Adam Norris

Adam Norris

Front-End Developer

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Brackets and Text Editors

As a web developer or programmer you spend most of your time writing and editing code. So a text editor isn’t just a tool, its more like a colleague – a friend – a companion. Because of this, people often get very protective about their chosen text editor, boasting its functionality, defending its shortcomings, and once they’ve picked one they’re set for life.

The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of great editors out there and whichever you choose will probably work just fine. When I first started coding I used Notepad++ (which I still love) and eventually moved on to Sublime when I needed some greater functionality. So, in the spirit of the community, when I heard about my instinct was to put my hands on my ears and sing “la la la” as this surely wasn’t something I’d really need.

But then I used it.

Brackets is a new type of editor specifically designed for web development. It is open source, free and built using HTML, CSS and Javascript. It has a nice, clean interface with the ability to open folders which allows you to switch easily through your project’s files. Its big selling point is the ability to live preview your code on a web page which means you can instantly see your changes being applied as you make them. Another innovation is inline editing which means you can create and alter CSS rules straight from your HTML document without switching files, which can save a lot of time and makes it easy to keep your docs in an ordered state.

Brackets is intended to be a fast, lightweight editor so it isn’t full of hidden features. However, because it’s built in Javascript its easy for developers to build plugins which add functionality. These can be added through the Brackets Extension Manager. Currently, I’m using Autoprefixer and Emmet but there’s many more such as Minify, Beautify, JSHint and Git along with a whole bunch of themes to suit any taste. There are other features which Brackets has as well (such as an inbuilt debugger) and the team at Adobe are clearly putting a lot of effort into this project as there is a new update released every 3 or 4 weeks.

Unfortunately, Brackets isn’t really designed for backend programming so I won’t be using it exclusively for all my coding needs, but whenever I’m doing frontend work I’ll be spending time with my new friend and companion.