Sourceforge.net’s project of the month in February 2010 was Notepad++. It’s a free, powerful editor supporting multiple programming as well as natural languages. Although only supported on Windows 98/ME/2K/XP/Vista and Windows 7, Notepad++ is a favorite tool among Developers/Programmers, IT teams, and administrators. Creator, Don Ho’s biggest surprise has been in end user and community involvement. The community is constantly evolving and has become active in support, testing, documentation, translation, and development. Ho said his biggest challenge is “Make Notepad++ KISS. By adding features little by little in Notepad++, Keeping It Simple and Stupid in its user interface is always one of most important guidelines in its development.” The KISS challenge hit home with me because it’s something my co-worker and I take very seriously in our own application enhancements. If you work in application support and development you have to build what the user requires all while delivering a fluid and efficient structure.
Downloading Notepad++ is quick, it’s only 3.2mb in size. The first types of files I wanted to sample were html, xml, php, css, ini, sql, and js. I wasn’t surprised at all when each one of these file types opened quickly and had pre-formatted color coding making it easy on the eyes when following the code structure. Another item you’ll notice quickly is line numbering. How many times have you read an error in a website or application that pointed you to failure in line ‘x’? Line numbering is a must for diagnostics. Under the plug-ins menu in the app you’ll see a compare option. Comparing is required any time you want to bring up two similar files side by side in order to see what lines in the code are different. You can’t work in html or php and not preview in multiple browsers, so of course Notepad++ can handle that as well. Please keep in mind I’m only scratching the surface on what the full capabilities of Notepad++ include. I have extensive experience using Ultraedit in the enterprise environment but was really looking for a similar open source alternative. I must say that Notpad++ is a fantastic and simplistic editor that allows for easy editing on c/c++, html, xml, sql, vb/vbs, ascii, and more! Try it, use it, love it. You can even make a donation to continue Notepad++ development here. I’ll be following the Notepad++ community and watching for future updates as well as using the app as my primary file editor. Screenshots are available as well, displaying a number of the application’s features.