Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Free Notepad alternatives

I'm a long-time user of Notepad++ until the day I start to work on MSBuild scripts. The extension of MSBuild scripts usually is PROJ (but you can name it yourself) and actually it's a XML file which describes about build process. The reason why I need to find another Notepad alternative to replace Notepad++ is it cannot detect the format of the file, so when I open a MSBuild script, I need to select XML from Language menu to activate highlight syntax feature manually.

Took a look around, I found 2 free tools to try: Notepad2 and Programmer's Notepad.

I tried Notepad2 first. At first, I like it. The GUI looks nice, it runs fast and didn't consume much memory. It can detect the format of my MSBuild script and use highlight syntax feature to display it. But it lacks one important thing, it doesn't have tabbed multiple document interface. So I moved to Programmer's Notepad.

IMO, "Programmer's Notepad" isn't a good name, I don't like it very much. Maybe "RockStar's Notepad" is much better, just kidding :-D Programmer's Notepad is a bit slower than Notepad++ and Notepad2 when it loads my MSBuild script, it blinks before showing the content. The good things are it can automatically detect the format of MSBuild script to highlight it and it also has a tabbed multiple document interface. The bad thing is GUI it's not look nice, but it's not too important.

I stick with Programmer's Notepad this time and enjoy editing my MSBuild script. But once Notepad++ is fixed to detect the syntax, I will come back with Notepad++.

Update: One feature, I forgot, Programmer's Notepad automatically generates closed tag for XML when you type '>', even sometimes it doesn't work properly.

1 comment:

Simon Steele said...

Hi, I'm not so sure about the name Programmer's Notepad either, but it's been around for 10+ years so that's worth a lot :)

I'm interested to see you think PN is slower than Notepad++, is there some specific activity that's slow? Also please let me know what about the UI you think isn't very nice?

Finally, thanks for the comments and feel free to provide more feedback here: