Text Editor

So this is the section where we actually begin to wrap our heads around what a developer needs to know in order to do their job. So we begin with the most essential tool in a developers toolbox. The text editor!

You might be wondering just what in the world is a text editor? Is that like Microsoft Word or something? If you thought that, you are actually not too far off. A text editor for a developer is like a paintbrush for a painter. It is the single most important and essential tool they have and need in order to paint or in our case, write code.

Developers write code. That is our primary function.

A writer writes characters, which form words, which when combined form sentences, which when combined form paragraphs, then essays, books articles… you get the point.

Developers type characters which form instructions which the computer interprets and executes forming applications or web sites. Something fundamentally important to understand is that developers write code ironically for humans. The languages that we use are intended for us, the people who read the code, the computer ultimately interprets or compiles our code into something it can understand which ultimately end of being a series of 1’s or 0’s.

A text editor then is the tool we use to write said code. It provides a whole slew of functionality, features, plugins, etc that help us to make our lives as developers easier. At a very high level, they all essentially exist to do the same thing… to help developers write code. However, as you begin to dig a little deeper you will find that many of them are quite different. In the beginning however these finer details are irrelevant, because to be frank you don’t know enough yet to understand the need for those differences.

I hope you have the developer toolkit I provided and have chosen either Sublime Text or Atom as your editor. I personally use Atom and provided a bunch of my favorite plugins in that toolkit to shamelessly persuade you to also choose Atom.

Michael Hartl has an awesome book you can read online for free that goes into depth about text editors. You do not have to read the entire book, but you should work through the first few chapters and get familiar. He initially has you use an editor called Vim. You have been warned! Vim is weird, feels archaic, and is incredibly difficult at first. Work through the initial chapters anyways and you will gain an even great appreciation for editors like Atom or Sublime.

Learn enough text editor


Again it is not essential for you to complete the book, as you are going to gain a lot of experience and learning by using your text editor in the subsequent sections. However, I do think this book is great for reference and you might find yourself wanting to go back to look something up.

If you installed all of the plugins I suggested in my toolkit, you might not have any clue as to what they do just yet. You will learn what they do and you will be glad that you have them. Just install them and when you realize the need for them, they will already be there waiting for you ;)