A code editor is a program people use to edit files like HTML documents, CSS files, and PHP scripts. At the simplest definition, a code editor has two traits.
- Any code editor will open any other editor’s files. HTML is HTML is HTML.
- A code editor will not offer you the option to format text without showing you the code.
Microsoft Word is not a code editor. You can edit code with Word, but you wouldn’t want to because it writes tons of its own code “behind the scenes,” invisible to people but all to real for web servers and browsers. Real code editors show you code exactly as you will upload it to your website.
Choosing an editor
Which one’s for you? It’s hard for me to say because everyone’s different. But I can offer some advice.
You computer: First, you need an editor that works on your computer of choice. Some editors only work on Macs; others, only on Windows. Still others have versions for both Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Languages: Second, you should find an editor that lets you work with HTML, CSS and a smidgen of PHP. That’s pretty much all of them. But some offer special “syntax highlighting” that makes different languages easy to read.
Basics: Third, you need something that gives you the options you need today. Setting up the Grawlix CMS, for example, doesn’t require complex macros or managing object-oriented PHP. Some editors have great extras like built-in FTP. And while FTP is required to set up the Grawlix CMS, there are dedicated FTP programs to do that. If you warm to code, you might advanced features in the future. But we suggest starting with an editor that doesn’t look intimidating.
Common code editors
In alphabetical order:
- Code editors do not let you “format” text with colors or fonts.
- It’s preferable to have a code editor that uses “syntax highlighting,” or automatic color-coding in various languages.