Plain text editor versus full-fledged IDE
At the beginning of my journey as a software developer, someone told me to try a plain text editor to focus on the basics. It turned out later to be a great advice, as it came with two immediate benefits. First of all, I learned to type faster because there was no IDE autocomplete to help me. Secondly, after looking each PHP function in the online manual, I soon knew most of them by heart. On the long run both brought a great boost to my day-to-day productivity.
After a few years, I gave up Gedit in favor of Zend Studio, which was not Eclipse-based back then, and worked much faster. It taught me to appreciate the debugger when dealing with obscure application issues. Later, PhpStorm convinced me with the price tag, and I used it for a couple of years. Unfortunately, its latest releases started to eat system resources for breakfast.
The quest for a simple, modern editor
Then I came across Brackets and decided to give it a try. I downloaded it from the official website, and was happy to it worked on ElCapitan 10.11 Beta. I immediately liked the minimal interface at my disposal, and was even happier when noticing that there can be only one project open at a given time. Focus, baby!
When I discovered the Live Preview feature I was hooked. No more edits in the clumsy Chrome Web Inspector edits and copying them over to the editor! Plus, code completion was there, nothing to install. See for yourself in Lisa’s video.
Useful Brackets extensions
For developers, using version control is a no-brainer. So Brackets Git was the first extension I added. Easy to use even for git beginners, it offers immediate feedback on the status.
As I found I was increasingly using Markdown in my daily tasks, Markdown Preview was a quick win.
Soon after, I came across the excellent Brackets Icons, which allows to spot file types in the navigation pane. It saved me a few wrong clicks already.
For those who need to edit files on a remote server there’s a handy SFTP extension for you. Please do yourself a favor and start using a proper deployment flow instead!
I plan on trying the responsive mode soon, as my current projects are not needing it.
While writing down these notes, I came across the Todo extension that I want to try. It allows grouping of all project todo items into one handy pane.
Brackets also seems to come with built-in node.js awesomeness, and I will definitely give that a go very soon. Watching the videos made by the Brackets team might teach me a few more tricks as well.