A Review of 7 code editors suitable for web design and many that will fit any budget!

#7 Smultron

Developed by Peter Borg, Smultron is free open source software for the mac. Smultron 3.5.1 is available from apple.com. Support for this program is limited, the original developer is said to be dropping this project. With that said, there has been a new release fixing some bugs found when running on Mac OSX Leopard and it’s still a great program.


  • Extremely simple user interface
  • FREE

  • Mac Only
  • No longer supported

Conclusion: Smultron does a good job at color coding most syntax. It plays well with CSS, HTML, XML, PHP, Javascript, and others. It’s a very fast and easy to use program. Even novice users won’t have a problem opening a file and editing it’s contents.  It handles large file sizes well.

#6 Dreamweaver

Well, what can I say about Dreamweaver? Unfortunately, Dreamweaver has a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor.  That would be great, if it was true, but it’s not. My experiences with Dreamweaver are full of frustration. My suggestion is to stay away from it.


  • Part of the Adobe Suite, if you have Photoshop, you may already have this program
  • Cross Platform

  • Promotes WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) style of webpage designing.  You’ll constantly be fighting with it’s built in conventions.

Conclusion: Using a visual editor like this leads to poor results. Sure, you can click and drag a picture to just about wherever you want it, but the problem is in the code. Your code becomes garbled.

#5 Aptana Studio

Aptana IDE studio is free and open source software. The newest vesion, 2.0, promotes a suitable work environment for web application development. Their new Rad Rails environment seems like a good way to code with Ruby on Rails.


  • This software has a familiar User interface design for anyone familiar with Dream Weaver
  • Cross platform, Windows, Linux, Mac
  • FREE

  • Ram hog, you’ll want a fast machine to run this one
  • Overly complicated interface for most users

Update: After testing out the newest version, I have to say, things have improved.  This program is now much faster.

Conclusion: My previous experiences with Aptana left me longing for something more. In version 1.0 the environment was slugish. I found my mac crawling to a halt.

#4 Espresso

For a couple of years Espresso was my editor of choice.  I’m not sure what happened.  It’s a great program with all of the functionality you could expect in a code editor.  The only downside was it’s speed.  I found it started to get slower with every update.  If you have an 8-core mac like I do now, that’s not a problem.


  • Nice clean look with different themes
  • Plenty of plug-ins for extendability

  • Only available on Mac
  • $84.37 CAD

Conclusion: I’m especially surprised by the price.  Compared to other editor like TextMate I don’t see any differences that warrant the heftier price tag.  This is a great editor, giving you great colour coding, but not worth the price.

#3 TextWrangler

Built by the makes of BBedit, TextWrangler is a free stripped down version of the infamous BBedit by Bare Bones Software


  • Based on a well known long time Text Editor known as BBedit
  • FREE

  • Some limitations

Conclusion: Not much to say here, Best free TextEditor I know of off hand.

#2 BBedit

Packed full of features and commonly used by web developers, BBedit is a great code editor but with a hefty price tag.


  • Experience.  This program has been around since the dawn of time and is still being improved upon.
  • Student Version: $49.00

  • Regular Version: $125.00, very expensive compared to the competition.

#1 TextMate

Our current editor of choice.  Packed full of features and great at colour coding.  Capable of managing short codes which helps increase productivity.


  • Extremely capable, able to handle rails, to php, even Objective-C
  • For $50.00 you get amazing functionality

  • Only available on Mac, sorry windows users 🙁

Conclusion: This is an amazing text editor.  After using every other Text editor on this list, I instantly fell in love with TextMate.  It’s fast and easy to use, the price isn’t bad either.