Lately found some free time to test a few programming editors, in case there is something more suitable for my needs. I use daily the Aptana Studio 3 for Web Development, usually connected to a server using SSH connection. Aptana has the ability to connect to FTP/SFTP and load/save the files directly to your server. And it is really fast when it does that.
From the other hand the three editors I tested do not connect to FTP/SFTP directly, but if you work on Linux, like I do, you can first open a connection with your server using “Connect to Server…” option of your file manager. This mounts your server as a folder, and you can use it the same way you use other folders on your system. You can copy/delete/rename/edit files, depending on user’s access permissions.
Sublime Text 3
The first editor I tested is the well known Sublime Text 3, which is an editor we see everywhere these days. It became really famous and a trend really fast. Although that Sublime 2 didn’t make me drop Aptana, I decided to try it’s successor, in case I should change my mind.
Sublime is a nice editor, fast and light. The syntax highlighting is great and the layout too. Unfortunately, the file load and folder scan of a SSH connection is really slow. It is great that you can load files asynchronously, but this is not the case when you save a file, which blocks the whole editor for a few seconds. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an indicator to show you if the saving process started and when it will finish. You just wait until the editor becomes unblocked. What a disappointment it is.
Sublime is great for local files, but too slow for my taste when you deal with files that reside on your server. Also, the registration cost is really big for such an editor, IMO.
Geany is great editor with a lot of features. I found it fast and light, with great syntax highlighting. I didn’t like the command auto complete though, where Sublime is really strong.
This editor has also the same problems with Sublime, when you have to save a file on your server, using SSH connection. It is too slow, blocking the whole editor, although it is a little faster than sublime and it has a nice indicator to show when the process finish.
I didn’t like the way that you can use different themes. You have to download geany-themes from GitHub, copy the “colorschemes” folder into
~/.config/geany/ and then edit the geany.conf to change the parameter “color_scheme=” with the name of the scheme you want to use. Finally you have to restart the editor. I am really sorry, but this is not a really friendly way to change themes.
From the other hand Geany is totally free, coming with a lot of plugins to help you on your daily tasks.
Although Gedit is not a well featured programming editor, it is simple to use, light and fast. It comes with a few plugins and themes to use. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an auto complete feature depending the programming language you use.
From the other hand, Gedit doesn’t have the problems that the previous two editors have. When I tried to save an edited file on my server, using SSH connection, it saved it really fast without blocking the editor, not even the same tab. So if you want to continue editing other files, you can do it. There is also a small throbber at the file tab which indicates that a saving process is started.
I don’t know what you think about these editors, and which one is your favorite, but my opinion is that you should try the available editors and see which one is suitable for you. For me Aptana Studio and Gedit is the best solutions so far. Choose yours and continue developing your software.