I know we've got all of these nice IDEs out there today. With the way that it intelligently finishes your coding for you or checks syntax as you type - it's cool. But.... for those of us who really love to bang out code in a simple editor , is it still possible to do this AND, if so, is anyone?

I am finally migrating over to VS.NET 2008 from VB 6, ASP, VBScript, etc and before that I came from the mainframe world. I am a straight "notepad" developer. I think the VS.NET IDE is nice, don't get me wrong, but I really miss not being able to bang out some good ol' ASP in notepad and copy it over to the test server to see it run.

+7  A: 

Simple answer: No.

Ben Hoffstein
+1  A: 

Not me. IDE's help me code faster due to code completion. win win.

Darren Kopp
+6  A: 
Thanks, I will check into this!
Optimal Solutions
A very good editor for quick edits indeed. Because it is relatively lightweight, it makes a nice complement to a full ide, which tend to take a while to start up.
Tikhon Jelvis

Possible: Yes. Still doing it: Only curmudgeons.

Forgotten Semicolon
+3  A: 

Notepad can be useful to test the quickest of html/css snippets (saved as html and loaded into a browser), but even then, Notepad++ or other alternative is likely better and just as fast.

+4  A: 

There's so many better editors out there now that aren't over the top (Textmate, E-Text Editor, etc...) that there's really no need to code in something so featureless.

+5  A: 

Not really, the closest I get to a "simple" text editor any more is Notepad++. About the only time I ever use Notepad any more is if I have to make some configuration changes while remoted into a web server.

+1  A: 

I have had to before, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Notepad + CSC.exe = Quick program in the field.

Geoffrey Chetwood

In college, the Java course I took was instructed using TextPad for Windows. I enjoyed the simplicity of it, and it definitely helps students learn more about a language without auto-complete and other dynamic error checkers. Plus, its very light weight and with syntax definitions, its not as painful as using Notepad. Just add the Java executables to a hot key and you're ready to roll! For simple HTML/CSS modifications, I'll opt for TextPad also.

Chris Serra

I trust Reflection based intellisense over my memory.

+2  A: 

Not for .NET stuff.

But I've yet to find anything I like better than gvim for writing PHP & Python code.

Mark Biek

On occasion, I have written some PHP or HTML using Notepad but the luxuries like automatic indentation, reformatting commands, and even syntax highlighting are too difficult to pass up for all but the simplest jobs.

+2  A: 

It is (for C# see e.g.

After all Visual Studio is just a fancy view on the command line. And we're also using a very simple editor (not Notepad, though).

Regards, tamberg

+11  A: 

I work on a Unix box coding in vi.

I use Vim in Windows under Cygwin. I'd rather use Eclipse for coding in the languages where it makes sense, but for a quick bit of shell or Perl, Vim is perfect.
'course, Vim isn't really comparable to Notepad... :)
I took the force of the question to be who uses a plain text editor instead of a fancy IDE.

Thanks everyone. I had a feeling I better get used to the new IDE. It just seems so bloated BUT, I shall get used to it.

Optimal Solutions
I feel your pain. I just migrated from a company where I wrote CF, PHP, HTML, CSS and even SQL in Notepad++ to where I am now where we use Dreamweaver and VS 2008. It is strange using a GUI for things, and I'll never get used to drag and dropping controls.
Abyss Knight

I will use it for writing a quick note, or saving some text, but for coding I need color. Using notepad++ right now for php stuff.


Clearly anyone worth their salt uses an IDE.

However, it is occasionally useful to view (or minor edit) old code/script files with Notepad in such circumstances as: you happen to be in a server's remote desktop environment and you want to quickly update some connection string or app variable somewhere to debug/test/tweak some ancient application that is no longer maintained in a regular IDE.

Even in such cases, I recommend replacing the built-in notepad.exe with notepad2 (the best, most elegant, and leanest notepad replacement hands down) on every possible computer.

Matias Nino
Clearly anyone worth their salt creates their **own** IDE.
Downmodded for inaccuracy ("anyone") and brutal Windows-centric attitude.
+1  A: 

Depends on the project and the IDE.

For instance when I've used Eclipse for Java, I've tended to use its text editor. When I've used it for Symbian I've tended to use notepad++, and only fired up the IDE when using the emulator (because the devices I was targeting didn't have TRK, so my standard test cycle didn't benefit much from having Carbide running anyway and it's a resource hog).

I'm not massively picky about my text editor, so when the IDE manages everything else, such as with Visual Everything, I tend to just use it rather than fight the power. If I'm writing a quick perl script or a small C program, I tend just to stick to a text editor and the command-line.

That said, I'm picky enough that I wouldn't use actual notepad.exe for anything, unless it was all that's available on the machine. The bare minimum I demand for coding is the ability to highlight a block and tab it left or right.

Steve Jessop
+1  A: 

Anybody who does would be silly.

Simple text editors are great for quick edits. But developing fully functional programs without the aid of any sort of structure, would just be mind numbing. Programmers have enough of a time investment with solving real problems. I use TextPad for easy edits.

David McGraw
+1  A: 

UltraEdit, but only for complex editing. Visual Studio is pretty solid.

Greg Ogle
+1  A: 

Yes, if I want to quickly try out an HTML snippet really quickly. I can type out the whole


In about 5s flat so it's not a problem.

Vincent McNabb
+1  A: 

I use Notepad to strip formatting sometimes. For example, if I want to copy something from MS Word and paste it into an Outlook message, but I don't want the fonts and formatting to come along with it, then I'll paste into Notepad, select all, copy, paste into the message.

