Windows notepad is fine for opening a single plain text file and for writing a few sentence. It’s definately not the kind of tool that you would want to use for serious purposes.
I’ve been using Notepad++ for quite a while now (more than a year) and it’s been my personal favorite text and source code editor. Note that I didn’t say that it’s an IDE as I’m sure there are better tools such as Visual Studio, Zend Studio, PHPEd, Komodo, Eclipse, Netbeans etc that fit into the bill of an IDE.
Why You Should Use Notepad++
If Notepad++ isn’t an IDE, what’s so special about it?
1) Simple. Less is more. And it’s fast too.
2) Syntax highlighting for practically any kind of language that you can think of (C, C++, VB, C#, PHP, Ruby, Java, Smalltalk, CSS, JS, HTML etc)
3) Opens multiple documents in tabs. And you can scroll through your tabs by the order where you last viewed them (a feature “borrowed” from Opera. Firefox and IE can’t even do this, unless you have some extension installed)
4) Autocomplete feature (for VS users, that means intellisense). If you’re a developer, you know that there’s practically no way of remembering all the functions a languages has. With autocomplete feature, you type the first few charactes of a function, and a list will be presented to help you find the function you’re looking for.
Notepad++ has autocomplete feature built-in since long time ago and all you need to do is type a few charactes of a valid function name and press CTRL+SPACE to see a list of suggestions.
5) It’s free. Small download size. And loaded with plugins which you can customize easily. My favorite plugins are:
– FTP explorer: A built in ftp client to connect to your web server. (included since v5)
– Light Explorer: A built in window showing the your directory structure, just like your windows explorer. (included since v5)
– Compare: A diff tool to compare differences between 2 text files. (included since v5)
– Function Lists – Shows me a list of all the function the current source file has. Very handy to help in navigating quickly to a section or segment of your code.
There are a lot more reasons to get Notepad++ but you have to experience it for yourself. Be brave and go ahead and replace Windows notepad with Notepadd++. You can thank me later.