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I would like to add some new features to a text editor. The main requirements I have are:

  • Should be a programmer's editor
  • I would like to target C# editor features to start with (since I work in Visual Studio most of the time).
  • I have considered Visual Studio addins/extensibility development, but I need to know some pros/cons of that. Mainly I am interested in the XAML editor features of VS 2010.
  • Some other open-source editors I have considered are Scintilla and AvalonEdit. Again, I would like to know the learning curve for working with those.

Since I have not yet started, all editors seem equivalent. I would like to know the pros/cons of developing for each of these.

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closed as off topic by Anna Lear Jan 7 '12 at 17:02

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You say "I would like to add some new features to a text editor.". Does that mean you have an ongoing project now, or are you currently in the planning stage (since "Scintilla" part comes rather early in all that)? In any case, for what you are considering I would just suggest sticking with one of the current editors (Notepad2 perhaps - based on Scintilla, programmer's editor, build in VS (6, I belive), ...)? Unless you have something else in mind after this ... –  ldigas Jan 7 '12 at 15:25
@ldigas: the latest version uses Visual Studio 2002 (7.0). –  MainMa Jan 7 '12 at 15:31
@MainMa - As I implied, I was just recalling it from memory ... I haven't updated my Notepad2 copy in a while also :) –  ldigas Jan 7 '12 at 15:58
@ldigas: Yeah, I just want to contribute to any existing editor. So I would like to work on something that already has a code base. –  FairDune Jan 7 '12 at 16:05
@FairDune - Well, from what I remember when I was fiddling with it, Notepad2 has a very tidy source, maybe a bit underdocumented though. There are already several forks, some of them featuring code folding, support for other languages, and some other features that were important to me at that time, but which I cannot recall now. So it is a rather nice project ... if you're looking for feature suggestions to try to implement - try setting up something which would enable people to add a new language support (fortran and AcadLISP?) more easily. In any case, have fun ... –  ldigas Jan 7 '12 at 16:23

2 Answers 2

Choose between Emacs or Vim. My personal preference is Emacs (I have started to use it on Windows only a few days back). Both are powerful, extensible, open source, cross platform, have a large community and also a lot of Q&A in stack overflow. You can browse the internet for more details or even stack overflow. Both have a steep learning curve and requires a good level of keyboard skills but its worth the effort in the longer run and you requested a programmer's editor. If you are in doubt over selection, pick one and stick to it. Your productivity would soar

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I was considering to downvote this, but didn't, since technically this is a viable answer. Nevertheless, I doubt this suggestion is really helpful for someone who is targeting C# and states "since I work in Visual Studio most of the time". –  Doc Brown Jan 7 '12 at 16:39
@DocBrown: That's all ok, no problem with all suggestions. –  FairDune Jan 7 '12 at 16:55
@Ubermensch: Thanks for your suggestions. –  FairDune Jan 7 '12 at 16:59

Have a look at at Notepad++, it has C# and XML support and a well documented plug-in interface:


Concerning Visual Studio plugins, here is a starting point:


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