Editors and IDEs

Programmers and DevOps people work with text files, sometimes tens of thousands of lines long. To do this efficiently, they use specialized text editors.
(Text files differ from documents such as those produced by Microsoft Word in that, for the most part, they are free from formatting and other abstractions. Therefore, programs like Microsoft Word are not text editors.)
An IDE, or “Integrated Development Environment” is a program that includes a text editor, as well as a suite of other features for things like refactoring, compiling and running programs, et cetera.
Each of the following programs is either an editor that can be used as an IDE, or an IDE that can be used as an editor.


Vi, (Pronounced “Vee-Eye,” never “Vai” or “Six”,) is and editor first written in 1976 by Bill Joy. It’s lean, it’s fast and some form of it is on every Unix-like system.

These days, Vim (Rhymes with “him.” I know that doesn’t make sense, given how vi is never pronounced as a word.) is what most people who use vi use.

There are many versions and variants, but once you have learned the basics, you can use any of them. We’ll be learning those basics, just a few skills to get you started, as well as where to go to learn more.
The Vi Editor

The Atom Editor

The Atom editor is a “hackable text editor for the 21st Century,” according to its developers. It’s Open Source. It’s made by GitHub. It’s infinitely extensible using plugins.
We’ll install it as well as some of the most useful plugins.
Atom is also what’s known as an IDE, or “Integrated Development Environment.” IDEs are used to work on whole projects, not just single files.
Download Atom

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code, or just “Code” to its proponents, is a surprisingly good cross-platform editor and IDE. It’s from Microsoft, as you might have guessed by the name, but its source code is Open Source and there are versions for Windows, Linux and OSX.
Download Visual Studio Code