so this code editor is best suited for more experienced programmers and developers.
Some of BBEdit’s features include:
- Syntax highlighting for over 100 programming languages
- Powerful search and replace functionality across multiple files
- Code completion and code folding in order to collapse and expand sections of code
- Version control support for Git and Subversion
- Plugin/package support for installation of related scripts, text filters, clippings, and other components
- Integrated support for FTP access through Interarchy, Fetch, Transmit, and other file transfer clients
You can download a free version of BBEdit called BBEdit Free Mode, which includes basic editing features. However, it lacks some advanced features available in the paid version.
TextMate is a MacOS-only text editor that is customizable, simple, and has a focus on being productive. Version 2.0 of TextMate is free and open-sourced with built-in support for a variety of programming languages.
Some of TextMate’s features include:
- Code folding, syntax highlighting, and code snippets support
- Macros for recording repetitive work
- Integrated version control for Git, Subversion, Mercurial, and more
- Built-in Markdown/HTML preview
- Plugins to extend and add new features and functionality
TextMate is easy to use and is ideal for beginners as well as more experienced users.
Nova is the successor to Coda, which was released in 2022 by Panic. It is loaded with features to make it easily customizable but in a user-friendly package. You can use it for text editing, web design, and web development. However, this particular code editor is MacOS only, and you’ll have to buy it to use it.
Some of Nova’s features include:
- Powerful text editing features like smart autocomplete, multiple cursors, and a Minimap
- Syntax highlighting, code folding, and code snippets
- A robust extension system for adding extra features such as themes, and code validation
- Flexible settings to allow you to create customizable key bindings, switch workspace layouts, and more
- FTP/SFTP support, allowing you to upload and download files
Nova is suitable for developers of all experience levels and offers a solid development environment for a wide range of programming projects.
14. Aptana Studio
Aptana Studio is an IDE that’s based on Eclipse, another well-known code editor in this list. It’s free and open-sourced, offering a simple text editor experience for web designers and web developers. Aptana Studio is available on all of the major desktop operating systems – Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Some of Aptana Studio’s features include:
- Debugger and testing framework for client-side debugging
- Deployment wizard
- Code assist that provides auto-suggestions
- FTP/SFTP support for uploading and downloading files
- Plugin support to allow for additional programming languages such as Ruby on Rails, Python, Perl, and PHP
Aptana Studio is different from most code editors on this list. Not only can it run as a standalone application on your computer, but it can also run as a plugin for Eclipse.
15. Komodo Edit
Despite its name, Komodo Edit isn’t an evolved version of the Komodo dragon; although that would be an interesting event to study if that actually happened. Indeed, this is a text editor that’s free and open-sourced with powerful yet simple features.
Some of Komodo Edit’s features include:
- Multiple language support for popular programming languages such as Python, CSS, SQL, HTML, CSS, and more
- Track changes, autocomplete, and calltips
- Customizable interface including themes, color schemes, and layouts
- Ability to record and use macros
- Plugin support, which is based on Mozilla Add-ons, to extend functionality
With its easy-to-use interface, Komodo Edit is a good choice for developers of all experience levels. If you find that you like Komodo Edit’s features, you can always upgrade to the more feature-rich version, Komodo IDE.
16. Visual Studio
Unlike its open-sourced and little brother VS Code, Visual Studio is a full-fledged and extremely powerful IDE made by Microsoft. It is used to develop computer programs for the desktop, web applications, websites, web services, and mobile apps. Visual Studio is available for Windows and MacOS via several editions: Community (free), Professional, Enterprise (for Windows), and Visual Studio for Mac.
Some of Visual Studio’s features include:
- Syntax highlighting and code completion via IntelliSense
- Source-level and machine-level debugger for both managed and native code
- Designer tool to aid in the creation of and development of applications
- Large extension library to add more functionality via plugins
- Comprehensive testing support for Unit Testing, IntelliTesting, Test Explorer, and more
Visual Studio has been around since 1997, so it has a long history in the world of development. If you’re looking for a comprehensive IDE that also works seamlessly with GitHub Copilot, then Visual Studio is a good choice.
Bluefish might look like the coolest fish in the ocean, but it’s actually a free and open-sourced text editor. It’s designed for web development but can be used for other types of programming. Bluefish is the very definition of a multi-platform text editor that’s available for Linux, FreeBSD, MacOS, Windows, OpenBSD, and Solaris.
Some of Bluefish’s features include:
- Built-in wizard to assist in task completion
- Syntax highlighting, code folding, code snippets, auto-completion, and auto-recovery
- Multiple document interface, allowing you to open 500+ documents
- Extensible for added functionality via plugins and scripts
- Multi-threaded support for remote files using gvfs, supporting FTP, SFTP, HTTP, HTTPS, WebDAV, CIFS, and more
Bluefish is simple to use and can be run as a standalone application for your desktop and via integration with GNOME.
UltraEdit is a text editor that is used by a wide range of people, which includes programmers, web developers, and system administrators. This particular app is definitely a powerhouse since it is packed with so many features. As a result, it will not be the most suitable text editor if you’re a beginner coder.
Some of UltraEdit’s features include:
- Ability to open and edit large files, up to 4GB and greater in size
- Syntax highlighting for over 400 programming languages
- Multi-caret editing and multi-selection
- Code folding, code completion, and code snippets
- Plugin and extension support to expand functionality
- Tool support to run a compiler, run a batch file, integrate with version control, etc.
UltraEdit is free for you to try for up to 30 days before requiring the purchase of a license key. It is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Each of these editors has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to choose one that is right for your specific needs and preferences.
When selecting the right code editor for you, keep this in mind:
- What features do you need? While we have provided a snapshot of features for the code editors, be sure to check out each website for a full feature list. Remember, some editors have more features than others. What you need in terms of feature sets depends on the type of project you’re coding.
- Are the features you need available in a free or paid code editor? There are a lot of great free code editors that offer just as much if not the same as paid applications. Deciding to go with something free or paid is entirely up to your needs and what you personally find comfortable coding with.
- Is it available for my operating system? Most of the code editors we covered are for Windows, MacOS, and Linux; however, a few were only available for specific operating systems. If you code on more than one platform (i.e. Windows and MacOS), it’s best to choose one that’s cross-platform supported.
After you consider these questions, you can start to narrow down your choices and figure out which code editor might be for you. Personally, we recommend trying out a few different editors to see which one you like best.
Bear in mind that the best code editor for you depends on your individual needs and what you’re most comfortable with. Nevertheless, we hope this article has given you a good starting point for choosing the right code editor for your project.