20 December 2009

Apps I love: Notepad++

Notepad++ is a freeware text editing program available from Sourceforge. The name implies that it's a Windows Notepad replacement or enhancement, but that's true only in the sense that bacon is a replacement or enhancement for pork. Notepad and pork are fine, but Notepad++ and bacon are awesome. Even better, Notepad++ is free, and you still have to pay for bacon.

I use the program mostly for web stuff -- HTML, CSS, XML -- but also for regular English .TXT files. The features I enjoy the most are syntax highlighting in the formats of my choice: option of light-colored text on a dark background for good visibility; support for a wide variety of file types; multiple-document multiple-view interface; great editing and search/replace capabilities; syntax folding to collapse and expand logical units; drag-and-drop; awareness of file modifications made outside of Notepad++; indentation guides and automated bracket finding. 

It's very quick and very lightweight -- it uses a wonderfully small amount of memory. After years of the industry creating bloatware and believing that delivering more features is equivalent to using more resources, I'm always pleased to find programs that aim for simplicity in the right places. Notepad++ is very rich on features, but its interface is uncluttered and it remains fast and easy to use.

Kudos to the entire Notepad++ development team for their useful and usable project.