I have been looking for a good open source or free cross platform (windows/linux) editor that has php and html syntax highlighting.

A simple request I thought, I guess not…

Originally I was looking for an editor that did the above and had the ability to edit remote files, however after taking another look at FileZilla, I realised I can set it up to edit remote files, which download into a temp directory, which upon editing and closing FileZilla realises there has been a change and re-uploads the file. This is all very well, however it makes testing a little more delayed. Therefore an editor with a built in FTP option would be great.

I would like a cross platform version so that if I decide to change over to Linux I don’t have to find another one, but I am willing to settle for a good editor for windows.

Open source is great, I like open source projects, I like getting involved in them where possible, free is good also, companies that offer something free that is good are usually worth keeping an eye on, having said all this, if an application is the right price and does what I need, i’d be willing to settle for that and pay my dues.

Syntax highlighting is important to me when developing, so this is a must.

It must have the ability to open large files, and use a small amount of system resources.

Having said that I’m willing to give up some of my specification providing the software is good.

Editors I have tested so far:

  • Notepad – Ya know, it comes with windows, don’t make me laugh.
  • UltraEdit – I actually used this for years, however, over the years it has got a bit bulky. Features I did like are its ability to handle large files, its search list function, macro function, and its huge array of other functions I will probably never use. Its expensive though.
  • Crimson Editor – This was okay, there was some reason why I didn’t like it though, its free, but doesn’t run on linux.
  • Notepad++ – I liked the idea of this, its open source, but it just didn’t cut it for me.
  • (g)VIM – I hate this with a passion. One thing I have never understood about VI is how can such a simple task of editing plain text so complicated.
  • TextPad – A very boring and simply application, not what i’m looking for.
  • NoteTab – Not tried this yet.
  • Editeur – Ugly.
  • EditPadPro – Expensive for what it is.
  • Syn – Yet to try this.
  • EditPlus – This is a fantastic application, it supports FTP, and has highlighting but it is neither free or open source, nor does it run on Linux. I really liked this application. Its quite good value for money though.

I ended up using EditPlus for a few months, however I have recently decided to go back to UltraEdit as its a much nicer application and offers some very nice features. Having said that, this application does not match the criteria i set myself, so I can’t stop here.

But even after looking at the Comparison of text editors in the wikipedia, the hunt continues…

Edit: PSpad editor is pretty cool considering its free. I’ve not tried this out much as of yet, but keep an eye on this one.