Text Editors

As a software developer, your text editor is your number one go to tool and the one you'll be in most of the time. Therefore, there are three important things you should do early in your career:

  • Learn a command line driven text-editor as well because sometimes that's all you have
  • Choose a good, multiplatform text editor
  • Learn the ins-and-outs of your text editor, particularly any of the most powerful features and short cut keys

Command Line Editors

In terms of a command line editor, there are two camps. Emacs and Vi/VIM. The choice is yours. My personal preference is Vim. Note there are others like nano. My general suggestion is, just pick one and then learn it well.

If you don't have a preference, try Vim, and use this interactive tutorial to get the hang of it. If you aren't used to the command line, it will take some time, but its worth it. You'll be suprised how powerful such text editors can be!

Multi Platform Text Editors

The next step is to pick a good multiplatform text editor. Even if you never plan on changing operating systems, do this anyway as you'll never know what OS you'll be working on and it is always nice to have a familar editor in front of you.

These are my top 3 picks in order of my personal preference:

One clarification. When I say a text editor, I don't mean a full blown Integrated Development Environment (IDE) such as IntelliJ, NetBeans, Eclipse, Android Studio, or Xcode. I'm referring to a general purpose editor that can work with many different file types and languages. The key is that the editor needs to be light weight and fast!.

Yes, there are many more text editors out there but I believe these are the best out there. There are 5 very important aspects to a good text editor:

  • Support. For as many file types/languages as possible
  • Speed. It has to be fast.
  • Powerful text-editing. Things like find in files, grep, regex, terminal support, column select, multi-line select.
  • Plugins. You should be able to find a plugin / extension / package to support anything else you need and there should be a good community behind the editor.
  • Themes. It has to look good. I'm serious, it should be enjoyable to use your text editor and even make you think, yeah that's cool and an extension of your personality. In particular you want support for dark colour themes.

If you do want to stick with a platform specific text-editor for Windows then I strongly suggest Notepad++.

Learn your chosen editor

Go to the web site or YouTube, check out the tutorials and learn the keyboard shortcuts and features in detail. Learn about the themes and plugins. Find out what your editor can do because it is very powerful and there's a lot to them. Invest the time to find out.

You don't need to remember everything your editor does. What you want is know what it can do broadly so when a problem comes along you know that there's a way to do that in your chosen editor.

PeopleSoft Support

Once you've chosen your editor make sure you check out the plugins/extensions as there will likely be plugins to support things like:

  • PeopleCode
  • SQL
  • SQRs/SQCs
  • COBOLs/DMS files
  • Trace files

E.g. PeopleSoft Tools for Visual Studio Code by Jay Mathew.

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