Top 5 Open Source Code Editors

For most web developers, the choice of picking out the right source code editor is a critical decision. Your code editing software is where most of your development time is spent, and where you can gain productivity on a massive scale. Since most developers work differently and are solving vastly different problems, a variety of editors have emerged to accommodate various needs.

With a number of professional editors such as Coda, Textmate and Dreamweaver in the market, it’s no surprise that many developer don’t consider simpler editors such as Window’s notepad. Of course, it’s worth noting that the simpler option isn’t always the best option, but if you’re looking for the ideal tool, you need to take all the factors into account. Here are some simple yet professional open source code editors, one of these tools could just be the tool that you need.

1. Notepad ++
Notepad ++ is an open source replacement version of the original notepad that comes with Windows and supports a wide range of different languages. Though it was originally build for Microsoft windows, Notepad ++ is capable of running on Unix, Linux and Mac OS X. Notepad++ comes with a lot of additional features including tabbed editing, plugin support, split screen editing, spell checker, drag and drop, and synchronized scrolling. It  also supports syntax folding and highlighting for 48 different scripting, programming and markup languages.

  • Quick and lightweight
  • Tabbed interface for editing
  • Plugin macros and support
  • Full screen mode
  • Auto indentation
  • Compiler integration
  • Spell checker and collaborative editing


  • No SSH, HTTP or WebDay for remote file editing
  • Need additional work to run on OS X
  • No support for large files

2. ATPad
ATPad is another rendition of notepad with a couple of upgrades thrown in. Although it is available in English, you can also get ATPad in eleven other languages. With ATPad, you get customization options, tabbed editing, word wrapping, line numbering, customizable snippets, bookmarks, sending through e-mail and more. Because ATPad does not require installation, it can be opened from just about any drive without installing the software and doesn’t leave any traces. In order to remove it, the ATPad directory simply needs to be deleted.

  • Tabbed interface editing
  • Text snippets and line numbering
  • Tilting and cascading for windows
  • Documents can be sent through email
  • Bookmarks can be added
  • No installation is required
  • Unlimited opportunities to undo and redo, or find and replace


  • Does not include a spell checker

3. JEdit
JEdit is a program that can be installed on Linux, Unix, BSD, OS/2, Mac OS X and Windows. Written using Java, JEdit is an open source option for editing that supports hundreds of different macros and plugins. The main window can be vertically or horizontally split, and also comes with an option for syntax highlighting and auto indent for over 130 languages. There are also a number of customization options for this program that allow you to make the status bar, tool bar, dock and everything else, look exactly how you want it to. It is even possible to copy and paste on an unlimited number of clipboards.

  • Customization options and Syntax highlighting
  • Auto completion and auto indentation
  • Power-packed search engine
  • Text and code folding
  • Compiler integration
  • Tabbed editing interface
  • Plugin and macros support
  • FTP browser integrated
  • FTP support
  • Spell checker
  • WebDay and HTTP support for remote editing


  • Quite heavy in weight and slow to start up
  • Can be quite buggy when used on Macs
  • Inconsistent spell checking
  • No support for large files, and no collaborative editing options
  • No SSH support for editing on a remote basis

4. Komodo Edit
Komodo is an impressive and speedy open source program that can be used on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. It supports a number of programming languages, including the following: Python, PHP, Ruby, XML, CSS 3 and HTML 5. It also comes packed with customizable syntax folding, coloring, background syntax checking, and a wide range of call tips and auto-complete options. Alongside all of that, you get a tool box, macros, file editing on a remote basis, snippets and more. For those who are really looking for advanced features, there is also a premium option.

  • Support for macros and extensions
  • Automatic indentation
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Automatic completion
  • Code and text folding
  • Snippets for code


  • No integration for compiler
  • No spell checker included
  • No support for larger files
  • No support for collaboration editing
  • To access the advanced features that are provided in the premium version you will have to upgrade for a significant fee. Without any upgrades and support, you’re looking at around $295, or $382 with the added extras.

5. KompoZer
Powered by the well-known and popular brand “Mozilla”, KompoZer is a complete system for web authoring that combines easily accessible web page editing capabilities and web file management. This simple program can be used on Linux, Mac OS X and windows, and it is geared specifically towards less technical users who aren’t as advanced as some when it comes to web coding and HTML. Available in 21 languages, it comes with a number of great features including tabbed editing, integrated file management through FTP, templates, tables, and support for forms.

  • Integrated file tree and site manager for organization
  • Portable versions available
  • WYSIWYG editing available
  • Support through FTP
  • Similar in many ways to Microsoft FrontPage and Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Supports various templates
  • Offers page preview options


  • No support for any server-side scripting
  • No support for shared editing projects
  • No support from WebDAV for remote editing of files

Author: Rahul Sharma