Weekly Journal 112 - Editors


I’ve been thinking about my favorite text editors and where I want to go in the future. Currently my working editor is Visual Studio Code. I have to give credit where it is due. Microsoft has made a fantastic programming editor. The interesting part is that is starts fairly lightweight, but you can turn it into a full-fledged IDE if you want to by installing extensions. Plus it is cross-platform, so I can use on any system I use to write code. The only things I don’t like are the fact it is an Electron application, so it consumes a fair bit of system resources, it’s not fully open source, and it wants to collect a fair bit of telemetry information.

Long term I think I would like to switch over to Neovim. I have been a vim user for decades now. The main reason I switched to using VS Code is that maintaining a cross-platform configuration was really painful. Several of the vim plugins I wanted to use assumed you were on a Linux system, and wouldn’t function properly on Windows. With WSL on Windows, I don’t really have to worry about that anymore. Currently I think managing a Neovim installation is a bit cumbersome. I was trying out a few Neovim plugins this past week, and while I think the Lua configuration system is big step up from the traditional Vimscript, it is still pretty difficult to get plugins installed and configured. I’m hoping this will get easier/better with future versions.

Finally, I have been keeping an eye on a newer editor called Helix. Helix is similar to Vim in that it is a modal editor, but has different patterns for interacting with text in command mode. Helix doesn’t have an extension or plugin feature, so you only have the features that they ship in editor itself to work with. Helix is doing some interesting things, so it may become my editor in the future. I’ll be tracking it’s development as it continues to mature.