Please let “I code in Notepad” die. A rant to Notepad users.

April 30, 200812 Comments
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notepad.pngReader notice. I’m feeling like a bit of a rant. Ok?

Im sick sore and tired of listening to certain segments of the design / development community spout about how brilliant a coder they are.

Just because they use Notepad. Its not big and its not clever.

And here’s why.

Ok, so we know you can code. The end results prove that. Using an IDE such as Dreamweaver, Visual Studio (or alternative) does not make you any worse of a coder. In fact, contrary to popular belief the opposite is true – it helps to make you more productive, enables you to avoid repetitive tasks and speeds up the development process which is what we want isn’t it? If you want to know what makes a good coder. Read this. In fact if you are a developer, live and breath these.

Notepad is designed for reading and writing text files. It’s ok to use an IDE to develop software. Period.

Using Notepad as a badge of honour for your coding ability is like saying you’ve just used a pen knife to cut down a forest. It takes longer, achieves the same result, but makes you look like a plonker for refusing to use the chainsaw. The finished product is what pays the bills, the finished product is what your client is looking for. Not what tools you use for the job.

And your fellow wood choppers won’t be patting you on the back for your achievements.

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About the Author ()

Paul is a regular 30 year old web bloke / programmer with a penchant for online marketing. This blog is a personal outlet, with an eclectic mix of articles.

Comments (12)

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  1. Michael Einem says:

    The capabilities of notepad aside, it is good to be able to make a quick change or fix with a text editor even when the accustomed IDE is not at hand though. Knowing how to do it with a WYSIWYG _only_ is a graphic designers’ kludge.

  2. A says:

    Bless this post! As a computer scientist, I have been cornered into using notepad a good number of times. And although notepad might be adequate, there is nothing bad at all with syntax highlighting and other niceties of simple light weight IDEs for any task. IDEs just make life easier and coding a tad more pleasurable.

  3. george says:

    I completely agree with u and think people should not brag about coding with notepad. I do, although not because i think it makes me look better. I only use notepad because no online downloads are required and dreamweaver costs several hundred dollars.

  4. Paul Anthony says:

    Hi george,

    Thanks for commenting. Have you seen my Alternatives to Dreamweaver post?

    http://blog.webdistortion.com/2008/04/12/webdesign-on-a-budget-six-free-alternatives-to-dreamweaver/

  5. Francis says:

    Yeah I used to be like this, everything in notepad

    Then I moved to notepad++ for the syntax highlighting
    Finally this year I expanded to include dreamweaver in my workflow, with the main code being done by hand in dreamweaver, and then extra debugging & tweaks done in notepad++

    I still use notepad++ a lot for php scripting

  6. McBonio says:

    I use notepad for coding, and have recently started using Notepad ++ for PHP stuff.

    I don’t use it as a badge of honour, but I started coding about 11 years ago and it was “the done thing” then, I got really comfortable using it and I have tried Dreamweaver and such, but I spent more time removing the junk out of Dreamweavers output.

    I don’t frown upon people using Dreamweaver, different strokes for different folks! Just use what your comfortable with :)

  7. jeff says:

    Why use notepad when you can use vi

  8. Paul Anthony says:

    OMG jeff. You are SOOOOO hardcore.

  9. Jaye says:

    LOVE your post!!! Here is what I think. We abandoned horse and buggy in favor of getting into town the same day. We abandoned “coding” in notepad for the same reason, we wanted to get published to the web within the same year or two.

    Horse and Buggy vs Auto
    Notepad vs WYSIWYG

    In the words of the famous Vince of Shamwow fame….”I don’t know, it sells itself!”

    Luvs

  10. goobernutz says:

    Notepad!?! HA! Slackers. I code using 1’s and 0’s that I type with a pair of trained chickens who only respond to specific frequency whistles that I create by stuffing carrots up my nose whilst breathing helium.

    Chicken number one, whom I’ve named Number One is responsible for pecking at the big “Zero” button. The other chicken, Pablo pecks at the big “One” button. But they swap roles on prime numbered days and Zambian bank holidays.

    So when I want to create some k1ll3r html, I get out the carrots, put on my heli-breather and it’s all twoot peck tweet peck twoot peck twoot peck into the night.

    Now who’s hardcore!?

  11. Brian says:

    I think you missed the point. Saying “developed in Notepad” is a reaction against drek “developed in MS Frontpage”, not “developed in an IDE”. I, for one, find Eclipse to be incredibly helpful.

    Though if you can’t program something in Notepad and *need* IDE tools in order to function effectively, that speaks volumes about your lack of skills.

  12. Aaron says:

    Why would you use “I code in notepad” as a badge of honor? I only say that because thats the only thing I know how to use to make web pages (hopefully that will change very soon).

    By the way, love the hallmarks of a great developer. each of those points is so true that it makes me feel like a crappy developer (even though I’m still learning my chops).

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