TotalEdit 4.1 code editor review
written by craig, 25 February 2008
Since then, I’ve discovered TotalEdit. It’s a great Windows general-purpose text and code editor developed by CoderTools in the UK. It’s been a commercial product for a while, but a free version is now available. There’s also a Pro version that provides an ODBC-compliant database explorer and SQL querying tools, but the free editor is reviewed below.
The first thing that strikes you about TotalEdit is the interface: it’s gorgeous and looks more professional than most of the competition. The editor will feel familiar to anyone who’s used VisualStudio or other Microsoft coding tools. There are several themes to choose from and they all look great.
The menus and toolbars are very configurable. You can create your own toolbars and move icons around to suit your preferences. Sub-windows can be opened, closed, or collapsed and expanded on hover.
The editor itself appears to be based on Scintilla. Although it’s not quite as fast as some others, the interface is generally responsive and slick.
Everything you need is supplied with the standard installation of TotalEdit. The highlights:
- support for multiple languages
- good colour-coding and font choices
- unobtrusive project management
- file explorer
- function list
- find, replace and find in files
- code compare
- spell checker
- Unix and Windows file encoding
- printing customisation and preview
- USB drive support
Although there’s no support for custom plug-ins, you’re unlikely to miss it given the level of functionality provided out of the box.
Does it beat Notepad++?
TotalEdit is one of the nicest Windows editors available, but it won’t replace Notepad++ on my PC just yet. The Notepad++ interface is functional rather than attractive and whilst TotalEdit is undoubtedly nicer, that alone wouldn’t persuade me to use it.
However, there are a few niggling points that stop me switching to TotalEdit:
- There is no tag auto-completion for XHTML and XML. I really don’t want to type closing p’s and div’s!
- You can change the colour coding, but only the foreground and background colours: bold and italic are not supported. That’s unfortunate since that can help you spot errors quickly.
- The spell checker checks everything and does not ignore code, tags, etc. That’s not a huge problem for program code, but it makes HTML pages very awkward.
- The function list is better than most, but seems a little flaky. It often fails to update, adds a strange entry at the end of the list, and crashed the application on several occasions.
- It’s not possible to assign macros to keystrokes. I often set up simple macros for empty functions or CSS declarations, but it’s quicker to type them than run them from the macro menu.
Overall, I like TotalEdit. It’s almost as fast and functional as Notepad++ and almost as pretty as Aptana. If you’re looking for an editor that’s halfway between those two, then TotalEdit could be for you.