You can usually strip the formatting by using the "Paste Special" command to paste plain text.
Greg Hewgill
+1  A: 

I use it. On a computer where I haven't unzipped SciTE yet! Somehow it is like vi (sorry, vi fans, they sure don't compare on power!): you are quite sure to find it.

SciTE is a small, yet powerful editor not needing installation and starting as quickly as Notepad. You can have syntax highlighting or chose to disable it. Very flexible. The above sounds like an ad, but actually you can replace the name with the one of similar editors (Notepad++ and Notepad2 are good, both based on Scintilla too).

IDEs are nice because of some extra features (eg. deep understanding of syntax, thus refactoring and class hierarchy, etc.) but you should have some good, fast and lightweight editor at hand: I won't fire Eclipse to write a small JavaScript test!

+1  A: 

I hate tooltips. They get on the way all the time and too often they are giving no additional value. I use Notepad++ with old ASP, but with new ASP I use Visual Studio.

+1  A: 

The closest I use regularly is the wonderful TextMate. It's not an ide, but supports "snippets" activated through tab triggers. No IntelliSense, but you can pipe your file through shell commands.

William Keller

I don't use an IDE, but Notepad is another extreme. There are much better editors.

Nemanja Trifunovic
+3  A: 

No, but I use the free PSPad (Windows only) which loads almost as quick and does coloured code and a host of other stuff. This tip from The Pragmatic Programmer has been worth its weight:

Use a Single Editor Well

The editor should be an extension of your hand; make sure your editor is configurable, extensible, and programmable.

Yes that is a good tip. But I haven't managed to adhere to it yet. I tried using vi or emacs keybindings on a few of my applications and it was difficult.

The funny thing is that i cant imagine someone coding using notepad, although I code a lot of perl scripts using vi.

+12  A: 

It's always possible to bang out code in a text editor - after all, that's how it goes into the compiler. However, the time-cost of working without an IDE rises rapidly as the project becomes more complex. The more work you have to do, the more value you gain by having an IDE manage and collate details for you, particularly when collaborating with multiple colleagues.

I recently went through this transition. I remember the joy of starting with a literally blank slate, and the resistance to learning a new system. I still do small projects without an IDE sometimes, but I wouldn't do anything with more than a few pages or classes without an IDE to help me remember what my member names are and quickly trace function calls back to their source.

Trust me, it's worth it.

The Digital Gabeg
+1  A: 

Yes! A coworker at the last company I worked for actually used "notepad.exe" as his primary IDE. He firmly believed the other options all used too many PC resources.

+2  A: 

I heard recently about a university teacher asking students to name files file.cpp.txt to be able to open them in notepad with double click.

he should be fired !!!!
hasen j

I actually use Notepad++ for all of my coding. In my industry the tools change based on the product I'm working on, so a universal IDE that can be applicable to every project I work on is highly unlikely to exist. Notepad++ is great because you can do all sorts of great things with it compared to notepad.exe and other "simple" text editors. But then again, I am no .NET developer ;-)

+4  A: 

Seems like a lot of you guys are working in the .Net or Java world, but there is far more out there, than just that. Of course do some IDEs also support Python or Ruby or Perl or whatever, but most people I know tend to program all these other languages in "normal" text editors. I actually use (g)vim on Windows and on Linux/Unix, it's one of the first things I install on Windows, just to avoid using notepad.exe, which is horrible.

+1  A: 

I normally use an IDE for my main development tool but still use notepad++ in conjunction with the IDE for simple edits and search/replaces.


Notepad++ actually! Now that I am getting into VS2008, maybe not.


Yes, if I'm banging out a quick Perl script. But not for my .NET or Java dev.


Sometimes... if I am on a client site or whatever and I am using one of their machines to make some quick code changes on the fly.


Yes, this laptop has a new hard drive and I wrote a couple HTML pages, a style sheet and a JavaScript file all in NotePad since I hadn't yet installed Multi-Edit.

It wasn't pleasant, and I probably could have installed it and saved an equivalent amount of time.

Cade Roux
+1  A: 

Yes. I use Notepad and/or WordPad when there are either few or no development tools installed on the computer. Especially, if I want to leave the computer intact without installing developer tools and without suddenly turning someone else's PC into a development platform with all of the DLLs, debuggers, registry entries and other cruft. Some development environments can take a lot of time to set up when all that I need is a simple text editor like Notepad.

Depending on the machine and the development software, sometimes it's faster to open Notepad than firing up an entire IDE, if all I am doing is a few simple changes. I might check out, do some development work using Notepad, and check in removing the project from the computer. Doing development in this manner isn't something I'm going to spend a lot of time in. Perhaps, I am going to document, fix, rewrite, create a small script, web page, or a program using Notepad, and leave the machine as it was.

Mark Stock

Where I work some people use what I think is worse than notepad. Some old console text editor app that arguably has fewer features than notepad... I wish I could remember the name though.


Yes. And when I'm not programming, I use a typewriter. (I'm not joking.)

I've tried many other editors — just didn't take. I don't need colors, and I know how to find what I'm looking for. I guess that makes me a "curmudgeon".

+1  A: 

I just use the VS 2005 editor. It's a whole lot smarter and better-featured than Notepad; it colors keywords; it lets me stay in the same environment for C code, JS, and HTML; and it's just fine iff you can convince it to stop applying gratuitous, unrequested formatting.

I don't know about VS 2010. It seems to me that VS has changed over its versions only to make the product harder to use, more cryptic, more obscure. Some very helpful features (e.g., telling me which version of a file, from what directory, I'm editing/building) have been removed! Like MS-Word, whose best incarnation, as some say, was Word 95: it's been downhill from there.

Pete Wilson
+1 for mentioning the Visual Studio IDE. Some features that you miss can usually be turned back on in the Environment Settings of the later VS versions.