Web development can be a lucrative career in a constantly changing industry. Although any text editor will do, it's essential to have the best possible tools when writing code.
Our list of the best coding apps on the market right now include:
Atom is open-source software for coders. The program works on Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows platforms. One of the best features of Atom is it offers a ridiculous level of customization to fully tweak it the way you want to work. You can add your own CSS, JS, or HTML directly to the source code to make it your own. The community is saturated with support and add-ons.
The user interface is appealing, and the app is easy to get started with quickly, making it great for newbies. One of the most outstanding features is the real-time collaboration so that you can work on projects efficiently with a team.
You can download Atom for free and keep it updated easily. The software smoothly integrates with Git and GitHub.
- Interface directly with Git and GitHub from inside Atom.
- Crazy levels of customization.
- Real-time collaboration tools.
- Autocomplete function.
- Cross-platform editing.
- Built-in package manager.
- Workspace has multiple panes.
- Four themes.
- Search and replace feature.
- Requires Coffee Script for writing packages.
2. Sublime Text
Sublime Text is another highly rated app that developers use to code websites. It works on Linux, Windows, and macOS. One of the most valuable features for beginning and veteran programmers alike is that Sublime Text automatically detects and highlights syntax errors in the code, making debugging easier. It also includes a lot of automation around creating indexes for code types, opening files, and jumping to symbols.
Considered a coder's best friend, Sublime Text offers users a clean interface for distraction-free coding. The software is very easy to use. It also includes keyboard shortcuts to make your job faster and more efficient. In addition, the autocomplete feature offers suggestions to streamline when you are programming long repetitive code samples.
The only downside is that it doesn't include a package manager, and you have to purchase the program for $99. However, you can try the free trial first to make sure you like it.
- Detects syntax errors and highlights them.
- Edit multiple lines simultaneously.
- Using JSON, you can customize the entire program.
- Keyboard shortcuts.
- No package manager included.
- You can't print the code for visual debugging.
- Lacks some advanced features.
- A bit pricey.
Another popular code editor that web professionals love is Notepad++. This software is excellent for beginners. Although it is not as fancy as some of the other code editors, it is easy to use and is well-supported within the GitHub community. It is open-source and lightweight, so it does not consume a lot of resources when running. It also supports many different coding languages.
The zoom feature makes it easy to debug and zero in on specific sections. This nifty little program packs a punch with many useful features such as syntax highlighting, auto-completion, color coding, line numbering, multi-document editing.
The software is completely free to download and use and has quite a following among professional web developers. So, if you are looking for a no-frills option, Notepad++ might be the one for you.
- Supports macros and playback.
- Find and replace feature.
- Multi-pane view.
- Spell check included.
- Free to use.
- Support for many languages.
- Does not support remote file editing via HTTP, SSH, and WebDAV.
- Cannot be used on macOS without a third-party tool.
Brackets is another lightweight, open-source code editor, but its modern interface blows away the competition. The software was designed with web developers in mind, and it shows.
The app allows you to edit web pages right inside your browser and includes visual tools to help make debugging a snap. One of the best features is a live preview where you can see your programming changes in another tab before committing them to code. You don't need to compile or refresh anything, simply check them out before saving. Brackets works on Linux, Windows, and macOS.
The program is very powerful and lightweight, so it doesn't consume a lot of resources. The support team rolls out frequent updates to fix bugs and keep the program secure. You can easily customize Brackets to suit your need.
The best part about this powerhouse is that it is entirely free. A couple of downsides are that it does not include a split-screen view (often very handy) and does not support any third-party plugins.
- Preprocessor support.
- JS lint enabled by default.
- Visual tools.
- Handy preview feature.
- Inline editor.
- Autocomplete feature needs work.
- No support for third-party plugins.
- No split-screen option.
Vim is an impressive text editor for coders that works with hundreds of programming languages. It offers syntax highlighting, spellcheck, and support for mouse interaction. You can even use Vim to edit compressed files. The software includes a powerful search and replace feature for debugging and edits.
The program works on Windows, Linux, and macOS. In addition, you can use VIM as a command-line interface (CLI). Vim has a robust community offering add-ons to extend the functionality and it is fully customizable.
Although Vim may be the best coding app for web developers, it comes with a steep learning curve and is not for the faint of heart. However, the software is free to use.
- Supports mouse interaction.
- Hundreds of programming languages (200+ syntax files).
- Integrates with Perl, TCL, and Python seamlessly.
- Syntax highlighting.
- Search and replace.
- Stable and reliable.
- Complex to learn.
- Limited IDE features.
Microsoft's entry for the best coding app is Visual Studio Code (aka VS Code) and it's been around for a while. It runs on any device using Linux, Windows, or macOS. Experts say it is the closest thing to an IDE (integrated development environment).
The software is highly customizable and extensible to make it your own. Web developers love the seamless integration with Git and the ability to sort through multiple folders of files quickly and easily right from within the program.
Microsoft offers the program for free, and many programmers consider it to be the one to beat.
- Autocomplete function.
- Sophisticated debugging tools.
- Breakpoints, call stacks, and an interactive console for debugging.
- Lightweight and doesn't consume a ton of resources.
- Git commits.
- Built-in terminal for command-line tasks.
- Performance issues on some systems.
Another great program for web developers is Bluefish which works on Windows, Linux, macOS, and Solaris. It's easy to use, so it's great for both beginners and expert coders. It's also highly customizable and extensible to make it even better. Some great features include syntax highlighting, auto-complete, code folding, code navigation, and bookmarks.
The app is highly versatile, allowing coders to create scripts, entire websites, or desktop program code. It is lightweight, fast, and supports dozens of programming languages. Other excellent features are its' recursive file opening, multithreaded support for remote files, and powerful search and replace feature. Coders rejoice at the unlimited redo/undo functionality, allowing them to step forward or backward through hundreds of code changes.
You can download and upload files from within the program and fully customize the interface to suit your needs. The best part is this feature-packed program is entirely free.
- Auto complete.
- Code folding.
- Syntax highlighting.
- Code navigation.
- Unicode character browser.
- Multiple document interfaces.
- Full-screen editing.
- Unlimited undo/redo function.
- Performance issues for some users.
Web Application Frameworks
Before deciding on the best coding app for web development, you need to start with a language. Hand-coders have quite a few options available to them, with dozens of libraries to craft code quickly and easily.
The most popular frameworks used by modern coders are:
- Ruby on Rails.
- Semantic UI
- Chrome DevTools
The choice of front and backend tools will depend highly on the type of website or tool you are creating, combined with the hosting situation (check our list of the best web hosting services) and functionality needed.
Popular Web Development Platforms
Some coders prefer to use package platforms that allow them to create websites quickly and easily without learning too much code besides a little HTML, CSS, and JS. The top website development platforms that do the heavy lifting for you are:
- Adobe Dreamweaver.
Each of the tools above is geared toward specific users. Some work well for designers, others for beginner programmers, and others for hard-core coders. However, if you're too fresh to coding and don't want to entrench into it a lot, we'd recommend you to start with any of these website builders instead, or even check the list of the top landing page builders if your goal is to release a one-page website.
Which is the Best Coding App for Me?
Each web developer has specific workflows, habits, and requirements. Therefore, there is no one best code app for all programmers. Instead, the best text editor for you will be the one with the features you need, the most comfortable interface, and the ability to customize it to make it 100% yours. Hopefully, the list above will help you in making your decision.