Top 5 Best Code Editors For Programming 2018

Top 5 Code Editors

So it’s 2018 and there are a wealth of high-performance code editors. In fact, the competition is so good that it’s hard to make a bad decision!, . Let’s break down each of my picks and let me explain why I have chosen what I have chosen.

I’d also just like to say that these choices are my personal opinion based on my experience using all of these code editors over the years. Feel free to suggest alternatives in the comments!.


THis is the odd one out here because it’s isn’t just a code editor. It provides a whole development environment hosted on their own Linux boxes (although you can point it to your own). This makes getting started in a new environment started as easy as clicking a few buttons, instead of faffing around setting everything up manually and specifically to your OS.

Which brings me to my next point about Cloud9. You can code anywhere and get the same environment. I could be on my Windows PC then switch to my Chromebook or Android tablet and pick up where I left off seamlessly with the exact same environment!

To add to this you can also share your code with other Cloud9 members so if you work in a team you can let other people see and edit your code!

The code editor itself is pretty much a carbon copy of sublime text. To the point where I have had other developers looking at my code and not realized that they weren’t using Cloud9. This is certainly no bad thing however as sublime text is a fantastic programming editor.

The only slight drawback is the list of plugins, although still good, aren’t quite as extensive as some of the other options. I however haven’t come across a plugin that I have needed and not been able to find on cloud9 so this won’t be an issue for most people.


Best compatibility by far

Code sharing

Ability to switch to another computer and pick up where you left off.


Not quite as many plugins as other editors

Requires an internet connection

Visual Studio Code

The next code editor on my list is Microsoft Visual Studio Code. Visual Studio is a newer kid on the block but is a serious contender!

Visual Studio Code comes with more than just syntax highlighting. It has IntelliSense built in which provides smart completions based on variable types, function definitions, and imported modules. You can even debug code right from the editor. Launch or attach to your running apps and debug with breakpoints, call stacks, and an interactive console.

Visual Studio is also supported on Windows, OSX and Linux… I’d like to see Apple take a leaf out of Microsoft’s book on that one!


Fast and lightweight


Lots of functionality built-in

Easy access to a massive list of plugins


It is hard to find any downsides. It isn’t quite as lightweight as sublime but it isn’t far off!

Sublime Text

Next up is another code editor I have used for years. It is free to download however they do have a friendly reminder that pops up occasionally asking you to pay a small fee for the product. The majority of developers just use it for free though and dismiss the popup.

Sublime is the programming editor that changed the face of code editors away from clunky and slow IDE’s to slick lightweight editors. A lot of the competition that has come along since has been based on the success of Sublime.

Sublime Text 3 has a massive list of plugins to chose from and has just had a new facelift for 2017. Once you get to grips with the massive list of built-in key binds it will change the way you code forever. One of my favorites being the multi-cursor functionality which has been copied by lots of editors since. Just hit Ctrl D when highlighting something and it will allow you to edit multiple lines at once.


Lightning quick.

Massive list of plugins.

Mini display scroller on the right is a great unique feature.


Payment popup can get annoying.


My next choice is an editor built primarily for designers and front-end developers. It comes with many helpful things built in such as the ability to see all attached CSS to an element by pressing Ctrl E or the ability to split windows like you can in Cloud9, or the built-in color picker, or one of my favorites which is the live preview button which opens the browser in chrome and highlights the areas you are on in the editor!

One downside though is if you want to support languages outside of javascript and HTML/CSS then they need to be installed manually via their large list of plugins, but that really isnt a huge problem.

In terms of speed, Brackets isn’t quite as quick as Sublime text but there isn’t a lot in it and it isn’t far off.

This editor is probably your best choice if you concentrate your efforts mostly on the front end.


Fantastic features for front-end developers


Great list of plugins


Not as feature packed for back-end developers


Vim is a bit of an oddball as it requires a large learning curve to become proficient in it due to the fact that you cannot use your mouse. Some developers swear by vim because once you are proficient with it it it allows you to perform bulk tasks and editing with fewer keystrokes and by keeping your hands on the keyboard, where a vim user will tell you your hand should always be!

In the competition for quickest and most lightweight Vim certainly wins by a landslide as by default there isn’t really much to it at all. If you want to use Vim proficiently then you really need to customize it to your personal needs with the vast list of plugins.

The other obvious benefit of Vim is that it comes installed by default on all Unix based servers. Knowing at least the basics in Vim is almost a requirement for anyone who works a lot on the server over SSH.


Installed on all Unix based servers by default.

Highly customisable.

Fastest and most lightweight on this list.

Once learned it makes certain tasks incredibly quick.


Massive learning curve.

Requires a lot of setup initially to be proficient with.


Each of these editors suits different types of developers so choosing would be based on your individual needs. If you need portability then Cloud9 is a clear choice. If you work on the front end then Brackets is the clear winner, If you are a server admin then VIM is an easy choice. If you need a fantastic all-rounder then either Visual Studio or Sublime Text 3 will do you well.

Best thing to do is download each of them and give them a try for yourself.

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3 Responses

  1. dev says:

    How come there is no mentioned?

    • Jack says:

      I considered Atom, however, the reason it didn’t make the list is that it is just basically a slower version of Sublime text and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Brackets, for example, is great for front-end dev’s and cloud9 allows you to keep your code in the one place.

      Atom is a great editor though!

      If you disagree with my opinion or think I have missed something with Atom that would make it appear on the list then let me know. If this was a best 6 then I’d have probably put it in there.

  2. Paul McGowan says:

    Agree Atom is slow, so switched to Sublime, much faster!

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